When Stourhead first opened in the 1740s, a magazine described it as ‘a living work of art’. The world-famous landscape garden has at its centrepiece a magnificent lake reflecting classical temples, mystical grottoes, and rare and exotic trees, and offers a day of fresh air and discovery.
The fields here used to be arable farmland, but now they are being looked after so that they are ideal for wetland birds and other wildlife.
We have put in structures to keep the water levels high and have created miles of new ditches and shallow water-filled gutters, and dug out numerous shallow pools or ‘scrapes’. Now you can see lapwings, snipe, curlews and redshanks nesting here in summer, as well as yellow wagtails, skylarks and meadow pipits.
The NNR consists mainly of restored peat fields and water-filled compartments containing islands with areas of reeds and bulrushes. There are areas of poor fen and also an old fragment of acid mire that is being restored.
“Shapwick Heath National Nature Reserve is not only a fantastic place to see wildlife, but a monument to the history and ingenuity of Neolithic man preserved through the amazing Sweet Track. It’s a unique window to the past and a place everyone should try to visit.”
Phil Holms, Senior Reserve Manager
The Somerset Levels and Moors are unique, timeless and tranquil. They are dotted with heritage sites, historic towns and echoes from the past; bursting with wildlife under vast skies and home to a vibrant farming, business and arts community.
An ancient market town in the heart of Somerset. It retains much of its old world charm and is unique among the many ancient settlements in this remote unspoilt area known as the Somerset Levels and Moors. It is set in a parish of 170 acres and its historical features suggest its earlier importance. http://www.langport.org.uk/
There are many myths and legends associated with the Tor – it is the home of Gwyn ap Nudd, the Lord of the Underworld and King of the Fairies, and a place where the fairy folk live.
In early-medieval times there was a small monks’ retreat on top of the Tor, founded probably in the time of St Patrick in the mid-400s. This was followed in the early 1100s by a chapel, St Michael de Torre. This was destroyed in a powerful earthquake in 1275 and rebuilt in the early 1300s. The tower is all that remains today.