AN EXPLORATORY trail tracing the history of the last battle fought on English soil has been officially opened in Westonzoyland.

More than £50,000 has been awarded to replace and improve signage and information posts in a scheme designed to entice more tourists and school parties to the area.

Lady Gass, Lord Lieutenant of Somerset, cut the ribbon at the grand opening on Friday (November 17) at the village's St Mary's Church, with Lady Sandwich and local dignitaries also in attendance.

Funds were secured form the Heritage Lottery Fund, as well as cash from Westonzoyland Parish Council and the Levels and Moors Partnership.

Cllr John Denbee, chairman of Sedgemoor District Council, which managed the project, spoke at the opening.

He said: "Some of the aims we had in mind at the beginning of the project were to enable local people and visitors to appreciate more about the Monmouth Rebellion, the factors that led up to it, the battle and its aftermath.

"Also, to bring this event of national importance alive and to make it more accessible.

"It also encourages more people to become aware of and enjoy their local heritage and bring economic benefits to local businesses."

Way marker posts lead from St Mary's Church to the battle's memorial stones with special rubbing plates. These can be incorporated into the free activity leaflet.

The interpretation project includes a family activity trail for those with younger children.

Another element in the project is the educational resource pack that has been produced to suit the national curriculum. Both local students and those elsewhere in the country will be able to learn about this key era in British history.

The 1685 battle site in Westonzoyland is where Englishmen took arms against fellow Englishmen. The battle was the climax of the rebellion led by the Protestant Duke of Monmouth attempting to overthrow his uncle, James II, the Catholic King of England.

Cllr Denbee added: "We certainly hope that this momentous event, the last battle fought on English soil, will be brought to more people's attention and understanding from now on, whether they be residents of Sedgemoor or visitors to our district."