To make our trip to Hunters Inn (link) and North Devon (link) in mid June 2021 more interesting, my partner and I took in a couple of towns and National Trust places in Somerset on our way there and back.
Lytes Cary Manor, Somerton
From our base in New Forest, Lytes Cary Manor, a National Trust property, is about 90 minutes’ drive away – a perfect place for a break to have our first cream tea of the trip!
It was not the most auspicious start. The weather was rather gloomy and we had to have our refreshments outdoors under giant parasols. However the steely grey sky couldn’t detract from the beautiful colours of the gardens. Fortunately the rain held off while we were outdoors.
Crossways at North Wooten
Crossways at North Wooten is less than 5 miles from Wells. The rather plain exteriors belie the rather luxurious interiors and our comfortable room.
We took advantage of the location of Crossways to have our morning walk before breakfast. Along the village’s High Street, the shops and post office had all been converted to private dwellings. What remains of the “good old days” is the charming village green
I had seen Glastonbury Tor many times from afar while passing through the area, but I had never been there.
Since it’s only 6 miles from Crossways, we checked out early, set the satnav to take us there. However when it directed us down what looked like a narrow farm track, we changed our minds and headed for the town centre car park for the park & ride service.
Although we had to wait until 10.00 for the first community bus to run, it turned out to be the right decision. The minibus turned into the same narrow lane the satnav wanted us to take. Before long the bus was slowed down by vehicles of all descriptions parked on the double yellow lines all along the narrow road, leaving barely enough room for the bus to pass! We would never have been able to find a parking space!!
It never occurred to us that it was the summer solstice a couple of days away and people were descending on Glastonbury to celebrate!
We were dropped off at the National Trust entrance. We had 40 minutes to catch the return bus, but there was no way that we weren’t walking up to the church at the top! It had to be done!
It was tiring walking up the terraced path, but it was more scary walking down because of the sheer drop! However, the views from the top were stunning and totally worth the effort!
At around 9.00 on a Saturday morning, there were few people around the town – a typical English town with a market cross, period hotels, pubs and churches
Dunster & Dunster Castle
After our sojourn in Bideford we planned a stop at Dunster Castle, another National Trust property, on our way home. As we arrived in Dunster village over 30 minutes before our time slot at 10.00 – 10.30, we stopped to have our breakfast at one of the pretty tea rooms on the High Street, sitting outdoors in the sun.
The medieval village of Dunster is quintessentially English. The High Street is flanked by period buildings housing shops, pubs and eateries. At one end of street, the view is dominated by the castle, at the other end, Conygar Tower, a 3-storey folly tower. In the middle, who can overlook the quaint 17th century timber-framed octagonal structure, an ancient market hall known as Dunster Yarn Market?!
The castle stands majestically on the top of a steep hill overlooking the High Street. It owes its origin to around 1066 when it was a timber fort. Over the years it had been rebuilt as a medieval stronghold and extended to become a family country home before being gifted to National Trust in 1976.
Due to the pressure of time we were restricted to just admiring the imposing exteriors of the castle and the beautiful views from the gardens and grounds
Finally, here is my precious souvenir from Somerset, the experience of being there!