Walton Park Hotel is an impressive building, set in two acres of landscaped gardens overlooking…
The Black Horse
“Real ales, short lunchtime menu, families welcome”
The bars on one of the windows of this attractive, whitewashed inn near Bristol are a reminder that the Black Horse’s Snug Bar was once the village lock-up. Built in the 14th century, the pub features low beams, flagstone floors, wooden settles, and old guns above the big open fireplace. Real ales served straight from the barrel include local Butcombe Bitter and Bath Ales Gem, whilst cider fans will rejoice at the sight of Thatchers Stan's. The small kitchen in this listed building limits its output to traditional pub food served at lunchtimes only (Monday to Saturday). The repertoire includes hot and cold filled baguettes and rolls; home-made soup of the day; daily specials, and classics like sausage and mediterranean vegetable casserole. The large rear garden includes a children's play area, and there's a separate family room.
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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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