Kilve — Somerset, England
Kilve is a lovely village consisting of three small settlements on the coast of West Somerset at the northern end of the Quantocks; and in close proximity to Exmoor National Park.
The settlements are actually little enclaves, one with cottages on the hillside, another lies to the east of the village where a narrow lane joins Sea Lane, with foot trails leading out from the car park at the end of the lane to the coast. This small picturesque coastal community which was once a smuggler's haven is currently a geologist's paradise as the beach at Kilve is a Site of Special Scientific Interest with spectacular rock formations and an excellent place for families to take their children fossil hunting with ammonites and reptile remains in abundance. The village also has several interesting old buildings that include a 17th century coaching inn, the ruins of the old Chantry which was founded in the 14th century, and the Church of St Mary also dating back to the 14th century.
Kilve Chantry was founded in 1329 by Simon de Furneaux for a brotherhood of five monks to pray for their founder. There were other priests that followed and celebrated the Mass at the Chantry until the latter part of that century, after which it appears to have fallen into disrepair, and what once contained a refectory, a dormitory, a granary and other structures was now used for other purposes. For centuries it was used as a barn, and during the times of the smugglers it is said to have been a storage facility for barrels of smuggled spirits and other goods. Parts of the structure and some cottages have survived, but the large solar wing is in ruins. It is listed as a Grade II* building and is a Scheduled Ancient Monument by the English Heritage and a Heritage at Risk.
The 14th century Church of St Mary has an ancient screen, and the tower has had considerable restorative work; this is a Grade II* listed building. The tower is a square structure with three bells, and the church itself is a small picturesque building. It is located near a farm where the ruins of the medieval Kilve Chantry are located. The 17th century coaching inn was originally built in 1689 and was called the Chough & Anchor. By the early 1800's it was known as the Hood Arms and it was a busy coaching inn, with stables on the toll road. The outer appearance of the Hood Arms today is virtually the same as it was in 1736. The Inn is located in the part of the village that was once known as Putsham, which also has the village hall, a post office and shops.
Kilve Court is to the south of the village, where a wide range of courses are offered for young people where visitors are welcomed. The main part of the structure was built in 1702 and 1705, with later additions being made after the house was purchased by the Somerset County Council. This is an unusual centre developed to offer enrichment classes to gifted children, being one of the few centres offering instructive creative writing for children up to the age of 16 as part of their curriculum. The expansion from 26 students in 1965 to 166 at present has made Kilve Court one of the main employers in the village.
For a small village, Kilve has much history and interest to please almost everyone. And who can resist Kilve Beach, a sight from pre-history with coastal cliffs that are striated with layers of colors from the oil-bearing shale to yellow and brown lias; wave cut layers of rock lining the shore with its other worldly appearance; rock pools and many quartz veined pebbles abound. This is one of the most beautiful beaches to be found, however this north facing beach is to be treated with care, as the tides on the North Somerset coast have some of the greatest ranges in the world. It is always advisable to check the tides and weather prior to taking your beach excursion. With care and respect for the natural forces that prevail, you will have a wonderful experience which will bring you back time and again in the future.Where is Kilve?
Kilve is located in Somerset along the A39 road between East Quantoxhead and Holford. The nearest populated areas include Williton to the West and Nether Stowey to the east.Have you ever visited Kilve?
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