Dunster Butter Cross, Gallox Bridge and Yarn Market
Dunster in Somerset is both scenic and historic.
This little village was once a bustling market town, and there are plenty of free attractions to visit here that'll teach you all about the history of this gorgeous place.
Why wool-dn’t you come and visit?
In the 15th century, Dunster was the centre of the local wool trade.
Before the sea receded, there was a port here too, so the wool could be piled onto ships and transported around Britain.
During this time, wool was England’s main export, and taxes on wool almost single-handedly funded Edward I’s conquests of Wales and Scotland!
It was for this reason that Gallox Bridge was so essential, as it allowed packhorses to cross the river Avill into Dunster.
You can find this ancient bridge at the village’s outskirts, still proudly providing the locals with a way over the tranquil waters of the river beneath.
It might look picturesque, but there’s actually a grim story behind the name of this bridge: it was named after the gallows that once stood on a nearby hill.
Perhaps this name was to remind anyone entering the town about the authority of the local lord in Dunster Castle, and discourage them from stealing the town’s precious wool!
You butter not miss this!
The Butter Cross just outside of town was built in the 15th century at the height of the wool trade.
Back then, it was much larger and more impressive, a striking local landmark that served as a place where locals could gather and worship.
However, as time passed, raw wool fell out of favour and Dunster had to make its money in other ways.
By the time the 17th century arrived, this cross had seen a shift in purpose: it was now known as the Butter Cross because a market had sprung up around it where people could come and buy (you guessed it) butter.
A yarn good market
When this shift happened, Dunster turned its focus towards the weaving trade as well.
The charming Yarn Market building sheltered market stalls from the ire of the British weather.
As you explore it, try and imagine what it must have looked like centuries ago, surrounded by crowds of curious customers and filled with locals loudly bartering and advertising from within, their cloth laid out in front of them on display.
Dunster is a magical little place that's bursting at the seams with history.
Exploring these historic sites will teach you all about what life was like here hundreds of years ago, and you’ll be surrounded by pleasant views and welcoming locals as you learn.
Paid parking, Toilets