IF you don't appreciate our beautiful part of the world you should meet American teenagers Meghan Mello and Alexa Vanvoorhis.

They're over here from Taunton, Massachusetts, and are hugely impressed with their home town's namesake.

"It's beautiful, very historical," said Meghan, 19. "I like looking at the houses, seeing the history. My favourite place is Taunton Castle.

"Everyone's so pleasant and the food is so good - I love nut roast, which we've never had before."

Alexa, 18, said: "We want to move here. We joke about how awful our Taunton is.

"When I said, 'I love Taunton', Meghan said, 'I've never heard you say that before'."

The couple are on an exchange organised with Taunton Rotary - next year two people from Somerset's county town will head over to the American Taunton.

They have been driven to several places, which they found scary with right-hand drive vehicles on the left hand side of the road, unlike back home.

They have visited Bath, Bristol and Salcombe, where they went kayaking and picked up a word they'd never heard before - 'paddling'.

A highlight was lunch with Taunton Deane Mayor Cllr Catherine Herbert, when they tried on her civic robes and picked up the mace.

They've been enjoying the heatwave and been running most days.

Their Taunton has 56,000 people but covers a huge area, with 200 miles of roads, a dense centre and rural outskirts.

Alexa said: "Taunton Somerset has exceeded our expectations.

"The exchange visits are the last remaining links between the two Tauntons. It would be nice to activate more links."