Conservation Area: Wootton Courtenay Conservation Area
Exmoor National Park Authority
01 December 1994
Date last amended
01 January 2018
The significance of Wootton Courtenay is derived from its setting, its historic buildings and their position in the landscape.
The village is situated at the foot of the short range of mainly wooded hills extending from Tivington Common in the west to Grabbist Hill in the east. It has a sheltered south-facing aspect and to the north and east views towards the high moors of Exmoor.
Wootton Courtenay is broadly ‘T’-shaped. At its centre is the medieval church and the former rectory and from here it spreads east-west with a further lane leading south down to the bridge across the river. Within this pattern the settlement is diverse. The buildings are informally grouped, with no hint of formal planning but are usually built close to the carriageway. In spite of a low density, the informality, and close-knit grouping, linked by stone walls and banks, gives the village a cohesive quality and sense of enclosure. This has the effect of making the outward views to surrounding moorland from the higher parts of the village all the more striking.
Although Wootton Courtenay’s cottage groups lack the ‘chocolate box’ aesthetic of some other Exmoor villages, its buildings display some typical local vernacular features which are of great interest. These include the front lateral chimney stack, suggesting that many originate in the 17th century. Also present are farmsteads which were built, or underwent improvement, during the 19th century. Almost all of the stone-built agricultural and other outbuildings associated with the farms date from this period.