Conservation Area: Porlock Conservation Area

Authority Exmoor National Park Authority
Date assigned 01 January 1984
Date last amended 18 November 2013
Date revoked
Summary of Significance Porlock has a long history and from documentary evidence was clearly an important settlement by the Saxon period. In spite of this antiquity, there is little readily identifiable in the current fabric of the buildings and layout of the village to suggest these early origins: much remains to be discovered. The settlement is essentially linear, following the winding course of the main street from where the A39 drops down the hill at Dunster Steep, to the foot of the infamous Porlock Hill. The separate settlement nucleations of Porlock, Sparkhayes and Doverhay have, since the early 20th century, been subsumed within a larger urban conurbation. Hawkcombe, nestled in the valley to the south, still retains a sense of a discrete hamlet of mainly 19th century date although it was, and is, reliant on the main settlement of Porlock. Porlock’s historic port at Porlock Weir lies 2.5km to the north-west and is a separate Conservation Area. Although earlier buildings survive, in its current guise Porlock predominantly comprises a mixture of 17th and 18th century vernacular houses, many with characteristic front projecting chimney stacks, and more substantial later 19th/early 20th century houses, shops and hotels mostly in a well executed Arts and Crafts style. This later development, sometimes rebuilding or demolishing earlier structures, was decried at the time, but these ‘intrusions’ can now be viewed as having historic significance in their own right and contributing equally to the character and appearance of the Conservation Area.

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Grid reference Centred SS 8854 4635 (724m by 1071m) ENPA
Map sheet SS84NE

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