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Bath                    The Romans built a city here and called it Aquae Sulis.  It grew up around the Baths establishment, one of the foremost of its kind in the Western empire.  Its remains form an impressive monument to Roman Britain.  In the 18th Century Bath became a fashionable resort for society presided over by Beau Nash.  It was at this time that the work of providing a suitable environment began.  From the early 1700s - to the early 1800s many beautiful buildings, streets, squares and crescents were completed.  The pump room in 1795 and the only bridge left in England built with shops, Pulteney Bridge completed in 1777 by William Pulteney.  The city abounds with acres of parks and gardens which sets off the formality of the Georgian architecture.  The town name means bath, it is not Roman but a pure English word.  The Romans did originally call the area Aquae Calidae (hot waters) then Aquae Sulis (waters of sulis, referring to their pagan god) the Anglo-Saxon name was Akemanchester, which is generally regarded as being derived from the latin Aquae (ake) and the Roman road of Akeman Street which ran via Bath.  Also the old English word Ceaster meaning Roman Fort.
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Web Link to Roman Baths

Bath Abbey        A Saxon Abbey first stood on this site followed by a Norman one.  It was not until 1499 that a Gothic Church was erected.  Progress was very slow and by the dissolution only the choir and the walls had been completed.  However the west front had certainly been given its famous turrets and ladders.  After the dissolution the Abbey was looted and the church was given to the parish.  The building was soon enclosed by houses and the North aisle became a walk through for towns people.  In 1864 a new rector Charles Kemble at his own expense began a reconstruction of the building.  Hence what we see today is a Victorian replica of the original Tudor designs.
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Bere Regis, Hardy Cottage   A small town situated on the South West Road out of London.  The town has a superb Medieval church famous for the Ravaged Tombs of the Turbervilles the family which inspired Thomas Hardy`s Tess of the D`Urbervilles.
Hardy's cottage built in 1801 by Hardy`s great grandfather.  Hardy was born here in 1840 and wrote some of his best known works here.
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Bristol                 Once one of the most important ports in the country, the earliest records of its commercial activity going back to Edward II in the 10th Century when silver coins were minted here.  All this due to the fact that the River Severn and Avon was navigable to this point.  It was from Bristol in 1497 that John Cabot and his Bristol born son Sebastian set sail with 18 sailors in the 100 ton ship “Matthew” before reaching the mainland of America in Newfoundland.  A centre for trade and commerce for over 1,000 years, the city still has much to offer and although the large container ships now dock at the entrance to the Avon Gorge at Avonmouth, much activity still remains around the old dock side area.
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Blandford Forum (Shottersford Forum)     Has the most handsome and uniform Georgian red brick and stone town centre in the South West.  Due mainly to the great fire of 1731.  The fire began on the site of the present Kings Arms.  Within one hour all fire engines were burned together with all ladders and in the end over 400 houses.  From reports of the time eye witnesses stated that the Church bells dissolved and ran down in streams.  Today the town is a hub of a rich farming area.  I am sure no one will need telling that Blandford was Thomas Hardy`s - Shottesford Forum.

Charlestown     A small china clay port, surprisingly pretty with late Georgian houses surrounding a very interesting small harbour.  The location for a number of films, the most recent a three musketeers remake.
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Dartmoor           You can actually get further from habitation here than anywhere else in Southern England.  Set on a plateau mainly over 1,000ft high, extending some 23 miles from North to South and 13 miles from East to West mainly treeless and uncultivated, a granite base overlaid with peat.  In the 12th Century it was found to be the richest source of tin in Europe.  Freelance miners rushed in from all directions, exhaustion of the surface tin together with the black death in 1349 which hit the moorland settlements very hard, ended the boom.  The moor is now a protected area and national park.
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Dorchester        Thomas Hardy made his home here in 1883.  Many buildings in the town are associated with Hardy, St Peter`s church, Kings Arms, White Lion Hotel, The Corn Exchange, Barclays Bank and Grey`s Bridge together with 39 South Street the home and office of John Hicks the architect for whom Hardy worked from 1856 to 1862.
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Exeter                 Founded by the Romans in 50A.D. who surrounded the town with a great red stone wall, some parts which can still be seen today.  Under the Anglo Saxons it became a very important place and was twice ravaged by the Danes once in 876 when they occupied the town for three years and again in 1003. Following on after the Norman invasion the town held out till 1068 before finally accepting defeat after an 18 day siege by William the Conqueror.  The town was an important cloth manufacturing area and because of its strategic position close to the coast trading centre right up to the late 18th Century.  Two attractive areas in the city are the Cathedral Close and the area of the quay.  Some Medieval pubs still remain, The Ship, White Hart, Turks Head together with some fine timbered buildings.  Much however was lost in the German bombing of 1942 which flattened a great deal of the city.
Exeter-:derives its name from the River Exe on which it stands and could be conceived as the Roman Exchester the latter half indicating a Roman camp called Isca Dumnomiorum—Isca meaning Exe and Dumnomiorum being the name of the tribe of people who could be called the people of Devon.  The name was first recorded in 894 as Exanceaster and later in the Doomsday book with a Norman influence as Essecestra
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Falmouth           Magnificent setting, its harbour is claimed to be the third largest natural one in the world.  It also claims to have the most temperate climate of any resort in the UK.  Sir Walter Raleigh landed here in 1590, however it did not become a parish till 1664 and not till 1670 did it have a quay.  Truro and Penryn being the more important ports.  However the coming of the larger ships gave the town its chance, in 1688 it was chosen as the mail packet station and by 1827, 39 ships where delivering letters all over the world.  The arrival of the steamships heralded the decline in Falmouths fortune but in 1863 the first tourists discovered this jewel in the South West.  Still a busy port servicing large tankers up to 90,000 tons and many smaller vessels tie up in the multitude of small creeks that run off the Fal Estuary.  A very important embarkation area for ships heading off to France on D-Day 6th June 1944.  Plenty of places to eat with many old pubs backing onto the main street which runs parallel to the main quay.
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Glastonbury      It is believed by many people that under the waters of a spring on the slopes of its Tor Joseph of Arimathea buried the chalice used at the last supper.  That when on a nearby hill, he thrust his thorn staff into the ground it took root to produce the distinctive Glastonbury Winter flowering thorn tree, and that, on what was later to be the site of the great Abbey round which the town grew, he built  a church of daub and wattle.  Briefly this is the legend which has drawn pilgrims to this place for centuries.  In 688, King Ine of Wessex gave it a Monastery, majestic, rich and the most beautiful in Britain which is clear from the ruins of the church.  It is also believed that King Alfred and Queen Guinevere were re-buried in the Abbey.  In the town St Johns church is a fine 15th Century example.  The George Inn was built in the 15th Century to lodge pilgrims and the handsome market cross is 19th Century.
Web Link to Glastonbury Abbey
Web Link to Glastonbury Town

Killerton             The spectacular hillside garden is beautiful throughout the year with spring flowering bulbs and shrubs, colourful herbaceous borders and fine trees.  The garden is surrounded by parkland and woods which offer lovely walks.  The house is furnished as a comfortable family home and includes a music room.  Upstairs the Pauline de Bush collection of costumes from the 18th Century to the present day is displayed in a series of period rooms.
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Lacock Abbey and Village    The old English word "Lacuc" means small stream.  Was recorded in the mid 9th Century as "Lacok".  A small tributary to the River Avon runs close by.  The village with its twisted streets, gabled roofs and timber buildings is one of the prettiest in England.  Most buildings span the centuries Medieval to 18th Century.  The local church of St Cyriac with a fine perpendicular roof.  The Abbey was founded by Ela Countess of Salisbury in 1229, she became the Abbess and served for 17 years.  In the 17th Century the Abbey passed to the Talbot family under very romantic circumstances.  Olive a daughter of the house was locked up by her father so she would not continue with an affair with a Talbot.  Olive leapt from the Abbey into her lovers arms, nearly killing him in the process.  Both in fact were saved by the petticoats that Olive wore, as she fell they billowed out so breaking her fall.  By her courage and devotion to a Talbot her father let her marry and the Abbey and village remained in the Talbot family until 1944 when Miss Matilda Talbot gave everything to the national trust.
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Lamorran          Overlooking Falmouth Bay and St Anthony head is situated this delightful garden, landscaped by Robert Dudley Cook for the past 14 years.  A paradise with unusual plants around every corner, its' contrast and beauty make it a perfect place to visit for garden lover and expert alike.
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Lost Gardens of Heligan        Since the First World War, when its 22 gardeners left for Flanders (most never to return) Heligan lay untended for over 70 years.  Discovered anew in 1990 and now the site or the largest garden restoration in Europe, a living time capsule of the Victorian era.
The jungle,
a sub tropical valley garden which winds around lakes across swamp land vegetation and through tunnels of bamboo. Here you can see the largest collection of tree ferns in Britain over 40 species of bamboo and many specimen trees and exotic plants.  Lost for over 70 years under a mountain of bramble, ivy and rampant laurel.
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Lyme Regis               A busy Medieval port and cloth town, one of the first seaside towns in the South West, beloved of Jane Austen and the society of Bath.  Three moments in history took place here, in 1588 the first skirmish between Drakes fleet and the Armada took place in the bay.  In 1644 when strongly supporting Parliament it withstood a two month siege by the Royalists.  In 1685 when the Duke of Monmouth landed on the beach with his followers before raising the rebellion.  The most attractive place is the old harbour called the Cobb a little West of the town first built in 1300 by local fishermen.  Also made famous when the filming of the French Lieutenants Women took place here some years ago staring Meryl Strepp. 
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National Maritime Aquarium        The largest aquarium in Britain giving the experience of a fascinating underwater world.  A collection of marine life from across the world from the shores of Plymouth to the coral reefs of Australia.  Over 70 sharks from more than 10 different species ranging in size from the small dog fish to the large sand tiger shark.  A superb venue situated in a marine City rich in maritime heritage the NMA is at the forefront of marine science and conservation.
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Newquay                    Has the most magnificent beaches in Cornwall and is a very popular seaside town.  Fistral beach is probably the best sea surfing beach in the country.  A most interest harbour and surrounded by lovely countryside ideal for walking.

Padstow                     Visited by St Peroc in the 6th Century who so legend as it came from Ireland in his coracle.  From then untill the arrival of the West Saxons in the 9th Century it was the ecclesiastical capital of Cornwall.  In the Middle ages it was used as a stopping place by Irish pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostela in Spain.  It became important for the building of ships until during the late 19th Century when the estuary and harbour began sanding up which caused the terminal decline in this important industry.  One important house still standing is Raleigh`s Court house, a 16th Century building on the South quay from where Sir Walter Raleigh, when he was warden of Cornwall, presided over his court.  The main church is the 15th Century St Petroc`s with its fine strong tower and excellent stonework.
Padstow : from an English name meaning St Petroc`s church, followed by the Olde English Stow.  First mentioned in a 9th Century document as Sancte Petroces Stow and in 1351 as Padristoweand and as Padestou in 1361.
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Plymouth                  Although one of the most celebrated names in British maritime history, there are now over 40 communities spread round the English speaking world with the name Plymouth.  Its potential as a major deep sea port was not really recognised until the turn of the 13th Century.  It became the base of the English Navy during the Elizabethan era.  The time of Drake, Raleigh, Hawkins & Gilbert when it was used extensively to guard the Western approaches from the Spanish fleets.  It was from here on the Hoe on Friday July 19th 1588 that Drake, while playing bowls, was told of the approach of the Spanish Armada.  Ignoring advice he continued with his game until completed.  Then he boarded his vessel the Golden Hind and set off after the Spanish.
The city is split effectively into 2 halves: one half the modern heart of the city. Smashed comprehensively by German bombers between 1940-3 and now rebuilt into a very modern shopping centre.  The other half in the Barbican.  Perhaps the most attractive small urban area in Devon.  This is the site of the Plymouth that Drake would have known.  Beside the harbour in Sutton Pool.  The streets are narrow and sloping with the harbour packed with boats for both pleasure and fishing.  Here also the Mayflower steps where the Pilgrim fathers boarded ship for the historic voyage to Massachusetts.  The actual names of the Mayflowers company are listed nearby on a panel situated on Island House (now the tourist information office).
The parish church of St Andrew built in the 14th Century was extensively fire bombed during the Second World War. Now refurbished.
Drake, Hawkins and Grenville attended St Andrews. The church where the Pilgrim Fathers spent their last night before embarking for the new world.

Plymouth:
means at the mouth of the river. The river being the Plym
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Powderham Castle                The Manor of Powderham was mentioned in the Doomsday book. It came into the Courtenay family by way of the dowry of Margaret de Bohun on her marriage to Hugh de Courtenay son of the first Courtenay Earl of Devon. Margaret bore her Lord nine daughters & eight sons and from this marriage descends all the subsequent Courtenays Earls of Devon.  She left the Castle to her Sixth son Philip and it was he who began building the castle as we see it today in 1319.
After a very eventful history the castle passed down the family to the 17th Earl who died in 1998 aged 82.  He was succeeded by his only son who managed the estate for many years, he had three daughters and one son called Charles.  Powderham is very much as it was when Fowlers renovations were completed in the 19th Century.  However the 17th Earl made a new entrance on the north side in 1959 when the castle was first opened to the public, built a new flat for him and his wife and made some alterations to their private garden.
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SS Great Britain            Launched in Bristol in 1843 the ship was designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, the very famous Victorian engineer who also designed the Bristol suspension bridge.  This was the first ship fitted with a screw propeller, first to have an iron hull and first to have a 1,000 horse power engine.  On her first voyage across the Atlantic she set a new speed record.
SS Great Britain continued on the high seas until 1894 after travelling 32 times around the world and completing nearly 1,000,000 miles of sailing.  Eventually she was abandoned in the Falkland Islands in 1937 after serving as a floating warehouse for over 40 years.  There she remained a rotting and rusting hulk.  But that was not the end of her story because in the late 1960s a fund was launched with the sole aim of bringing her back to Bristol.  In 1970 the dream was realised and a tremendous salvage exercise took place to bring her back home.
After many years of careful conservation she now rests in the same dry dock where she was originally built 166 years ago.
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St Andrew, Cullompton            A monument to English perpendicular style. Enter via the tower which is dated 1545-49 and is somewhat later than the rest of the church.  Three outstanding things to look for. The very famous lane aisle, which represents the full development of superb fan vaulting.  While the Nave ceiling is a wonderful example of West Country church builders in achieving a timber roof with curved trussed rafters boarded on the underside to form a wagon ceiling divided into square panels.  There is also an exquisite Medieval Rood Screen running the width of the church, remarkable for its completeness.
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St. Ives                        A magnet for artists who come here from all over the world.  The shape and exquisite situation are superb for both artists and tourists alike.  Testament to the wonderful new Tate gallery built overlooking Porthmeor Beach.  Famous during the 19th Century for its fishing port, pilchards being the catch and copper and tin being the exports.  It was when these industries started to decline in the 1880s that the town was discovered by the painters who flocked here from the polluted towns finding the clean air and clear light ideal.  The best part of the town must be the area situated on the neck of land between the harbour and Porthmeor beach.  Lots of small streets, alleyways and small shops. the church is 15th Century with an original Waggon shaped roof.  Many famous people have visited over the years, John Wesley found it an excellent place for converts which is reflected in such street names as Teetotal and Salubrious place.  I find it a wonderful place to wander, unfortunately so do many others, therefore you may find the town very busy with likeminded people.
St Ives : derives it's name from St Ia, whose legend has it was an Irish Virgin who wafted across the sea on a leaf and landed here sometime in the 6th Century.  Therefore the Cornish name for St Ives being Porthia or Ia`s Landing placeRecorded as St Ya in a document of 1283 and as Porthya in 1284.
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Web Link to Tate Gallery St. Ives

St Mary Redcliff,  Bristol        A superb example of Medieval architecture and once described by Queen Elizabeth 1st on a visit to Bristol as “the fairest, goodliest and most famous parish church in the kingdom” in all respects it is the size of a Cathedral with a 240ft Nave and a Apire added in the 19th Century rising 285ft from street level.  The church owes much of its construction to William Canynge in the 14th Century and further work completed by his son.  Admiral Sir William Penn whose Son also a William founded Pennsylvania is buried in the South Transept.  The close links with the United States are further strengthened by the restoration of the St John`s chapel by the friends of St Mary Redcliff in America.
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St Mary, Launceston                Built by Sir Henry Trecarrel between 1511-24.  Not of limestone but of granite. Difficult to achieve using stone but to carve granite, a phenomenal result.  Nice roof with over 400 bosses and the Rood Screen is Gothic circa 1911
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St Mary, Ottery St Mary            Twin Towers, high gables & triple lancet windows, sounds Norman but a closer inspection will suggest typically English.  The Church did have French origins. A curious sprawling design with a long chancel, is one of the most unforgettable expressions of the style.  It was rebuilt by Bishop Grandison of Exeter, after he had purchased it from its original patrons, Secular Canons from Rouen Cathedral.  In 1337 he set up a college of 40 members at Ottery and in 1342 he commenced rebuilding of the Church using Exeter Cathedral as a model.
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St. Mawes                   Beautifully situated on the Cornish South coast, at the Eastern side of the entrance to the Carrick Roads.  The name of the town derives from that of its patron, Saint Mawdeth, a rather obscure Celtic Monk.  The church is mentioned in a document of 1345 as being dedicated to Sanctus Maudetus.  There are several thatched houses on the waterfront overlooking the bay, behind the quay the narrow streets rise steeply, with fine views over the river. 
St Mawes: derived from the name of its Patron Saint Mawdeth, a rather obscure Celtic Monk. Recorded in a document of 1345 as Sanctus Maudetus
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St. Michaels Mount   At high tide it must be reached by boat. At low tide it is possible to walk across the causeway and up its steep cobbled pathway to its battlements.  At some time in the past it was joined to the mainland.  Takes its name from the dedication of its Chapel to St Michael the Archangel.  In the Doomsday book it was recorded as Sanctus Michael.  According to an old Cornish legend, St Michael appeared to some fishermen on the Western side of the island in about 500AD  In 1044 a Benedictine Monastery was founded on it.  Then owned by the Monks of Mont St Michel off Brittany in France, to which it bears a striking resemblance.  In 1425 the crown ejected the Monks and it became a fortress due to its strategic location.  It then passed from noble to noble until 1657 when the St Aubyn family bought it.  It remained as the family home until 1954 when the national trust acquired the land.  A population of approx 40/50 people still live on the island, mainly around the waters edge in a Harbourside community.  The church is of particular interest being of 14th Century origin with a fine North door.
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Tavistock                    The town grew up round a Benedictine Abbey founded in approx 974.  For most of its recorded history the town has had but two owners, the Abbey from 974 till 1539 when Henry VIII closed it down and sold the buildings and the Russell family (Dukes of Bedford) until 1911.  Famous for tin mining in the 1300s and when that industry declined in the 1500s it thrived as a cloth centre.  As the cloth industry in turn declined the discovery of iron and silver played a large part in the wealth of the district.  However by 1902 most of the mines had closed and the town turned more and more to agriculture and commerce.  Very little remains of the old Abbey.  The present parish church of St Eustacious was built in the 15th Century. Sir Francis Drake the great English sea Captain is commemorated with a statue.  He was born just a short distance from the town.  The town is now famous for the Goose fair held over three days starting on the second Wednesday in October.  One of the legacies of the Abbey which was granted in 1105.
Tavistock: takes its name from the River Tavy on which it is located with the latter half of the name from the Olde English word “Stoc” meaning secondary settlement Therefore “secondary settlement by the Tavy”. Tavistock was recorded in a document of 981 as “Tauistoce”
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Tintagel                       The village is nice but nothing special so why do tourists and writers flock here form all over the world, the answer lies on a ruin strewn headland a short but steady walk out of town.  Legend and romance connect this headland with King Arthur, the ruins to his Camelot overlooking the sea, but is it another Loch Ness story.  Yet even without the legend it is still worth the effort to make the journey.  The peninsula is known as the island and without doubt the best place to see the great black slate caverns on the North side of Tintagel Cove.  A Monastery was definitely founded here in 500A.D. and records indicate abandoned in approx. 1086.  A castle was then built by Reginald Earl of Cornwall in 1145, these are the ruins that can still be seen.  Many want to associate this truly magical place with Merlin & Arthur, but history and fact I am afraid are not on their side.
Tintagel :probably derives from two Cornish words Dyn meaning fort and Tagell meaning throat constriction. the fort being the ruins on the island and the throat being the rocky gorge that separates it from the mainland. first recorded in a document of 1205 as Tintaieol. very close to the welsh Din also meaning fort.
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Trelissick Gardens   25 acres of garden set in parkland overlooking the Fal River, Carrick Roads and the harbour.  The property offers a port of call of exceptional beauty for general and specialist visitors in a county already remarkable for its breathtaking coastal landscapes.
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Truro                            Capital city of Cornwall, the commercial hub of the area.  During the Middle ages it was an important port for the export of iron ore, it is now a market town and an administrative centre for the county.  Stood for the King during the Civil War but really history has passed it by.
Truro-:
considered to be based on the Cornish words Try meaning triple and Erow meaning unit of land the name was first recorded as Triueru in a document of 1176. 
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Wells                            Very much a Cathedral city and dominated by it, the existing building was started in 1180 continued in stages until 1424.  Many of the buildings in the Cathedral precincts are used today for much the same purposes as that for which they were originally built.  The Vicars Close consists of a cobbled street with a total of 42 small houses built in the 14th Century for the Vicars of the Cathedral.  The Cathedral school was started in 909 and while closing for one short period of 6 years in 1861 now records over 600 pupils.  On the West front there are 294 sculptures left of the original 386 some damaged beyond recognition, 3 new ones were unveiled by the Prince of Wales in 1985.  The Chapter House reached by an ancient stone stairway is octagonal in shape and part of a two storey building, could be one of the most beautiful Chapter Houses in Britain.  The Cathedrals South doors lead to beautiful 15/16th Century cloisters
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Weston Super Mare      A very popular seaside resort on the North Somerset coast, just over 200 years ago a relatively small village of just over 170 inhabitants it has now grown into a fair sized town of over 50,000 people.
Well loved by families for its miles of long flat sandy beaches, donkey rides and the pier.  Do be careful of the tide it races in very quickly.  A proper English seaside town.
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Wimborne Minster        A friendly small market town set in the Dorset countryside.  First settled as a site by the Romans but not developed until the 8th Century by the Anglo - Saxons.  Raided many times by the Danes it was here in 871 that the body of King Ethelred was bought after being slain in a battle nearby.  It was Cuthberga to whom the Minster is dedicated, a sister of the Wessex King Ine, who founded its ecclesiastical importance by giving it a nunnery in the early 8th Century.  This was later destroyed by the Danes.  The Minster church dominates the town.  Dating from the Norman period.  It is of all periods up to the 15th Century.  Particularly not to be missed are two 16th Century effigy tombs, the superb Norman purbeck marble font, the enormous clock (1320) and above the vestry, the chained library, which includes church wardens accounts from 1403.  Many Georgian buildings exist around the town and walking the narrow cobbled streets takes one easily back in time of the coach and horse.  The name Wimborne comes from the Olde English words "Winn" meaning pasture and "Burna" meaning stream.  We therefore have meadow stream.  To associate with the River Stour which runs nearby.  In the Anglo - Saxon chronicle of 893 the town is referred to as Winburnan Monasterium.
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