The Lord-lieu­tenant’s way

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An­nie Maw was a nurse and a guide in Wells Cathe­dral for nearly 20 years. In 2002, she had a rid­ing ac­ci­dent, re­sult­ing in para­ple­gia. In spite of life in a wheel­chair, she served as High Sher­iff of Som­er­set in 2008 and has been Lord-lieu­tenant for the past three years.

‘Trav­el­ling, I pass through the most sub­lime land­scapes. Leav­ing the M5 and the A303 be­hind, I use hid­den leafy lanes and windswept ridge­ways when I can. I marvel at the views, at huge skies teem­ing with stars, at trees, at wild­flow­ers, at birds and bird­song, at vivid colour through­out the sea­sons. This is a very var­ied county—we have it all.

‘From the cliffs and beaches in the south­west, where Ex­moor falls away into the sea at Por­lock, to the se­cret in­land hills and val­leys south of Bath, where the Cotswolds fade into the Mendips. Through Mells, Frome, Bru­ton, Wells and Glas­ton­bury, which lead to the wild wet­ness of the Lev­els and the rhines. Onto the Pold­ens, the Quan­tocks and the Brendon Hills, which shel­ter ham­lets and farms hold­ing back the march of time. The un­mis­tak­able church tow­ers stand as mile­stones, in­tri­cate, dainty and al­ways vis­i­ble, even in the height of sum­mer.

‘Our his­tory, our coun­try­side, our vil­lages, our churches, our abbeys and the peo­ple who live here: they are all dy­namic, vi­tal, beau­ti­ful and unique. To Al­fred, it was a refuge; to Co­leridge and Wordsworth a muse; to me —to us—it is our home. I must be the luck­i­est woman alive to be Lord-lieu­tenant of such a county. Som­er­set... even the name is a ro­mance. There’s no bet­ter place.’

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