Wells: 01749 600388

Burnham: 01278 238000

Wedmore: 01934 312171

Street & Glastonbury: 01458 555503

 

BURNHAM ON SEA

 

Burnham-on-Sea is a town in Somerset, England, at the mouth of the River Parrett and Bridgwater Bay. Burnham was a small fishing village until the late 18th century, when it began to grow because of its popularity as a seaside resort. It forms part of the parish of Burnham-on-Sea and Highbridge and shares a town council with its neighbouring market town of Highbridge. According to the 2011 census the population of the parish (i.e. including Highbridge) was 19,576,[1] of which the populations of the wards of Burnham Central and Burnham North, which made up most of the town, totalled 13,601.

The position of the town on the edge of the Somerset Levels and moors where they meet the Bristol Channel, has resulted in a history dominated by land reclamation and sea defences since Roman times. Burnham was seriously affected by the Bristol Channel floods of 1607, with the present curved concrete wall being completed in 1988. There have been many shipwrecks on the Gore Sands, which lie just offshore and can be exposed at low tides. Lighthouses are hence prominent landmarks in the town, with the original lighthouse known as the Round Tower built to replace the light on the top of the 14th century tower of St Andrews Church. The 110-foot (34-metre) pillar or High Lighthouse and the low wooden pile lighthouse or Lighthouse on legs on the beach were built to replace it. The town's first lifeboat was provided in 1836 by the Corporation of Bridgwater.

 

A stone pier was built in 1858 by the Somerset Central Railway. Soon afterwards, in 1860, a steamer service to Wales was inaugurated, but it was never a commercial success, and ended in 1888. Burnham-on-Sea railway station was the terminus of the Burnham branch of the Somerset and Dorset Joint Railway. It opened in 1858, closed to scheduled passenger traffic in 1951, and stopped being used for excursions in 1962. The former Great Western Railway station is now known as Highbridge and Burnham. A second pier, built of concrete between 1911 and 1914, is claimed to be the shortest pier in Britain.

 

HIGHBRIDGE

 

Highbridge is a small market town situated on the edge of the Somerset Levels near the mouth of the River Brue. It is in the County of Somerset, and is approximately 20 miles (32.2 km) north west of Taunton, the county town of Somerset. Highbridge is in the District of Sedgemoor, being situated approximately 7 miles (11.3 km) north of Bridgwater, the district's administrative centre. Highbridge closely neighbours Burnham-on-Sea, forming part of the combined parish of Burnham-on-Sea and Highbridge and shares a town council with the resort town. In the 2001 census the population was 5,986. In the 2011 census the population of the town was included in the ward of Highbridge and Burnham Marine, which totalled 7,555.

 

BERROW

 

Berrow is a village and civil parish in the Sedgemoor district of Somerset, England. According to the 2011 census it had a population of 1,534.

 

BRENT KNOLL

 

Brent Knoll is a 137-metre-high (449 ft) hill on the Somerset Levels, in Somerset, England. It is located roughly halfway between Weston-super-Mare and Bridgwater, 2.5 miles (4.0 km) from the Bristol Channel coast at Burnham-on-Sea. At the foot of the hill are two villages East Brent and Brent Knoll, which takes its name from the hill but was previously called South Brent. The hill's size and isolated position on the levels mean that it dominates the landscape and can be seen for many miles, and its prominence is emphasised to travellers because the Bristol to Taunton railway line, M5 motorway, A370 and A38 roads all pass within a mile or less from its base.

 

HUNTSPILL

 

Huntspill is a village on the Huntspill Level in Somerset, England. It lies on the A38 road, 1.5 miles (2.4 km) south of Highbridge. The village is the principal settlement in the civil parish of West Huntspill, which also contains the hamlet of Alstone. The parish of West Huntspill has a population of 1,414.

 

GLASTONBURY

 

Glastonbury (/ˈɡlæstənbəri/) is a town and civil parish in Somerset, England, situated at a dry point on the low-lying Somerset Levels, 23 miles (37 km) south of Bristol. The town, which is in the Mendip district, had a population of 8,932 in the 2011 census. Glastonbury is less than 1 mile (2 km) across the River Brue from Street, which is now larger than Glastonbury.

Evidence from timber trackways such as the Sweet Track show that the town has been inhabited since Neolithic times. Glastonbury Lake Village was an Iron Age village, close to the old course of the River Brue and Sharpham Park approximately 2 miles (3 km) west of Glastonbury, that dates back to the Bronze Age. Centwine was the first Saxon patron of Glastonbury Abbey, which dominated the town for the next 700 years. One of the most important abbeys in England, it was the site of Edmund Ironside's coronation as King of England in 1016. Many of the oldest surviving buildings in the town, including the Tribunal, George Hotel and Pilgrims' Inn and the Somerset Rural Life Museum, which is based in an old tithe barn, are associated with the abbey. The Church of St John the Baptist dates from the 15th century.

 

The town became a centre for commerce, which led to the construction of the market cross, Glastonbury Canal and the Glastonbury and Street railway station, the largest station on the original Somerset and Dorset Joint Railway. The Brue Valley Living Landscape is a conservation project managed by the Somerset Wildlife Trust and nearby is the Ham Wall National Nature Reserve.

 

Glastonbury has been described as a New Age community which attracts people with New Age and Neopagan beliefs, and is notable for myths and legends often related to Glastonbury Tor, concerning Joseph of Arimathea, the Holy Grail and King Arthur. Joseph is said to have arrived in Glastonbury and stuck his staff into the ground, when it flowered miraculously into the Glastonbury Thorn. The presence of a landscape zodiac around the town has been suggested but no evidence has been discovered. The Glastonbury Festival, held in the nearby village of Pilton, takes its name from the town.

 

CHEDDAR

 

Cheddar is a large village and civil parish in the Sedgemoor district of the English county of Somerset. It is situated on the southern edge of the Mendip Hills, 9 miles (14 km) north-west of Wells. The civil parish includes the hamlets of Nyland and Bradley Cross. The village, which has its own parish council, has a population of 5,755 and the parish has an acreage of 8,592 acres (3,477 ha) as of 1961.

 

Cheddar Gorge, on the northern edge of the village, is the largest gorge in the United Kingdom and includes several show caves, including Gough's Cave. The gorge has been a centre of human settlement since Neolithic times including a Saxon palace. It has a temperate climate and provides a unique geological and biological environment that has been recognised by the designation of several Sites of Special Scientific Interest. It is also the site of several limestone quarries. The village gave its name to Cheddar cheese and has been a centre for strawberry growing. The crop was formerly transported on the Cheddar Valley rail line, which closed in the late 1960s but is now a cycle path. The village is now a major tourist destination with several cultural and community facilities, including the Cheddar Show Caves Museum.

 

The village supports a variety of community groups including religious, sporting and cultural organisations. Several of these are based on the site of The Kings of Wessex Academy, which is the largest educational establishment.

 

AXBRIDGE

 

Axbridge is a small town in Somerset, England, situated in the Sedgemoor district on the River Axe, near the southern edge of the Mendip Hills. The town's population according to the 2011 census was 2,057. Axanbrycg is suggested as the source of the name, meaning a bridge over the River Axe, in the early 9th century.

 

Early inhabitants of the area almost certainly include the Romans (who are known to have mined lead on the top of the Mendips) and earlier still, prehistoric man, (who lived in the local caves) whose flint tools have been found on the slopes of the local hills. The history of Axbridge can be traced back to the reign of King Alfred when it was part of the Saxons' defence system for Wessex against the Vikings. In the Burghal Hidage, a list of burbs compiled in 910 it was listed as Axanbrycg. A listing of Axbridge appears in the Domesday survey of 1086 as Alse Bruge, meaning 'axe bridge' from the Old English isca and brycg. It was part of the royal manor of Cheddar and part of the Winterstoke Hundred.

King John's Hunting Lodge and part of the main square in Axbridge

 

WEDMORE

 

Wedmore is a village and civil parish in the county of Somerset, England. It is situated on raised ground, in the Somerset Levels between the River Axe and River Brue, often called the Isle of Wedmore. It forms part of Sedgemoor district. The parish consists of three main villages: Wedmore, Blackford and Theale, with the 20 hamlets of Ashton, Bagley, Blakeway, Chapel Allerton, Clewer, Crickham, Cocklake, Heath House, Latcham, Little Ireland, Middle Stoughton, Mudgley, Panborough, Sand, Stone Allerton, Stoughton Cross, Washbrook, West End, West Ham and West Stoughton. The parish of Wedmore has a population of 3,318 according to the 2011 census.

 

Its facilities include a medical and dental practice, pharmacy, butcher's, a village store with off licence, three pubs, restaurant, café and several other local shops. It is located 4 miles (6 km) south of Cheddar, 7 miles (11 km) west of the city of Wells and 7 miles (11 km) north west of Glastonbury.

 

WINSCOMBE

 

Winscombe is a village in North Somerset, England, close to the settlements of Axbridge and Cheddar, on the western edge of the Mendip Hills, 7 miles (11 km) southeast of Weston-super-Mare and 14 miles (23 km) southwest of Bristol. The Parish of Winscombe and Sandford, centred on the Parish Church of Church of St James the Great, includes the villages/hamlets of Barton, Hale, Oakridge, Nye, Sidcot and Woodborough.

Historically part of Somerset, Winscombe has a few shops and businesses focused in the centre of the village, along Woodborough Road and Sandford Road. There is a doctor's surgery in the village, and two dentists.

West of the village is the Max Bog biological Site of Special Scientific Interest.

 

STREET

 

Street is a large village and civil parish in the county of Somerset, England. The 2011 census recorded the parish as having a population of 11,805. It is situated on a dry spot in the Somerset Levels, at the end of the Polden Hills, 2 miles (3.2 km) south-west of Glastonbury. There is evidence of Roman occupation. Much of the history of the village is dominated by Glastonbury Abbey until the Dissolution of the Monasteries, and indeed its name comes from a 12th-century causeway from Glastonbury which was built to transport local Blue Lias stone from what is now Street to rebuild the Abbey, although it had previously been known as Lantokay and Lega.

 

The Society of Friends had become established there by the mid-17th century. One Quaker family, the Clarks, started a business in sheepskin rugs, woollen slippers and, later, boots and shoes. This became C&J Clark which still has its headquarters in Street, but shoes are no longer manufactured there. Instead, in 1993, redundant factory buildings were converted to form Clarks Village, the first purpose-built factory outlet in the United Kingdom. The Shoe Museum provides information about the history of Clarks and footwear manufacture in general.

 

The Clark family's former mansion and its estate at the edge of the town are now owned by Millfield School, an independent co-educational boarding school. Street is also home to Crispin School and Strode College.

 

To the north of Street is the River Brue, which marks the boundary with Glastonbury. South of Street are the Walton and Ivythorn Hills and East Polden Grasslands biological Sites of Special Scientific Interest. Street has two public swimming pools, one indoor which is part of the Strode complex, and the outdoor lido, Greenbank. Strode Theatre provides a venue for films, exhibitions and live performances. The Anglican Parish Church of The Holy Trinity dates from the 14th century and has been designated by English Heritage as a Grade I listed building.

 

WELLS

 

Wells is a cathedral city and civil parish in the Mendip district of Somerset, on the southern edge of the Mendip Hills. Although the population recorded in the 2011 census was only 10,536, it has had city status since medieval times, because of the presence of Wells Cathedral. Often described as England's smallest city, it is second only to the City of London in area and population, though not part of a larger urban agglomeration.

 

The name Wells comes from three wells dedicated to Saint Andrew, one in the market place and two within the grounds of the Bishop's Palace and cathedral. A small Roman settlement surrounded them, which grew in importance and size under the Anglo-Saxons when King Ine of Wessex founded a minster church there in 704. The community became a trading centre based on cloth making and Wells is notable for its 17th century involvement in both the English Civil War and Monmouth Rebellion. In the 19th century, transport infrastructure improved with stations on three different railway lines. However, since 1964 the city has been without a railway link.

 

The cathedral and the associated religious and architectural history have made Wells a tourist destination, which provides much of the employment. The city has a variety of sporting and cultural activities and houses several schools including The Blue School, a state coeducational comprehensive school originally founded in 1641 and the independent Wells Cathedral School, which was founded possibly as early as 909 and is one of the five established musical schools for school-age children in the United Kingdom. The historic architecture of the city has also been used as a location for several films and television programmes.

 

 

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