King Alfred's Tower
King Alfredʼs Tower was built by Henry Hoare II and designed by Henry Filtcroft. It was completed in 1772 and is 49 metres (161ft) tall.
Inside, in one of the corner turrets are 205 steps leading to a parapet around the open core of the tower. The circular staircase is narrow and poorly lit, and is not recommended if, like me, you are late, it is near to closing time, and you are being followed by a group of people who are much fitter than you.
Still I made it to the top and, once I had caught my breath, the view more than justified the effort.
When I first visited the tower back in 1977, before it was restored and opened to the public, I remember being annoyed that, like so many of the National Trustʼs viewpoints in Somerset, it was surrounded by trees which blocked out the view.
However, in this case, it now makes sense. Going along the enclosed ride through the trees then rising vertically above them into the open air must have been the nearest thing to the experience of flying that you could get back in the eighteenth century, and still have lived to tell the tale.