Spring: What’s on in Somerset

Petherton Folk Fest continues a tradition that began in the village in 1231

Petherton Folk Fest continues a tradition that began in the village in 1231 - Credit: Archant

The pretty Hamstone villages and hamlets of South Somerset are celebrating the season in style

East Lambrook Manor Gardens

East Lambrook Manor Gardens - Credit: Archant

A week of celebrations

The team behind a popular South Somerset venue, known as the ‘small hall with the big reputation’, celebrates a 30th anniversary this month with a special week of events.

Petherton Arts Trust (PAT), which runs The David Hall performing arts centre in South Petherton, was established in 1986. The group leased a Grade II listed former church building from local businessman Brian Hall and named it The David Hall, in memory of Mr Hall’s son who had been killed in a road accident.

PAT eventually bought the building and now draws its audience from a radius of some 100 miles around South Petherton. The David Hall is renowned for its superb acoustics and intimate space and specialises in folk, roots and acoustic music – although each season’s programme also includes the likes of theatre, dance and films.

Yarlington House

Yarlington House - Credit: Archant

A celebratory week of events, from 27 May to 3 June includes a digitally-restored edition of The Third Man, family show The Whale’s Tale and A Midsummer Night’s Dream from Old Vic Theatre School. thedavidhall.org.uk

On 18 June join the villagers of South Petherton when they continue a tradition that first began in 1231. The fifth Petherton Folk Fest is a full day of mainly free entertainment starting at 10am with a procession of Morris ‘sides’ into the Market Square. The afternoon features mostly folk music by at least 20 different performers and other entertainment. At noon, visitors are invited to join in the Clipping of the Church - a tradition of holding hands around the building dating back over centuries. pethertonfolkfest.org.uk

Kingsbury May Festival

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For a community of only some 1,200, Kingsbury Episcopi punches well above its weight and its May Festival in a small village setting makes for a great day out.

Each year more than 5,000 people are drawn to the May Bank Holiday event to enjoy the maypole dancing, Morris men, Green Man procession, music, country games and more.

On 2 May head for Harry’s Field for a game of bungee running, climbing wall or water rockets or enjoy the dog show and vintage car display.

Entry, from 11am, is almost free – there is a parking charge and cyclists and pedestrians are asked to give a small donation, towards the village’s new community centre.

To find the festival set your Sat Nav to TA12 6AT. kingsburymayfestival.co.uk

Hash run Chilthorne Domer

Hashing is for those who want to excercise, but not too seriously, with a night in a pub. The route is only known to one runner (the hare) who sets the course using blobs of flour on the ground. It is then up to the runners (hounds) to follow.

Expect ‘mud, sweat and beers’ on 3 May, on this five mile cross country event starting at 7pm from Home Farm, Chilthorne Domer, with the Chard Hash House Harriers (chardhash.co.uk). Entry is £3 and £5 for the beer and chilli, in aid of locally based charity School in a Bag.

The charity’s biggest annual fundraising event, Home Farm Fest, returns on 10 – 12 June. Featuring music on five stages, the festival starts on the Friday night with its ‘Posh Wears & Wellies’ night. Tickets: homefarmfest.co.uk

Hinton St George Festival

The first festival in Hinton St George was held in 2000 as a one-off to celebrate the Millennium, but since then it has continued to entertain people from the village and beyond on alternate years. The 2016 line-up includes tribute band Abba’s Angels, Taunton choir Eccelesia and Dixieland style jazz band Darktown Strutters.

For ticket details of the event, running 4 to 11 June, visit hintonfestival.btck.co.uk

Open gardens

A number of south Somerset gardens will open in aid of the National Garden Scheme and raise money for charity. Explore the famous Grade 1 Listed cottage garden at East Lambrook Manor (14 May/ 5 & 16 June), Forest Lodge, Pen Selwood (26 May, 2.30pm-4.3pm) a selection of gardens in the village of Hinton St George (29 & 30 May, 2pm-5.30pm), The Old Rectory, Limington (4 & 5 June, 1.30pm-6pm) and the National Trust’s Tintinhull (5 June). ngs.co.uk

The Horticultural Society in Combe st Nicholas hosts an open garden, teas and plant sale at Alterhay House on 22 May, 2pm-5pm.

Curry Rivel celebrates HM The Queen’s 90th birthday by opening 16 gardens on 12 June, 11am-6pm.

More this month…

OSR art (Until 8 May)

Droppers is the name of an exhibition in the OSR Project Space in West Coker. Artists Andy Webster and Darren Ray look at a 1960s settlement for creative experimentation. osrprojects.net

Plant Fair (14 May)

A fantastic opportunity to see 23 nurseries from the South West and buy beautifully grown plants at Yarlington House, 10am-4pm. Entry £3, children free. yarlingtonhouse.com

Lytes Cary Manor (14 May)

Find lovely gifts during a gift fair at this National Trust property, 11am-4pm. nationaltrust.org.uk

Music for Pleasure (14 May)

Charlton Horethorne Parish Church stages this annual concert offering a chance for all who like singing or playing instruments to perform; all ages and stages welcome. Free to enter, 7.30pm. charlotonhorethorne.com

Wambrook Waddle (15 May)

A 10k run starting at 11am and 2k junior/fun race from 10.30am in aid of Chard Road Runners and Wambrook Church. Registration is at The Tithe Barn, Cotley. chardrunningclub.btck.co.uk

Wizard of Oz (20-21 May)

Talented youngsters from Broadway Amateur Theatrical Society tell the story of Dorothy and friends at the village hall. Tickets: 01460 259361.

Spring Fayre (21 May)

Holton Village Hall hosts a spring event offering homemade food, plants and gifts for sale. From 10am until 1.30pm.

Gathering on the green (21 May)

Enthusiasts who restore and run interesting front wheel drive automobiles made by BSA gather on Long Sutton green outside the Devonshire Arms, from 11am.

Marvellous market! (28 May)

Chocolates, cheese, chillies and cupcakes – not forgetting local wine, vegetables and meat - just some of the delights on offer at the Levels’ Best Farmers and Crafts Market at Montacute House, 10am-2pm. levelsbest.co.uk

Flower festival (28-30 May)

Cricket Malherbie hosts its biennial event in St Mary Magdalene Church, with cream teas in The Old Rectory Gardens. The theme for the flower arrangements this year is Quotations.

Tour of Wessex (28-30 May)

One of the biggest multi stage cyclosportives in the World brings thousands of riders from across the globe to Somerset. Based in the market town of Langport, riders head out each morning before circling back to Langport. tourofwessex.com

May Fayre (30 May)

Thanks to the National Trust, Stoke sub Hamdon’s May Fayre takes place in the wonderful setting of the 14th century priory grounds and tithe barn. 11.30-5pm.

Looking ahead…

The Green Scythe Fair, which hosts the West of England Scything Championships, takes place at Thorney Lakes, near Muchelney, on 12 June, from 11am. greenfair.org.uk

Space is the theme for Misterton Village Fete on 12 June (12-4pm), celebrating Tim Peake being in orbit.