in the county of Worcestershire
a Picturesque Village in the county of Derbyshire
a Picturesque Village in the county of Gloucestershire
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The high walls of Dunster Castle look down over the quaint village of Dunster from its imperious setting atop of a classically wooded pyramid shaped hill. The castle is built of bright red sandstone, it is immediately eye catching, medieval and feudal in appearance.
The spot the castle is built on was chosen for its natural defensive position, its history probably lies deep in the mists of Saxon times, but the main building as we know it was begun by William de Mohun, a Norman baron. In 1375 the castle came into the hands of the Luttrell family who were to remain there for over 600 years.
Over the centuries Dunster Castle has been subject to many alterations, what we look at today is mainly from the 16th-19th century. It is completely fascinating with many splendid features. Amongst these is a magnificently carved staircase from 1681 and a plaster ceiling in the dining room of the same date.
The imposing 15th century gatehouse is part of the medieval castle that fortunately survived the alterations of the 1800's, these were mostly the work of the architect Salvin, who built a new tower and reconstructed much of the exterior into the then popular Gothic style.
On an historical note - during the Civil War the Luttrell family were for Parliament, but the Royalists seized the castle. In 1646 Dunster Castle became the last castle to fall in the county of Somerset after a siege lasting five and half months.
The castle is surrounded by magnificent gardens, woodland and picturesque tumbling streams crossed by ancient bridges. Steep terraces take you down to the fringe of the River Avill, en-route visitors can see lovely tropical plants, splendid groups of Rhododendrons, Hydrangeas and Magnolia trees. By the Avill stands a restored mill from the 18th century, this grinds flour for sale, interestingly there has been a mill on this site ever since the first fortifications where built here in around 1070. Apart from this there are many other attractive features in the grounds including a magnificent Victorian conservatory. This is a wonderful landscape to wander, not least for the splendid views of historic Dunster village and surrounding countryside.
The castle was given to the National Trust in 1976. It is open to the public.
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