Discover South Petherton
- Credit: Archant
A stunning wild flower meadow and thriving live music scene bring thousands of visitors flocking to a village in South Somerset
It’s not hard to see why South Petherton has previously picked up the award for Somerset Village of the Year.
Walking through its pretty streets past the honey coloured ham stone buildings and chatting to the people who live and work here, it’s clear that this place is the complete package as far as thriving, quintessential English villages go.
Some 10 miles from Yeovil and just off the main A303, South Petherton has everything - great eating and drinking places, a busy arts centre, a long list of clubs and societies and all this surrounded by lovely places to walk. The list of shops include the essentials such as the butcher, baker, chemist, newsagent and greengrocers and even that rare but welcome sight on the high street: a hardware store!
People who live here don’t take any of this for granted and when it looked like they were about to lose their much-loved library, many contributed to a fund to keep it open. It is the intention of the parish council to ring-fence these funds for library services in the village while they wait to see what the future holds for their library.
Vice Chairman of the parish council, Brian Herrick, says: “We are an extremely enthusiastic and harmonious council hoping to be project-led to the benefit of the community. So in addition to the basic functions of the council we are working on a new community hub project incorporating a library.
“We’re hoping to create our own interactive website for the parishioners to use to communicate problems they have and give us positive and creative ideas. Nearly every council colleague has said to me that they want South Petherton to be a destination village to ensure that the all-important local businesses and shops are supported and thrive. Without them the village would be a very different place so it’s important we work with these hard working enterprises to optimise their potential.”
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Brian is the owner of Field of Dreams - one of the largest collections of annual wild flowers from around the world covering almost six acres of land in South Petherton.
“It has been visited by more than 9,000 people in the past two years, raising money for local needs and open in July and August,” he says.
“But there are a lot more exciting events in South Petherton that nobody should miss, such as the superb Folk Festival.” southpetherton.com
Surrounded by glorious countryside and with good access to major routes, this part of the world provides an ideal location for businesses and organisations.
Take Art is a pioneering arts charity based in a barn on a farm near South Petherton.
Serving the towns, villages and rural communities of Somerset, the organisation provides opportunities for people of all ages and abilities to experience, participate and work within the arts.
Executive Director Ralph Lister explains: “It is a fitting office location, bearing in mind the rural nature of Somerset. It is one of the most rural counties in England and it is important that we get out and about, meeting volunteer village promoters, seeing and working with artists, sharing ideas and promotions with the venue network in the county. The location of our office, central to the county, with good access to the A303 and A358 is excellent.”
Creative Director of Rocketboxdesign.com Rob Loxston grew up in the area, which he says provides a good pool of talent.
“It’s one reason for developing our business in South Somerset - as well as good road links.
“We can look out the window and see Ham Hill and instead of the sound of cars and sirens, we have the sound of chickens and ducks. It makes for a good creative environment and we like it!
“Being a keen runner, I can step out of my house (or studio) onto Ham Hill and not set foot on a road for 15 miles. Ham Hill has played an important role throughout my upbringing and still plays a large part in mine and my children’s lives and my other pastimes such as climbing and mountain biking.”
Asked by Somerset Life about the benefits of working near South Petherton, the design team decide the best bits are: good pub/beer and good music at The David Hall.
“In fact the David Hall brings in some superb, well-known musicians,” adds Rob.
“I appreciate the fact that South Petherton still has specialist shops such as the butchers and bakers - my preference is to shop local.”
Rocketbox offers graphic design and typography to businesses in Somerset and beyond. Locally it works for The David Hall in South Petherton, The Fleet Air Arm Museum in Yeovilton, Ham Hill Cider and others.
Rob explains: “We’ve recently been working on a project with South Somerset Tourism, part of South Somerset District Council, on Discover - a printed guide to the area. It promotes local businesses and tourism, establishing South Somerset as a good place to visit for a holiday or business trip. We’ve also designed a modern and fresh new online presence for Discover, which is fully responsive and will work perfectly on iPads and mobile phones.”