the station ... on the longest Heritage Railway in England ... for one of the most perfectly preserved medieval villages in England ... bliss!

Dunster Village

A Medieval Village in The Exmoor National Park

It is generally recognised that Dunster is one of the most perfectly preserved medieval villages in England, with its origins dating back to the times of Bronze and Iron Age Britain.

With its red sandstone castle which towers over the village from its location on the wooded tor at the village edge, the many pretty cottages and buildings and the beautiful Yarn Market in the High Street, it is truly a delightful place to visit.

yarn market

This natural defensive spot has boasted fortifications of some sort since Saxon times. In 1375 the castle, manor and the extensive estate which surrounded them were bought by the Luttrell family and was owned by them for the next 600 years.

When the sea lapped at its edges in the 12th century the village thrived as a trading port for beans and barley, wine and Welsh wool.

The ocean retreated, leaving Dunster sitting over a mile distant, and it turned to England's growing wool market and became a weaving centre. By the 17th century the woolen industry was centered around wealthy clothiers and independent spinners which resulted in Geoffrey Luttrell building the Yarn Market in the High Street in 1601. In 1607 an Act of Parliament laid down regulations which standardised the kersey type cloth known as "Dunsters."

This was a coarse narrow cloth, woven from long wool, and usually ribbed.

dovecote


During the civil war Dunster Castle was a focal point of military activity in the west, with both sides keen to hold a fortress so well placed strategically.

After a five month siege the Royalists finally surrendered their castle stronghold in 1646 with drums beating and colours flying. The Yarn Market was damaged during the battle and a cannon ball hole in one of the beams can still be seen. The long, very wide High Street is part of a conservation area with many of the buildings being listed.

The Luttrell Arms, with its hammerbeam roof, dates back to around 1500. In Church Street there's a tilehung 15th century nunnery.

Dunster Church


Thatched cottages, a magnificent 16th Century restored Tithe Barn and a packhorse bridge that was built in the mid 14th century complete the picture. The slate roofed corn mill on the River Avillthe spot was listed as having a mill in the Doomsday Book of 1086-was restored at the end of the 18th century to working order, then again in the 1970's. A small museum and old agricultural machinery inhabit the old stone mill, still producing goods for sale.

Amongst all of this beauty there are amazing walking paths which lead the walker down through secluded wooded valleys and up spectacular coastlines and moorland to vistas that truly take your breath away.

beach walk


www.Exmoor-Walking-Holidays.co.uk, was founded by The Yarn Market Hotel in Dunster in 2009 to build on their already extensive knowledge of walking destinations and holidays, many of their rooms overlook the Yarn Market or have good views of Dunster Castle and the hills of Exmoor beyond.

More information can be found at http://www.dunster.org.uk/ and www.visitdunster.co.uk/Whats_On.html