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Great drives of Somerset - Bradford-on-Avon to Bishops Lydeard

PUBLISHED: 18:01 06 December 2012 | UPDATED: 22:28 20 February 2013

Great drives of Somerset - Bradford-on-Avon to Bishops Lydeard

Great drives of Somerset - Bradford-on-Avon to Bishops Lydeard

Take a leisurely drive through the county and take in some fantastic sites along the way...

Great drives of Somerset - Bradford-on-Avon to Bishops Lydeard


The Route

The industrial revolution so wonderfully portrayed in the Olympic opening ceremony transformed this country from a farming community to industrial leaders of the world. This months Great Drive tours Somerset visiting mechanised links to this key point in our history, culminating in a festive treat for the kids.
Starting in the town of Bradford-on-Avon, situated on the north east borders of Somerset and Wiltshire, this once industrial town is today punctuated with its brightly coloured canal boats that adorn the Kennet and Avon canal. A 17th century Motorway; Bradford-on-Avons canal links helped to propel it to one of the countrys leading woollen towns.
We head south on the B3109 toward Rode joining the A361 towards Frome. A drive through the centre of this market town reveals some beautiful traditional Somerset architecture with its Bath stone shining in the autumn sunshine. Back on the A361 maintain a bearing for Shepton Mallet.
I particularly enjoy this section of road, with its sweeping corners and overtaking opportunities to allow some spirited driving thrills. Calmly pass through the hamlets of Leighton and Dean before the junction with the A37. Maybe turn right for a small deviation to the Mulberry Factory Shop and Kilver Court Farmshop.
Briefly head south on the A37 before joining the A371 with sign posts for Pilton and Glastonbury with the world famous Glastonbury Tor dominating the landscape. Skirt around Glastonbury on the A371 continuing to Street beforejoining the B3151 towards Somerton with its charming market square dating back to Anglo-Saxon times.
In Somerton, pick up the B3153 towards Langport, a relaxing country drive that links to the A372. Maintaining the flow, the A372 passes through Aller before crossing the valley floor on a road that continually changes direction like the course of a fast flowing river.
In the village of Othery, turn left on to the A361, through Burrow Bridge and passing over the motorway to join the A38, then almost immediately turning right on the A3259 towards West Monkton, where the Monkton Inn, recently voted Somerset Life Magazines Best Country Pub of the Year could make for a very agreeable lunch stop.
Back on the road, the A3259 merges with the A358 as it enters Taunton. Follow the signposts for Norton Fitzwarren and on to Bishops Lydeard to meet the final form of transport as we head for the coast!
The West Somerset Railway is the longest steam heritage railway in the country offering another glimpse into our industrial past. As our thrust for industrial power grew so did our rail network, taking over from the canals as the form of transport to keep Britain at the pinnacle of the industrial revolution.
Today the railway offers a relaxed nostalgic journey to Minehead, a trip that all ages can enjoy. however with Christmas just around the corner the Santa Express seems a great way to introduce the family to the world of steam as well as the kids receiving a present from Father Christmas himself!

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