Conservation Area: Bossington and West Lynch Conservation Area
Exmoor National Park Authority
01 January 1984
Date last amended
01 January 2019
Bossington and West Lynch are two separate small settlements within Selworthy parish, and situated beneath Bossington Hill and Selworthy Beacon rising some 300 metres to the north-east. Bossington is less than 1 km. from the sea. West Lynch is further inland, in the direction of Allerford, which is itself just off the A 39, connecting Porlock 2 km. to the west and Minehead about 8 km. to the east.
The South West Coast Path passes through the southern part of the conservation area, much of which is within the Holnicote Estate, now owned by the National Trust, but formerly the Exmoor seat of the historic Acland family whose ancestors date back to Hugh de Accalen in the 12th century. Both settlements are mainly on level ground, and between them contain many good examples of characteristic local detail in both cottages and farmhouses, some with late medieval origins. During the early 1990s the National Trust carried out a vernacular buildings survey of all its own property in both settlements, including agricultural and other outbuildings, contained in a number of detailed reports kept at the Holnicote office.
Bossington is recorded as Bosintune in Domesday, and as Bosinton in the Assize Rolls of 1256. It probably refers to the TUN (i.e. the settlement) of Bosa’s people. It was referred to in 1270 as a “township in the Forest of Exmoor.” The derivation of Lynch is less certain but probably refers to the Old English HLINC “hill.” The main feature of the latter is undoubtedly the early 16th century chapel of a former manor of the Sydenham family. In more recent history, Bossington was renowned for a gigantic walnut tree which had to be felled in the mid 20th century. At the time it was believed to be around 300 years old, but J.L.W Page in his book “Exploration of Exmoor” published in 1890 records the following comment from “an ancient dame.” “Lor bless ee! He be much more than that; folks do come from all over the country to see un.”
As well as the two main settlements, a triangular green, some pasture land and tree-lined banks of Horner Water are included, as well as the lower slopes of Lynch Combe, and a scattering of early 20th century houses, including the imposing stone-built Lynch set apart in landscaped grounds. There is a small westward spur at Bossington that includes the Methodist Chapel in its isolated setting.