The Cistercian abbey of Cleeve is located just a 10-minute walk from the village of Washford, a stop on the West Somerset Railway. One of the best-preserved medieval Cistercian monastic sites in England, Cleeve was founded in the late 12th century by William de Roumare, grandson of the Earl of Lincoln. At its height there were 28 monks in residence but in the 1500s this peaceful, frugal life ended abruptly when Henry VIII initiated the Dissolution of the Monasteries. The church was razed to the ground but the rest of the abbey remained relatively unscathed as it was quickly turned into a home and later a complex of farm buildings. Today, the abbey at Cleeve provides a peaceful retreat from the busy world we live in and has figuratively returned to its original name of Vallis Florida (Valley of Flowers). The buildings are remarkable. The 13th- century dortoir (dormitory) is complete with the original timber roof still in place and the 15th-century refectory still has a number of angelic figures projecting out into the room from the roof. In other rooms, small sketches drawn on the walls hundreds of years ago speak out to you as you pass. The grounds provide several picnic spots, especially under the mature oaks dotting the green grass encircling the area.