2,600 years ago Castle Neroche was the site of an impressive Iron Age hillfort, used as a refuge for the surrounding farming communities during attacks from neighbouring tribes.
In the 11th century, William the Conqueror’s half brother Robert, Count of Mortain, built a Motte and Bailey Castle here on this strategically useful hill-top location.
The name Neroche is thought to be derived from the Old English nierra and rechich or rachich, meaning the ‘camp where hunting dogs were kept’.
There are spectacular views over the vale of Taunton towards the Quantock Hills and Exmoor and, on a clear day, you can see as far as the Mendip Hills and Glastonbury Tor.
The terrain in this woodland is very steep in parts and it can be wet, muddy, stony and uneven underfoot. If you’re not very sure-footed, we’d advise staying close to the parking area. You can still enjoy an atmospheric corridor of trees and spectacular views without having to walk very far at all.
There are display boards in the car park, giving information about the history and the wildlife at Castle Neroche and showing viewpoints and walking routes through the woodland.
Note that the car park has a height restrictor in place, so is not suitable for vans or minibuses.
Castle Neroche is managed by the Forestry Commission.
Download our hillforts activity sheet [pdf] suitable for adults and children.
Children’s activity video: Explore and Create – Patterns in Nature at Castle Neroche