Monday, 12 September 2011

Dunster Castle and Gardens, Exmoor, Somerset

With the forecast here full of warnings of severe weather from the tail end of Hurricane Katia, it's nice to revisit a day in June.
Apparently Katia crossed the Atlantic so quickly if retained much of it's power. Most of the destruction is forecast for the north and west.

Here we are walking (not us in the picture) up to Dunster Castle in north Somerset on the edge of Exmoor national park.

There has been a castle here since Norman times, meaning it really has seen it's fair share of treachery, bloodshed and often death, not least during a massive besiegement during the Civil War. The Lutrell family lived at the castle for over 600 years.

We pass the old stables

and make our way through the kitchen gardens with St. George's church in the background where a nunnery and cottage have stood for 550 years. The church is home to the Lutrell tombs and the longest Rood Screen in England. The bells chime a different tune daily on the hours of 1, 5, and 9 and can be heard throughout the village.

However it is the castle with it's beautiful grounds and views that we will concentrate on here
The 13th century gatehouse is the oldest part that still survives

The walk up to the top is circular and steep

but well worth it for the views over the Bristol channel with South Wales on the other side

The castle is home to some incredible leather hangings that portray the famous love story of Anthony and Cleopatra.
The National Trust has looked after the castle and grounds since 1976

The Orangry

With it's interesting shadows

and views in all directions

We continue up and up

and up the narrow stairways until we reach the top turrets

We shall now be walking down and going into Dunster Village for lunch, more walking, before driving to the coast to the seaside town of Minehead which will be covered in  another two posts.


Pomona said...

Maybe we should take our end of season holiday in Somerset - it all looks so pretty! It is pretty windy here - almost too windy to hang the washing out.

Pomona x

Vee said...

Sorry to hear that the hurricane is headed toward Ireland and Scotland? And there's already been one event, right?

Anyway, you can hardly go wrong in this place for photo taking. Such incredible views. I was going to say of the English countryside, but it's Wales off over the distance. Everything is so lush and green and there are plenty of open spaces, too, which always makes for a beautiful landscape.

How you manage to do all that walking and climbing is beyond me. Obviously, you two are eating your Wheaties!

c. Joy said...

Your pictures are (once again) beautiful. I didn't know palm trees grew outside in your part of the world.

Willow said...

I have been very out of touch for the past month with both a holiday and then spraining my ankle. I just read about the theft of your auto! I'm so sorry all this has happened to you. Praying for an equitable settlement with your ins co. and peace for Alan and you.

Sara at Come Away With Me said...

I'm always surprised to see palm trees in England...though I know there are warm currents out in the ocean along some shores that encourage warm-weather foliage. The palm trees give a couple of your photos a slightly Mediterranean atmosphere. That circular walk and the distant views must have been truly wonderful in person (they look so good in the photos!)...wish I were there with walking with you and Alan that day!

Cheri said...

Beautiful photos as always Barbara. Cheri

Anonymous said...

Palm trees and conifers? Strange combination. But very lovely photo's once again!

Michelle-ozark crafter said...

Just so beautiful!

Gwendolyn said...

I'd love to step into one of those photos! Are you a quick-paced sight-seer or are you able to take time to soak in the beauty along the way? It is just so amazing to walk those historic paths and view with your own eyes what someone hundreds of years ago observed. Always look forward to another one of your posts!

Trisha said...

Now this looks like a Fairy Tale to me. So glad you got to visit the castle. Blessings.

Balisha said...

I enjoyed this post so much. What a beautiful place to visit..Balisha