Dulverton in Western Somerset
Dulverton is a small town in Western Somerset, and includes the small hamlet of Battleton. Close to the border with Devon, it is a popular tourist spot for visiting Exmoor as it is inside the park’s boundaries; the park’s authorities are even established here. It is in the southern area of Exmoor National Park. The town was established as early as 1084, though many of the buildings today range from the Georgian to the Victorian era.
It lies in the woodland valley of the River Barle, now dubbed a biological site of specific scientific interest. Ancient bridges cross over the river throughout the town; the most notable include Tarr Steps, a prehistoric clapper bridge dating back to 1000 BC, which is made up of massive slabs of rock weighing over five tonnes each, Barle Bridge, which dates from medieval times, and Marsh Bridge, constructed in the 18th century. Further on lies the River Exe, and the point where the two eventually converge together.
Dulverton was previously primarily a market town, with, like many other towns in the area, a thriving wool industry. However most of its industry now comes from tourism.
Dulverton is so popular with tourists because it is in a prime location and there is a wide choice of things to do. There are walking tours from Dulverton to Winsford Hill, or the Iron Age hillforts, that sit on the hilltop overlooking Dulverton from a few miles away. You can also kayak in the River Barle, and go mountain biking; there are cycling trails that pass through Dulverton onto the moors. A rare breed of horse, the Exmoor pony, is also being conservated here.
Many festivities also take place in Dulverton throughout the year. On the first Saturday of October the Annual Carnival takes place, which has been going for 30 years. It is the only carnival in Western Somerset. Folk festivals and concerts also take place throughout the year, the main one taking place over the May Whitsun bank holiday. The Dulverton Folk Festival is absolutely free and great for all ages. In December, Dulverton by Starlight takes place.
Here you can do your shopping underneath the stars, while other festivities such as firework displays and the lighting of the Christmas lights take place. The town throughout its time has managed to keep a traditional and rustic aesthetic, bar a few modern houses in the north of the town. The streets in the town centre are very narrow, and do not accommodate for today’s modern vehicles. They are decked with small shops, cafes, eateries and pubs. At the very heart of it, in the town square, is the visitor centre, which exhibits the town’s history and surrounding nature for all to learn about. There is also a library and art gallery within the building.