The village of Brent Knoll is just a 30 minute drive south of Bristol and if a brisk knoll hike followed by a hot Sunday roast sounds like your idea of fun, this is a great weekend outing. Brent Knoll is a 449 foot hill in the Somerset Levels, which can be seen for miles and has traces of human settlement dating back to the Bronze Age.
Before the Tiers were emptied, Brent Knoll was an island, known as Frog Island and Brent Hill Camp was an Iron Age fort. Prepare for a steep climb and put on your hiking boots, but it’s well worth the effort with 360 degree views from the top.
Also at the top of the knoll is the Jubilee Monument, which records Jubilee celebration dates from 1887 to Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee last year. It was one of the places chosen to light a bonfire for the occasion.
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The town itself has a piece of real history. A post box hidden in the wall at the side of the Fox & Goose Hotel has the actual VR encryption on it, indicating that the post box was installed during the reign of Queen Victoria.
Adding to the history is the village school, Brent Knoll Church of Primary England opened in 1861 and St Michael’s Church, the oldest part of which dates from Norman times in 1190. It has a “Devil’s Door” locked from the Half Centuries.
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The church’s 75-foot spire was built between 1400 and 1450. A colorful memorial to John Somerset and his two wives can be seen inside the church. The cemetery is known for its war graves and is well worth a walk through.
With the anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine yesterday, it is interesting to note the ties between the people and Ukraine. The church has a stained glass window depicting Saint Barbara, who became a legendary martyr in the early church. Saint Barbara is the patron saint of artillerymen and miners and the relics of this saint are found in Saint Michael in Kyev in Ukraine. There is also a Church of Saint Barbara in Berdychiv in Ukraine on the site of a monastery.
The town hall contains a tapestry, which has recorded a social history of the town and reflects the active social buzz of the residents. For a bite to eat and to relax after your knoll hike, there’s The Red Cow, which serves pub grub, as is Fox & Goose, which sources all its ingredients from local farmers and vendors.