Tag Archives: country houses somerset

A favourite day out in Somerset


Tarr Steps to Withypool along the River Barle 

Combining 3 of our great interests in life – food, the countryside and walking – this is a popular day out at Big House HQ.

Tarr Steps

Tarr Steps

Although only a 45 minute drive from Wellington HQ, we like to break the journey for coffee and cake in Dulverton.  You can even do the same on your return journey with evening fish and chips by the river & a pint from the pub, but we leave that to your conscience and your cardiologists’ advice!

Wonderful scenery all the way to Tarr Steps, snaking along the river, through the narrow, quaint streets of Dulverton, up onto the moor with wild ponies roaming and then dipping down again into the wooded valley.

Park either at the top in the designated car park for Tarr Steps and walk down to the river or if you’ve got 4 x 4 going down to the wide (sometimes quite deep) ford and driving through is fun; your kids/the kid in you, will love it.

The ancient stone clapper bridge known as Tarr Steps possibly dates to around 1000 BC. It’s 180 feet long with 17 spans and according to local legend, the stones were placed by the devil who still has sunbathing rights over them!  In the winter of 2012 half of the bridge was washed away by the heavily swollen river.  All of the pieces were found, brought back upstream and re-assembled.  Good as (1000 year old) new.

After you’ve admired the bridge, walk along the marked path (car park side) signed to Withypool (GR844354), this runs mainly beside the river, so easy on the map reading skills.  Such a pretty walk, along the way you’ll pass in and out of peaceful woodlands where deer roam and there’s plenty of birdlife too.

River Barle

River Barle

River Barle

River Barle

It’s worth sitting by the river at some point and just listening to the water, watching out for fish jumping or the occasional kingfisher.  Currently (summer 2015) there are poetry boxes through the woods, to encourage the laureate in you to leave a verse or two.

Once you’ve reached Withypool, a picnic lunch is great or feast at the 300 year old Royal Oak pub.  Try the monkfish goujons; finer, we have not tasted!  On your return journey, either retrace your steps or add in a loop that takes you along the ridge of the hill with far reaching views of Exmoor.  Worth it, but a steep climb.

Back at Tarr Steps, the tea rooms by the bridge serves all manner of refreshments, cream teas and ice-creams for the weary walker in need of a recharge.

The entire walk should take you 3 hours, but we like to dilly dally and maybe you do too!  Enjoy.


The Copper Kettle, Fore Street, Dulverton, 01398 323697.  Great views from the tea garden, conservatory or indoor seating and ambitious size pieces of cake.

The Royal Oak, Withypool, 01643 831506.  A charming old pub.  Good food & beer, Sunday roast too.

Four Reasons Why Hiring A Big House Is Frankly Brilliant


When hiring a big house your entire stay is tailored to fit your exact requirements. Here are four examples that demonstrate how hiring one of our houses can be an unforgettable and frankly brilliant experience!

Bride And Groom With Bridesmaid At Wedding Reception

The Wedding That Everyone Remembers

Time and time again, you will hear people say that they could not believe how quickly their wedding day went by, so what better way to maximise the experience and your memories of your special day than to hire a country house for your wedding and spread the occasion out over a few days?

One of the best things about weddings is the opportunity to have all of your favourite people in the same place at the same time, an opportunity that sadly does not present itself often in life. Hiring a big house for your event allows you to spend quality time with your guests in a luxurious environment where you can reconnect, bond and enjoy each other’s company at your own pace; making your big day even more intimate, enjoyable and memorable.

Widcome Grange, near Taunton in Somerset is a popular choice for country house wedding. Situated in the heart of the Blackdown Hills, an area of outstanding natural beauty, it is easy to see what makes this large and spectacular property with its beautiful grounds and lakeside setting the perfect choice for a very special event.

Organise A Large Group Holiday

Families and friends tend to find themselves spread out across the country and abroad these days, as people move and establish new lives for themselves elsewhere due to new relationships, career opportunities or the basic desire for travel. This can make it incredibly difficult to maintain relationships because of the difficulty in getting everybody together in the same place at the same time.

Getting everybody together under the same roof for a group break, far from the stress of your usual busy schedules gives everyone plenty of time to reconnect, whilst enjoying the luxury of extended mealtimes and shared activities.

With a weekend or longer together in a large property of your choice, you have oodles of time to relax and enjoy your own space, as well as the opportunity to catch up with everyone in your group at your own pace during your stay.

Celebration Time

Have you got a milestone celebration like a birthday or anniversary on the calendar or are you simply planning to hold a large party? Either way, entertaining your guests in a large character property is a great way to create a unique event that will be remembered for years to come!

Corporate Events With A Wow Factor

Hiring a big house for your corporate events gives you absolute flexibility to plan your event, your way.

With full exclusive access to one of our properties and grounds, you have the opportunity to create unique experiences for your staff training days, meetings, teambuilding events and conferences, free from any of the typical restrictions that are associated with hiring hotels and conference centres.

So forget about hiring another identikit drab venue and go for something with some personality and originality that’ll reflect well on your company and brand. If you start with an inspiring location then you’re half way to creating a buzzing event that’ll have people lining up to attend next year.