Facts about Somerset
Every year, people from over seventy countries on six different continents
visit the sacred site of Glastonbury Abbey in Somerset, England. Many
of the modern-day pilgrims who come to Glastonbury now, at the turn of
the 21st Century, take part in the services and rituals which continue
the Abbey's important tradition as a living church.
Every week throughout the year, services are held in the remains of the Abbey's
great medieval monastery or under the roof of St Patrick's Chapel.
Hole Caves and Papermill are situated at Wookey Hole, Wells, in the beautiful
Somerset Mendip Hills, in South West England.
A Cave tour matches breathtaking underground scenery, carved out by the
mysterious River Axe, with a delightful mix of fact, legend and folklore,
including the story of the famous witch. Dramatic lighting effects make
it an even more exhilarating experience.
Even the earliest men who lived in the valley of Wookey Hole 50,000 years
ago, hunting bear and rhinoceros with stone weapons, must have been in
awe of the great caves for they had already existed for millions of years.
When, much later, the Celtic peoples of the Iron Age were
moving into Britain, they found the caves a safe and even comfortable place
to live - inside, the temperature is a constant 11° Celsius. Yet by
the 15th century only bones, broken pottery and legends remained.
Agriculture is a major business in the county of Somerset .
Farming of sheep and cattle, including for wool and the county's famous cheeses, are traditional and contemporary, as is the more unusual cultivation of willow for basketry. Apple orchards were once plentiful, and to this day Somerset is known for the production of strong cider . Unemployment is lower than the national average, and the largest employment sectors are retail, manufacturing, tourism, and health and social care. Population growth in the county is higher than the national average.
Along with the rest of South West England , Somerset has a temperate maritime climate which is generally wetter and milder than the rest of the country.
Somerset has 11,500 listed buildings , 523 Scheduled Monuments , 192 conservation areas ,  41 parks and gardens including those at Barrington Court , Holnicote Estate , Prior Park Landscape Garden and Tintinhull Garden , 36 English Heritage sites and 19 National Trust sites,  including Clevedon Court , Fyne Court , Montacute House and Tyntesfield as well as Stembridge Tower Mill , the last remaining thatched windmill in England .  Other historic houses in the county which have remained in private ownership or used for other purposes include Halswell House and Marston Bigot