Wednesday, 2 June 2021

Dunster Castle

We have visited Dunster Castle previously but never throughly explored their hillside gardens situated below and around the castle.
The gardens take you around the world through four different microclimates displaying a host of both sub-tropical and mediterranean plants.




Many exotic species grow in the grounds due to the castle's situation and mild climate. It sits on the top of a steep hill called the Tor, and has been fortified since the late Anglo-Saxon period. It has far distant views over the Bristol Channel to the Welsh coastline and enjoys the subsequent benefits of warmth from the Gulf Stream. 
These Beschorneria yuccoides - Mexican lilies, look as if they might lurch out and grab you as you pass by!!!
Each bend in the pathway reveals yet another stunning view.




Once back down we head off beneath the castles original Norman entrance and down into Dunster, a pretty village, considered to be one of the most intact medieval villages in England.

It's a great place in which to base yourself if you want to explore the counties of Somerset and Devon along with Exmoor.

The Yarn Market built in 1609 by George Luttrell of Dunster Castle was used for selling broadcloth and homespun yarns. It is now a monument to Dunster's once flourishing cloth trade.

34 comments:

  1. Such beautiful gardens and such interesting camera angles and perspectives!

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  2. Hello Rosemary, Is Dunster Castle itself open to the public? It almost looks more like a school building than a domestic one. I like all the greenery around, although those "foundation plantings" by the walls look a bit odd--perhaps to help keep unwanted visitors at bay. My favorite view was of the walkway then went under the entrance arch.
    --Jim

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    1. Yes it is. We did go inside - it has enormous barrel vaulted ceilings. It has never been a school always a home. The long and eventful history of Dunster Castle starts with the de Mohuns who arrived soon after William the Conqueror became King of England in 1066. William de Mohun constructed a timber castle on the site of a Saxon hill fort as part of the pacification of Somerset. In 1376 the de Mohuns sold the castle to the Luttrell family, who were responsible for most of what we see at Dunster today. They created a Jacobean mansion in 1617, defended and saved the castle during the English Civil War and updated the castle in the Victorian era. They lived there for 600 years before handing it over to the National Trust in 1976.

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  3. A well timed post. We’re hoping to visit Dunster castle in the next few weeks. It looks stunning. B x

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    1. Hope you have a great time - they also have a lovely little walled garden called the 'Dream Garden' which is at a lower level and much nearer to the village. It is a haven of delight, we didn't visit it this time, but on our last visit it was colourfully filled with lots of beautiful dahlias.

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  4. The effect of the Gulf Stream is so amazing in Cornwall and Devon. I've read of other gardens that have taken advantage of it, too. A beautiful place to visit.

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    1. I enjoyed the short history you provided in the above comment.

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    2. The Gulf Stream is a very interesting phenomenon - it also enables gardens on the Western side of Scotland to grow exotic and rare plants too.
      I really should have added more history to this post, but time was of the essence when I was writing it.

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  5. Dearest Rosemary,
    Such a visit lifts up your spirits and is a positive mood changer and I guess, it has been for ages. Those views and the benefits of the subtropical climate for maintaining a special garden that are pleasing to the eye.
    Glad you found a perfect day for exploring this gem of a medieval town.
    Hugs,
    Mariette

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    1. Dear Mariette - so many of us have missed being able to travel wherever and whenever we like to visit places that delight our eye, but now we have the vaccines slowly things are opening up again. I feel eternally grateful to the wonderful scientists, just imagine what it would be like now without the protection that they have afforded us.

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  6. I love Dunster. I particularly like the person rooms with family photos dotted about when visiotrs come in. Scruffy armchairs. I liked the lunch in the feudal pub below as well.

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    1. There is so much to enjoy in Dunster, I particularly like the interior of the stables, and love the building known as 'The Old Nunnery' covered in wooden shingles which has two distinct overhangs.

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  7. Looks a beautiful place- so many centuries of wealth and history down there. Something I really enjoyed about touring down south, even in my 20s.

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    1. We like it there, and often find ourselves revisiting as it is such a convenient journey for us to make.

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  8. In my days as a walks leader for HF Holidays we ended many walks at Dunster, but I'm ashamed to say the tea shops and pub always won out over the castle at the end of a long day.

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    1. Nothing better than a tea shop or a pub after a good day out.

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  9. Beautiful view and it appears to be a nice Castle.

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    1. The views from the top of the castle are wonderful.

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  10. I have never been inside the castle grounds, it's beautiful - my grandparents lived in Dunster village (then Porlock) and are buried in the old cemetary beyond the allotments at the castle - I love this little village and visit annually - your pictures made me a little 'homesick'

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    1. Porlock and Dunster are both a couple of little gems.

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  11. For some odd reason those yuccoides remind me of triffids (remember the John Wyndham book?) so watch out when you make a return visit, Rosemary. They may reach out and grab you!

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    1. I read The Day of the Triffids when I was about 12 or 13 years old and it frightened the life out of me.

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  12. This is simply great. It will take me at least a week to explore in and around Dunster Castle.

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    1. There is certainly plenty of interesting to see there.

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  13. Dear Rosemary - Dunster Castile stands magnificent. Nice gardens with exotic plants and the views you photographed at each bend in the pathway are breathtaking. I didn’t know the Gulf Stream affects the weather of some coastal places. Dunster is a beautiful village. I love the landscape of medieval villages of England.

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    1. Dear Yoko - the Gulf Stream affects coastal areas on the Western side of the country, and even gardens in Scotland close to the coast have exotic plants growing happily in them. I expect that we shall return there for yet another break as we also really like the hotel where we stay.

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  14. What a great view...and I bet the castle has many interesting sites inside...but I did enjoy the plants along the exterior!

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    1. The castle is interesting inside with an impressive carved stairway showing hunting scenes and carved from a single piece of elm.

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  15. What a wonderful garden. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. The gardens have the added charm of lots of lovely views.

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