About the parish.

Meare is a civil parish within the county of Somerset which is in the South West part of the UK.

The parish includes the villages of Meare and Westhay and the hamlets of Oxenpill and Stileway.

These areas lie on raised up land within a low lying landscape called the Somerset Levels.

Although the village areas are relatively safe, the low lying levels have flooded during the winter months for centuries.

This has caused the land to become boggy and the vegetation turns into peat.

The peat has been used as fuel and much of the employment in the area has been in peat digging and its extraction.

Peat also has a natural ability to preserve ancient organic material and the surrounding area has numerous nationally important archaeological sites of interest. These include the iron age settlements known as the Meare Lake Villages and the neolithic trackways such as the Sweet Track.

The boggy nature of the ground is still common today and the parish contains, or is adjacent to, several important national nature reserves.

Meare is probably best known as the place that has the only surviving medieval Fish House in the UK. A prominent building sitting in an eastern field, it is grade I listed and cared for by English Heritage.

The history and wildlife pages will delve deeper into the detail to these important sites.