Day Trips

Hartland Abbey  | City of Wells |
Sidmouth  | Cothelstone Manor  | A Tale of Two Abbeys  | Plymouth Gin Distillery  |

Hartland Abbey , Gardens, and Appledore
Back to top Wednesday 21st June 2017

WSNTA Hartland

Tucked away in a picturesque valley in North Devon leading to the sea are Hartland Abbey and Gardens. Founded in 1157 by Augustinian monks the property was gifted by Henry VIII to ancestors of the family who still live here today. There have been many BBC and other productions filmed here including Sense and Sensibility and more recently The Night Manager.

After a coffee stop en-route we will arrive at the Abbey in time for a conducted tour before the house opens to the general public. A Kitchen Tea Room serves homemade light lunches and cream teas but for those of you who prefer there is plenty of space in the gardens for picnics. We have time to wander through the gardens or walk to the sea (quite a long walk). A gentle stroll along the drive will take you to the 18C walled gardens recently restored to how they were a century ago. For those of you not able to walk to the walled gardens lifts will be provided.

After we leave Hartland Abbey we travel back to Appledore where we will stop for you to explore this fascinating little fishing village where the rivers Taw and Torridge meet. Appledore has been for centuries an important ship building centre, a tradition which is still carried on to this day. The maze of narrow lanes contain an attractive jumble of closely packed brightly painted cottages and shops. Explore these lanes and you will find a variety of cafes and pubs where you can have a cup of tea or something stronger if you wish. From Appledore we will make our way back home via North Devon and Exmoor.

Depart Williton 08:15a.m. (Via Minehead 08:30am and Exmoor)
Return: 7:00p.m. approx
Cost: £27.00 per head including coffee and biscuits.
Bookings to: Lesley Struck (Organiser) - see Newsletter for contact details
Outing to Clarks Village and City of Wells
Back to top Thursday June 29th 2017 Cancelled


The Smallest City in England is set in stunning countryside at the foot of the Mendip Hills. With a wonderful Cathedral, magnificent Bishops Palace, Vicar's Close (above), the spring water flowing down the roadside, and a whole host of historical or cultural sites. The Palace Grounds are a delight, and you can see the water welling up in the ponds behind the Cathedral, which gave rise to the City's name.

However, members will all have different ideas on how best to enjoy this charming place, particularly if they have been before. Therefore the trip charge only covers transport, and an optional extra of a 60-90 minute Guided Heritage Tour, which will concentrate on some of the aspects of historical Wells which you may not have come across before.

You should be able to organise your own refreshments, and how you spend your time, but I will supply you with a map and lots of ideas and details of entrance charges, to the main attractions. etc.

We will leave Minehead 08.30 and have an hour at Clarks Village, the famous retail park, where you could just have a relaxed coffee and loo break, or indulge in a little retail therapy. Map supplied!
You may even decide instead to stay at Clarks Village and let us pick you up again on our way back. Giving you six and a half hours of sheer retail and eating pleasure! Members who opted for this in January 2016 say the time passed very quickly! Coffee, shop, lunch, shop, afternoon tea, home!

Leaving there at 11.30 we will have the Guided Tour of Wells 1200 to 1330, giving you time to have lunch afterwards or maybe take a picnic. And then explore, with pick up for return at 4.30 [Wells] and 5.00 [Clarks Village], returning to Minehead around 7pm.

Coach and Guided Tour £18, [Only 30 places available on the guided tour]
Coach only £14
Bookings to David Beach [contact details in newsletter]
Lacock (NT) – Abbey, Grounds
Fox Talbot Museum & Village
Back to top Tuesday 11th July 2017

WSNTA Lacock

Lacock village is famous for its picturesque streets, which have been used as TV and film locations. Its timber framed cottages house a bustling community. The Abbey, which is located within its own woodland grounds, is a quirky country house of various architectural styles, built upon the foundations of a former nunnery dating back to 1232.

Within the Abbey you can experience the atmosphere of the medieval rooms and cloister court. The museum celebrates the achievements of former resident William Henry Fox Talbot, famous for his contributions to the invention of photography.

Outside, situated alongside the River Avon in a rolling Wiltshire landscape, the wooded grounds contain a botanic garden, greenhouse and orchard. There are various walking trails, and picnic facilities. We will spend a relaxing day with ample time to explore. Within Lacock there are many places to eat and drink, two National Trust shops, independent village businesses, and the NT’s Stables tea-room.

Depart Minehead: 9.00 am
Return 6.30 p.m approx.
Cost: £16
Bookings to Veronica Cole [contact details in newsletter]
Sidmouth & Sand House
Back to top Wednesday August 30th 2017

WSNTA Sidmouth

Sun, Sea and SAND !!!

Well, I can't promise the sun, but the sea at lovely Sidmouth, and then the afternoon at historic and fascinating "Sand House”. Members who went to Blackmore Farm in January will know that Sand has close historical links with Blackmore, and is similarly a charming manor house. It should make for a wonderfully relaxing day.

We go via Exeter Services for a short coffee break, and then to Sidmouth, the delightful Devon coast resort. Our coach will drop you off on the sea front and then park close to the charming cliff-top Connaught Gardens. Members may find somewhere for lunch in Sidmouth, possibly visit the town museum which is hosting an exhibition about Sand House this summer, and then take a gentle six minute walk to the Connaught gardens, [free admission] to while away some quality time before re-joining the coach at 2pm. A map will be provided, and we could arrange to pick up anyone who wishes to avoid the walk. We then drive the short distance to Sand House. We will have a guided tour, and then an optional Afternoon Tea [£3.50 supplement] for which they restrict numbers to 40. At 5pm we leave for home by direct route through Honiton.

Depart Minehead: 9.00 am
Return 7.00 p.m approx.
Cost: £21.50 to cover coach and driver gratuity, and admission to Sand House
Supplement for Afternoon Tea, add £ 3.50. [Total £ 25] Bookings to David Beach [contact details in newsletter]
Cothelstone Manor
Back to top Wednesday 13th September 2017

WSNTA Cothelstone

Rare Visit to Cothelstone Manor

This hidden treasure in the Quantock Hills is still a private home for Nigel Muers-Raby and his family. It has been a continuous settlement since 600 AD and is notable for its Grade 1 gate house and chapel. To quote Thomas Gerade 1633 “Their mansion house is faire and with ancient, pleasantly sceated on the declining of a hill towards the south, and accomodated a park adjoyninge”. Fascinating talks by Nigel and David Dacey followed by a lavish home-made cream tea and sandwiches. Lunch will be available before for those who wish at The Blue Ball Inn, Triscombe - a menu will be available nearer the time with travel details.

Own cars – plenty of parking space.

  • 12.00 noon Own lunch at The Blue Ball Inn at (menu to follow)
  • 1.30 Leave for Cothelstone
  • 2.00 p.m arrival and welcome
  • 2.15 p.m. history and tour of the Manor
  • 3.00 p.m. history of and visit to the church
  • 3.45 p.m. enjoy a scrumptious home-made tea in the Galleried Hall and wander around the private house and gardens at will.
Cost to include entry and tea £18.00 per person Bookings to Glen and Brian Heaton [contact details in newsletter]
Buckland Abbey NT & Buckfast Abbey
Back to top Thursday, 21st September 2017

WSNTA Cothelstone

A Tale of Two Abbeys

We will make a longer than customary comfort/coffee stop en route at Buckfast Abbey. This is an interesting place, so worth the extra time to give you a chance to look round. Next year they will be celebrating 1,000 years of history since it was first founded by King Cnut. After the dissolution of the Monasteries it fell into ruin until 1882 when French Benedictine monks settled there. A group of 4-6 monks, over 30 years, painstakingly rebuilt the Abbey Church themselves. It is the only English medieval monastery to have been restored and used again for its original purpose. The gardens, modelled partly on medieval plans are a tranquil haven worth visiting.

We then go to our main visit of the day Buckland Abbey – founded hundreds of years ago by Cistercian monks, later converted into a house. Today it combines furnished rooms with museum galleries bringing to life the story of how seafaring adventurers Sir Richard Grenville & Sir Francis Drake changed the shape of Buckland Abbey and the fate of England. Picnics are welcomed in the garden and grounds, but there is also a good restaurant serving freshly cooked local produce. We will have a guided tour of the Abbey, then time to explore. The garden includes a walled kitchen garden, Cider House garden and wild garden, and there is an impressive medieval Great Barn, orchards and woodland walks.

Cost: £18.00 per head Depart: Minehead 8.30 am
Return: approx. 7.00 p.m. Bookings to: Veronica Cole [contact details in newsletter]
Plymouth Gin Distillery
Back to top Wednesday 18th October 2017

WSNTA Cothelstone

We will stop for coffee at Buckfast Abbey before continuing to Plymouth where we will meet with our Blue badge guide who will take us by coach, on a medieval flavoured tour of Plymouth which will take approximately 2 hrs. (Depending on weather, some of this may be on foot)

The Tour will end at the Barbican where lunch can be taken in one of the many eating places in the area.

After lunch we will meet at the Plymouth Gin Distillery, which is within the Barbican Area, ready for our 40 minute tour starting at 14.30 hrs.

Black Friars Distillery, the working home of Plymouth Gin since 1793, is the oldest working gin distillery in England and is situated in the heart of the historic port city of Plymouth.

The building dates back to the early 1400’s with the oldest part of the building – the Refectory, a medieval hall with a fine hull-shaped timber roof, dating back to 1431.

On completion of the tour there will be time to have refreshments before departure back to Minehead.

Cost: £27.00 per head Depart: Minehead 8.15 am
Return: approx. 6.30 p.m. Bookings to: Martin Ellis [contact details in newsletter]