9 free family days out this summer in Somerset
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With the school holidays upon us we thought we would give parents some ideas on what to do with the kids - for free (free entry but charges for extra services may apply).
Tarr Steps is a fascinating place to visit no matter what the time of year. Situated in Exmoor National Park, you can park in the carpark and walk down to the longest clapper bridge in Britain. For a short circular walk from the bridge just follow the orange way marks. There is also a more challenging circular walk from Dulverton to Tarr Steps.
Do make sure you bring shoes suitable for paddling and you can enjoy some time dipping your feet in the water.
Nutcombe Bottom is a popular walking and picnic site near Dunster. It is home to England’s tallest tree, which has been growing there since 1876 and was 60.05 metres when it was last measured in 2009. There is a walking trail, picnic area and play equipment.
St Audries, known locally as Deerpark, is an excellent starting point for exploring the Quantock Hills. The beach is a mixture of flat pebbles, sand, shingle and rock and it has two waterfalls that cascade down the cliffs along the back of the beach.
Access is via a path leading down from the local holiday park.
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Great Wood is the perfect spot in which to enjoy a family picnic. Spend some time exploring the nooks and crannies and admire some majestic Douglas fir along the two-mile red walk, which is ideal for families. There are plenty of bridleways and forest roads to explore on two wheels, or on horse back and there is a picnic area.
Chew Valley Lake
Take a picnic to Blagdon Lake and enjoy the peaceful surroundings in the Mendips.
Opened in the 1950s, the reservoir is the fifth largest man-made lake in the country and is surrounded by nature trails. There are also lots of places to pick up refreshments if you don't fancy taking a picnic.
The reserve lies in a narrow steep-sided wooded valley and is on both sides of the Holford stream. Most of the reserve is on steep, slippery slopes with the fast flowing stream at the base. Visit in late spring to see wild garlic carpeting the woodland floor. Treecreeper, Goldcrest, Greater Spotted and Green woodpeckers live nearby throughout the year.
Wimbleball, which is taken care of by the South West Lakes Trust, is great for a family day out. Take a walk around the lake or book some watersports and be sure to pack a picnic (there is a café on site too if you forget). A short distance from the main centre is the Wimbleball Dam, which is well worth a look. Or visit at night and hire a telescope, as Exmoor National Park is a dark skies reserve.
Aller & Beer Woods
This is also an ancient woodland running along the west facing slope of Aller Hill and with outstanding views across Aller Moor and towards Kings Sedgemoor on the Somerset Levels.
In late summer and autumn this is a good place to look for fungi including the Collared Earthstar.
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