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Somerset Towns and Villages
Axbridge is a charming market town at the foot of the beautiful Mendip Hills, near to Cheddar, with a character all of its own. Once part of a Saxon defence system against the Viking invaders, its history goes back to King Alfred's time.
Half-timbered buildings lean towards each other across a narrow street leading from the medieval square in the centre of this picturesque town. Once a river port and valued for its wool production, Axbridge is on the edge of the Mendips; overlooking the Levels and Bristol Water’s Reservoir. The town supports a number of independent shops and places to eat and drink.
Pride of place in the square goes to King John’s Hunting Lodge which is a National Trust property housing a Museum of local history run by Axbridge and District Museum Trust. Despite its name, the building is actually early Tudor with wonderful uneven floors! It contains the village stocks among other curiosities.
In fact Axbridge can trace its history even further back - to the time of King Alfred - when it was one of 30 places fortified to defend Wessex against the Vikings. It was close to the Royal Hunting Forest of Mendip and was granted a Royal Charter by King John in 1202 allowing it to hold markets among other privileges.
Its prosperous past is reflected in the quality of the buildings in Axbridge, particularly the fine 13th century St John’s Church which is the oldest to survive, dating back to 1245. Not all residents were well off as the Axbridge Union Workhouse behind West Street testifies. Well into the 19th century it was customary once a year for a bull to be chased out of The Square and butchered to feed the poor.
The Cheddar Valley Railway Line, which became known as ‘The Strawberry Line’ for taking the local fruit to London, is now a foot and cycle path linking Yatton and Cheddar with plans for it to continue to Shepton Mallet. Nearby is Axbridges' lavender fields Lavender & Co.
Directions: Leave the M5 at junction 22 and take the A38 towards Bristol. At the village of Cross turn right onto the A371 and follow signs to Axbridge
Maps: For maps and journey planning go to www.multimap.com
Rail: Closest railway station is Weston-super-Mare 10 miles away
Bus: Local bus services to Wells and Weston-super-Mare
Airport: Closest airport - Bristol International, 10 miles away
AxbridgeBS26 2AJUnited Kingdom
T: 01278 436495
At Glastonbury Information Centre
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