Monday, 20 February 2017

Last Summer pt 2 - Dunster

Day two of our holiday and it's a Sunday. So, first things first, finding somewhere nice to have a Sunday lunch, we chose the Stags Head in Dunster.

Dunster is a medieval settlement with iron age roots.  The basis of what you see now was formed in the late 11th century, and Dunster Castle is mentioned in the Domesday book, being built just after the Norman conquest.  The village grew up around the castle, which sits atop a Tor, or rocky hill.

 Dunster castle from the beach

By the time we had parked up for free in the castle car park, courtesy of National Trust membership, it was almost lunch time. We meandered through the castle grounds, straying into the village beyond, and discovered a 15th century grade I listed packhorse bridge (Gallox bridge, so called as there were gallows nearby) on the way.

   We spotted a chap mowing the lawn to the left and struck up a conversation.  He told us all about the television programme Time Team, and their visits to Dunster and the history of the area around the bridge, that the nearby mature trees will have to be cut down soon as they are unstable and threaten the bridge (the ones behind OH in the photo), and his own walks, he was approaching 80 (and looked no more than 65) and was planning to walk Hadrian's wall for his big birthday!

These quintessential cottages were nearby, how very English is this!

 A quick look around the town and we honed in on the pub for our lunch at noon, prompt.

OH had the roast beef but I plumped for fish, and surprisingly, they reduced the price as I asked for a smaller piece of fish.

We were so pleased we went in at noon, as by half past the place was heaving, mainly with other tourists. We finished up and had a slow walk back to the castle for our tour.

 Dunster church

Dunster yarn market, another grade I listed building and from 17th century

The impressive and original 13th century gates to the castle, at the top of one of the steepest hills I've walked up!

The impressive frontage showing Victorian improvements to Dunster castle

All very Romantic and Gothic!

Inside is very much what you would expect, grand rooms huge fireplaces you can walk in, opulent decoration and sumptuous fabrics 

Look at that massive gong!

Four poster, anyone?

I had to have a go on the snooker table

Nice place for a read

 Interesting to see this guide to the shooting season was produced by a Birmingham company (Birmingham was known as the city of a thousand trades at one point) as were the cartridges, no doubt.

The view from the castle was stunning, and the weather wasn't too bad either!

Right, this is where it gets a bit spooky, we followed the signs to the crypt, and the lights go on and off in some areas,when the lights went off I took a photo

I took this, there was no mist in the crypt, and that swirly bit in the middle is a bit odd.  I'm not a great believer in things that go bump but I'm not sure what to make of it, it was certainly a little creepy down there

Yes, those are eyes you can see shining in the doorway, we could just make out the statue, which was intermittently lit up to scare people

Back down to the village we went, through one of few original bits of the medieval castle, the gatehouse

Wearing: DKNY jeans £1, BNWT Artscape top £2, leather Coccinelle handbag £1, all charity shopped, Eddie Bauer leather sandals Ebay £4 plus postage.

On the photo above you can see the incredibly steep hill up to the castle

Outside of the castle walls and we wandered the village, the narrow medieval streets twist and wind and compel you to go just a little bit further to see what delight is around the next corner.

We found these delightful gardens with a lovely view of the church

 Which happened to lead us to a craft and coffee shop offering cream teas!

 More wandering and we soon discovered secret gardens at the back of the church, how idyllic

Through a heavy wrought iron gate and into a lovely open space

Back around the base of the tor, through the castle grounds to the car park, we stopped to admire the watermill, this building was constructed in 1780 and stands on the site of an earlier mill, mentioned in the Domesday book

The mill is still grinding wheat today, how fast is that mechanism!

After a lovely day with very good weather, so good that even I had to change into sandals, we set off back to the holiday cottage to plan our next trip in Somerset.

Join me soon for more tales from last Summer


  1. What a lovely snapshot of Dunster, I went there as a child. (probably on the Watchet holiday) The only building I remembered was the yarn market and was hoping it would appear in your post.

  2. Ooh, I've been to Dunster and walked in those gardens behind the church but the castle was having refurbishment done the time we went! It is a lovely town!
    That swirly mist phenomenom is WEIRD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. That misty crypt is a bit spooky, isn't it?
    What a fabulously gorgeous place Dunster is. I love the yarn market - can you imagine what it would have been like back in it's heyday? The 13th Century gate is stunning, too.
    Love the funky top you're wearing! xxx

  4. What a delightful place, and the castle is most impressive, inside and out, even though the misty crypt phenomenon is a bit spooky ... Both your lunches and the cream tea are looking decidedly delicious. Thanks for taking me on a virtual trip to Dunster, Claire. xxx

  5. Dunster looks wonderful , so much to see. The gothic castle is impressive and the garden so pretty. Added this one to my England wish list.


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