st dubricius

culbone church

porlock weir
Explore Porlock and Exmoor

Porlock is a beautiful Somerset village - enclosed on three sides by the steeply rising hills of Exmoor, with glorious views across the Bristol Channel to Wales in the North.

The village has a lively community. There are plenty of interesting shops, cafes and pubs to visit - there is also an excellent tourist information centre. Throughout the year there is always something going on in Porlock, be it an arts festival, fete or the annual carnival and visitors will always discover something interesting to do whenever they choose to stay.

Porlock is renowned for it's infamous hill, which has a 1 in 4 gradient and was first ascended by car in 1900 for a bet. Although most modern cars have no trouble with the climb, the hill can be avoided by taking the scenic toll road which ambles in a more gentle direction and offers breathtaking views over the bay.

The village has several literary connections. It is mentioned throughout RD Blackmore's book, Lorna Doone. Wordsworth and Coleridge were also known to be frequent visitors to Porlock. Coleridge wrote the famous poem Kubla Khan whilst staying on a farm just outside of the village.

St Dubricius (pictured left) is the Parish Church of Porlock and is situated directly opposite Reines House in the centre of the village. The present building dates from the 13th century although it is thought that a church has stood on this spot since around the 6th century when St Dubricius travelled across the sea from Wales. It is believed that St Dubricius was a close friend and adviser of King Arthur and that he solemnized Arthur's Marriage to Queen Guinevere. The church contains many interesting features, including an ancient clock, dating from around 1400, fragments of a pre-norman cross, the tombs of local knights and several interesting monuments.

The most noteworthy thing about the church, however, is it's curious truncated spire, which is clad in oak shingles.

There are many stories about the spire of St Dubricius. Some historians think that it was used as a light house in Medieval times, when the sea came nearer to the village. Others say that it originally had a pointed spire but was damaged in the great gale of 1703. Locals believe that it was not fully repaired because the men who were working on the spire ran off to join the hunt as it passed through the village. Some people say that the top blew off during the storm and landed on top of nearby Culbone church - the smallest church in England. Why not visit both churches and see for yourself?

Culbone Church (pictured left) is situated in Culbone Woods, close to the ancient sea port of Porlock Weir. The woods are criss-crossed with footpaths and are well worth exploring. This area was once home to a thriving oak-felling and charcoal burning industry and is dotted with interesting stone ruins.

Whilst exploring the woods you may come across some of Exmoor's famous red deer. This area is part of the national park, which covers over 265 square miles of rolling moorland and wooded combes. Further up, on the moors, sheep, cattle and wild Exmoor ponies roam free, grazing on the heather and gorse. Exmoor has many picturesque towns and villages for you to visit - and some fascinating monuments - like the Caractacus Stone on Winsford Hill, or Tarr Steps, the ancient packhorse bridge across the river Barle.

Porlock Weir (pictured below, left) is situated a mile and a half West of Porlock itself and is a popular destination for walkers who like to explore the coastline and the historic oak woodland which rises steeply beyond the settlement. With several inviting pubs, restaurants, shops and a glass blowing studio there is plenty to see and do here on a day out. The pebble beach is home to several pill boxes - relics from World War Two - and is popular with anglers who report catches of cod, sea bass, whiting, conger eel and skate. The harbour is also a popular spot for children fishing for shrimp and crab and bait and lines are available to buy for this purpose from the nearby shop.

As you travel further around the coast, into Devon, the beaches become even more beautiful. Lynmouth, Ilfracombe, Croyde and Woolacombe are all well worth a visit. You could even take a day trip to Lundy Island - renowned for it's unspoiled beauty.

If you're looking for something to entertain the family, why not try Minehead. This traditional Somerset seaside town is about seven miles East of Porlock and has many attractions, including a steam railway, several amusement arcades and plenty of cheap and cheerful gift shops. Nearby you will find the romantic National Trust property, Dunster Castle, which is adorned with towers and turrets and surrounded by sub-tropical gardens.

Further down the road, near Williton, is the Tropiquaria - this is a small zoo with lots of children's play equipment, including two large wooden pirate ships which are guaranteed to keep them amused for a whole day.

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