Forde Abbey & Gardens
Forde Abbey in Somerset has a rich and varied history spanning 900 years and is home to the stunning Mortlake tapestries, woven from the internationally famous Raphael cartoons, now housed in the V&A, The House is surrounded by 30 acres of award-winning gardens, including England’s tallest powered fountain. The gardens also include topiary-lined vistas, colourful herbaceous borders, a giant-sized labyrinth in the arboretum and swathes of early spring bulbs (40,000 tulips) for year round colour.
Awards, accolades and Welcome Schemes
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About the area
Somerset means ‘summer pastures’ – appropriate given that so much of this county remains rural and unspoiled. Ever popular areas to visit are the limestone and red sandstone Mendip Hills rising to over 1,000 feet, and by complete contrast, to the south and southwest, the flat landscape of the Somerset Levels. Descend to the Somerset Levels, an evocative lowland landscape that was the setting for the Battle of Sedgemoor in 1685. In the depths of winter this is a desolate place and famously prone to extensive flooding. There is also a palpable sense of the distant past among these fields and scattered communities. It is claimed that Alfred the Great retreated here after his defeat by the Danes.
Away from the flat country are the Quantocks, once the haunt of poets Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William Wordsworth. The Quantocks are noted for their gentle slopes, heather-covered moorland expanses and red deer. From the summit, the Bristol Channel is visible where it meets the Severn Estuary. So much of this hilly landscape has a timeless quality about it and large areas have hardly changed since Coleridge and Wordsworth’s day.
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