Coleridge Way

Culbone Church

Culbone Church

An optional de tour from the main route takes you to St Beuno's Church at Culbone, reputed to be England's smallest church still in use. Spectacularly sited in a wooded glade it was used as the scene of Lorna Doone's dramatic wedding in the TV version of R D Blackmore's novel of the same name (Blackmore himself had the wedding take place in Oare Church, a place he visited frequently as a child, when his grandfather was its Rector).

Throughout this district there are the remains of platforms used for charcoal burning in Coleridge's time. Living in a rough hut, a charcoal burner would remove turf nearby to form a shallow pan. He would pile timber around a central post which he then removed to form a chimney, after covering the lot with soil and turf. He would then set light to the 'clamp' – the wood beneath – which he allowed to smoulder for several days, tending it regularly around the clock. The charcoal was used for smelting and producing tar, and the trees were coppiced to ensure a good supply of wood.


 

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