Dulverton Town Guide
...the southern gateway to Exmoor National Park set deep in the wooded Barle Valley
Dulverton opens the door to the Exmoor National Park from the south and is set delightfully in a deep wooded valley where the River Barle flows on its route to join the River Exe. Picturesque original narrow streets, a grade II listed church and local historical features await each and every visitor.
Noted in the Domesday book as Dolvertune, the area has been inhabited since prehistoric times but became larger in the middle ages through the increase in farming. This provided for local fairs and markets and the growth of the wool trade and its associated small industries.
Once given by William I to the Turburvilles who granted some of the land to the Taunton Priory, an Augustinian Monastry set up around 1115. It was then held by the Shete and then on to the Sydenham family who acquired it in 1568 held it up until 1858, at which point it passed to the Earl of Carnarvon.
Set beautifully in the wooded Barle Valley at the southern edge of the Exmoor National Park, the town still retains some of the old narrow streets near the town centre. It is the headquarters of the Exmoor National Park Authority who occupy Exmoor House behind which you will find the Guildhall Heritage and Arts Centre which opens to the public usually between April and October.
The area around Dulverton is designated as a site of special scientific interest due to the local flora and fauna.
There are two churches, one of which, the Church of All Saints, has its original 15thcentury tower although much of the rest of the church was restored in the mid 1800’s, and is a grade II listed building. Locally you will find the prehistoric Tarr Steps, a grade I listed bridge, called a ‘Clapper’ bridge which is made up of huge slabs of stone – estimated to be some 5 tonnes each – over the River Barle and is around 180 feet long and made up of 17 spans. It is worth a visit just to see the simplicity in its design and wonder how the large stones were ever put into place.
Also locally there are many medieval bridges crossing the river such as the Barle Bridge, and iron age hill forts such as Oldberry Castle and Mounsey Castle which offer a fascinating view back into another time.
The town also offers plenty of both large and local shops and boutiques, along with tea rooms, restaurants, a gun and tackle shop that can offer kit and advice on the trout and salmon fishing and an old Inn next to the river.
Things to see and do
Walking and cycling – being on the edge of Exmoor there are numerous walks and cycle tracks to follow. The nearby Winsford Hill and routes up to the hill forts offer local trips and there are longer and very interesting routes all across Exmoor.
Canoeing – available from Exmoor Canoe Club, 7-9 Fore Street, Dulverton, Somerset TA22 9EX 07738 631931 http://www.exmoorcanoeclub.org.uk
Horse riding – local riding stables
Higher Chilcott Farm, Dulverton, Somerset, TA22 9QQ 01398 323559
West Anstey Farm, Waddicombe, Dulverton TA22 9RY 01398 341354
Dulverton by Starlight – During December, up until the twelfth night, the town becomes a magical place of white lights and Christmas trees. A place to Christmas shop without the hustle of the big towns and to enjoy the atmosphere of days gone by. For full details please visit: http://www.dulvertonbystarlight.co.uk/
Dulverton Carnival – an array of classic vehicles, vintage tractor and machines and the usual brightly adorned floats brighten up the town in west somersets only night time carnival held in early October each year. For further details contact: Jan Ross, Parklands, 39 Jury Road, Dulverton, TA22 9EJ, telephone 01398 323818 email@example.com
Dulverton Folk Festival – an un-missable free traditional folk festival of music and dance for all ages held at the end of May. Full details: http://www.dulvertonfolkfestival.net/
Guildhall Heritage and Arts Centre – open between 10 am and 4.30 pm the centre has state of the art technical equipment where you can listen to an oral history of Exmoor, watch film clips from Dulverton camera clubs archive material using touch screen technology and see a variety of local artists exhibiting their arts and crafts. Contact details: Guildhall Centre, Fore Street, Dulverton, Somerset, TA22 9EX Tel: 01398 323818
Local industries – there are also many local craftsmen displaying their wares from artists to glassmakers.
Local places of interest
Exmoor National Park for many activities including walking, cycling, watersports and horse riding.
Last Updated: 28 Apr 2015