Dunster and The Tall Trees Trail

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In the twelfth century Dunster was a seaport(!) trading in beans, barley, wine and Welsh wool. As the sea retreated to its present position it became a wool and weaving centre dealing in Kerseymere and Dunster cloth from nearby mills.

The walk starts from the Visitor Centre, from which you should be able to pick up a leaflet about the Tall Trees Trail. It goes down Dunster's main street, which has a number of historic buildings. The Luttrell Arms on your left-hand side dates from around 1500.

The timber-framed octagonal building you pass on your right is the Old Yarn Market. It was originally built in 1609 and then restored in 1647 after being damaged in the Civil War, when Dunster Castle was under siege for 160 days. The hole in one of the beams of the Yarn Market is said to have been made by a Civil War cannonball.

The route leaves Dunster over the Gallox Bridge, a 15th Century pack-horse bridge over the River Avrill originally used to bring fleeces to Dunster wool market and now owned by English Heritage. It enters Dunster Estate, which has been owned and managed by The Crown Estates since the 1950s. It then goes over Vinegar Hill from where, owing to some strategic vegetation clearance, there is a good view down the valley. The route then descends to Nutcombe Bottom and 'The Tall Trees Trail'.

The Tall Trees Trail is about 600m long and winds in and out of the trees and over a stream in this pleasant grove which was originally planted in the 1870s. The trees here include a 60m (197ft) high Douglas fir, reputedly the tallest tree in England. A 24m (79ft) magnolia is also reputed to be the tallest in the country. These measurements were taken in 2009 and I use the word 'reputedly' because other areas make these claims for their trees too! Interpretation boards give information about the trees and identify the tallest.

Our route then continues on a short, circular walk on the Dunster Estate, using well-defined, mostly forestry tracks and with some views of the surrounding countryside from the higher points, before returning to Nutcombe Bottom. It is possible to visit the Tall Trees Trail on a shorter there-and-back walk from either Dunster or Nutcombe Bottom. The trail and the walk to the trail from Nutcombe Bottom are accessible by wheelchairs (see Access info').

While in the area you may want to visit NT-owned Dunster Castle. (Non-members must pay an admittance fee).

The walk is dog-friendly: no stiles or contact with livestock (and lots of trees!)

England - South West England - Somerset - Exmoor


Birds, Cafe, Castle, Flowers, Food Shop, Gift Shop, Good for Kids, Great Views, Play Area, Pub, Public Transport, Tea Shop, Toilets, Woodland
03/04/2013 - Roy Davenport

Walked 27/03/13 - Directions OK. The tall trees really are impressive.

Walkingworld members near this walk

Distance away
6.2 Miles
21.8 Miles