Status & security
Imagine yourself there 2600 years ago and you would probably be looking at an impressive Iron Age hillfort. Without the trees that now occupy the site the views would be breathtaking. The hillfort would have been used as a refuge for the surrounding farming communities during attacks from neighbouring tribes. Over time as the threat of attack became more frequent, the fort's defences were strengthened with an additional rampart and outer enclosure.
Power & dominance
Over a thousand years later the Norman conquerors included the Iron Age earthworks in their Motte & Bailey castle. Built by William the Conqueror’s half brother Robert, Count of Mortain, the new military fortification would have dominated the landscape and the local community from its strategic hill top position.
Upheaval & unrest
The castle was briefly re-fortified during a short period of widespread lawlessness and civil war, triggered by a battle for the throne following the death of Henry I. The wooden keep was replaced with a circular stone tower and the motte ditch that was dug still survives today.
Later activity is unknown, but as the Castle lies on the western edge of the Forest of Neroche - a royal forest which was known to have been in existence prior to the Norman Conquest - hunting parties may have used the castle.
As you look west from Castle Neroche towards Staple Common, you will see the results of a major shift in forest management started in 2008 by the Neroche Scheme - a landscape partnership project managed by the Forestry Commission. Visit the Neroche Scheme website for more information.
A walk out ot the viewpoint at Castle Neroche will offer you spectacular views over the vale of Taunton towards the Quantock Hills and Exmoor.
Organising an event at Castle Neroche
If you wish to organise an event on Forestry Commission land you will need our permission. We need to check that the event is properly organised, has adequate insurance cover and doesn't clash with other events or forest operations. Please give as much notice as possible, we require at least eight weeks. Other activities may also require permission, including dog sleds, charity challenges and walking events.