The area immediately to the south of Bristol
is an unusually rich part of England. If you look at a
geological map you will find an incredible set of rich
colourings to delineate the changes in types of rock and soil.
In fact, our family home straddles two such changes in the
rock type, and geology students from Bristol University were
always knocking on our door asking if they could hack away in
the wood to find examples to take back for their studies.
There are even coal seams under the Mendips
were mined until quite recently. In fact, when we first moved
to the area I used to collect coal from the pit-head in Radstock
There are also quarries in the Mendips excavating for stone.
To the south of the area is the city of Wells
its cathedral and partially moated bishop's palace,
And close by is Glastonbury
Did the locals really plod up that steep hill every sunday for
the weekly service?
To the north are the cities of Bath
but there is this rather special area which has a special
character all its own.
Local breweries, and of course, farmhouse cider. Quaint pubs,
and local events and societies, all thriving.
is regarded as probably the greenest parish
There is an effigy in the north chapel of Sir John St Loe, who
was over 7 feet (2 m) tall, and his lady. The armoured
figure is 7 feet 4 inches (2.24 m) long.
The present clock, installed in 1903, plays a verse of a hymn
every four hours, at 8 am, noon, 4 and 8 pm, with a
different hymn tune for every day of the week.
And, of course, for me, one of the great attractions of this
part of the world is the pub culture. The local ales are good,
and there are a dozen or so reasonably local breweries to
Not only that, there is, of course, the local cider, and it
doesn't always have to be the scrumpy, which outsiders may not
be able to handle. But for those of us who were weaned
on the stuff there is simply no alternative.
One of the things that amazed me when I was wandering along
the high street at Chew Magna
was the range and style
of the eateries. And then I discovered that a couple of miles
to the south is The Pony and Trap
, which boasts a
Michelin star. Last time I was there I made the mistake
heading east to Pensford
, and down the A37. Next time
I'm in the area I'll try the place and do a write-up.