THINGS TO DO IN DUNSTER
Located within Exmoor National Park, you’ll find the Medieval village of Dunster. Its ancient castle dominates the skyline and a walk up to Grabbist Hill will give you views across Minehead Bay. Or you could simply sit, relax and enjoy a Somerset cream tea. I managed two out of three, skipping the wonders of freshly baked scones, home-made jams and fresh clotted cream.
GRABBIST HILL WALK
Make your way to the parish church (do take a peek at the garden its lovely). On the right, just beside the shop ‘Parham House Brides’, is a walkway. Walk through here and pass the school.
On the left you’ll see a bridleway to Grabbist Hill. Follow this, entering the wood through a gate. You’ll find three paths, take the left one and where it divides take the right hand fork which leads gently uphill, getting steeper as you head towards the top. Here you’ll find sweeping views across the Bristol channel and Minehead.
After admiring the view you can take the broad track on your right and follow the ridge top until you reach the Giant’s chair, a large natural depression in the hillside below you. I however, took the middle pathway, to the left and straight down through the trees, which was rather steep but very enjoyable. At the road turn right towards Dunster and it’s a 15-20 minute stroll along a quiet country lane before you return to your starting point.
The walk took me around an hour but I wasn’t rambling. In fact as I write this my legs are still aching from a. inappropriate footwear and b. the speed at which I was walking. I would suggest you give yourself around 90 minutes for this circular walk.
I popped into the www.yarnmarkethotel.co.uk for a quick lemonade, where they kindly let me charge my mobile, before I set off to find out a little more about the Luttrells, the last family to live at Dunster Castle, who in the 19th century turned the stronghold into a lavish country home.
Dunster Castle has a lot to offer, from the secret passage leading from the King Charles room to the Leather Gallery, dedicated to a leather hanging depicting the love story of Anthony and Cleopatra. As with most National Trust properties there are activities for the young, and young at heart including lawn games, trails and the East Quantockhead dressing room which houses a selection of clothes and hats encouraging you to take on the role of a musketeer, knight and Victorian gentleman, to name a few.
The castle is set in beautiful surrounding. You’ll find little pathways leading to special places and a Mediterranean garden that for me brought back memories of eating olives, sipping red wine and writing postcards!
Dunster offers some quaint places to stop for coffee or lunch, including at the castle itself, but if you chose to take your own, there is a large grassed picnic area by the car park with lovely views.