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Britain, places to visit, attractions, heritageThis is the place to search for places and things of interest to visit in Britain, by name, location, type, keyword – or just have a browse.  It is a growing directory – 700+ entries as of October 2019.  Most entries have links for further information.

South West

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ABBOTSBURY SWANNERY

This is, allegedly, the only place in the world where you can visit a colony of nesting Mute Swans. (Trust me, they are not mute).  A Benedictine monastery was established at Abbotsbury in the 11th century and the monks began farming swans - which often featured at medieval banquets. The monks have long gone, but the swans are still there (different ones, obviously). If you visit Abbotsbury Swannery these days, you'll find about 600 swans, all free to roam. The colony is established adjacent to a shallow lagoon, the Fleet, which lies behind Chesil Beach. It's a unique location.

Region:
Location/Address: New Barn Road
Abbotsbury
Nr Weymout
County: Dorset
Post Code: DT3 4JG
Main Historic Period: N/A
Useful Website Address: Abbotsbury Swannery website.
Tip/Nearby: Abbotsbury Abbey (remains) and St Catherine's Chapel
Primary Management: Private - open to the public
ALFRED MEMORIAL, Athelney

Victorian memorial on the site of the abbey, said to have been founded by King Alfred in 878, on the site of his refuge from the Danes on the Isle of Athelney.

Region:
Location/Address: Field near Athelney Farm
Cuts Road
Athelney
County: Somerset
Post Code: TA7 0SD
Main Historic Period: Victorian
Link to featured article: Was England born in Athelney?
Tip/Nearby: Burrow Mump is just down the road. Muchelney Abbey isn't far.
Primary Management: Unknown
AVEBURY HENGE

Enormous Neolithic stone henge and bank surrounding the entire village of Avebury.  Dates from c2600BC.  Part of a wider complex of prehistoric sites nearby. Get up close and personal with the stones - which you cannot normally do at nearby Stonehenge.

Region:
Location/Address: Avebury
County: Wiltshire
Post Code: SN8 1RF
Main Historic Period: Prehistory
Link to featured article: Avebury Henge
Useful Website Address: English Heritage listing for Avebury
Tip/Nearby: Huge number of prehistoric sites, including West Kennet Long Barrow, Silbury Hill and Windmill Hill, within walking distance. Stonehenge not far away by road.
Primary Management: National Trust
BARRINGTON COURT

Barrington Court is a 16th century house that became derelict and was carefully restored in the 1920s by Colonel Lyle, as in Tate & Lyle the sugar refining company. The house is currently shown empty of all furnishings, which is curiously wonderful. The gardens are simply stunning.

Region:
Location/Address: Barrington
near Ilminster
County: Somerset
Post Code: TA19 ONQ
Main Historic Period: Tudor
Link to featured article: Barrington Court: bring on the empty mansion
Primary Management: National Trust
BERRY POMEROY CASTLE

A brooding, ruined, medieval castle located atop a dramatic wooded cliff and with the remains of an unfinished Jacobean house inside its walls, which was intended to be the grand home of the Seymour family. Berry Pomeroy Castle has a reputation as one of the most haunted places in Britain.

Region:
Location/Address: Berry Pomeroy
Nr Totnes
County: Devon
Post Code: TQ9 6LJ
Main Historic Period: Medieval
Link to featured article: A bit more about Berry Pomeroy Castle
Tip/Nearby: Totnes, Dartmouth
Primary Management: English Heritage
BISHOP’S PALACE, WELLS

Part-ruined home to the Bishops of Bath and Wells for 800 years, the palace dates from 13th century and is surrounded by a moat, upon which swans glide gracefully.  Croquet is played on the lawn.  The highlight, though, is the gardens.  These are a delight to wander in and include the well pools that give the city its name.

Region:
Location/Address: Wells
County: Somerset
Post Code: BA5 2PD
Main Historic Period: Medieval
Useful Website Address: Bishop's Palace website
Tip/Nearby: Wells Cathedral
Primary Management: Church authorities
BROWNSEA ISLAND

Brownsea Island (aka 'Branksea') is the largest island in Poole Harbour (about 1 mile x 1/2 mile) and is primarily a wildlife area of woodland, heath and wetland, home to red squirrels and a variety birds. There are trails and events, including open air theatre and an annual round the island swim. Brownsea was chosen by Baden-Powell to try out his scouting ideas and is also said to have inspired Enid Blyton. Brownsea Castle, originally 16th century, is currently (August 2016) leased to the John Lewis Partnership as a staff hotel and not open to the public. Access to the island is by ferry from Poole.

Region:
Location/Address: Poole Harbour
Poole
County: Dorset
Post Code: BH13 7EE
Main Historic Period: N/A
Primary Management: National Trust
BURROW MUMP

A natural hill rising out of the Somerset levels, with the ruins of a church, St Michael's, on top, giving the place an evocative feel. There was probably a castle on the site once. Burrow Mump also has possible associations with King Alfred, who hid in the marshes around nearby Athelney to escape the Danes.  It is now a war memorial, dedicated to all those from Somerset who died in the First and Second World Wars.

Post Code is for the nearby King Alfred pub. Small free car park at the foot of the hill.

Region:
Location/Address: A361
Burrowbridge
County: Somerset
Post Code: TA7 0RB
Main Historic Period: Georgian
Tip/Nearby: Willow and Wetland Visitor Centre. Glastonbury and Wells aren't far.
Primary Management: National Trust
CADBURY CASTLE

South Cadbury Castle is an Iron Age hill fort, overrun by the Romans in the 1st century and subsequently used by them, but then reoccupied and its defences restored in the sub-Roman period and in occasional use up to at least the 10th century. It is one of several places associated with the legendary King Arthur and suggested as a possible location for the mythical Camelot. The walls and defences are now wooded, but the size of them can be appreciated, and there is a wonderful view of Glastonbury Tor, on the mystical Isle of Avalon, from the top.

Take the pathway, Castle Lane, from the village; it is invariably muddy.

Region:
Location/Address: South Cadbury
County: Somerset
Post Code: BA22 7HA
Main Historic Period: Dark Ages
Tip/Nearby: Glastonbury, Wells
Primary Management: Unknown
Cerne Abbas Giant

The Cerne Abbas Giant is one of Britain’s best known hill figures, cut into the hillside near the pretty Dorset village of Cerne Abbas. It is formed of a cut trench about 1 foot deep and across, stands 180 feet (55 metres) high and depicts a nude male wielding a large club. Possibly its most noticeable feature is its prominent erection – so the figure is often associated with fertility. Some people think the giant represents a Celtic deity, or Hercules. In fact, the age of the Cerne Abbas Giant is uncertain – though listed by A Bit About Britain as prehistoric, it may date only from the 17th century. There is a viewing area a short distance from Cerne Abbas village and there are walks nearby.

It is hard to photograph the Giant. The image here is from Google Earth.

Region:
Location/Address: Cerne Abbas
County: Dorset
Post Code: DT2 7AL
Main Historic Period: Prehistory
Tip/Nearby: Dorchester
Primary Management: National Trust
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