Loughwood Meeting House, Dalwood, Axminster, Somerset

If you find old buildings and their history fascinating you might like to pop along to Loughwood Meeting House when you’re looking for things to do on your holiday in Devon. Tucked away on the edge of Dalwood with beautiful views over the rolling countryside of the Axe Valley, Loughwood is one of the earliest surviving Baptist meeting houses in the country, founded largely by Hugenots fleeing persecution in France. Built into the hillside among the woods, and close to the county border, this unassuming thatched house offered a place for the small congregation to worship in relative safety.

What’s amazing is how Loughwood Meeting House remains pretty much unchanged since the 18th century – but then, it’s owned by the National Trust and they know how to preserve places like this. Inside is so atmospheric – bumpy old lime washed walls, the simple pine pews and pulpit and even the baptismal pool beneath the floor; there are rest rooms, and a gallery where the musicians would have played during services. On the wall is a memorial to one of the pastors who is buried, unusually, inside the chapel. Outside there are stables and the graveyard – it all feels so wonderfully and archaically pastoral, like you’ve stepped into the pages of one of Thomas Hardy’s novels.

Opening times vary throughout the year so you’d be wise to check the website before you set out.

All information correct at the time of writing

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