Home of the fundraiser

This month An­drea vis­its Ash­cott

Somerset Life - - VILLAGE LIFE -

Ash­cott is set in the rolling con­tours of the Polden Hills. The name is thought to come from the wood­land which once cov­ered part of the Pold­ens.

It lies on the an­cient Ro­man road that runs from Street to Bridg­wa­ter. Coaches and wag­gons would have passed through on route to Lon­don, Taun­ton and Ex­eter. Ash­cott also had a sta­tion, on the Ever­creech Junc­tion to Burn­ham-on-Sea rail­way line, un­til it closed in 1966.

As a re­sult of this prom­i­nent po­si­tion, the vil­lage has al­ways had a large num­ber of busi­nesses for its size. Roll on to 2018 and lo­cal com­pa­nies in­clude Grif­fiths & Sons Butch­ers, the Som­er­set Kitchen Com­pany, the Slip­per Box, Ash­cott Lawns Res­i­den­tial Home and Pork4U, a tra­di­tional pig farm which in­cludes an in­no­va­tive ‘own a pig’ scheme. Pubs in the vil­lage range from the Al­bion Inn and truck stop café on the main road, to the 18th cen­tury ‘free house’, Ring O’Bells in the heart of the vil­lage, with its skit­tles and mu­sic evenings.

Take a walk around the lanes and you’ll find a mix of build­ing styles and ages. There are some large houses on the edge of Ash­cott dat­ing from the 18th and 19th cen­turies that would have orig­i­nally stood in sub­stan­tial grounds. Within the vil­lage it­self, there are old stone and colour­washed houses and cot­tages sit­ting along­side 20th cen­tury de­vel­op­ments which were built in gar­dens and or­chards.

Just down from the Ring O’Bells is the Grade II-listed Church of All Saints which dates from the 15th cen­tury. Next to the church is the vil­lage hall. It was bought by Ash­cott Parish Coun­cil in 1985 and, af­ter con­certed fundrais­ing by the vil­lagers, was de­mol­ished and re­built to make it fit-for-pur­pose. A nice touch is the old en­trance porch and door dat­ing from 1852 which were sal­vaged and in­cor­po­rated into the new build­ing.

Fundrais­ing is a fa­mil­iar re­frain. The well-at­tended an­nual Ash­cott BeerFest raises money for Ash­cott Corona­tion Play­ing Fields (where it is held), Ash­cott Pri­mary School PTA and pre-school Cheeky Chimps. The play­ing fields, home of Ash­cott Foot­ball Club, has just ben­e­fited from a ma­jor over­haul, the re­sult of 18 months of plan­ning and fundrais­ing. There is now a fan­tas­tic play­ground, pav­il­ion and fa­cil­i­ties for older teenagers in­clud­ing a bas­ket­ball hoop and ta­ble ten­nis ta­ble. An­other an­nual fundraiser is the pan­tomime. Or­gan­ised and per­formed by up to 30 mem­bers of the vil­lage, half of which are chil­dren, the pan­tomime raises money for the vil­lage hall. This year’s pro­duc­tion is The Lit­tle Mer­maid with tick­ets on sale in Novem­ber. I’ll see you there. con­tact an­drea@murf­dog.co.uk

‘The vil­lage has al­ways had a pro­por­tion­ally large num­ber of busi­nesses’

ABOVE: Colour­wash and stone cot­tages nes­tle into the Polden Hills.

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