The Lord-lieutenant’s way
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.’