|Areas of Outstanding
very first AONB to be designated in England was the Quantock
Hills AONB in 1956. The sandstone hills run from the Vale of Taunton
Deane northwards to the Bristol
Channel and provide spectacular views of the surrounding countryside.
county of Dorset
lies on Somerset's southern border and 44% of the county - including
much of its coastline - was designated an AONB in 1957. The protected
area stretches from Lyme
Regis in the west to Brownsea
Island near Poole in the east and includes such beauty spots as
Cove and Chesil
Beach.The northern edge of the AONB lies in Somerset.
stretch over six counties, with their southwestern corner in Somerset.
They became the country's largest AONB on its creation in 1966. The
area is distinctive due to the underlying limestone rock which has
created a unique landscape and habitat for plants and animals.
Hills were designated an AONB in 1972. Running eastward from the
Channel they dominate the Somerset
Levels from which they rise. They include such famous places as
Gorge and the Wookey Hole Caves.
Chase and the West Wiltshire Downs was designated an AONB in 1981
and spreads across four counties with the majority of its southern
portion lying in Dorset. The mainly chalk landscape includes the wooded
Vale of Wardour which separates Cranborne
Chase in the south from the Wiltshire
Downs in the north. The area was once heavily forested and home
to several royal hunting forests of which remnants still remain.
further range of hills which have been designated an AONB in the county
are the Blackdown
Hills. They run along part of the county's western border with
Devon and were designated in 1991.
navigator and pirate William Dampier
was born in 1652 near Yeovil. His activities took him from Central
and South America to Africa and Asia and in 1688 he became the first
Englishman to land on the continent of Australia (then called New
Holland). In 1704 he was in command of the ship on which Alexander
Selkirk was a crewmember. Due to Dampier's cruelty Selkirk asked to
be left on one of the Juan Fernández Islands which lie in the
Pacific Ocean off the coast of Chile. Selkirk stayed on the uninhabited
island for over four years before being eventually rescued, a story
which is said to have been the basis for Daniel Defoe's "Robinson
Hanning Speke was buried in the church at Dowlish Wake - near
his family's ancestral home - in 1864. In 1856 he had set out with
Sir Richard Francis Burton to find the source of the Nile and in 1858
they became the first Europeans to reach Lake Tanganyika. Burton,
suffering from malaria, had to turn back and it was Speke travelling
on alone who discovered the river's source which he named Lake Victoria.
Speke died when he accidentally shot himself during a partridge shoot
Richard Francis Burton
The politician and pioneer of the trade union movement Ernest
Bevin was born in the Exmoor village
of Winsford in 1881. He was instrumental in building up the powerful
National Transport and General Workers' Union, becoming its general
secretary from 1921 until 1940 when he was offered an influential
position in Winston Churchill's coalition government. In 1945 he became
Foreign Secretary under Clement Attlee, using his negotiating skills
to deal with the many difficulties facing post-war Europe. He resigned
in 1951 due to ill health and died shortly afterwards. His ashes are
interred in Westminster
people buried at Westminster Abbey
never has been a war yet which, if the facts had been put calmly before
the ordinary folk, could not have been prevented . . . The common
man, I think, is the great protection against war.
(Speech at the House of Commons, 1945)
Pople was born at Burnham-on-Sea in 1925. In 1998 he shared
Prize for Chemistry with the American Walter Kohn for his
work in quantum chemistry.
ashes of the American-born winner of the Nobel
Prize for Literature in 1948 T.S.
Eliot, who wrote the poem The
Waste Land, were interred at the church at East Coker
in 1965. His ancestors had left the village in the 17th century
to emigrate to the USA.
of American Poets: T.S. Eliot
In my beginning is my end.
Four Quartets - East Coker (1940)
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
Quartets - Little Gidding (1942)
So, while the light fails
On a winter's afternoon, in a secluded chapel
History is now and England.
Quartets - Little Gidding (1942)
T.S. Eliot see Nobel
living at Nether
Stowey from 1797 to 1799 Samuel
wrote The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and - together with William
Wordsworth who in 1798 took up residence nearby at Alfoxden House
near Holford - the Lyrical Ballads.
Friends of Coleridge
"God save thee, ancient Mariner!
From the fiends that plague thee thus!
Why look'st thou so?" - With my cross-bow
I shot the albatross.
Coleridge - The
Rime of the Ancient Mariner (1798)
My heart leaps up when I behold
A rainbow in the sky:
So was it when my life began;
So is it now I am a man;
So be it when I shall grow old,
Or let me die!
The Child is the father of the Man;
Wordsworth - My
heart leaps up (1807)
science fiction writer Sir Arthur C. Clark
was born as Arthur Charles Clark in Minehead in 1917. The film 2001:
A Space Odyssey was based on his short story The Sentinel.
In the 1950s he emigrated to the island of Sri Lanka. In 2008 he died
at his home on the island near the capital of Colombo where he is
Arthur C. Clark
Arthur C. Clark Foundation
Sassoon was buried in Mells in 1967. He was one of the famous
World War poets whose experiences in the trenches of France drove
them to write of the futility of war.
First World War
good morning!" the General said
When we met him last week on our way to the line.
Now the soldiers he smiled at are most of 'em dead,
And we're cursing his staff for incompetent swine.
"He's a cheery old card," grunted Harry to Jack
As they slogged up to Arras with rifle and pack.
But he did for them both by his plan of attack.
The General (1918)