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Exmoor National Park is one of the most attractive parts of Exmoor, and in one of the secluded valleys on its eastern edge you'll find Nettlecombe Court. As Tudor and Georgian mansions go, this is a fine example, home to generations of families from the 16th Century onwards. It is now given over to Outward Bound activities and environmental protection training courses for students from around the country. On a break in this part of the United Kingdom take a trip along here from your hotel in Somerset to enjoy this historic house and its attractive surrounding parkland.
The manor of which Nettlecombe Court forms a part has an interesting history. It was actually owned by a son of King Harold before the Norman invasion of 1066. After the Anglo-Saxon defeat it passed from Earl Godwin to the crown, which meant of course the usurping King William, known as 'the bastard' for various reasons! The Sherriff of Devon, Hugh de Ralegh (another Norman) took it over in 1160 and from that point it passed down a direct line of families to the present owners in 1943.
The grand house was first turned into a school in 1945 and it remained as such until the mid-1960s. The Field Studies Council (FSC) has been leasing it since then and it is now known as the Leonard Wills Field Centre. The FSC conducts various programmes of environmental training using old Nettlecombe Court as a base, and countless students have benefited from the opportunities on offer.
In addition to providing an attractive centre for outdoor learning for schools and colleges, Nettlecombe Court runs courses for teachers and more advanced courses for environmental professionals. There are also shorter courses on offer for families and individuals, so ask for a copy of the syllabus when you come here from your Somerset hotel or guesthouse and you might find something to suit your own tastes. This part of Exmoor is rich in wildlife and the training on offer for biologists and botanists is first class.