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Village life: Ashcott

PUBLISHED: 10:24 23 October 2018 | UPDATED: 15:28 23 October 2018

Colourwash and stone cottages nestle into the Polden Hills. Credit Mark Bell

Colourwash and stone cottages nestle into the Polden Hills. Credit Mark Bell

Mark Bell

This month Andrea visits Ashcott

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 colour-washed 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.

Did you know...? The village pantomime has kicked off the Christmas season in Ashcott for an impressive 25 years.

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