A collection of photogenic places in southwest UK, in England and Wales, generally within 60 miles of Bristol; landscapes and historic sites, scenery and heritage, including coastlines and mountains, castles and abbeys
Afon Nedd Fechan Berry Pomeroy Castle Nash Point
Cleeve Abbey Stonehenge Coity Castle The Caves, Glenthorne Beach
Llangattock Escarpment Old Beaupre Castle Valley of Rocks

Historic sites      Landscapes

England

Devon
★★★ Beer Head - sheer cliffs, sea caves and scenic beaches along the Jurassic Coast
★★ Berry Pomeroy Castle - ruins of a Tudor mansion within the walls of an older castle, in a secluded, wooded setting
★★ Cornworthy Priory - gatehouse from a medieval monastery
★★★ Exeter Cathedral - beautiful building with many medieval features, including stained glass and extensive vaulting
★★★ Sidmouth to Ladram Bay - isolated red cliffs and sea stacks; along the Jurassic Coast
★★ Totnes Castle - small but well preserved motte and bailey castle, centred on a circular keep
★★★ Valley of Rocks to Woody Bay - rock formations, isolated beaches, steep cliffs and coastal woodland
Dorset
★★★ Corfe Castle - large, ruined castle with a spectacular location on top of a steep-sided hill; construction started in the 11th century
★★★ Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove - a sea arch and a circular bay, separated by sandy beaches and chalk cliffs
Gloucestershire
★★★ Berkeley Castle - intact Norman castle surrounded by fine gardens, occupied by the Berkeley family since 1154
★★ Church of St John Baptist, Cirencester - one of the largest parish churches in the country, partly 12th century
★★★ Gloucester Cathedral - imposing, city centre Norman cathedral
★★ Lower Woods - one of the largest ancient woodlands in south England
★★ St James' Church - ruins of a small church in the Wye Valley, the only remnant from the medieval village of Lancaut
★★ St Mary's Priory Church, Deerhurst - small Saxon church with many original features; some parts are from the early 9th century
★★★ Tewkesbury Abbey - large Norman church, famous for its well-preserved Gothic architecture
Hampshire
★★★ Netley Abbey - large, well preserved, 13th century monastery, later converted to a Tudor mansion
★★★ Portchester Castle - historic castle right on the coast, centred on a tall keep, within the walls of a Roman fort
Herefordshire
★★ Dore Abbey - atmospheric, cathedral-like church occupying part of an ancient monastery
★★★ Goodrich Castle - secluded castle with a rural location overlooking the River Wye
★★ Longtown Castle - bailey walls and an elevated keep, in a countryside location near the Welsh border
Somerset
★★ Bath Abbey - late medieval church at the centre of the city; beautiful perpendicular Gothic architecture
★★ Brean Down - narrow limestone peninsula along the north Somerset coast, site of an old fort
★★ Burrow Mump - isolated, conical hill topped by the ruins of an 18th century church
★★★ Cheddar Gorge - famous limestone ravine at the south edge of the Mendip Hills
★★ Cleeve Abbey - well preserved buildings from a 13th century monastery, plus foundations of the church
★★ Farleigh Hungerford Castle - intriguing castle remains that include an intact chapel
★★★ Glastonbury Abbey - imposing and evocative ruins of a famous monastery, established in the 7th century
★★ Lilstock to St Audrie's Bay - blue lias cliffs and wave-cut terraces
★★★ Minehead to Hurlstone Point - cliffs and pebble beaches along a little-visited, four mile section of the coast
★★ Nunney Castle - small but well-built and picturesque 14th century castle, surrounded by a moat
★★★ Porlock Weir to Glenthorne Beach - remote coastline with rarely seen beaches below steep, wooded cliffs
★★ Portishead Coast - low cliffs and pebble beaches along the coastline south of Portishead
★★ Sand Point and Middle Hope - promontory and headland overlooking the Bristol Channel
★★ Stanton Drew Stone Circles - four groups of ancient stones
★★★ Wells Cathedral - one of England's most beautiful cathedrals
Wiltshire
★★ Bradford-on-Avon Tithe Barn - perfectly preserved 14th century barn, with an intricately constructed timber roof
★★ Malmesbury Abbey - parish church occupying part of an older, much larger building
★★ Old Sarum - remains of a castle and abbey; the original settlement of Salisbury
★★★ Stonehenge - Britain's most famous prehistoric monument
Worcestershire
★★ Leigh Court Barn - huge, 14th century cruck-framed barn, the largest building of this type in the country
★★ Witley Court - evocative ruins of an extravagant country house, destroyed by fire in 1937
★★★ Worcester Cathedral - typically grand and ornate cathedral, built partly in the perpendicular Gothic style

Wales

Bridgend
★★ Candleston Castle - ivy-clad remains of a 14th century fortified mansion, on a wooded hill
★★ Coity Castle - large, ruined Norman castle with later additions
★★ Merthyr Mawr National Nature Reserve - extensive sand dunes, beside the coast near Porthcawl
Caerphilly
★★★ Caerphilly Castle - extensive 13th century fortification surrounded by moats and lakes
Merthyr Tydfil
★★ Morlais Castle - 13th century castle on an exposed limestone hill at the edge of the Brecon Beacons; mostly just earthworks
★★ Taf Fechan Gorge - pretty, tree-lined gorge north of Merthyr Tydfil, containing cascades and narrow sections
Monmouthshire
★★ Caerwent Roman Town - varied relics from a major Roman settlement, including extensive city walls
★★★ Chepstow Castle - large Norman castle on the banks of the River Wye
★★ Clydach Gorge - wooded valley containing several waterfalls, plus old railways and industrial relics
★★ Grosmont Castle - compact, peaceful and picturesque castle near the River Monnow
★★★ Llanthony Priory - ruined Augustinian priory in a remote valley within the Black Mountains
★★ Monmouth Castle - small castle in the city centre, birthplace of Henry V
★★★ Raglan Castle - spectacular medieval castle in southeast Wales, complete with moat
★★ Skenfrith Castle - remains of a 13th century castle, in rural surroundings overlooking the River Monnow
★★ Skirrid Fawr - eastern outlier of the Black Mountains, circled by a 3.5 mile loop trail
★★★ Tintern Abbey - beautiful ruined abbey on the floor of the Wye Valley, beneath steep, forested slopes
★★ Usk Castle - small, privately-owned castle ruins, some parts from the 12th century
★★ White Castle - a moated castle with outer court, on a hill in a peaceful, rural location
Neath Port Talbot
★★ Margam Abbey - church occupying the nave of an ancient abbey, beside monastic remains including a chapter house
★★★ Neath Abbey - substantial remains of a major Cistercian monastery, and a 16th century mansion
Newport
★★ Caerleon Roman Fortress - remains of a first century Roman settlement, including barracks, bath house and amphitheatre
Powys
★★ Afon Nedd Fechan - river with three large waterfalls, flowing through a deep, forested valley
★★★ Afon Pyrddin - cascades and two major waterfalls along a tributary of the Afon Nedd Fechan
★★ Crickhowell Castle - fragmented remains of a minor Norman castle, beside the River Usk
★★★ Caerfanell Waterfalls - 20 or more waterfalls along the Caerfanell River in the Brecon Beacons, and the tributary of Nant Bwrefwr
★★★ Four Waterfalls Walk - four large falls along the Mellte and Hepste rivers, near Ystradfellte in Brecon Beacons National Park
★★ Llangattock Escarpment - limestone cliffs below a plateau rim, site of 18th century quarries; also caves and a lake
★★★ Pen y Fan and Fan y Big Horseshoe Walk - spectacular loop hike in the Brecon Beacons, visiting four high peaks
★★ Table Mountain, Pen Cerrig-calch and Pen Allt-mawr - summits in the Black Mountains, Brecon Beacons National Park
★★ Tretower Castle and Court - ruined castle next to a complete, unrestored, 14th century manor house
★★ Waun Fach, Grwyne Fawr and Nant Bwch - peaks, ridges and valleys on the north side of the Black Mountains, Brecon Beacons National Park
Rhondda Cynon Taf
★★ Sychryd Gorge - short gorge along the River Sychryd near Pontneddfechan, containing several impressive waterfalls and some old mine relics
Swansea
★★ Three Cliffs Bay - large, sandy inlet on the Gower Peninsula, bordered by dramatic cliffs
Vale of Glamorgan
★★★ Dunraven Bay - cliffs, beaches and eroded rock formations along the Glamorgan Heritage Coast near Southerndown
★★ Ewenny Priory - parish church within part of a Norman abbey, protected by fortified walls
★★★ Nash Point to Stout Bay - varied, little-visited section of the Glamorgan Heritage Coast
★★ Ogmore Castle - small but pretty castle remains in a peaceful location beside the River Ewenny
★★ Ogmore-by-Sea - wide, sandy beach leading to eroded limestone cliffs with caves, terraces and other formations
★★ Old Beaupre Castle - ruins of a fortified manor house, partly from the early 14th century
★★ St Quintin's Castle - a large gatehouse, curtain walls and tower foundations

Parks

Brecon Beacons National Park - the largest area of wild lands in the south of the UK

County Location Map
Map of southwest UK


Featured landscapes are places which are scenic, undeveloped, and sometimes wild and remote, and so are somewhat uncommon in the south of the UK; the most extensive region is Brecon Beacons National Park in Wales, while second is Exmoor National Park in Devon and Somerset. Apart from these places, and some smaller ranges of hills, the other main type of unspoilt and sometimes difficult-to-reach landscape is the coast, especially the beaches at the foot of lengthy, cliff-bound sections; there are many beautiful stretches of shoreline, not often explored, in south Wales, in Devon and Somerset, and in counties to the south.

Featured historic sites are mostly those which are both old - medieval or earlier - and substantial; usually but not necessarily a ruin. Castles and abbeys are the most photogenic of such locations, while other places include Roman and Neolithic relics, and also cathedrals, which combine spectacular architecture with varied history.

Ratings are a guide to how good a photographic subject the locations are, also taking into account the prettiness of the surroundings, the historical importance (where relevant), and the general enjoyment when visiting.


Devon Dorset Gloucestershire Hampshire Herefordshire Somerset Wiltshire Worcestershire Caerphilly Monmouthshire Newport Powys Rhondda Cynon Taf Swansea Merthyr Tydfil Bridgend Vale of Glamorgan Neath Port Talbot