Somerset eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 246 pages of information about Somerset.
Dulverton and in the more uncultivated districts.  The very diversified character of Somerset makes it the home of a large variety of birds, the Quantocks and Exmoor sheltering many of the predatory kinds, the long coast-line attracting numerous seafowl, and the fenny country of the centre affording a feeding ground for the different kinds of waders.  Of the resident species which are comparatively uncommon elsewhere may be mentioned the hawfinch, the greater and lesser spotted woodpecker, the carrion crow, the raven, the buzzard, the hen-harrier, and the peregrine falcon.  Among the regular visitors are included the white wagtail, the pied flycatcher, the nightjar, the black redstart, the lesser redpole, the snow bunting, the redwing, the reed, marsh, and grasshopper warblers, the siskin, the dotterel, the sanderling, the wryneck, the hobby, the merlin, the bittern, and the shoveller.  As occasional visitors may be reckoned the wax-wing, golden oriole, cross-bill, hoopoe, white-tailed eagle, honey buzzard, ruff, puffin, great bustard, Iceland gull, glaucous gull, and Bewick’s swan.  Visitors that may be supposed to have reached the county only by accident have scarcely a claim to be noticed here, though perhaps allusion may be made to an Egyptian vulture seen at Kilve in 1825, and specimens of Pallas’s sand-grouse observed near Bridgwater, Weston-super-Mare, and Bath.[1]

As regards the flora the elevated position of parts of the county makes it the home of a number of plants which do not commonly occur in the South of England.  Thus there are found on Exmoor the crowberry (Empetrum nigrum), the parsley fern (Cryptogramme crispa), and the oak fern (Phegopteris dryopteris). Asplenium septentrionale is found at Culbone; Listera cordata grows on Dunkery and near Chipstable; and the cranberry (Oxycoccus palustris) is said to occur at Selworthy and on the Brendons.  On the other hand, Somerset likewise furnishes congenial conditions for those plants that love low-lying, marshy ground, and on the peat-moors in the Glastonbury district the flowering fern (Osmunda regalis) and the bog myrtle (Myrica Gale) are met with.  Within the British Isles the following are found only in Somerset:  Dianthus gratianopolitanus, Hieracium stinolepis, Verbascum lychnitis, and Euphorbia pilosa.  Arabis stricta occurs only on the limestone near Clifton; Helianthemum polifolium is confined to Somerset and Devon; Pirus latifolia to Somerset and Denbigh.[2]

[1] For the birds of Somerset, see a paper by the Rev. Murray A. Mathew, M.A., F.L.S., in the “Proceedings of the Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society,” vol. xxxix., from which we have borrowed.

  [2] For fuller information, see “The Flora of Somerset,” by the Rev.
  R.P.  Murray, M.A., F.L.S., from which the above facts are taken.

VI.  HISTORY

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Somerset from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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