Get yourself moving
Make the most of the season by getting out into the rolling parkland and exploring the hills that encircle Montacute. This is the best time of year to see the house from afar.
It’s hard not to be drawn out into the parkland by the sweeping ornamental avenue of lime trees, planted in the late 18th century. There are acres of parkland to explore, including Mill Copse where the stream still flows; see if you can find the remains of a water mill and plunge pool. Look out for veteran trees, including oaks and sweet chestnuts that were already old when Montacute House was built. For the young and the young at heart, seek out the tree swings in the parkland.
Some of the best views of the village of Montacute are from Ladies’ Walk, a delightful path that runs up though the beech woods that circle the village. There’s a circular walk that leads you back through the village, past the mediaeval Abbey Gatehouse, dovecote and fishpond – look back and you'll spot a Gothic arch marking a spring and wellhead.
St Michael's Hill
Montacute village got its name from this hill, originally called ‘Mons Acutus’ (which means ‘sharp hill’ in Latin). The Normans built a motte-and-bailey castle on top, with a chapel dedicated to St Michael; the footings of an 18th century tower at the top are all that now remain of the buildings, but the name lingers on.
It’s a steep pull to the summit but the reward is magnificent views in all directions across Somerset. Climb Prospect Tower’s spiral staircase to see even further.
You can buy a leaflet at reception that gives details of local walks.