FROME isn’t quite in the best countryside close to Bath, nevertheless it has a distinctive character with lots of stone buildings set on the steep eastern hillsides of the Mendips. The old market place still features in the daily life of the town, with an outdoor charter market (Wednesdays and Saturdays), country market (Thursdays) and monthly farmers’ market. The shopping centre is unimaginative, but does include a Marks and Spencer. There is a cinema and the much admired Black Swan arts centre. The narrow, twisted streets are worth walking through just to enjoy – the most famous is Cheap Street, which is cobbled and has a watercourse running down the centre.
An old terraced cottage with three bedrooms will cost from £155,000 in the conservation area just off the centre. New conversions in an old brewery start at £115,000 for one bedroom, and £145,000 for two.
To the west and south-west are several villages that teeter on the edges of the old stone quarries. When you look, bear in mind that there are plans to expand the quarries at Whatley (one of the largest in the UK) and Leigh on Mendip. Three miles north is Lullington, a very pretty hamlet with a green and a church, where an old stone house with four bedrooms might be had for £450,000.