Living in Somerset
Somerset may be the ideal location if you are looking for a new home in the South West of England.
It is a historic county steeped in myth and legend bordered by Bristol, Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, Dorset and Devon. It is home to the legendary Arthurian Isle of Avalon, thought by many to be Glastonbury Tor.
Somerset has a contrasting landscape of rolling hills such as the Blackdown Hills and the Exmoor National Park and flat expanses of land including the Somerset Levels wetlands.
The county town of Somerset is Taunton. There are new housing developments being built around the town which is proving to be a great area for families looking for a new home in Somerset.
There are two cities in the county, Bath and Wells. The other major towns by population are Bridgwater, Weston-Super- Mare and Yeovil. There are also several market towns including Axbridge, Castle Cary, Chard, Frome, Glastonbury and Midsomer Norton, as well as many picturesque villages.
House prices in Somerset*
The price range of new homes in Somerset will suit most budgets. There are some exciting new housing developments in the county, particularly around Taunton.
The average price of a house in Somerset is around £249,000. A detached house in the county will set you back around £351,000 while a semi-detached property will cost about
£241,000, on average. The average price for terraced houses in Somerset is around £203,000.
House prices vary from town to town around the county. The average cost of a new home in Taunton is about £251,000 whereas a house in a larger town like Wells is costlier at around £302,000.
*Housing marketing statistics taken from Zoopla in April 2018.
Things to do and see in Somerset
The lifestyle in Somerset can be idyllic. It is a beautiful county and a wonderful place to look for a new home in the South West of England.
Music fans can enjoy the annual Glastonbury Festival, a world-famous music and cultural event which takes place on Worthy Farm near Pilton.
The annual Bath Literature Festival is one of several local festivals in the county. Others include the Frome Festival and the Trowbridge Village Pump Festival which, despite its
name, is held at Farleigh Hungerford in Somerset. The annual circuit of West Country Carnivals is held in a variety of Somerset towns during the autumn.
Premiership Rugby is played at Bath and Yeovil Town plays football in League Two of the English Football League. There are horse racing courses at Taunton and Wincanton.
There are plenty of interesting historic buildings, houses, gardens and museums to visit around the county. Somerset also has many literary associations for literature fans interested in the poets Coleridge and Wordsworth and the 19 th century novelist Jane Austen.
Wildlife and open spaces are there for all to enjoy in places such as the Exmoor National Park, the Blackdown Hills Area of Outstanding Beauty and the Somerset Levels. If you enjoy
walking there are several long-distance footpaths in the county including Coleridge Way, Mendip Way, Quantock Greenway and the River Parrett Trail. The South West Coast Path
National Trail has its starting point at Minehead.
Along the coast there are several resort towns including Burnham on Sea, Minehead and Weston-Super- Mare.
Transport in Somerset
The M5 motorway passes through the West of the county providing access to Exeter in the South up to Birmingham and the West Midlands in the North. There are trunk roads including the A303, A37, A38 and A39 which give good access across the county.
Rail services in the county are provided by South Western Railway on the West of England line which runs between Exeter and London Waterloo via Yeovil Junction. There is also a service through Bath Spa to Bristol Temple Meads with connecting services to London Paddington.
There are various bus routes linking towns and villages in the county including services operated by First West of England, Wessex Connect and Stagecoach Somerset.
Education in Somerset
Somerset has a variety of education options for primary, secondary, further and higher education from which to choose. Both the state comprehensive and independent sectors are
well catered for in the county - there are 30 state and 17 independent schools in Somerset at secondary level.
A wide range of further and higher education is available. Colleges include Weston College, Bridgwater and Taunton College, Bath College and Frome College. Higher education is
provided by the University of Bath, Bath Spa University and University Centre Weston, as well as the University of Bristol in the neighbouring authority.
Health services and amenities in Somerset
Somerset is generally a healthy place to buy a new home in the South West. Male and female adult life expectancy, and deaths from smoking, heart disease and cancer are all
better than the national average according to government data.
There are 103 GP practices across Somerset. Out-of- hours services are provided by South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust.
The main providers of NHS acute hospital care in the county are Yeovil District Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust, Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust and Weston General Hospital.
The Avon and Somerset constabulary covers the cities of Bristol, Bath and Wells as well as the more rural areas of Somerset and South Gloucestershire. There are 121
neighbourhoods covered by around 40 police stations. In line with national trends, crime rates are falling in Somerset according to the latest figures from the police. There were 12,635 reported crimes in February 2018, down from 13,566 in January and part of a trend of declining crime rates.
A brief history of Somerset
Somerset has been settled since the Stone Age, particularly caves in the Mendip Hills and Cheddar Gorge including Gough’s Cave, Aveline’s Hole and Wookey Hole. The dry areas of the Somerset Levels around Glastonbury and Brent Knoll also have a long history of settlement. There are ancient roads and tracks, stone circles and hill forts in the county.
The Romans invaded in 47 AD and remained in the area for over 400 years. Roman remains have been found across the county most notably the Roman baths in Bath. After the Romans left the region was settled by Anglo Saxon peoples and Somerset became part of the Kingdom of Wessex.
In the English Civil War Somerset was largely Parliamentarian, with key engagements being the Sieges of Taunton and the Battle of Langport.
During the Middle Ages the Somerset Levels were drained. The woollen trade flourished as did agriculture and many associated cottage industries. The industrial revolution killed off the cottage industries, but agriculture continued to prosper. Coal mining became an important industry in the 18 th and 19 th centuries, aided by improvements in the turnpike roads and the construction of several waterways including the Somerset Coal Canal, Bridgwater and Taunton Canal, Westport Canal and Glastonbury and Chard Canals.
The modern economy of Somerset is still dominated by agriculture. Cider making and food manufacturing including cheese and other dairy food production are both important industries in the county, providing a range of employment opportunities for anyone considering a new home in Somerset.
Other important industries include nuclear power, defence technology and tourism.
Current developments in Somerset