Dunster; Photographs of a Somerset Village

Driving along the coast from Bridgwater the road gradually winds its way along the edge of the Quantock Hills with the wild hills to the left and the steep drop down to sea on the right.  Each village has its own character, but all are very much alive and bustling with life.  Dunster is very close to Minehead and the first sight of the village is from the bypass where the castle is seen rising above the village on a hill.  Dominant in red, it sits on the edge of Exmoor an ancient building set in lush gardens.

The charm of this village is felt from the moment you see the Yarn Market at the top of the High Street.  The Yarn Market was where fleece and wool was traded which was one of the main industries in the village and surrounding areas.

Wandering around the village the houses are old, very old and have quirky corners, thatched roofs and a hotch potch of decoration.  Early summer flowers explode from every corner and each doorway holds another secret.  The 12th Century Priory Church of St George is a cool and calm retreat from the busy road outside.  With hints of the ancient it is a large church in a small location.

Following the peaceful road past the castle towards the mill, the Gallox Bridge is eventually found.  It was built in the 15th Century and is a stone packhorse bridge that crosses the River Avill.  This is a quiet spot with birds nesting in the hedges surrounding the river and it is easy to imagine the ancient use of the bridge on the journey to the Yarn Market.  Even the modern shops maintain their ancient appearance and with a little imagination you could be visiting at any point in the last 100-years (minus the cars!).

Heading away from the village centre, just a short drive over the steam railway line and the main road is Dunster Beach.  A haven for wading birds.  A small weir provides a small waterfall as the River Avill finally finds its way to the sea.  A dangerous muddy beach at low tide but the perfect end to a day of exploring.

And incase you were wondering, this was a little personal challenge to photograph with just a phone in square format!  Harder than I thought!!

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