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In Washford lies one of the undiscovered jewels of Somerset, providing an interesting day out for families and budding historians alike. The Cistercian abbey of Cleeve is a haven of peace and tranquillity, said to contain the finest cloister buildings in England.
Visitors today can catch a glimpse of monastic life 800 years ago; although the abbey church was destroyed by Henry VIII during the dissolution in 1536, the cloister buildings including the gatehouse, 15th century refectory with its glorious angel roof and 13th century heraldic tiles have survived remarkably intact. The great dormitory is one of the best examples in the country, and an exhibition and virtual tour tells the story of the abbey and daily life for the holy men that once inhabited it.
The abbey is located in a beautiful valley surrounded by countryside so is ideal for walkers or visitors travelling on the West Somerset Railway, which stops at Washford station. It is just a ten minute walk to Cleeve Abbey from the station and with your train ticket you can get a discount on your entry ticket.
Our local history weekend on Sat 5 and Sun 6 October from 10 – 4pm. There will be local history exhibitions including West Somerset Mineral Railway plus geophysics surveys taking place to find the Abbeys ‘missing’ buildings buried below the ground. Discover more about Cleeve Abbey on an "Untold Stories” guided tour taking place at 11am and 2.30pm. Plus, on Saturday, the English Heritage collections team will be displaying artefacts not normally on show to visitors.