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Portal:Somerset

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Somerset

caption=Somerset shown within England

Somerset (/ˈsʌmərsɛt/ (About this sound listen) or locally /zʌmərzɛt/) (or archaically, Somersetshire) is a county in South West England which borders Gloucestershire and Bristol to the north, Wiltshire to the east, Dorset to the south-east and Devon to the south-west. It is bounded to the north and west by the Severn Estuary and the Bristol Channel, its coastline facing southeastern Wales. Its traditional border with Gloucestershire is the River Avon. Somerset's county town is Taunton.

Somerset is a rural county of rolling hills such as the Blackdown Hills, Mendip Hills, Quantock Hills and Exmoor National Park, and large flat expanses of land including the Somerset Levels. There is evidence of human occupation from Paleolithic times, and of subsequent settlement in the Celtic, Roman and Anglo-Saxon periods. The county played a significant part in the consolidation of power and rise of King Alfred the Great, and later in the English Civil War and the Monmouth Rebellion. The city of Bath is famous for its substantial Georgian architecture and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Read more...

Selected article

Cheddar Gorge
Cheddar Gorge is a limestone gorge in the Mendip Hills, near the village of Cheddar. The gorge is the site of the Cheddar show caves, where Britain's oldest complete human skeleton, Cheddar Man, estimated to be 9,000 years old, was found in 1903. Older remains from the Upper Late Palaeolithic era (12,000–13,000 years ago) have been found. The caves, produced by the activity of an underground river, contain stalactites and stalagmites.

Cheddar Gorge, including the caves and other attractions, has become a tourist destination. In a 2005 poll of Radio Times readers, following its appearance on the 2005 television programme Seven Natural Wonders, Cheddar Gorge was named as the second greatest natural wonder in Britain, surpassed only by Dan yr Ogof caves. The gorge attracts about 500,000 visitors per year.


Selected biography

Edward Sainsbury
B. (1851-07-05)July 5, 1851 – d. October 28, 1930(1930-10-28) (aged 79)

Edward Sainsbury was an English cricketer who represented, and captained, Somerset County Cricket Club in the late 19th century. During a 10-year first-class cricket career, he also represented Gloucestershire and the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC).

Most commonly employed as a right-handed opening batsman, Sainsbury was one of Somerset's most talented batsman during their formative years. His slow underarm bowling was effective in second-class cricket, but in an era when overarm bowling was becoming the standard, he was used sparingly in the first-class game. During his time at Somerset, the county gained first-class status. After being led for three seasons by Sainsbury's Lansdown team-mate Stephen Newton, Sainsbury was given the Somerset captaincy for the 1885 season. A combination of poor results and not being able to raise a full eleven during that season led to the county's removal from the first-class game, although Sainsbury remained as captain until 1888. By the time Somerset had improved sufficiently to return to first-class cricket in 1891, Sainsbury had moved to neighbouring county Gloucestershire, where he saw out his county cricket career.


Districts of Somerset

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Somerset(27 C, 7 P, 1 F)
Somerset-related lists(3 C, 31 P)
Bath, Somerset(16 C, 1 P)
Burials in Somerset(4 C, 21 P)
Crime in Somerset(1 C, 3 P)
Culture in Somerset(13 C, 19 P)
Economy of Somerset(5 C, 7 P)
Education in Somerset(8 C, 3 P)
Environment of Somerset(6 C, 15 P)
Films shot in Somerset(6 P)
Geography of Somerset(12 C, 17 P)
Geology of Somerset(3 C, 46 P)
Health in Somerset(2 C, 13 P)
History of Somerset(26 C, 187 P)
Media in Somerset(4 C)
Music in Somerset(4 C, 3 P)
Organisations based in Somerset(15 C, 16 P)
People from Somerset(24 C, 266 P)
Politics of Somerset(12 C, 21 P)
Religion in Somerset(3 C, 3 P)
Sport in Somerset(8 C, 18 P)
Tourist attractions in Somerset(31 C, 47 P)
Transport in Somerset(12 C, 20 P)

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Burnham on Sea Carnival 2006

The West Country Carnival is an annual celebration featuring a parade of illuminated floats (termed "carts" locally). The celebration dates back to the Gunpowder Plot of 1605. The series of parades in each town now form a major regional festival. The event's purpose, as it has always been from the start, is to raise thousands of pounds for local charities from money collection carts in the two hour procession.


Selected settlement

The shortest pier in Britain, on the sea front at Burnham-on-Sea

Burnham-on-Sea
Co-ordinates 51°14′15″N 2°59′37″W / 51.2376°N 2.9935°W / 51.2376; -2.9935

Burnham-on-Sea is a town at the mouth of the River Parrett on Bridgwater Bay. Burnham was a small village until the late 18th century, when it began to grow because of its popularity as a seaside resort. It forms part of the parish of Burnham-on-Sea and Highbridge. According to the 2001 census the population of the parish was 18,401.

The position of the town on the edge of the Somerset Levels, where they meet the Bristol Channel, has resulted in a history dominated by land reclamation and sea defences since Roman times. Burnham was seriously affected by the Bristol Channel floods of 1607, and various flood defences have been installed since then. In 1911, a concrete sea wall was built, and after the Second World War further additions to the defences were made, using the remains of a Mulberry harbour. The present curved concrete wall was completed in 1988. There have been many shipwrecks on the Gore Sands, which lie just offshore and can be exposed at low tides. The Bridgwater Corporation sent the first lifeboat to Burnham in 1836; the present rescue service is provided by the Burnham-on-Sea Area Rescue Boat. The need to protect shipping using the channel has also led to the development of the lighthouses, which are prominent landmarks. The original lighthouse, known as the Round Tower, was built to replace the light on the top of the 14th-century tower of St Andrews Church. The four-storey round tower was taken over and improved by Trinity House in 1815, and was operational until 1832. The top two storeys were later removed, to prevent confusion with the new lighthouse. The 110 feet (34 m) pillar or High Lighthouse and the low wooden pile lighthouse or Lighthouse on legs on the beach were built to replace it.

A stone pier was built in 1858 by the Somerset Central Railway. Soon afterwards, in 1860, a steamer service to Wales was inaugurated, but it was never a commercial success, and ended in 1888. Burnham-on-Sea railway station was the terminus of the Burnham branch of the Somerset and Dorset Joint Railway. It opened in 1858, closed to scheduled passenger traffic in 1951, and stopped being used for excursions in 1962. The former Great Western Railway station is now known as Highbridge and Burnham. A second pier, built of concrete between 1911 and 1914, is claimed to be the shortest pier in Britain. The town has number of educational, religious and cultural buildings, and sporting clubs.

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