Hamdon Iron Age Hillfort is believed to be the largest in Europe and can be explored if you visit the site. Ham Hill is full of interesting wildlife including grassland full of wildflowers and orchids where an exciting range of butterflies feed and breed.
Martock was once a royal estate and had a moated manor house which has since disappeared. The town grew on agriculture and the cloth industry with sail cloth being made at The Parrett Works mentioned as Cary’s Works in the Domesday Book.
Martock has a fantastic array of historic buildings including the Market House which dates back to the 1750s. The ground floor used to house a butcher’s shambles with the top floor being reserved for public assemblies. The medieval All Saints church is said to be the second largest in Somerset. Inside it has some unique carved wooden statues in the eves. You can follow a Blue Plaque trail using the guides available in the village.
The town has several pubs, inns, hotel, farmhouse and bed and breakfast accommodation. The Producer’s Market takes place on the second Saturday of every month in the shopping precinct.
National Trust Treasurer’s House Martock
The Treasurer’s House was occupied by the Treasurer of Wells Cathedral and is one of the oldest domestic dwellings in Somerset. It is made from Ham stone. The Great Hall was completed in 1293. The solar block is believed to be even older than that and houses an interesting wall painting which is open to visitors. The kitchen was added in the fifteenth century. The medieval hall, the wall painting and the kitchen are all open to the public.
Ham Hill Country Park & Iron Age Fort
Ham Hill is covered in quarries from which the honey coloured Ham stone is cut which you see in the traditional cottages and houses all over South Somerset. Martock is particularly rich in buildings using this local stone. Ham Hill is regarded as a country park centred around the two hundred acre Iron Age hill fort – the largest found in Europe.
A whole range of historic artefacts have been excavated here, some of which are on display in the Somerset County Museum in Taunton. The Iron Age ramparts stretch for 5km over which are pathways for you explore. The Romans later occupied the site leaving remains of a villa and what is likely to have been a military camp.
Ham Hill is also a nationally protected wildlife site, mainly for its geology which is an important insight into how southern England developed in the Jurassic period. The habitats on Ham Hill are also important for its species rich chalk grassland with interesting species such as quaking grass, cowslip, burnet-saxifrage, salad burnet, bellflower, autumn gentian, horseshoe vetch, squinancywort and eight species of orchids including frog orchid, musk orchid, fragrant and pyramidal orchids. Butterflies are abundant on the site and a scarce species that is known to survive here is the Duke of Burgundy along with dingy skipper, green hairstreak and dark green fritillary.
Somerset Cider Brandy Burrow Hill Cider Farm
Burrow Hill Cider Farm is at Kingsbury Episcopi near Martock and welcomes visitors wanting to find out how cider and cider brandy is made. You can see the copper stills in the distillery or visit the ciderhouse. You can sample both cider and cider brandy and then purchase whatever takes you fancy in the shop. There is also an orchard trail that tells you more about the apple varieties used. Burrow Hill Cider Farm provide the Cider Bus at the Glastonbury Music Festival where hot spiced cider is just one of the tipples on offer. There’s even a helipad should you be popping in by helicopter! They are open every day (except Sunday)
The River Parrett Trail
Martock is not far from The River Parrett Trail. This is a 50 mile, long distance hiking trail that extends from near Crewkerne to Combwich near Steart, just south of Burnham-on-Sea. You can complete the whole trail over 3 or 4 days or break it up as a series of shorter walks during your holiday in Somerset. The trail follows the route of the River Parrett, commencing in the Dorset Hills and running through the heart of the Somerset Levels, taking in charming old Somerset market towns along the way.