Thurlbear and Orchard Portman
Gentle ramble, 4 miles along country lanes and footpaths
6.4 Km (4 miles)
A varied and pleasant walk with good views across the Vale of Taunton and to the surrounding hills. It is one of the gentler walks in this collection.
The Church of St Thomas at Thurlbear is a building chiefly of the 11th-14th centuries. It is renown for the quality and extent of its early Norman features, and is one of the earliest surviving aisled churches in Somerset. Thurlbear Church is a Grade 1 Listed Building.
Why such an ambitious church was constructed in Thurlbear remains unknown. It may be that Thurlbear Manor held a special significance for its medieval lords the de Montacutes or their Domesday overlord, the Count of Mortain. It is also possible that the church originated as a minster or mother church although later documentary evidence for such status is lacking.
In 1988 the church was declared redundant and became invested in the Churches Conservation Trust.
Roadside in Thurlbear (Map ref. ST 265 212)