Country houses for sale

Guide to Somerset’s food, drink and music

County  motto: All the people of Somerset

Luxury property for sale in Somerset

Best thing
: ‘The goodness of the cheese is preferred, without all dispute, it is the best cheese that England affords, if not, that the whole world affords’ (Daniel Defoe on Cheddar)

Local food: R. J. Sheppy & Sons cider; Montgomery cheddar; Pieminister’s Pies; relishes from Bay Tree Food Company

Heroes: John Locke; Roger Bacon; John Cleese; explorer William Dampier (first to circumnavi-gate the world three times); Ernest Bevin

Events: Druids celebrate Beltane on Glastonbury Tor; Frome Cheese Show; Frome Festival Bridgwater Carnival: at Tatworth Candle Auction, the right to use Stowell Mead field is auctioned as a candle burns, the top bidder when the candle dies wins; Hobby Horse Festival, Minehead

: According to local legend, a forgetful milkmaid left a pail of milk in the Cheddar Gorge caves, and, on returning (much) later, she found Cheddar

: The Battle of Sedge-moor in 1685, the last pitched battle in England, which brought to a bloody end the rebellion of the Duke of Monmouth against James II

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Worst thing: It’s not just the French who like snails—the Mendip Wallfish is a dish of garden snails from Somerset

What they say: ‘And that dark solemn Tor, and all that reach, Of bright-green meadows, laced with silver rills’ (Henry Alford)

Literary wealth: Arthur C. Clarke; Evelyn Waugh; Henry Fielding; Samuel Coleridge lived in Nether Stowey; Wordsworth rented Alfoxton Park;  Henry Irving

Wildlife: The Exmoor pony is one of the world’s oldest native horses, thought to have crossed the prehistoric land bridge from North America at the time of sabre-toothed tigers and mammoths

Houses and churches: Cothay Manor is a medieval treasure house; Dunster Castle is like a dream of Camelot; Montacute House is late Elizabethan Renaissance; Tyntesfield; Culbone church, the smallest in England