Taunton is the county town of Somerset. It is the largest town in Somerset and has a population of over 61,000 people. Taunton is a traditional English market town. It is located around 35 miles from Exeter and 33 miles from Weston-super-Mare. Taunton resides on the River Tone in an area known as the Vale of Taunton.
The town of Taunton has been deemed a 'Strategically Important Town or City' by the government which gives those towns meeting the criteria access to funding for large regeneration projects. Currently regeneration projects are underway within the town to develop the Firepool area, which is located north of Taunton's town centre. It will utilise undeveloped land to become a key area for business within the region. There are also plans to improve facilities in the town centre, amongst other areas of Taunton.
Taunton has many sites of natural significance including South Taunton Streams which is an urban wetland. There are also a number of nature reserves in the town of Taunton and the Children's Wood Riverside Reserve provides a movement corridor which enables otters and other animals to move along the banks of the River Tone safely.
Taunton is home to an organisation within the MOD, the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office (UKHO) which is a key employer within the town, employing over 800 members of staff. Taunton is also the location for a regional office of Defra, as well as the head offices of companies including Debenhams and Western Provident Association. There are many job opportunities within the town in a variety of industries.
The site of Taunton Castle is a popular visitor attraction within the town and is also the home of the Somerset County Museum. Taunton has a cinema, bowling alley, Orchard indoor shopping centre, and many restaurants, bars and pubs. Taunton is also popular for its production of cider.