This weekend is my birthday and to celebrate I am going for a walk with my family in the Mendips. We plan to take some pictures and report back on our findings on all things Cheddar next week.
For now, we thought we would share five reasons that we love Somerset (never too late for a Valentines card to your county!) It is pretty bleak every time you turn on the news at the moment, so here is a blog respite with some things to be grateful for.
We are spoilt for choice with our recognised Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty including the Quantocks, Mendip and Blackdown Hills. Not to mention the National and Country parks such as Exmoor, Ham Hill and Ninesprings. Somerset boasts its fair share of lowlands as well thanks to the Somerset Levels & Moors, which contains 32 Sites of Special Scientific Interest. We are also blessed with historic cities, towns and villages dotted around the county meaning there is always something and somewhere new to explore.
Somerset’s heritage is quite astonishing, and we never stop learning about what makes our county tick, through the unique activities or places that remind us why where we live is so important. Carnival was invented in Bridgwater! The Museum of Somerset (Taunton) and the Rural Life Museum (Glastonbury) expertly capture our county’s social, environmental and political past. Halsway Manor hosts a rich tapestry of Cecil Sharp’s collection. The West Somerset Railway and Yeovil Railway Centre evoke the power of steam from times gone by. Our orchards contain totally unique apples that can only be found in that orchard. Once a year, we stand in the middle of our local orchards, in the dark, singing at bits of toast hanging from trees. The list is endless.
We have some pretty impressive brain power here, despite the reputation for being dumb yokles. Some of the smartest technology comes from companies based in Somerset. Our Aerospace industry is a core part of the South West sector which has around 800 companies and supports 98,000 jobs.
Somerset has one of the finest collections of village halls for rural touring of theatre and music you can find. Our big theatres, including: The Brewhouse (Taunton), The Octagon (Yeovil), Theatre Royal Bath present a rich diversity of live performance, meeting everyone’s interests. Somerset hosts the biggest live performance festival in Europe, on a farm (Glastonbury Festival) and smaller ones such as Fanny Hatstand, or PigPen are popping up. Every year, local venues big & small, become galleries for some of Somerset’s most inspiring visual artists. And Somerset is home to some of the region’s most dynamic storytellers, whose knowledge of local myth & folk stories is second to none.
If you have ever visited one of Somerset’s farmers markets you will get a taste of the produce that is made on our doorstep, and it doesn’t disappoint. There are over 100 producers who attend the markets, where you can find items from specialist breads to meat, fish, dairy, vegetables and fruit. That aside, Somerset is known for its cheese and cider, and it doesn’t get much better than that. So get some cheddar and a pint of scrumpy and raise a toast to Somerset, why we love our county!