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From the Blog

Exploring the gateway to Somerset: your Dulverton guide

Posted by Sophie Hesp on Updated on

A picture-perfect town nestled in the vales of Exmoor

An idyllic spot for rest and relaxation in the heart of the British countryside, the charming civil parish of Dulverton lies right on the edge of Exmoor. Surrounded by beautiful nature reserves and local wildlife, there’s plenty to explore – whether you’re visiting for the day or enjoying a luxury stay in Somerset. Our guide rounds up the best things to see and do in Dulverton, from riverside walks and gin tastings to Michelin star restaurants and grand country estates.

Explore the Tarr Steps


Part of the picturesque Exmoor National Park, the ancient Tarr Steps bridge is great for a leisurely stroll and a picnic whilst surrounded by pretty woodland. Ideal for keen walkers as well as those who prefer a more leisurely pace, the Tarr Steps route passes through an idyllic wooded valley, alongside the River Barle and through the heathland of Winsford Hill. Follow the orange way markers of the circular trail and keep an eye out for local wildlife like Exmoor’s famous wild ponies grazing nearby.

Just four miles from the Tarr Steps, the popular Woods Bar and Restaurant is a traditional country pub, set right on the edge of Exmoor. Pop in for a drink or a full Sunday lunch after stretching your legs in the countryside and take to the courtyard garden to enjoy glorious views.

Take a wander down Dulverton’s high street


Lined with independent shops, from a traditional tearoom to a greengrocer and delicatessen, there are lots of lovely hidden gems dotted along Dulverton’s high street. Reminiscent of a Victorian town and retaining its original character, Dulverton features a handful of bookshops, antique stores and a famous local treasure – Farthings Farm Shop.

Popular for its famous homemade scones, brilliant breakfast and dog-friendly outside area, the traditional deli café is a tranquil high street oasis to delve into the morning’s newspapers over a fresh cup of coffee before a day out exploring Exmoor.

Discover your new favourite artisan gin


Add a little bit of extra sparkle to a special occasion and sample some of the UK’s finest artisan gins in Dulverton. From the premium quality and smooth blend of Northmoor Gin crafted on the edge of the Exmoor National Park, to the exotic botanicals of Wicked Wolf, Dulverton is home to some beautifully crafted gin.

Stop by one of the award-winning small batch producers and buy a bottle, or get involved with the calendar of fabulous events across Somerset that include tailored tastings and ‘meet the team’ experiences.

Sample a Michelin Star menu


After a good walk across Exmoor, there’s nothing like the warm welcome and exceptional local cuisine at The Masons Arms. A thatched 13th Century Inn bursting with character, the award-winning restaurant in the nearby village of Knowstone uses the finest ingredients and presents its dishes in style. Choose classic soups, salads and seafood specialities from the á la carte menu, or indulge in a three course lunch, complemented by a glass or two from the extensive wine list.

Securing its Michelin Star for the thirteenth consecutive year, The Masons Arms enjoys a picturesque location, with fine views over the rolling hills towards Exmoor. A low beamed bar and tasteful lounge invite an evening aperitif, while a roaring log fire and pretty courtyard make it a fantastic all-weather dining spot.

Walk The Coleridge Way


Literary buffs will relish the chance to follow in the footsteps of one of England’s most prestigious romantic poets – Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Explore mile after mile of the Quantock Hills, Brendon Hills and surrounding beauty of the Exmoor landscape through winding waymarked paths, bucolic valleys, charming chapels and rich countryside.

Follow the trail and witness the impressive seascapes and scenery that inspired some of Coleridge’s major works, including The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, or explore the northern tip of the trail and pass by Coleridge Cottage – the poet’s family home, now a National Trust attraction. If you’d rather ride than walk, The Coleridge Bridle Way is a challenging horse and mountain bike trail stretching 33 miles, and is an incredible way to discover Dulverton from a different perspective.

Spend the day at Knightshayes


© Gerard Wood and Alison Day via Flickr

A country estate on a grand and gothic scale, Knightshayes enjoys acres of gardens and parklands, with plenty of wild play areas and woodland walks for visitors of all ages to enjoy. The dog-friendly National Trust site, less than a half an hour drive from Dulverton, is a great spot for a relaxed walk and a family picnic, and offers the perfect opportunity to explore off the beaten track in search of some incredible wildlife.

Whether you want to discover the one-off wonders inside the house, from the intricate carvings and impressive ceilings to the magnificent engraved staircase, or prefer to wander past the flower beds in the gorgeous walled garden, Knightshayes is a truly idyllic day out in the Somerset countryside.

Ride Exmoor’s iconic rare breed ponies


A visit to Exmoor wouldn’t be complete without meeting a few of the area’s iconic resident ponies. Dulverton is home to a number of riding stables that welcome visitors along for group rides, pony parties and everything in between.

Set in the heart of the Exmoor National Park, the Exmoor Pony Centre is a charity run business working to protect the endangered rare-breed, with an indoor petting pen and a covered riding arena, while West Anstey Farm Stables are open all year round to offer one-to-one tuition to novices and accomplished riders alike.

Enjoy a luxury countryside retreat at Upcott Farm


Set in an idyllic spot in the Somerset countryside, Upcott Farm is perfectly positioned for luxurious week-long stays on the edge of Exmoor. Upcott Farm is made up of two homes (Willow's Rest and Nightjar) and is an ideal retreat for two families looking to get away together. 

With a magnificent feature wood burner, spacious farmhouse kitchen and four gorgeous bedrooms, Nightjar is the ideal space for hosting sociable country getaways, while the beautiful Master Bedroom and sweeping views at Willow’s Rest make it the perfect cosy cottage for a spot of relaxation after long moorland rambles. 


Posted by Sophie Hesp

When she's not out for a roast by the coast, Sophie loves exploring with her partner and their golden retriever pup, Obi. She writes about all things Cornwall and is a strong believer that there’s no such thing as too many house plants.

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