10 things to do in Somerset

CARRIE MORGAN explored the south west region of Somerset and found it packed with culture, beautiful scenery, wildlife and adventures. For more ideas see www.secretsomerset.uk

1. FOSSIL HUNT Head to the beach near the village of Kilve for some of the best fossil hunting in the country. Make sure you arrive when the tide is out and you’ll see the remnants of creatures from millions of years ago.

2. WATERFALL The newest section of England’s coastal path opened last summer and gives the public access to St Audrey’s Bay Waterfall. After a swim in the sea it’s the perfect natural shower to rinse off. Beware though, it’s only accessible at low tide!

3. BEACH HOTEL, MINEHEAD Run by the YMCA, this hotel is also a charity helping local young people get jobs, training and qualifications. It offers wonderful rooms, breakfasts to die for and a restaurant that’s up there with the best around.

4. OUTDOOR ADVENTURE Check out Channel Adventure for access to a host of exciting activities including mountain biking, canoeing, windsurfing, coasteering and even knife-throwing. Based in Minehead they provide qualified, friendly instructors.

5. DINE UNDER THE STARS Somerset is home to Europe’s first International Dark Sky Reserve at Wimbleball Lake deep in Exmoor National Park. That means the sky is free of light pollution so you can see tons more stars than in busy towns and cities. Why not take a picnic and a pair of binoculars to really enjoy the sensation of looking up at the cosmos in all its glory.

6. STEAM TRAIN The Washford to Watchet Mineral Line was built between 1857 and 1864 to take iron ore from the mines down to the coast. If you’re feeling energetic why not walk along the 11-mile path… or just get on the train!

7. EXMOOR FOREST For a forest, there are remarkably few trees, but on these open rolling moors you will find a sense of wilderness and freedom far-removed from the tarmac of the towns and cities. Take a walk to the stunning Hoaroak Water for a real treat and keep an eye out for red deer and wild ponies

8. SANDCASTLES The Weston-super-Mare Sand Festival is one of the best in the country, and it is truly breathtaking what these artists can do. Be warned – they will put your efforts with a bucket and spade to shame!

9. KING ARTHUR’S CASTLE Depending on where you are in Britain, King Arthur’s Camelot was either in Wales, Cumbria, Cornwall, or, if you’re from Somerset, then he definitely built his legendary Round Table at Cadbury Castle near Sparkford on the A303 (orange panel, above). It’s a Bronze and Iron Age hill fort that offers views of central Somerset.

10. POOH STICKS! Somerset has the most medieval packhorse bridges in the country and they make a great location for a game of Pooh sticks! Try visiting picturesque Robber’s Bridge near Oare.