Welcome to Bishops Lydeard

A little local knowledge

Set 5 miles north west of Taunton, the village is thought to have been named after Gisa, a former Bishop of Wells, listed in the Doomsday book of 1086 as one of the principal landowners of the area.  The village sits in the shadow of Cothelstone Hill, (part of the Quantock Hills), which avid cyclists will know as featuring in day two of the Deloitte Ride Across Britain, with it’s tough 26 percent incline over a 1 km course. On a fine day, with a telescope it is said to provide a view of 14 counties and 150 churches.  

Points of Interest

The main road meanders from the A358 to Minehead, through to the heart of the village where a cluster of small shops and amenities gather, close by is the working water mill and part of the Rural Life Museum.  

Sandhill Park, a vast country house, built in 1720 for Minehead MP, John Periam, later became a Prison of War Camp during World War I and subsequently converted into a Military Hospital, then latterly operated as a psychiatric hospital until the 1990’s followed by it’s sad demise in 2011 as a result of severe fire damage. 

‘Lydeard’ as it is known locally, is home to a station of the West Somerset Railway, originating in 1862, it is the longest standard gauge railway line in the UK, operating heritage steam and diesel trains along a track of 20.5 miles from Bishops Lydeard to Minehead.  

Things to see

Now a popular tourist attraction all year round, the sight of the steam chugging chimneys of the West Somerset Railway can be seen far and wide, with the Santa train an ever-popular local tradition with families young and old.

Cothelstone Hill sits in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and includes two bronze age burial grounds known as ‘bowl burrows’ leading to an area known as Seven Sisters, formerly a circular clump of beech trees approximately 24m in diameter. 

The route up from the centre of the village is a steep and challenging bike ride popular with local mountain bikers and road cyclists eager to reach the summit and capture the panoramic views, sweeping across from the Blackdown Hills to Cardiff bay. 

The convenience of the large car park at the top of the hill makes this a popular dog friendly spot for walkers and families, mountain bikers and bird watchers, it’s the perfect location for weekend stroll anytime of the year and early risers will be rewarded by the sight of the wild Exmoor ponies feeding on damp grass in the morning mist. 

Things to eat

The village is well served with a master butchers and a co-op store, as well as two village pubs, The Lethbridge Arms and The Bird in Hand, local tea rooms and a Chinese takeaway.  A short walk from the centre of the village is the local farm shop offering and conveniently just across from this is the Quantock microbrewery with onsite tap room and shop, two very good reasons for a stroll in our humble opinion.

Things to do

Bishops Lydeard FC is considered by some to have been the true heart of the community, running for over 100 years it’s well supported history providing football fun for players and fans of all ages and genders. 

Cothelstone Point to Point course is close by offering an almost flat racecourse with meets through the year and is home to the Quantock Staghounds, Weston & Banwell Harriers and the West Somerset Vale Hunt.

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