GPS Cycle and Walking Routes

Taunton Heritage Trail

2 miles (3 km)

This waymarked circular walk visits a number of historic sites in the Somerset town of Taunton.
The walk begins at the historic Market House, leading you to the magnificent Museum of Somerset and St Mary Magdalene Church, among other notable sites. A slight detour from the circular route will take you to the lovely Vivary Park and the atmospheric Almshouses.
Scroll down for photographs and descriptions of the heritage highlights on this fascinating walk.
To continue your walking around the town pick up the Somerset Space Walk along the Bridgwater and Taunton Canal. The route is lined with a number of interesting sculptures representing the planets of the Solar System.

Taunton Heritage Trail OS Map - Mobile GPS OS Map with Location tracking

Taunton Heritage Trail Open Street Map - Mobile GPS Map with Location tracking


The Market House, Taunton - - 5388237

The Market House. This impressive building was originally constructed in 1772, traditionally regarded as the centre of the town. Designed by Coplestone Warre Bampfylde, best known for creating the landscape gardens at Hestercombe House, it was divided into different apartments for justice, amusement, and pleasure. The ground floor housed the Guildhall, where magistrates would hear cases weekly, while the first floor featured a superb assembly room with a music gallery, two elegant large glass chandeliers, and a full-length portrait of George III.
From 1772 and throughout much of the 19th century, the Market House served as one of the county’s principal public meeting places. After the market relocated in 1929 and the arcades were removed in 1934, replaced by the wings now housing the Visitor Centre, the building's public role declined. However, with recent improvements, it is hoped this building can once again become the heart of the town. In front of the Market House, at the centre of the roundabout, stands the Burma Memorial, dedicated to the fallen of Prince Albert’s Somersetshire Light Infantry.

Ye Olde coffee shop - - 674384

Ye Olde coffee shop. Due to its timber framing, this building was long known as the Tudor Tavern. Re-fronted in 1578, it was once owned by the Trowbridge clothiers, whose initials appear on the façade. In 1685, it was occupied by the wealthy grocer Thomas Baker, father of two of the "Maids of Taunton," who welcomed the Duke of Monmouth to the town. It was subsequently occupied by a member of the ill-fated Duke of Monmouth’s Privy Council.

Taunton Castle

Museum of Somerset - Taunton Castle. The remains of the castle, along with later buildings, now house the Museum of Somerset. From the early 10th century, Taunton was part of the vast estate held by the Bishop of Winchester, and the site of the castle was likely the location of the Bishop’s Hall. The castle was the scene of the “Bloody Assize” in 1685, when Judge Jeffreys tried over 500 supporters of the failed Monmouth Rebellion. The building also served as a prison, and in 1707, it hosted the last trial in the southwest of someone accused of witchcraft.

St James' Taunton (2020)

St James's Church. This late medieval church, featuring a fine 15th-century font and a pulpit dating from 1633, was originally built to serve residents living outside the town’s defences. As with most medieval churches, the tower was rebuilt between 1871 and 1875. A notable grave here is that of Joseph Whidbey, the explorer and engineer responsible for overseeing the construction of Plymouth Breakwater.

Taunton, Vivary Park - - 179766

Vivary Park. The name originates from the area’s historical use as a vivarium—two fishponds maintained by the bishops of Winchester since at least 1207. Manuscripts from the 1360s indicate that the vivarium covered around 70 acres and supplied fish for banquets. The current park was originally laid out in 1895 and was restored with lottery funding in 2002. The ornate fountain, built as a memorial to Queen Victoria, was inaugurated by the Mayoress on 31 October 1907. The imposing red brick building is Jellalabad Barracks, constructed in 1881 for the Somerset Light Infantry.

Bath Place, Taunton - - 2784200

Bath Place. Since the Middle Ages, Bath Place served as the main thoroughfare to the west of the town until Corporation Street was established in 1894. It hosts a collection of small, specialist shops operating from a nearly complete set of 19th-century shop fronts, distinguished by their octagonal fanlights.

Grays Almshouses, Taunton

Grays Almshouses, Taunton. These almshouses were established by Robert Gray in 1635 and still feature the original chapel with its painted ceiling. One former female resident used to sleep in a coffin every night to avoid being handled after her death (1814).

Taunton Priory Barn (2020)

Taunton Priory Barn. The building, dating from the late 15th century, is the sole remaining structure of the Augustinian priory dissolved in 1539. It now houses exhibits and displays related to the history of Somerset County Cricket Club (SCCC) and the England Women's Cricket team. SCCC was established in 1875, with their first match played at their home ground in 1882.


GPS Files

GPX File

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