“Is this it?” For a town regularly hyped by the media (it’s among the best places to live in England, according to the Daily Mail), the little town of Bruton, in South Somerset, doesn’t look like much at first glance. It hides its charms behind a forbidding, dark limestone façade that dates back to the Saxon era. “Cotwolds-cute” it isn’t. When a tractor trundles down the one-lane main street, it’s an event.

Bruton’s watchtower, or dovecote, dates to the 18th century.

Scratch deeper and there is a mysticism to the ancient town that lies between the river Brue and the 18th-century Dovecote, or watchtower, which dominates the horizon. The countryside falls away in a patchwork of small fields, stitched together with beech and hazel hedgerows, studded with hoary century-old oaks. At times, the 21st century can feel very remote.