Dunster and Bat's Castle.

Start. National Park Centre car park (Dunster Steep)

Route. National Park Centre car park (Dunster Steep) - Yarn Market (Main Street) - Dunster Village Garden (Church Street) - Tithe Barn - Dove Cote - Priory Green - St George Street - West Street - Mill Lane - Dunster Water Mill - Mill Garden - Gallox Bridge - Park Gate - Coach Road (track) - Vinegar Hill - Black Ball - Bonniton Gate - Withycombe Hill Gate - Bat's Castle - Gallox Hill - Horse Road (track) - Park Gate - Gallox Bridge - Mill Lane West Street - Dream Garden - High Street - Dunster Steep - National Park Centre car park.

Notes. We've crossed the border, escaped Devon for Somerset, knowledge gleamed from some locals has brought us to Dunster. If you're in the area this medieval village is a must visit, from the 17th century Yarn Market to the mighty castle perched high on Torr Hill, thatched buildings, narrow ways and hidden gardens, all there to explore. Bat's Castle a prehistoric hill fort dating back to 400 BC was to be our high ground for the day, but first a short exploration of the village.

After parking in the National Park Centre car park we made our way through this delectable village, first on the list the Yarn Market, erected in 1629 a focal point for the wool and cloth trade, it's a fine building well worth a few minutes of your time. Down High Street we wandered, many quaint shops acted like magnets drawing Sue into each in turn, progress was slow. Dunster Village Garden came next, an iron gate allowed access to a walled garden, we passed through said garden to be greeted by a Tithe Barn. Dating from the 16th century and just undergone a five year restoration this beautiful old building is now an entertainment venue. Across the road a Dove Cote possibly dating back to the 14th century. Down Priory Green and St George Street we idly strolled, once on West Street we wandered down Mill Lane, a quick visit to Dunster Watermill followed before walking down Mill Gardens to access a late medieval stone bridge, Gallox Bridge, a twin arch pack horse bridge originally named 'Gallows Bridge', built to convey loads of fleece across the River Avill.

Once across the bridge an old coach road guided us passed some fine thatched cottages before joining way-marked routes to Bat's Castle. We opted for the blue route. Through woodland we wandered, across the wooded slopes of Vinegar Hill then onto the view point on Black Ball, wonderful views over the valley of the River Avill and Exmoor National Park welcomed us. We continued constantly checking the map, after what seemed ages we reached a path that actually climbed the hill.

Through tall pines we ascended a dry stone wall to guide us, after the path passed through a gap in the wall we emerged into spectacular views across the Somerset coastal plane to the churning waters of the Bristol Channel as far as the Welsh coast. A brief exploration of Bat's Castle followed before traversing a shallow coll, we then climbed Gallox Hill, another Iron Age settlement not as large as Bats Castle. Our route then took us back to the coll from where we descended to the east through ancient oak woods with stolen views to Dunster Castle. We escaped the tree cover at Park Gate stepping onto the coach road that guided us earlier, all that remained to pick our way back through the streets of Dunster, if time permitted we'd pay a visit to the castle.

view route map.


Yarn Market or the roof of, the building was surrounded by modern motor vehicles and brightly dressed tourists.

This fine 17th century timber-framed octagonal market hall is a monument to Dunster's once-flourishing wool and cloth trade.

Fine old buildings in Church Street.

Dunster Castle with 1,000 years of history the castle has plenty of great stories to tell. The last family to live here, the Luttrells, moved in in 1376 and out in 1976, changing a medieval stronghold into a comfortable family home, now in the safe hands of the National Trust.

Dunster Village Garden cared for by the Village Garden Trust, rising above the tree tops Conygar Tower a three story folly raised in 1775.

To the north of the garden a 16th century Tithe Barn, now used as an entertainment venue.

Within spitting distance of the Tithe Barn this fine example of a 14th century Dove Cote, an important food source the droppings (guano) being used as a fertiliser, this particular cote was owned by the Benedictine Priory of Dunster.

Dunster Castle Watermill, dates back to the 18th century, records show a mill stood on this site as early as 1086.

Gallox Bridge dates back to late medieval times, originally named Gallows Bridge, built to carry packhorse trains loaded with fleeces from Exmoor.

A slice of Dunster.

Seen from the view point on Black Ball the valley of the River Avill.

Approaching Bat's Castle with a wonderful view over the Bristol Channel.

Blue Anchor Bay seen from Bat's Castle.

Bat's Castle the remains of an Iron Age Hill Fort, the fort comprised of two ramparts separated by a deep ditch encircling the level summit plateau, people probably lived within the walls in circular round houses.

View taken from Bat's Castle, north over Grabbist Hill to Minehead.

Wonderful views over Exmoor National Park.

Descending Horse Road with stolen views to Dunster Castle for company.

Back in Dunster looking to Priory Church of St George's, prodominantly 15th century but parts date back to the 12th and 13th centuries..

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