In 2009 while driving across the Somerset levels I saw something through the trees that I didn't expect to see, a group of thatched roundhouses, this I thought required investigation.
A few yards further on there was a large car park, so I drove in. I had found the Peat Moor Visitor Centre, this was a museum was dedicated to the archaeology and history of the Somerset Levels and the roundhouses I'd seen were part of a of a small museum displaying some of the archaeological discoveries in the area including a reconstruction of the roundhouses from the Somerset Lake Village which I'd seen from the road.
The small museum building contained an interesting collection of artefacts and display boards which gave an overview of the history of the area. Outside there were the roundhouses which were open so it was possible to go inside them and see what life in an iron age house might have been like.
There were also reconstructions of the wooden trackways, raised wooden walkways that allowed safe passage across the waterlogged Somerset Levels. One of these, the Sweet Track, is believed to be the oldest engineered highway in the world.
The Peat Moors Visitor Centre was owned by the Somerset County Council who closed the centre on the 31st October 2009 for budgetary reasons. At the time of my visit one of the roundhouses had collapsed because there wasn't any money available to maintain it.
A sad loss of an interesting museum and valuable educational resource.
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