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8 walks in the Somerset countryside to try this spring

PUBLISHED: 11:29 30 May 2017

Moat of Bishops Palace (c) Ian Woolcock / Shutterstock

Moat of Bishops Palace (c) Ian Woolcock / Shutterstock

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Colourful floral displays, rolling green countryside and blossom-adorned trees await with our pick of eight Somerset walks to try this spring

1. Cheddar Gorge

For exhilarating views across miles of Somerset’s towns, villages and stunning countryside, take a position upon the top of Cheddar Gorge. With its weathered crags and pinnacles, and blooming flora rising from the limestone gorge, Somerset’s Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is truly a pleasure to explore – and it’s even better when the weather is warmer and views can be enjoyed on a clear spring day.

2. Webbers Post, National Trust Holnicote Estate

Perfect for those with little ones or those who prefer a shorter stroll, make your way to the Holnicote Estate for the Webbers Post wander.

Soak in views across the breathtaking countryside of Exmoor National Park, spot the wooden sculptures that adorn the trail and admire the stone ‘Acland’ seat, which commemorates the gift of the Holnicote Estate to the National Trust by Sir Richard Acland in 1944. Children will also encounter plenty of critters, creepy-crawlies and birds to keep their interest piqued.

Periwinkle Tearoom opened its doors on April 1 so visitors can indulge in a cream tea in the nearby picture-perfect village of Selworthy. The thatched cottages of the village are a treat to see too!

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3. Dunster Castle

A stroll around the magnificent Dunster Castle, sitting proudly above the medieval village of Dunster, will allow you to encounter four microclimates of gardening from around the world. From the Victorian style flower beds of the South Terrace to The River Garden blooming with springtime hues when the magnolia trees bloom, there’s plenty to discover when the colder months come to an end.

The ancient castle became a lavish country home during the 19th century and was remodelled in 1868-72 by the famous Victorian architect Antony Salvin. As well as the castle, the medieval gatehouse and ruined tower are fascinating to visit, and mesmerising views over the surrounding landscapes can be admired from the subtropical gardens.

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4. The River Avon Trail

Beginning in the community-spirited, historical village of Pill in North Somerset to Bath’s iconic Pulteney Bridge, The River Avon also passes through the bustling city of Bristol.

Alongside the river, managed by the Avon Frome Partnership, roughly 23 miles of routes can be enjoyed by walkers, cyclists and those on horse. On a sunny day, there’s nothing quite like the tranquillity of a riverside stroll.

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5. Cranmore Tower, Cranmore Wood

Standing proudly above the beautiful Cranmore Wood, Cranmore Tower offers visitors vistas of the Mendips and Glastonbury Tor, and even views across six other counties on a clear day, from a height of 1050 feet above sea level.

The folly was built in the 1860s by local stonemasons upon request of land owner John Moore Paget and renovations of the grand structure took place last summer.

There are varied walking routes through Cranmore Wood to find the tower – and it’s definitely worth the walk and the 184 steps up the tower to the viewing balcony. The tower is open from 11.30am to 5pm on weekends and bank holidays with a tea room located at the bottom.

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6. Swell Wood, near Fivehead

Bird watchers rejoice! Home to the largest colony of breeding grey herons in south-west England, Swell Wood is the perfect place to capture the sights and sounds of the beautiful birds up close.

The woodland runs along the ridge from Langport to the Blackdown Hills, and is only a short drive from Taunton. Throughout the spring, swathes of pretty bluebells, orchids and primroses carpet the ground of Swell Wood. Expect the soothing sound of birdsong as you make your way through the woodland.

7. Bishops Palace, Wells to Glastonbury Tor

Lace up your walking boots - the lush, green countryside of the county awaits you on this eight mile ramble from Bishops Palace in Wells to the iconic Glastonbury Tor.

Particularly pleasant on a warm spring day, the sign-posted route begins just outside the grand Bishops Palace and its moat and ends at the historic, and legendary, Tor where weary walkers can take a rest while admiring the views across the Somerset Levels, Dorset, Wiltshire and Wales.

8. Barrington Court, Barrington, near Ilminster

Near the small town of Ilminster, the National Trust property of Barrington Court is as beautiful inside as it is out. Lovingly restored in the 1920s, the Tudor manor house has been left furniture-less and sparks visitors’ imagination of all the goings-on that have taken place at the stately home over the years.

The Gertrude-Jekyll-inspired gardens benefit from an emphasis on the colours and varieties of their plants, and during spring the trees are bursting with pretty pink blossom while white cow parsley blooms from the ground.

On a warm day, take a seat out on the lawn of Barrington Court. Picnic blankets, as well as games, are kindly provided so lunch from the tea room can be enjoyed al fresco.

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