Crewkerne is an old Saxon town, formerly called Crucerne, and sits on the Somerset/Dorset border in a pretty wooded valley surrounded by the South Somerset hills. A market town and agricultural centre, Crewkerne was once a booming wool town, the proceeds of which financed the rebuilding of the parish church, St Bartholomew’s on a grand scale. The church is one of Somerset’s finest and well worth a visit. On the hill overlooking Crewkerne is Bincombe Beeches Local Nature Reserve which affords great views across to the town and has a picnic area and nature trail.
As a coaching stop and during the prosperous industrial revolution years much of Crewkerne was rebuilt from the proceeds of the textile industry. You’ll notice a range of architectural styles including Georgian town houses and Jacobean style almshouses many of which used stone quarried from Ham Hill. The centre still retains that market town feel and markets take place on Saturdays. The town is noted for its antiquarian bookshops and antique shops, and you’ll find a good selection of traditional heritage inns, hotels and bed and breakfast accommodation here. Crewkerne Aqua Centre has fitness gyms, an activity centre, a 25 metre, four lane swimming pool and a separate learner pool.
The local museum details the history of the town from its early Saxon Royal Mint period through to its coaching stop days and textile centre. Local domestic and work life in the past is explored, with recreations of a Victorian kitchen and an old shop and a prisoner’s cell. Changing exhibitions are on show in the Exhibit Room.
Bincombe Beeches Local Nature Reserve
Behind the Tourist Information Centre, heading up the hill from Beechwood Drive, will bring you Bincombe Beeches Local Nature Reserve and Nature Trail. The reserve is named after the line of mature beech trees at the top of the hill that are up to 200 years old. Over thirty species of birds have been recorded at Bincombe Beeches including woodpeckers, goldcrests, jackdaws, blackcaps, redwings and willow warblers. There is also an area of wild flower grassland where you can spot a good variety of butterflies including common blue butterfly and orange tips. It’s a steep climb to the top but once there you’ll get some good views over Crewkerne. There is also a picnic area making a good setting for a spot of lunch.