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Taunton may be the largest town in Somerset but you’ll still find the country lifestyle at your doorstep. Surrounded by rolling hills and bountiful verdant countryside you’ll have the best of both worlds – a bustling town offering you everything you might need, and the pleasures of the outdoors and all that comes with it.
A renowned producer of cider and a major producer of dairy products, Taunton and the surrounding area is the location of several major cider brands, including Thatchers Cider, as well as Yeo Valley dairy farms – granting you the privilege of sampling their goods at their point of origin.
Taunton’s geographical location at the narrowing before the West Country is not only a benefit agriculturally; it has also made it an important strategic position through the centuries and has seen over a thousand years of military history as a result.
Settlement of the site dates back as far as the bronze age with Roman, Saxon and Medieval ages all having left their mark on the landscape. Still imposing on the town is the Norman-built Taunton castle. Originally the site of a Saxon construction, the Normans built the stone castle seen today – with it having undergone extensive repair and reconstruction since.
Used on and off during the last millennia, it featured prominently during the English Civil War, having changed hands numerous times during the conflict. It withstood siege three times and directly helped to secure an eventual Parliamentarian victory.
The castle is currently home to both the Museum of Somerset and the Somerset Military Museum, where visitors can view exhibits relating to the history of the county of Somerset. The castle displays finds from the region including the famous Frome Hoard – a trove of more than 52,500 silver and bronze Roman coins discovered by metal detector in 2010.
Not satisfied with homing a well-used castle, Taunton’s location again promoted it to a position of interest during the Second World War. The threat of invasion led to numerous defensive lines being created all over the country and Taunton was designated as the crux of one known as the Taunton Stop Line. Its task was to prevent or slow invaders from pushing inland from potential western landing points. Many of these defensive positions are still present today.
With those days long past, locals prefer to enjoy more leisurely pastimes. Not only is there a cricket ground to enjoy, but a cricket museum to go with it for those that know Googly from a Carrom Ball, or you can enjoy the weekly Farmers market still going strong after so many years. You’ll have no problem finding things to do in Taunton.