Somerset Towns and Villages
Bruton is a bit of a one off, even more so than every Somerset town.Miles from anywhere, it’s a tiny and intense place, with shops, houses and chapels crowded close together even though it stands in the middle of tracts of rolling hills, and this gives it a very special character.
Arts and crafts flourish here in terraced streets of historic houses, and it’s one of Somerset’s local centres of creativity, punching far above its weight. It’s also a great town for exploring.
The name refers to the River Brue, which flowed dramatically fast through this hill country, and often flooded the town.
Follow any of the alleys which lead behind the houses, and you’ll see the now tamed and picturesque river winding through a deceptively deep valley in the heart of the town.
In medieval times Bruton Abbey was one of the great religious houses of Somerset, and the town owes its success to that.
While the skyline of Glastonbury is dominated by the Tor, Bruton has its famous dovecote.
Built in the C16, catering for over 200 pigeons, and now managed by the National Trust, it’s visible from everywhere in the town on a neighbouring hilltop, and is the best place from which to view the town.
Bruton is surprisingly cosmopolitan because it’s easily reached from London, by rail (Castle Cary station) and from the A303.
As well as all the local artistic ventures, it now boasts the exciting new Hauser and Wirth gallery, ingeniously installed in a restored farm just outside the town, with constantly changing exhibitions.
Apart from art, you could say that the main local industry is education.
There are three highly regarded boarding schools within the town: Kings School, Sexey’s School, and Bruton School for Girls.
These, together with the narrow, closely built streets, give this tiny town a collegiate flavour.
Bruton SomersetBA10United Kingdom
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