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Bruton: At first glance, this small Somerset town, situated a few miles north of the A303 trunk road, appears to have been forgotten by time. Yet down it's mediaeval bartons, along it's riverside walk and from the hill crowned by it's 15th Dovecot, visitors are surprised by a remarkable blend of the ancient and the modern. Bruton has Saxon origins and Celtic, Roman and Dark Ages sites in the surrounding heights of land.

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The Oak House Oak House, Coombe St, Bruton Tel: 01749 812022

The first church was built in about 690 and the town has housed an abbey and royal mint. The Domesday Book notes a variety of farming and, today, tractors and hay wagons regularly travel the High Street.

Around the town are buildings formerly used in the wool and, later, silk industries. There were major processing plants for grains, dairy and meat products, many of which now have moved on. A strong tradition of education remains, with five significent schools enjoying enviable reputations. Music, literature and visual expression thrive in Bruton, with bustling Festival of Arts and the remarkable Packhorse Fair as highlights in May.

Today, around 3,000 residents of all age groups make Bruton a thriving community. People from all over the world come to explore the fascinatingly close-knit architecture spanning five centuries, the history and, possibly their ancestral roots on the museum's data base. The sheer beauty of the surrounding landscape delights walkers who will wish to stay, lingering in the several excellent restaurants and bed and breakfasts.

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