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Somerset
Bath, Weston-Super-Mare, Taunton etc.
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(Click to enlarge)
(Source: Michael D Beckwith)

Last week, I posted a thread about the city of Phoenix, Arizona - and showed off its flag which features its namesake bird. Continuing the theme of "awesome flags with fantasy creatures", I'm now starting a thread about an English county whose flag has a dragon on it :P !

So, Somerset is in south-west England, sandwiched between Devon (which already has its own thread), and the city of Bristol (which will get its own thread at some point). It's the 7th-largest county in England by area - and, as of 2017, it has an estimated population of 956,700. It's quite a rural county, lacking in large cities; nevertheless, there are several smaller settlements which are noteworthy for one reason or another:

  • The largest city in Somerset is Bath, which has a relatively modest population of 88,859. It takes its name from the Roman bath complex, which was built almost 2,000 years ago, in 60-70 AD. After the Romans left, Bath became a home to an abbey in the 7th century (though its current building dates from the 16th century). In the years since then, the city's become famous for its 18th-century houses made out of honey-coloured 'Bath stone': the most magnificent example of this is the Royal Crescent, which can be seen in the picture at the top of the thread.

  • Weston-Super-Mare, about 25 miles to the west of Bath, is the second-largest town, with 76,143 people as of 2011. In the 19th century, it became one of the country's major seaside towns - and, as more tourists flocked there, two pleasure piers (Grand Pier and Birnbeck Pier) were built. Sadly, it went the way of the rest of the seaside resorts in the second half of the 20th century: Birnbeck Pier is now completely derelict, and Grand Pier was extensively damaged by fire in 2008. However, the Grand Pier was rebuilt and re-opened, and the rest of the town's attractions are undergoing regeneration, so maybe better things lie ahead?

  • The two largest towns in southern Somerset are Taunton (2011 population: 60,479) and Yeovil (2011 population: 45,784). Both of these have served as important military sites; however, they did so at very different times in history :P . Taunton is home to a Norman castle, built in the early 1100s, while Yeovil has been the home of the region's aircraft and defence industries for around 100 years now. These factories were heavily bombed during the Second World War; however, they continued undeterred, and remain there to this day.

  • Glastonbury is only the 20th-largest settlement in Somerset (with only 8,932 people as of 2011); however, its cultural and religious history goes back just as far as those of some of the larger towns. Like Bath, Glastonbury became home to an abbey in the 7th century - although, it didn't survive King Henry VIII's dissolution of the monasteries, and today it lies in ruins :( . More recently, Glastonbury has become home to the country's leading music festival, which attracts around 175,000 people every year (nearly 20 times the town's usual population!).

  • Cheddar is even smaller than Glastonbury (with a population of only 5,755) - but, again, it's famous for a couple of different reasons. First of all, it's located near to the caves of Cheddar Gorge, where Britain's oldest complete skeleton (Cheddar Man) was discovered in 1903. Secondly - and perhaps even more famously - it's the original home of the world-famous variety of cheese that bears its name. Another food product that Cheddar produces a lot of is strawberries (although I'm not sure that the strawberries go well with the cheese :lol: !)

So, has anyone here been anywhere in Somerset? If so, where did you go, and what did you think of it?
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#2
That building is so weird!
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#3
Yeah, it is: it's not something you see in just any city :P .

There are plenty of terraced houses like that in Bath (some of them even longer than that), but most of them are straight. As far as I know, that's the only one that's curved (at least, the only one of any significant length that is).
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You know,? Somerset is one of those places that I know exist, but whose existence I kind of refuse to acknowledge. It's British enough to be a parody, and I always end up discarding it as one XD.

Awesome city, though.
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(06-23-2019, 01:29 PM)Dust Bowl Wrote: You know,? Somerset is one of those places that I know exist, but whose existence I kind of refuse to acknowledge. It's British enough to be a parody, and I always end up discarding it as one XD.

Awesome city, though.

Interesting description: I've never thought of it like that :lol: !

I haven't seen very much of it myself: I've been to Bath several times, and I went to Cheddar Gorge once, but those are the only places in the county where I've been. There's still plenty of places in the county that I haven't visited.

In particular, it'd be nice to go to the West Somerset Railway - which, at 22.75 miles long, is the longest heritage railway in the country:

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