SOMERSET'S MOST FAMOUS SHOP & SHOPKEEPER
Hello again - and welcome to Somersetter number 11, featuring a host of wonderful things on offer in (and, in one case, around) this fine county over the next couple of weeks. As always, if you enjoy it, then please forward the email to a friend and suggest that they sign up too. Go on, it really does help. Thanks.
VISIT THE SHOP PRATCHETT FANS TRAVERSE OCEANS FOR
41 High St, Wincanton BA9 9JU, Open Monday, Tuesday, Friday & Saturday 10am-4pm
Although the much-missed fantasy writer Terry Pratchett was born in Beaconsfield and lived in Wiltshire, he chose the small Somerset town of Wincanton as the home for the official shop for his Discworld series of books (which have sold some 80 million copies). Apparently this was because the Discworld Emporium “would be close enough to work with, but not too close as to be a nuisance”. The shop has now been open for 18 years, and welcomes Pratchett fans from across the world, keen to browse its extensive range of original Discworld goods and meet like-minded folk. The town is even now officially twinned with Ankh-Morpork, the city state from the books. Find out more at the Emporium’s website (which you can order from too).
TAKE A WILDLIFE-RICH WOODLAND WALK
Caswell Lane, Portbury, BS20 7UF.
Its spring carpet of bluebells may be on the wane but this wildlife-rich ancient woodland, not far from Clevedon, still has loads to offer now that summer is on the horizon. Managed by the Avon Wildlife Trust and dating back to the 1600s, the wood’s majestic canopy of small-leaved lime trees, hazel and oak filter sunshine into vibrant green light, while slow streams gurgle invitingly. The woodland path takes you on an easy and very accessible hour and a half amble. Click here for a detailed map.
TAKE A CANAL CRUISE
BARBARA MCLELLAN TRIP BOAT
By the Canal Trust Cafe, Bradford on Avon, BA15 1LE
Just over the Wiltshire border lies the lovely little town of Bradford on Avon, which is always good for a potter. While you’re there, it’s definitely worth taking a trip down the canal aboard the Barbara McLellan, which was purchased and bequeathed to the Kennet and Avon Canal Trust on condition they offered some free trips for charities who support people with disabilities and disadvantaged groups (which they do). On Saturdays, Wednesdays and Bank Holidays, the boat cruises to and from the glorious Avoncliff Aqueduct, while on Sundays, it travels through tree-lined woodland to Hilperton. Trips take around 2.5 hours and cost £8 for adults and £5 for kids over 5. Click here for time / tickets on their website, where you can also see details of charters and the special cruises which come with a cream tea or fish and chips.
ENJOY A BIG SUMMER FLING
ILMINSTER MIDSUMMER EXPERIENCE
Ilminster town centre, Thur June 7- Sun June 10, free entry
Like a village fete crossed with a country show, this is the small south Somerset town’s big, summer fling, filling Ilminster’s pretty streets with food, drink, crafts and merriment. Now celebrating its tenth anniversary, we’re promised oodles of family fun with dog shows, classic vehicles, brass bands and a fun fair. For a full schedule of events and more information, click here.
MAKE FRIENDS WITH COWS
OPEN FARM SUNDAY AT PYLE FARM
Pyle Farm, Trudoxhill, BA11 5DL. Sunday June 10. 10am-4pm, free entry
This enterprising small dairy farm near Frome is flinging open its gates this Sunday as part of the farming industry’s national open day (click here to find other participating farms). As well as getting up close and personal with their beautiful cows and the obligatory tractor & trailer rides, you can stock up on some local goodies at their pop-up, Palette & Pasture Country Market and sample the farm’s recently launched Somerset Gelato, which is produced entirely on site. For more info click here.
RUN IN YOUR SWIMMERS, SWIM IN YOUR SHORTS
CLEVEDON MARINE LAKE SWIM RUN
Clevedon Marine Lake Off Old Church Road, BS21 7TU. Sunday June 17. Race registration from 8am. Race start at 9am. £15 per person
This historic marine lake has been a top spot for water-based frolicking since it first opened in 1929. Offering everything from swimming and boating to crabbing and zorbing the lake ensures the fun doesn’t stop when the tide goes out. Next Sunday’s (June 17) swim run is rather more challenging than a seasonal dip, taking in a 1.2k sea swim interlaced with a 5.5k run. Soggy fun for some, and an inspiring spectator sport for others, all with a nice view of Clevedon Pier up the coast. For more info and course details, click here.
HAVE A MARR-VELOUS NIGHT IN BATH
JOHNNY MARR AT BATH FORUM
Tuesday, November 6. The Forum, Bath, BA1 1UG
With a new album, Call The Comet, out next week, the legendary former Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr has just announced a 10-date UK tour, one of which brings him to the Bath Forum (always a terrific place to see a show). He's sure to play some Smiths classics too. The concert is on Tuesday November 6th, and tickets are on sale now, costing £26 + booking fee. Get your tickets here.
BLAST OFF INTO SPACE
ONE SMALL STEP AT THE EGG, BATH
The Egg, Theatre Royal Bath, Sawclose, Bath BA1 1ET. Fri June 8 10am & 1pm, Sat June 9 11.30am & 3pm; £10 adult and lap, £9 adult, £8 child.
Time Out called this former Edinburgh Fringe family hit “a life-affirmingly brilliant piece of theatre”. Armed with a shed-load of neatly reapportioned everyday objects, and a hugely talented two-man cast, One Small Step brings all the drama and excitement of the space race to Technicolor life – from the first dog to be rocketed up to the stars, to the launch of Sputnik and that mind-blowing moon landing. It’s an inspiring and imaginative show, beautifully suited to the Egg Theatre’s engaging intimacy. Click here for tickets and more info.
ENJOY A TASTY THAI IN CASTLE CARY
High St, Castle Cary, BA7 7AW
One of the region’s first Thai restaurants when it opened back in 1997, the Bakehouse has maintained a fine reputation for the quality of both its food and its welcome. Whether you’re sampling the authentic Thai cuisine or the equally authentic home-baked English cakes and coffee, this friendly lunch spot seldom disappoints. Open daytime, Tuesday to Saturday, 9.30am-4pm (with lunch served 12noon-2pm). Visit their website here.
SOMERSET FACT OF THE WEEK
JOHN LEWIS WAS A SHEPTON LAD
John Lewis – he of the rather famous chain of department stores – was born in Shepton Mallet in 1836. Sadly, he became an orphan at the age of seven, and was brought up by his aunt, Miss Ann Speed. After serving as an apprentice to a local draper, he moved to London to become a silk buyer, opening his first John Lewis & Co drapery shop at small premises on Oxford Street a few years later. Oddly, it doesn’t appear that there’s any sort of plaque / memorial in the town to perhaps its most famous son (but please do drop us a line if you know different!). But you can buy lots of stuff from John's website, here.
And that's all for issue 11. Remember, you can HELP us out by forwarding this email to friends who might want to sign up too. And if you have Somerset suggestions, then please do email us or drop us a note on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
Thanks for reading - see you for the next one!