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Coastal wonders to delight... The South West is the largest of all regions in England and is well known for its beautiful coastal areas, unique scenery and family attractions. The area covers counties including Dorset, Devon, Exmoor, Somerset, Wiltshire and Cornwall and Gloucestershire, including The Cotswolds. Home to the English Rivera, two national parks and four World Heritage Sites, the South West of England draws holiday makers and adventures seeking sun, sea, superb walking routes and sensational cities including Bristol and Bath. With so much to explore, we’ve selected our favourite popular and lesser-known landmarks in the South West of England which are all made for adventure.
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Navigating South West England
Join us as we explore the places in SW England which are Made for Adventure. With two National Parks and four World Heritage Sites, there truly is something for everyone.
Osmington White Horse
Clearly visible from miles around, the Osmington White Horse is a strange and spectacular sight. This hill figure was cut into the limestone of Osmington Hill just north of Weymouth and is believed to have been made in 1808. The figure is believed to be King George II riding his horse who was a regular visitor to the area. Whether he approved of the figure or not is widely debated. Extensive repairs were made in 2012 for the Olympics where the horse was cleaned and brought back to its original shape. Standing at 280ft, the figure is best seen from further away but can be accessed from the village of Osmington along the South West Coast Path.
Clevedon Pier was famously described by poet Sir John Betjeman as “the most beautiful pier in England” and we can certainly see why. Its unique design and innovative construction method was greatly influenced by its position on the English shore of the Severn Estuary, a body of water with the second highest tidal range in the world. The pier is approximately 1,000 feet long and stands 48 metres above the water on legs engineered from second hand rolled iron rails which are largely exposed when the tide is out but mostly hidden at high tide. The beauty of the pier itself, and the surrounding landscape make Clevedon Pier a popular attraction in Somerset. An attractive pavilion, café and souvenir shop complete the pier.
Cooper's Hill Nature Reserve
Sport doesn’t come much more dangerous and fascinating than the annual Cheese-Rolling event held on the Spring Bank Holiday at Cooper’s Hill, near Gloucester in England. Entrants race down the 200-yard steep hill after a round of Double Gloucester cheese which is sent rolling down it. This world-famous event now sees winners coming from Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Beyond the world-renowned Cheese Rolling slope, the surrounding area is a nature reserve comprising of over 100 acres of ancient beechwood, open scrub and grassland; a great place for wildlife lovers to explore.
Dr Jenner's Hut
The events of 2020 has shone a light on the importance of vaccinations. Dr Jenner’s House and Museum in Berkeley, Gloucestershire is commonly known as the birthplace of vaccination where English physician and scientist Edward Jenner pioneered the concept of vaccines. Born in 1749, Jenner trained as a surgeon and began experimenting with medicine, horticulture and the natural world. In 1796 as smallpox ravaged the population, Jenner carried out the world’s first controlled vaccination. Soon after he created a free vaccination clinic in his garden known as the Temple of Vaccinia (more commonly today The Jenner Hut). Jenner’s influence on immunisation is outstanding and even today we see the benefits of his pioneering work. Visit Dr Jenner’s house, museum and gardens to learn more about the great man and his life-saving contribution to science.
Forget surfing in the US! Bristol is home to an inland surf destination where you can surf on consistent, safe waves throughout the year. The 180m state-of-the-art surfing lake has been engineered to offer a surfing experience for everyone, whatever your age, fitness or ability. The Waves are produced by Wavegarden Cove technology which can generate up to 1,000 quality waves per hour ranging from 50cm (1.7ft) to almost 2m (6.5ft) in height. The Wave team of qualified coaches offer surf lessons to beginners; plus, non-guided surf sessions for more experienced surfers confident on the board are available. Wetsuit and surfboards are supplied although you can take your own gear too. Just don’t forget your towel and bathing suit.
Symonds Yat Rock
Offering one of the most awe-inspiring views of the Wye Valley, Symonds Yat Rock is a beacon which draws hikers, dog walkers, mountain bikers, photographers and bird spotters from across the globe. This internationally renowned viewpoint is perfectly places to take in views down both sides of the valley, allowing your eye to follow the trail of the river as it meanders through the idyllic landscape. There are five main waymarked trails and one cycling route ripe for exploration; plus, Symonds Yat Rock viewpoint is well-known as one of the best places to watch Peregrine Falcons, alongside other impressive birds of prey. Families and adventurers will enjoy the tranquil picnic spots, log cabin café and ancient fort.
A short stone’s throw from the world-famous Stonehenge, you’ll find the lesser-known but more beguiling standing stones of Avebury. Although Stonehenge is the best known, Avebury is actually the largest stone circle in the world and (unlike its more popular neighbour) can still be accessed and seen close up. Very little is known about Avebury and it has given up very little secrets, but it is believed that the world’s largest megalithic stone circle was likely placed around 2600 BCE and it once contained around 600 standing stones, although only around 76 survive today. There is evidence of Roman occupation in the area and ritualistic pilgrimages.
Burton-on-the-Water Model Village
Deep within the heart of the Cotswolds is a miniature wonder which reflects perfectly its surroundings. The Bourton-on-the-Water Model Village is a one-ninth scale replica of the charming community, constructed from the same Cotswold stone which many of the buildings in the real village are made from. A perfect stop off if you’re in the area, this carefully crafted attraction is best viewed after you have explored Bourton-on-the-Water so you can really appreciate the detail. Opened in 1937, the model village contains all the buildings including the church, Old Water Mill, Old New Inn and Bourton’s famous bridges, which the River Windrush flows under like it does in the actual village.
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The South West of England is made for adventure. So where will you explore first? Share your snaps and tag us in your adventures using #mymillets.