Dunster

- a real village with history to see and lots to do

This medieval village of Dunster is 3 miles from Minehead, retains many of its original features. The castle towers over the main street where the Yarn Market still stands by the road and the Lutrell Arms, originally host to the castles visitors is now a prestigious hotel with public bar with large open fire, meals served in the bar and a restaurant. There are 4 pubs in total, all very different. The Priory and Church of St George's, is interesting and was once run by monks, from the church garden you can find the dove cote that supplied fresh meat to the castle, and on the opposite side of the street the  renovated ancient Tithe Barn (which now serves as a community hall may have events on which will be publicised in the village).

The water mill is a working mill selling flour among other things, and in Summer months the tea rooms serve light lunches and cream teas.

 www.dunsterwatermill.co.uk

 

A gentle stroll from here will take you to Gallox Bridge, a packhorse bridge in a lovely spot out of the main throughfare.

The castle and gardens are open to the public betweeen March and October (National Trust) and there are many special events. Regularly there are 'attics & basements' tours, military re enactments and in October ghost tours. There are sheepdog and falconry displays at 5 pm on Tuesdays throughout August and Shakespeare plays performed in the summer in the courtyard.****

The Memorial Hall houses a Doll Museum, an extensive collection of toys, mainly dolls made throughout the ages. Plans have been completed to bring it to the ground floor.. The wide variety of quality shops in the high street include a chocolate shop with chocolate fountain and café, a fudge shop, delicatessen, Post Office and several pubs and cafés. Visitors should note that not all shops accept card payments and there is no ATM in the village.

There are shops selling everything from original art,  jewellery to a specialist chocolate shop/cafe. (Only one for food which is not a general store. If you need to stock up on staples you will need to go to Minehead.)

Dunster by Candlelight is the first Friday & Saturday in December when the village is decorated and there is entertainment, stalls and the shops and mill are all open till late. Beginning as a local event this has become so popular that coaches come from all over the country and it is packed. It is very difficult to park and people are encouraged to use the park & ride service from Minehead. Disabled people can get a special permit to park nearby from the events organisers, otherwise the public car parks are closed to visitors and no traffic at all is permitted through the village (even for residents).*

There is a folly on the hill opposite the castle, there are some pleasant walks through the woods around it. There are many interesting and easy walks around the village up onto the hills. For the energetic there is a walk up onto the hills behind to Bats Castle, an ancient hill fort with a double wall. There is an almost 360 degree view over the hills, valleys and coast from here. Or ask for directions to Grabbist. If you can make it up the hill but from there the views are worth it.

There is a National Park Information Centre on the Steep (hill) going into Dunster from the main road. Also a large car park. A further smaller car park is on the other side of the village down Park Street, nearby Gallox Bridge.

There are some wonderful walks from here, round lanes or over hills, whether long or short, details of which can be found at the Information Centre.

The village is difficult if you have mobility problems as the pavements are cobbled and the street a busy main road. However the High Street (where most of the shops are) has recently been made more user-friendly by the addition of wide paving slabs along the left-hand side between the Luttrell Arms and the traffic lights at the entry to Church Street. Discussions are ongoing about similar changes to West Street.