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Portal:Somerset

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Somerset

caption=Somerset shown within England

Somerset (/ˈsʌmərsɪt, -sɛt/ (About this soundlisten); archaically Somersetshire) is a county in South West England which borders Gloucestershire and Bristol to the north, Wiltshire to the east, Dorset to the south-east and Devon to the south-west. It is bounded to the north and west by the Severn Estuary and the Bristol Channel, its coastline facing southeastern Wales. Its traditional border with Gloucestershire is the River Avon. Somerset's county town is Taunton.

Somerset is a rural county of rolling hills, the Blackdown Hills, 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 Paleolithic times, and of subsequent settlement by the Celts, Romans and Anglo-Saxons. The county played a significant part in Alfred the Great's rise to power, and later the English Civil War and the Monmouth Rebellion. The city of Bath is famous for its Georgian architecture and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. (Full article...)

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River Parrett near Burrowbridge
River Parrett near Burrowbridge
The River Parrett flows through the counties of Dorset and Somerset in South West England, from its source in the Thorney Mills springs in the hills around Chedington in Dorset. Flowing northwest through Somerset and the Somerset Levels to its mouth at Burnham-on-Sea, into the Bridgwater Bay Nature Reserve on the Bristol Channel, the Parrett drains an area of 643 sq mi (1,670 km2)—about 50 per cent of Somerset's land area.

The Parrett's main tributaries include the Rivers Tone, Isle, and Yeo, and the River Cary via the King's Sedgemoor Drain. The 37-mile (60 km) long river is tidal for 27 miles (43 km) up to Oath. Because the fall of the river between Langport and Bridgwater is only 1 foot per mile (0.2 m/km), it is prone to frequent flooding in winter and during high tides. Many approaches have been tried since the early 19th century to reduce the incidence and effect of floods and to drain the surrounding fields.

During the Roman era the river was crossed by a ford, and in Anglo-Saxon times formed a boundary between Wessex and Dumnonia. From the medieval period the river served the Port of Bridgwater, enabling cargoes to be transported inland. The arrival of the railways led to a decline and commercial shipping now only docks at Dunball. Man's influence on the river has left a legacy of bridges and industrial artefacts. The Parrett along with its connected waterways and network of drains supports an ecosystem that includes several rare species of flora and fauna. The River Parrett Trail has been established along the banks of the river. (Full article...)

Selected biography

Saint Dunstan
Saint Dunstan
Dunstan
B. 909 – d. 19 May 988

Dunstan who was born in Baltonsborough, was an Abbot of Glastonbury Abbey, a Bishop of Worcester, a Bishop of London, and an Archbishop of Canterbury, later canonised as a saint. His work restored monastic life in England and reformed the English Church. His 11th-century biographer, Osbern, himself an artist and scribe, states that Dunstan was skilled in "making a picture and forming letters", as were other clergy of his age who reached senior rank. Dunstan served as an important minister of state to several English kings. He was the most popular saint in England for nearly two centuries, having gained fame for the many stories of his greatness, not least among which were those concerning his famed cunning in defeating the Devil. (Full article...)

Districts of Somerset

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Somerset(27 C, 7 P)
Somerset templates(2 C, 6 P)
Somerset-related lists(3 C, 22 P)
Burials in Somerset(5 C, 26 P)
Crime in Somerset(1 C, 3 P)
Culture in Somerset(12 C, 10 P)
Economy of Somerset(5 C, 8 P)
Education in Somerset(8 C, 4 P)
Environment of Somerset(6 C, 15 P)
Geography of Somerset(12 C, 18 P)
Geology of Somerset(3 C, 50 P)
Health in Somerset(1 C, 16 P)
History of Somerset(29 C, 200 P)
Mass media in Somerset(4 C, 3 P)
Music in Somerset(5 C, 5 P)
People from Somerset(28 C, 259 P)
Politics of Somerset(14 C, 17 P)
Religion in Somerset(2 C, 3 P)
Sport in Somerset(11 C, 6 P)
Transport in Somerset(13 C, 15 P)

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The old winding wheel on a headframe, now in the centre of Radstock, in front of the Radstock Museum
The old winding wheel on a headframe, now in the centre of Radstock, in front of the Radstock Museum
Radstock
Co-ordinates 51°17′34″N 2°26′52″W / 51.2927°N 2.4477°W / 51.2927; -2.4477

Radstock is a town 9 miles (14 km) south west of Bath, and 8 miles (13 km) north west of Frome. It is within the unitary authority of Bath and North East Somerset and has a population of 5,275 according to the 2001 Census. Together with neighbouring Midsomer Norton and the smaller settlements of Clandown, Westfield and Haydon, Radstock is part of the conurbation and civil parish of Norton Radstock.

Radstock has been settled since the Iron Age, and its importance grew after the construction of the Fosse Way, a Roman road. The growth of the town occurred after 1763, when coal was discovered in the area. Large numbers of mines opened during the 19th century including several owned by the Waldegrave family, who had been Lords of the Manor since the English Civil War. The spoil heap of Writhlington colliery is now the Writhlington Site of Special Scientific Interest, which includes 3,000 tons of Upper Carboniferous spoil from which more than 1,400 insect fossil specimens have been recovered. The complex geology and narrow seams made coal extraction difficult. Tonnage increased throughout the 19th century, reaching a peak around 1901, when there were 79 separate collieries and annual production was 1,250,000 tons per annum. However, due to local geological difficulties and manpower shortages output declined and the number of pits reduced from 30 at the beginning of the 20th century to 14 by the mid-thirties; the last two pits, Kilmersdon and Writhlington, closed in September 1973. The Great Western Railway and the Somerset and Dorset Railway both established stations and marshalling yards in the town. The last passenger train services to Radstock closed in 1966. Manufacturing industries such as printing, binding and packaging provide some local employment. In recent years, Radstock has increasingly become a commuter town for the nearby cities of Bath and Bristol.

Radstock is home to the Radstock Museum which is housed in a former market hall, and has a range of exhibits which offer an insight into north-east Somerset life since the 19th century. Many of the exhibits relate to local geology and the now disused Somerset coalfield and geology. The town is also home to Writhlington School, famous for its Orchid collection, and a range of educational, religious and cultural buildings and sporting clubs. (Full article...)

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