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Portal:Somerset

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Somerset

caption=Somerset shown within England

Somerset (/ˈsʌmərsɛt/ or /ˈsʌmərst/) is a county in South West England. The county town of Somerset is Taunton, which is in the south of the county. The ceremonial county of Somerset borders the counties of Bristol and Gloucestershire to the north, Wiltshire to the east, Dorset to the south-east, and Devon to the south-west. It is partly bounded to the north and west by the coast of the Bristol Channel and the River Severn estuary. The traditional northern border of the county is the River Avon, but the administrative boundary has crept southwards with the creation and expansion of the City of Bristol.

Somerset is a rural county of rolling hills such as the 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 Palaeolithic times, and subsequent settlement in the Roman and Saxon periods. Later, the county played a significant part in the consolidation of power and rise of King Alfred the Great, the English Civil War, and the Monmouth Rebellion.

Agriculture is a major business in the county. Farming of sheep and cattle, including for wool and the county's famous cheeses (most notably Cheddar), are traditional and contemporary, as is the more unusual cultivation of willow for basketry. Apple orchards were once plentiful, and to this day Somerset is known for the production of strong cider. Unemployment is lower than the national average, and the largest employment sectors are retail, manufacturing, tourism, and health and social care. Population growth in the county is higher than the national average. (more about Somerset...)

Selected article

The Roman Baths
The Roman Baths complex is a site of historical interest in the English city of Bath. The house is a well-preserved Roman site for public bathing. The Roman Baths themselves are below the modern street level. There are four main features: the Sacred Spring, the Roman Temple, the Roman Bath House and the Museum holding finds from Roman Bath. The buildings above street level date from the 19th century.

The Baths are a major tourist attraction and, together with the Grand Pump Room, receive more than one million visitors a year, with 1,037,518 people during 2009. It was featured on the 2005 TV program Seven Natural Wonders as one of the wonders of the West Country. Visitors can see the Baths and Museum but cannot enter the water. An audio guide is available in several languages.

In 2009 a grant of £90,000 was made to Bath and North East Somerset Council to contribute towards the cost of re-developing displays and improving access to the Roman Baths, by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport/Wolfson Fund, which was established to promote improvements in Museums and Galleries in England.


Selected biography

Ælfheah of Canterbury
Ælfheah of Canterbury
B. 954 – d. 19 April 1012

Ælfheah (Old English: Ælfhēah, "elf-high") officially remembered by the name Alphege within the Church, and also called Elphege, Alfege, or Godwine, was an Anglo-Saxon Bishop of Winchester, later Archbishop of Canterbury. He became an anchorite before being elected abbot of Bath Abbey. His perceived piety and sanctity led to his promotion to the episcopate, and eventually, to his becoming archbishop. Ælfheah furthered the cult of Saint Dunstan and also encouraged learning. He was captured by Viking raiders in 1011 and killed by them the following year after refusing to allow himself to be ransomed. Ælfheah was canonized as a saint in 1078. Thomas Becket, a later Archbishop of Canterbury, prayed to him just before his own murder in Canterbury Cathedral.


Districts of Somerset

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Somerset(27 C, 7 P, 1 F)
Somerset-related lists(1 C, 40 P)
Bath, Somerset(15 C, 5 P)
Burials in Somerset(3 C, 21 P)
Crime in Somerset(1 C, 4 P)
Culture in Somerset(13 C, 19 P)
Economy of Somerset(5 C, 6 P)
Education in Somerset(8 C, 2 P)
Environment of Somerset(6 C, 14 P)
Films shot in Somerset(3 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, 182 P)
Media in Somerset(4 C)
Music in Somerset(3 C, 3 P)
Organisations based in Somerset(14 C, 21 P)
People from Somerset(24 C, 249 P)
Politics of Somerset(12 C, 20 P)
Religion in Somerset(3 C, 3 P)
Sport in Somerset(6 C, 30 P)
Tourist attractions in Somerset(31 C, 47 P)
Transport in Somerset(12 C, 21 P)

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Clevedon Pier

Clevedon Pier is a seaside pier in the town of Clevedon, on the English side of the Severn Estuary. It was built in the 1860s, and – after a partial collapse in the previous decade – was fully restored in the 1980s.


Selected settlement

A view of Glastonbury from the Tor

Glastonbury
Co-ordinates 51°08′55″N 2°42′50″W / 51.1485°N 2.714°W / 51.1485; -2.714

Glastonbury is a small town situated at a dry point on the low lying Somerset Levels, 30 miles (48 km) south of Bristol. The town, which is in the Mendip district, had a population of 8,784 in the 2001 census. Glastonbury is less than 1 mile (2 km) across the River Brue from the village of Street. Evidence from timber trackways such as the Sweet Track show that the town has been inhabited since Neolithic times. Glastonbury Lake Village was an Iron Age village, close to the old course of the River Brue and Sharpham Park approximately 2 miles (3.2 km) west of Glastonbury, dates back to the Bronze Age. Centwine was the first Saxon patron of Glastonbury Abbey, which dominated the town for the next 700 years. One of the most important abbeys in England, it was the site of Edmund Ironside's coronation as King of England in 1016. Many of the oldest surviving buildings in the town, including the Tribunal, George Hotel and Pilgrims' Inn and the Somerset Rural Life Museum, which is based in an old tithe barn, are associated with the abbey. The Church of St John the Baptist dates from the 15th century.

The town became a centre for commerce, which led to the construction of the market cross, Glastonbury Canal and the Glastonbury and Street railway station, the largest station on the original Somerset and Dorset Joint Railway. The Brue Valley Living Landscape is a conservation project managed by the Somerset Wildlife Trust and nearby is the Ham Wall National Nature Reserve.

Glastonbury has been described as a New Age community which attracts people with New Age beliefs, and is notable for myths and legends often related to Glastonbury Tor, concerning Joseph of Arimathea, the Holy Grail and King Arthur. In some Arthurian literature Glastonbury is identified with the legendary island of Avalon. Joseph is said to have arrived in Glastonbury and stuck his staff into the ground, when it flowered miraculously into the Glastonbury Thorn. The presence of a landscape zodiac around the town has been suggested, along with a collection of ley lines, but no evidence has been discovered. Glastonbury Festival takes its name from the town but is actually held in the nearby village of Pilton.

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