Our Village South Petherton
PUBLISHED: 14:02 18 October 2010 | UPDATED: 17:59 20 February 2013
Sarah Ford heads for South Petherton, a village with a big heart, where she meets some green-fingered enthusiasts, keen walkers and art lovers
Lying just off the A303 near Ilminster, the pretty village of South Petherton is certainly a picture-postcard location. Its streets lined with attractive Ham stone properties and the occasional thatched cottage, the community is home to a welcoming pub, bustling local shops and thriving schools. And towering above this typical English village scene is the elegant octagonal church tower of St Peter & St Paul. Within easy reach of some of the countys hotspots, such as Barrington, Montacute and East Lambrook Manor, this popular parish is also on the 50-mile River Parrett Trail.
With the help of the local history groups booklet, available in various local shops, you could discover some of South Pethertons secrets for yourself.
In more recent times this enterprising south Somerset village hit the headlines when the increasingly famous David Hall won 56,000 through The Peoples Millions campaign run by ITV. Since then the arts venue, known as the small hall with a big reputation, has undergone major improvements to its facilities, making it one of the South Wests popular performing arts and community events locations.
Jenn Hodge of South Petherton Babes and Tots describes this as a busy community with many groups and activities from drama and art to sport and buggy walks.
The small businesses here make a big difference too. They make South Petherton unique
I think that people move to the village for the schools, combined with all the events that go on here, she says. We were also attracted to the shops and felt it was a special, thriving place, which still felt like a village.
I think that villages often get the reputation of being stuffy, but South Petherton is very much involved with its youngsters. The small businesses here make a big difference too. They make South Petherton unique.
Launched by Ian Greenfield, South Petherton Walking Group aims to promote the area, its pubs, businesses and wonderful countryside as well as supporting rural transport by encouraging the use of the Nippy Bus Service.
Walking in South Petherton will just leave you wondering what is around the next corner
Whether your interest is in Iron Age forts, Roman Villas, a Saxon Palace, or the many mixed farms, apple orchards and cider farms you pass, walking in South Petherton will just leave you wondering what is around the next corner, says Ian.
Deer leaping through the early morning mist, fox or badger rustling in the undergrowth, and, if you are really lucky, sight of an otter swimming each add their individual appeal to this magical part of the Somerset countryside. www.southpethertonwalkinggroup.org
For 14 years, Nancy McMillan has run the One World gift shop, where many of the lovely items on sale are Fairtrade. As a special treat she would book a table at the New Farm Restaurant in nearby Over Stratton, and she also recommends South Pethertons Brewers Arms.
I believe it is the people, the history and heritage of the place that makes South Petherton very special
The village has a baker, butcher, greengrocer, hardware shop, two hairdressers, framing galleries, TV and radio shop, and bank, and we have still got our post office, which is wonderful.
I believe it is the people, the history and heritage of the place that makes South Petherton very special.
The Petherton Arts Trust is celebrating 21 years of activities at The David Hall, and outgoing chairman Tony Charman is delighted that the Lottery grant allowed them to transform the 150-year-old building and realise its full potential.
We are a venue for all forms of live music, drama, dance and community activities, from the kids club to belly dancing.
The David Hall performs a dual role; it provides a focus for the village but also attracts an audience from a large area of the South West
The David Hall performs a dual role; it provides a focus for the village but also attracts an audience from a large area of the South West and this promotes the village as a result.
www.thedavidhall.org.uk for details of this months concerts.
Claire Davis is on the carnival committee and has lived in South Petherton for 14 years. It is a very pretty place and we are one of the only villages that has an illuminated carnival. We have excellent infant
It is one of the most sought-after villages to live in and I would not want to be anywhere else
and junior schools and we boast a very successful youth council and purpose-built scout hut, she says. The village has grown in size recently and the new houses have brought more families in. It is one of the most sought-after villages to live in and I would not want to be anywhere else.
Brian Herrick arrived at Barcroft Hall some 10 years ago, and together with his wife, Denise, has transformed the grounds with lakes, avenues of trees, an orchard and a network of public footpaths. A wildlife area has also been created and a footpath opened for disabled access.
The aim is to recycle knowledge, which we are calling Vegetation Education
The latest project is a family gardens scheme on three acres of derelict land, where families can grow their own. This area will be used for the production of food and the education of younger generations by older, more experienced folk, says Brian. The aim is to recycle knowledge, which we are calling Vegetation Education.
Look out for a feature on Barcroft Hall in a forthcoming issue of Somerset Life.