On the way to Devon last week we visited Cleeve Abbey, which is not far from Washford in Somerset. We have passed the sign to the Abbey hundreds of times, but finally made the detour, and realise what a gem we had been missing.
This Cistercian Abbey, an English Heritage property, is the most complete and unaltered set of monastic cloister buildings in England. The roof timbers are absolutely amazing, as is a 13th century floor of heraldic tiles, currently under a white marquee for conservation reasons.
There is a big car park at Cleeve Abbey, with a large grassy area, where a couple of families were picnicking. In spite of there being several cars in the car park the Abbey itself did not feel in any way crowded, maybe because it is a bit off the beaten track and the casual passer-by may well think it is 'only' another glorious ruin