Castle Neroche woodland in the Blackdown Hills, Somerset (Image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/25801055@N00/2945981273/in/photolist-5ujVAz)

Castle Neroche woodland in the Blackdown Hills, Somerset

The Blackdown Hills on the South Somerset and East Devon border are a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. This peaceful hidden corner of England contains a mixed landscape of valleys, springs, high hills, forest and patched farmland. The region is dotted with pretty villages and hamlets like Buckland St Mary and a selection of ancient sites including Iron Age hill forts like Castle Neroche. Local produce and some outstanding cider and ale breweries feature strongly in this farming area as well as numerous, walking, cycling and bridleway routes.

The mix of high and flat land in the Blackdown Hills gave it a particular strategic importance during the Second World War when it became a centre for air crews protecting supply ships from German submarine attack. Many American serviceman were located at the base in Dunkeswell - explore the stories of those involved on the Dunkeswell War Stories website.

Things to do & see

Heritage sites in the area include the beautiful 200 year old Georgian Coldharbour Mill built by the Quaker Thomas Fox, now reopened as a museum in the pretty village of Uffculme with restaurant and shop onsite. Ancient churches and meeting houses in the Blackdown Hills have a history of non-conformism. Discover more at the National Trust's 17th century thatched Baptist meeting house - Loughwood at Dalwood village near Axminster.

Keen walkers, cyclists and birdwatchers will feel more than at home in the beautiful Blackdown Hills which are the perfect spot for a relaxing short break. Numerous pretty circular walks feature in the north eastern area of the AONB around Chad, Hemyock and Stockland. This area is ideal for exploring the unique forest landscape of the Neroche northern scarp of the Blackdown Hills where you will find ancient sites like the Scheduled Monument Castle Neroche and Curland as well as the numerous Herepath trails.

Getting here

Easy access by road is off the M5 motorway, Junction 26 down to the Ilminster roundabout via the A358, then onto the A303 for the Somerset area of the AONB around the parish of Buckland St Mary. Major road access in is via the A303 from the east and the A30 from the west and Exeter. Nearest mainline rail links are at Taunton and the nearest airport is Exeter.

Where to stay

Around the pretty hamlets and parishes of the South Somerset and East Devon Blackdown Hills you will find a charming selection of rural cottages and welcoming bed and breakfast accommodation serving up generous locally sourced breakfasts and suppers.
A peaceful setting and a choice of cycling and circular walks from your door are assured and you will find accommodation with great character and period charm in the area including 17th century farmhouse B&Bs with antique furnishings and converted Ropemaker cottages. A choice of family friendly farm holiday experiences with onsite leisure facilities also feature in the AONB.

Accommodation in the Blackdown Hills

  • Axminster
    Sleeps 4
    Prices from
    £310
    Per week (seasonal) Sleep 2 & 4
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    Six charming cottages and cosy apartments in the heart of Devon near Axminster, set in 8 acres of grounds with onsite hot tub and BBQ. Pet friendly and Green Tourism Award.
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  • Prices from
    £230
    Per week (seasonal) sleeps 2-10
     
    Hoseasons self catering holiday park nestled deep in the beautiful Devon countryside, near Honiton.
     
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  • Membury
    Sleeps 2
    Prices from
    £310
    per week (seasonal) Sleeps 2
     
    Cosy beamed cottage for two near Axminster, set within 8 acres of shared gardens and grounds with a BBQ and summerhouse. Private sheltered garden, WiFi and dog friendly.
     
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  • Dalwood
    Sleeps 8
    Prices from
    £684
    Per week (seasonal), sleeps 8
     
    Country cottage near Axminster with large private garden, patio, sunny dining area and luxury kitchen. WiFi and pets welcome with ample off road parking. Sleeps 8.
     
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  • Axminster
    Sleeps 2
    Prices from
    £621
    Per week (seasonal), sleeps 2
     
    Converted stables providing rustic and romantic holiday accommodation in Axminster, with many original features integrated. Beautiful surroundings. On-site parking. Dog friendly.
     
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  • Near Kentisbeare
    Sleeps 6
    Prices from
    £270
    Per caravan per week. Sleep 4-6
     
    Special Offer
    Family discounts on East Devon caravans
    Family forest holiday park between Cullompton & Honiton with camping/touring & holiday caravans, indoor pool, games room, play areas, takeaway & WiFi available. Caravans Sleep 4-6.
     
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  • Axminster
    Sleeps 4
    Prices from
    £305
    per week (seasonal) Sleeps 4
     
    Fabulous pet friendly and family friendly cottage set in 8 acres near Axminster and the Jurassic Coast. A short walk from Membury village with WiFi, terrace and enclosed garden.
     
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  • Axminster
    Sleeps 4
    Prices from
    £305
    per week (seasonal) Sleeps 4
     
    Pretty self-contained annexe, part wing of the main house at Lea Hill Cottages near Axminster. Set in 8 acres. Walking distance from Membury. Exposed beams, garden & rural views.
     
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