Things to See and Do
Today the Cloister is still enclosed on all four sides and has a unique atmosphere. The monks spent much of their time here, and you can see a trefoil headed arched recess which marked the abbot's seat during the daily spiritual reading - a rare example in Britain.
In the part of the cloister which later became the farmhouse, you can see two fireplaces, one with a bread oven intact. A partition wall here has been partly exposed, showing its wattle and daub construction.
Originally the dining hall for the monks, this spacious room has a magnificent carved oak roof. The main trusses are supported by corbels decorated with an angel holding a shield and the side of the trusses decorated with fifty small trefoil headed arches.
Where the roof timbers intersect, there are intricately carved bosses, each one different. Looking down into the room are twenty two projecting carved angels connected by a carved vine trail. Hidden from view is a secret - The Green Man - perhaps a maker's mark.
One of the finest existing monastic dormitories left in Britain, it is a single open room where the monks would have slept. At one end, is the doorway to the night stairs and at the other, is the doorway to the latrine. You can sit on the window seat with its decorative tiles and look at the roof which dates from the 17th or 18th century.
The Chapter House
Traditionally where the monks met on a daily basis to discuss business, you can still see evidence of its use such as the lead socket for a reading lantern. Look up to the curved ceiling at the traces of painted masonry and at the end of the room, there are the pointed windows divided by elegant columns giving you a sense of the room's faded beauty.
The Painted Chamber
Look through the protective hatchway into this room and you can see a large late 15th century wall painting on the left hand wall depicting the story of a man crossing a bridge from the Gesta Romanorum - can you see the lion and horned dragon?
By the door of the gallery leading to the Painted Chamber is the head of a monk - graffiti from medieval times.
A Great Day Out
Travel on the West Somerset Steam Railway to Washford and it is a short walk to the abbey - remember to ask about the discount offer for Abbey visitors on the railway. Explore the Abbey buildings and see the foundations of the Church in the peaceful surroundings whilst enjoying the lovely views.
Fun for Children
In the Education Room, families can try tile stamping to make their own tile patterns and dress up in monks robes - a perfect photo opportunity. There are also displays of artefacts discovered at the site and a fireplace with a large timber lintel from a tomb.
Families will enjoy using the story bag of Brother Cedric and the Missing Sheep as an interactive way to explore the site. Look out for the fun Monk facts around the Abbey and discover how to say "No" in the monks' own sign language.
Conserving the Tiles
Work has recently been completed on the construction of a new shelter to protect the 13th century tiled Refectory pavement, which is one of the most important to survive in Europe. Initially excavated in 1876, but subsequently reburied until 1951 it was then revealed again to visitors.
The tiles were deteriorating due to exposure to the elements and we are now working to construct a new timber shelter to protect them for years to come. Find out more