Somerset is heart-shaped!

If you look at a map showing the English county boundaries, it is not too fanciful to suggest that Somerset is heart shaped. With the Bristol Channel bathing its coast; the wilds of Exmoor and Blackdown Hills at its western edges; the soft rolling countryside at its southern fringes; the cultural centres such as Bath to its north and east and of course the County Town, Taunton, at its heart.  
What is not in doubt is that it is warm-hearted and welcoming. It has been since the earliest of times as the discovery of Britain’s oldest complete skeleton, Cheddar Man, proves. For tens of thousands of years, Somerset has been providing us humans with shelter, food, and inspiration.
Among the UK’s largest counties, Somerset is still essentially rural, and its landscape is one of remarkable contrast. There are lowland marshes, soaring cliffs, sandy beaches, wild moors, wooded hillsides, and chalk grasslands.
It is possible to take almost every kind of transport to explore Somerset because it has a huge network of public footpaths, cycle routes, bridleways, canals, rivers, cobbled streets, steam trains and hot air balloons.
If you are looking for the biggest and the best, then the County has plenty of claims to fame. We have Britain’s biggest gorge at Cheddar; Western Europe’s largest managed wetlands, the Somerset Levels; England’s tallest tree at Dunster and the World’s second largest tidal range.
We have a National Park and International Dark Sky Reserve, Exmoor; a World Heritage Site, Bath; a huge coastal realignment scheme, Steart Marshes; one of the oldest engineered roads in the world and the highest inland and coastal cliffs in the country. We also do small and secret with tiny hamlets, hidden harbours, cosy pubs, low ceilings, medieval bridges, village shops and woodland glades.
It is not surprising then that Somerset has been an inspiration over the generations for some of the country’s most intriguing legends, influential poetry and latterly, awesome dramas. The stories of Arthur’s Camelot are said to be inspired by Cadbury Castle and Avalon. The beauty of the Quantock Hills and the Coast are known to have inspired Coleridge and Wordsworth, who led the Romantic Movement. Filmmakers have flocked recently to the great country houses and remote unspoilt landscapes to weave their craft.
Whatever it is you’re seeking in a new place to explore, we are pretty sure you’ll find it in Somerset.
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