Okay, so it’s a slight cheat, but, as there are no villages in Somerset beginning with the letter X, one starting with an Ex serves as a good alternative.
Set on the side of a steep valley in the heart of Exmoor, the village of Exton includes the neighbouring hamlet of Bridgetown. Not surprisingly, the village gets its name from the river Exe, which runs through the National Park; Bridgetown has a bridge that goes over the river to the west.
Exton itself is tiny; it has a population of less than 300 people, and is, in effect, made up of two roads; the first runs north-south along the bottom of the valley, the second climbs east, up a steep hill into the countryside.
There is little new about the buildings in the Exton part of the village village; they are all original, stone built properties, and on the drive up the hill, Exton feels more like a hamlet than a village.
But a village it is; the Badger’s Holt inn and village hall are located along the valley bottom, while the upper part of Exton includes the village church.
The church itself is dedicated to St Peter and dates back to Norman times; while their was an extensive Victorian renovation, the majority of the church dates to between the 13th and 15th centuries.
What grabs you about the church, however, are the views across the Exe valley. The well-kept graveyard is hilly, and most of the village’s houses are only visible as rooftops, with the western side of the valley visible in the distance.
Above all, however, Exton is a country village. Its location has inhibited its growth, and this is in no way to its detriment. You either drive through it on your way from Dunster to Tiverton, or you attempt a sharp turn and steep hill to the main amenities.
Either way, it’s definitely worth a pause, and it’s well worth a stop off on your journey.