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Explore Castle Neroche
(Average user rating: 3 unrated 3/5)

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.

Biodiversity & Cattle

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.

Download this application form to hold an event, or alternatively please call us on 0300 067 4800. E-mail your completed form to  

What do other visitors say?

1 Star 1 Star

Would prefer dog owners take their dogs pooh bags home rather than hang them in the trees, and better still pick it up in the first place. Some places you have to watch where you put your feet.

Mike Scott, 6/May/2017
5 Stars 5 Stars

Had a lovely walk with dogs on Sunday afternoon seemed to be more cars than people

Tony Haskett , 10/Aug/2016

Please tell us about your visit

Please email us at if you have an enquiry, a complaint or would like a personal reply to your comments.

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Last updated: 25th August 2016

Help us take care of your forest

What's Here?

  • Ancient Monuments
  • Picnic
  • Walking
  • Wildlife
  • Cycling
  • The Staple Fitzpaine Herepath is suitable for experienced off-road cyclists. Some sections are more difficult than others and short stretches are currently not suitable for cycling (see Neroche Scheme website). If you plan to cycle the trail make sure you have a well maintained mountain bike and a suitable level of fitness
  • Horse riding
  • The Staple Fitzpaine Herepath follows existing public bridleways and a new section of permissive bridleway.
    Horse riding in other areas of the forest is by permit only. Please contact the District Office on 01392 834231 for an application pack.
  • Viewpoint
  • A short, easy walk is rewarded with breathtaking views that can sometimes stretch to the coast of Wales. Look too for the buzzards that soar serenely over Taunton Vale, and take in the rolling hills of the Quantocks and Mendips in the distance.
More about what's here


OS Grid ref: ST274157

Get directions


West England District
0300 067 4800

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England's Woods and Forests are cared for by Forest Enterprise England, an agency of the Forestry Commission.