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Forde Abbey

Forde Abbey in Somerset

The night before the May Bank Holiday 2005, We were looking for somewhere to go and visit the next day. After a peruse of the Forde Abbey website, we decided this would make a pleasant day out.

Follow the coastal route to Somerset

The website described Forde Abbey as a 12th-century monastery located in Chard, Somerset. We decided to visit.

Getting to Forde Abbey

Fresh start nice and early for about a two-hour drive from Bournemouth and followed the coastal route most of the way. Besides the obvious beauty of the coast, it also takes you through some of the classic winding roads of Dorset and Somerset an altogether pleasant drive.

Founded by Cistercian monks over 800 years ago the Abbey became one of the richest and most learned monasteries in the country. After the dissolution in 1539, the Abbey lay empty for 100 years, until in 1649 it was transformed into the magnificent house that it is today.

Arriving at the Abbey we soon found the ample parking that is backed onto the rear of Forde Abbey grounds. The entrance is through the gift shop (just to remind you on your way in and way out to buy that token trinket) costs 7.50 per adult and is free for children under 15.

Forde Abbey Gardens

Map of Forde Abbey gardens As a brochure claimed, Forde Abbey is truly magnificent with stunning grounds with a fountain display, I found time to sit, relax and do some thinking by a small pool for an hour, maybe like the monks in the past who were the long-ago residents.

We had a stroll around the main house and were met by all the trappings of a large country home and manor with wonderous antiquities stretching back over hundreds of years.

I spent a full two hours roaming the house and was awed by the sheer beauty of it. I spoke with some of the staff who worked at Forde Abbey and they filled me in on a few details that it is privately owned by the Roper Family and no help is forthcoming from organisations like the National Trust. They supplement the upkeep by hiring the house to guests ranging from big-name musicians who like to record there not just for inspiration but the acoustics in the main hall.

Forde Abbey makes a nice day trip and is worth taking the picnic basket. It certainly would make a nice family trip.

Forde Abbey
TA20 4LU
Tel: 01460 220231
w: https://www.fordeabbey.co.uk/


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