Category Archives: Events


Watchet’s second year of colourful Street Fairs begins on 2 April, with music from the Dark Town Strutters, kids’ trapeze and silk and rope drop in workshops from incredible local performer, Lyn Routledge, mouth-watering street food from Broomsquire and Little Van Rouge, fruit and veg, art, craft, local produce and more, all spread across the Esplanade.

The committee is also excited to announce that it has reggae band, Dojo, booked for the May event. Their new single, ‘Bethel’ has been championed by David Rodigan on Radio 1 Extra.

The Street Fairs are run by Watchet Coastal Community Team, who are working to develop tourism and economic growth in the town. They will run on the first Sunday of every month from April through to October.

Last year’s inaugural Street Fairs were a huge success, and led to a threefold increase in the number of visitors to the town.

Cllr Rosemary Woods said, “We’re really excited to be embarking on the second year of Street Fairs. They were a lot of fun last year, and made a big difference to the town, bringing in plenty of visitors. We also aim to support local start-ups, and the evidence is that last year’s events were a real boost for people.”

The Fairs are funded by the central government national initiative, Coastal Communities, which aims to boost Britain’s coastal towns. 118 Coastal Community Teams were created last year and given a share of £1.18m to help drive forward coastal areas growth.

Watchet Coastal Communities Team, which is the organisation behind the Street Fairs, is made up of local people, businesses and organisations in Watchet and includes Town Council, District Council, Watchet Chamber of Trade, Onion Collective CIC, Conservation Society, Market House Museum, West Somerset Railway, Watchet Boat Owners Association and other local business representatives.

Pitches are priced £15- £20. To book a pitch contact Molly Quint on 01984 632592 or email:

For more information go to the Watchet Street Fair Facebook page at:


On Wednesday 29 March the Pantaloons theatre company return to the Regal Theatre, Minehead with Pride & Prejudice.                                       

It is a truth universally acknowledged that Jane Austen’s witty and romantic masterpiece is one of the best-loved stories of all time, dealing with the most important questions in life!  Will Mrs Bennet manage to offload her numerous daughters in record time? Will Lizzy and Darcy actually get together? Will creepy Mr Collins just go away please? The literary classic gets the full Pantaloons treatment in this beautifully hilarious and delightfully innovative new adaptation.

The Pantaloons is a young and dynamic theatre company which recaptures an aspect of drama which modern naturalistic theatre has lost: the riotous energy of the clown.  The company has been immensely popular at the Regal Theatre in the recent past and their visit is anticipated for the opportunity it gives for an enjoyable and hilarious night out.

Performances begin at 7.30pm and tickets costing up to £12 are now available from the Regal Box Office (01643 706430), 10am-3pm Monday to Friday, 10am to 1pm Saturday.


Simonsbath Festival 2017 is just around the corner and this year boasts a fabulous line-up of events.

Concerts include The Lyra Ensemble with sublime choral music from the Russian Orthodox Church (May 14), 1920s jazz from London’s most stylish vintage jazz band The Dime Notes (May 27), the supremely talented violinist Tamsin Waley-Cohen with her new quartet Albion (June 3), the vibrant sounds of Latin America from Kabasa (June 10) and another knock-out show from the irrepressibly talented Pop-up Opera (June 17).

Exciting new archive material has recently come to light about the Knight family, who created the Exmoor we know today, which will be the subject of two talks by ENPA’s Rob Wilson-North and Graham Wills (May 24 & 31), while Robin Ravilious, the widow of the great photographer James Ravilious, will give a presentation about her husband’s work chronicling everyday life in rural North Devon during the 1970s and ’80s (June 7).

North Devon farmer and film-maker David Kennard talks about the ups and downs of life with his sheepdogs at Borough Farm (May 10), there’s an extensively illustrated talk by local deer expert and photographer Jochen Langbein (May 17), Jane Austen’s heroines are brought vividly to life in an award-winning theatre production Austen’s Women (June 14), while TV’s Matthew Fort takes us on a sun-drenched trip around the Italian islands (June 21).

And make sure you hunt out the Sketch Boxes to make your mark for Simonsbath Festival . . .

To book tickets telephone Marian Lloyd on 01643 831451 or email To receive a full colour, printed festival programme email or phone Victoria on 01643 831343.

You can support the festival by becoming a Friend of Simonsbath Festival and enjoy ticket discounts and priority booking, just email Polly at or call 01643 831302, and you can follow the festival on Facebook and Twitter or visit the website.

PHOTO: The Albion Quartet.


An exhibition of works by the Camden Town Group opens at the Museum of Somerset in Taunton on Saturday 25 March. ‘A Fragile Beauty: Art on the Blackdown Hills 1909 to 1925’ captures the beauty of this Somerset and Devon borderland in a period when the First World War was changing English society forever.

The Camden Town Group, led by Walter Sickert, was named after the London district where many of the artists lived and worked. Initially they painted contemporary urban life, but later they were drawn to the countryside, especially the Blackdown Hills.

Inspired by the example of the impressionists and post-impressionists, artists such as Spencer Gore, Charles Ginner and Robert Bevan created Somerset and Devon landscape paintings of great freshness and immediacy.

“They came to Applehayes, Clayhidon, as the guests of Harold Harrison, an estate owner and amateur artist,” Tom Mayberry, Chief Executive of the South West Heritage Trust, explained.

“The Blackdown Hills were remote and artistically unexplored when they arrived there and their paintings are a wonderful celebration of landscape. Though the world they knew was so different from ours, many of the landscapes and buildings they painted have hardly changed.”

‘A Fragile Beauty’ is the first major exhibition at the Museum of Somerset to rely entirely on loans from other museums and from private collectors. Loans include Spencer Gore’s ‘Applehayes’ (pictured) from the Ulster Museum, and Charles Ginner’s ‘Landscape with Farmhouse’ from Manchester Art Gallery. The exhibition also includes works from private collections that have rarely been seen in public.

The museum has worked with the fine art auctioneers, Lawrences of Crewkerne, who, together with private donors, and the Blackdown Hills Area of Outstanding Beauty (AONB) have very generously sponsored and supported the exhibition. A varied public programme of associated events is being delivered, including opportunities to enjoy the specially protected landscape of Blackdown Hills AONB as it is today.

‘A Fragile Beauty’ has been created in partnership with the Somerset-based curators and art historians Denys Wilcox and Richard Emeny. The exhibition runs from 25 March to 8 July and entry is free of charge.


Celebrated but Seedy: The Life of Walter Sickert
Thursday 27 April, 7.30pm, Museum of Somerset

A talk by Richard Kay, art historian and Director of Pictures at Lawrences, Crewkerne, on the life of Walter Sickert. £15 per person with cheese and wine. Booking required via the Museum 01823 255088.

Family Fun Day
Saturday 29 April, 11am–4pm, Museum of Somerset

A free family fun day based around the history, heritage and archaeology of the Blackdown Hills – the landscape which inspired the Camden Town artists.

‘Talk and Tea’: The Blackdown Hills – A Landscape of Patterns and Pictures
Friday 12 May, 2.30pm–3.30pm, Museum of Somerset

Linda Bennett, Blackdown Hills AONB Manager, will give a talk on the landscape of the Blackdown Hills and why it’s special. £5 per person.

In the Footsteps of the Camden Town Artists
Sunday 18 June, 10.30am, Clayhidon

Explore the landscapes and buildings of the Blackdown Hills which feature in the paintings of the Camden Town Group. Local naturalist, Gavin Saunders, will lead a walk through the valley around Applehayes and Ringdown in Clayhidon to look for echoes of the artists’ work. Suggested donation £5 per person. Booking required via the AONB 01823 680 681.

IMAGE: Loans include Spencer Gore’s ‘Applehayes’ from the Ulster Museum.

Find out more on the Museum of Somerset’s website.




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The British Association for Shooting & Conservation (BASC), Britain’s largest country shooting organisation, has confirmed its attendance and sponsorship of the West Country’s flagship event, the West of England Game Fair. They are offering a range of have-a-go activities for all ages and abilities, plus advice and information.

Management of land and species for shooting is worth more than £250 million a year and has massive benefits for conservation; BASC strives to have this recognised by politicians, the media and the public.

One way is by working with the shooting community and partners to target conservation effort on land which is shot over, in order to achieve public conservation targets. This programme is called Green Shoots and it is extremely successful in linking shooters and non-shooting conservation organisations for the benefit of all wildlife.

The West of England Game Fair provides a platform for discussions and brings such programmes to the forefront.

The event is amongst the first of the great regional game fairs in the calendar and is regularly attended by over 23,000 visitors, allowing those with a passion for rural life to come together in celebration of this special and diverse lifestyle. It will return on Saturday 18 & Sunday 19 March 2017 at the Bath and West Showground, Shepton Mallet.

The BASC information stand will be located on the Showering Pavilion balcony with a wide variety of countryside organisations and artists attending, including the Deer Initiative, South West Wildfowling clubs; Avon & Somerset Firearms Licensing; Simon Trinder Wildlife Artist; Dawn Warr, Simon Newman Woodwork, Farlap Photography Studio and more.

High quality tuition and advice from the BASC team is also offered on the shotgun coaching line and Air Rifles.

The BASC Gundog Scurries had great success in 2016. Four scurries will be available this year (all part of the Chudleys Scurry League) and prizes supplied by Chudleys.

There will also be two gundog tests for working dogs with M and M Gundogs. These tests are designed and set up under the watchful eyes of the BASC gundog training team and judged by renowned gundog trainers Martin Love and Martin Harris. The test can be used as part of the competition or as a training exercise.

The National Gamekeepers Organisation; Pass it on Young Sports; Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust are also confirmed as supporters of the show and will offer advice and information on a variety of countryside issues.

Other features at the Game Fair include an on-site Clay Shoot with Bristol Clay Shooting, Falconry, Fly-casting demonstrations and coaching, Archery, Racing Ferrets, Vintage tractors & machinery, and the Taste of Game Cookery Theatre, hosting expert chefs who will demonstrate how to prepare delicious meals from traditional game meats plus a ’have-a-go’ session!

There will be the opportunity to grab great show offers on guns, fishing equipment, gundog equipment, gifts, clothing, paintings, prints, food and much more in the indoor countryside shopping village with over 300 companies.

You can keep up to date with everything happening at the show by visiting our website or joining our Facebook group and following the event on Twitter. You can also book tickets in advance either on the website or call 01392 421500. The West of England Game Fair is open from 9am – 5pm on 18 and 19 March 2017.


The community of Allerford are delighted to announce the annual upcoming Allerford Open Day on Saturday 11 March, a spring celebration of all that’s on offer in this picturesque West Somerset and Exmoor village.

They welcome you and all the family to spend the day with them.  Allerford is a beautiful village positioned between Minehead and Porlock, which is just a stone’s throw from the A39 and is part of the National Trust’s Holnicote Estate.

The day will include the following:

  • Traditional blacksmiths display and working demonstration at Allerford Forge by West Country Blacksmiths.
  • Allerford Community Hall & Recreation Ground will be holding their annual Spring Flower & Produce Show plus varied local craft and produce stalls.  Licenced bar, lunches, teas, etc. will be served all day.  Children’s playground and, weather permitting, outside games.
  • Visit the recently refurbished West Country Rural Life Museum housing thousands of Exmoor artifacts and an extensive photographic archive from the 1800s to the 1950s.
  • Cross lane House, a beautifully refurbished late-medieval hotel and restaurant, will be serving light refreshments.  Meet the National Trust Rangers and learn about the new Hedgerow Regeneration Scheme in the lovely cobbled courtyard and Linhay.
  • Browse collectibles, indulge in a light lunch or cream tea at Allerford Post Office, Tea Room & Garden

Why not bring the whole family and make a day of it?  Allerford enjoys well-maintained and signposted walks through the ancient woodlands and the famous Packhorse Bridge, perfect for paddling.  The village has something for everyone.

Free parking is available throughout the village, at Piles Mill, Cross Lane House, in the central village car park and at the Community Hall.


‘Sing Out Louise’ – a touching and exhilarating event – takes to the stage at the Regal Theatre for two performances on Sunday 12 March.  Internationally acclaimed acts perform alongside talented local groups for one massive ‘sing out’ in honour of friend and fellow entertainer, the late Louise Doolan.

Audiences will be treated to an energetic and uplifting show starring Bucks Fizz and featuring tributes to Take That and Madonna.  Also performing will be vocalist Max Hutton, LA Dancers, Taunton Amateur Operatic Society, Fusion, Dunster First School choir and Dynamix, a close harmony vocal group. What better way to spend a Sunday!

All Acts appearing are linked personally and professionally to Louise and are all giving their services for free. All profits from this event will be donated to the charity Hope for Tomorrow.

Performances on 12 March begin at 2.30pm and 7.30pm.  Tickets costing up to £8 are now available from the Regal Box Office (01643 706430), 10am-3pm Monday to Friday, 10am-1pm Saturday.

PHOTO: Bucks Fizz will be singing at the event.


Minehead will once again play host to the only loose surface stage rally in the South of the UK as the Somerset Stages Rally returns to the town for its eighth April event.

As the competition released its regulations last week, organisers confirmed their offering of 42 competitive stage miles in the Brendon Hills and Exmoor National Park. The event will welcome competitors from the Ravenol BTRDA Rally Series, MAXXIS Tyres MSA English Rally Championship and REIS Motorsport Insurance ASWMC Loose Surface Rally Championship.

Comprising familiar forest roads on Exmoor, the 2017 Somerset Stages Rally will also consist of the unique 3.73 mile test along the all-asphalt Porlock Toll Road (run twice) which inevitably provides a challenge for the predominately loose surface contenders. Once again The Beach Hotel will play host to Rally Headquarters during the event and rally teams will base themselves along the Minehead seafront for the scheduled services throughout the day.

Over 100 of the UK’s best rally drivers will head to the West Country to tackle the rally which was named as the best ASWMC event in 2016 and event organisers Burnham-on-Sea Motor Club and Minehead Motor Club believe they have all the ingredients for a great rally for both competitors and fans alike.

“We have a fantastic base for the rally thanks to West Somerset District Council, Somerset County Council, Minehead Town Council and the Minehead Events Group,” says Jason Hayes Clerk of the Course. “The town provides an excellent backdrop to host the rally and certainly creates a fantastic atmosphere during the weekend.  Competitors and fans love it as well with spectators being able to get up close to the teams at the seafront service area as well as the start and finish celebrations along the seafront.”

And the stages are promising to provide crews with a challenge on all of the events 14 stages. “We have tried to provide a bit of variety again this year and have come up with a format that means we can have a few longer stages.  Add to that the challenging Porlock Toll Road stages and the event should provide both seasoned competitors and newcomers to the sport a thrilling day’s motor sport.”

There will be plenty of opportunities for fans to get a slice of the action with a Spectator Stage in the Kennisham forest complex, offering the chance to see the action twice during the day.

More information is available at and you can keep up to date with all the latest news on the event Facebook and Twitter feeds.
PHOTO: The 2016 event winner Luke Francis / John H Roberts in their Evo9 – please credit to Gasmark Media.


Getting the season off to a promising start, Visit Exmoor are holding a Business Networking Day at Porlock Village Hall on Wednesday 15 March. The event is FREE to attend and anyone who benefits from tourism in the Greater Exmoor area in North Devon and Somerset is very welcome to come along.

As well as presentations from Exmoor National Park, the Hinkley Tourism Action Partnership and the South West Coast Path, the day will include the popular Leaflet Exchange where local businesses can swap information and leaflets for the coming season.

New for this year, a business Networking Café will run alongside the Leaflet Exchange and visitors can meet the Visit Exmoor team over tea and coffee and glean advice on PR, marketing, customer service and hospitality from industry professionals. There’ll be practical advice on queries such as, ‘How to make your accommodation more appealing to dog owners’ and ‘How to enthuse your team’ and tips on how to make the most of your social media streams.

“2017 is an exciting year for the tourism industry. All the signs are that, for a whole host of reasons, many more holidaymakers will be looking to take their well-earned break in the UK this summer,” says Visit Exmoor Development Manager Jennette Baxter. “We’ve got a great product in and around Exmoor and the Quantock Hills and we need to work together to promote our destination and make it the very best it can be.”

The day will start with the Visit Exmoor AGM at 11.30am, followed by presentations and then a pre-bookable buffet lunch will be served at 1pm (£10 for Visit Exmoor members* and £12.50 for non-members). The leaflet exchange and Network Café are open between 2pm and 4pm.  For attractions and event organisers wishing to take the opportunity to promote their businesses, stands can be booked from £25.

*To say ‘Thank You’ to their loyal supporters the Visit Exmoor team are offering a complimentary lunch to the first 50 Visit Exmoor Members that book.

Tickets can be booked at


Theatre company The Last Baguette are bringing science to life with their entertaining comedy, What’s the Matter?, touring the UK this spring and summer. It will be showing at King’s College, Taunton (Theatre) on 16 March at 7.30pm.

A physical comedy about physics, What’s the Matter? is performed by two actors and an overhead projector with original artwork, and appeals to scientists and non-scientists of all ages. Be prepared for a very silly show about a very intelligent subject.

“I am fascinated by physics,” said actor Tristan Green. “There are so many exciting developments happening in the subject at the moment. I think it’s really important that the subject is seen fun and interesting.”

This sci-fi adventure is written by award-winning playwright Tiffany Woodsmith (Sunday Times playwriting award), and was developed with Dr Helen Heath from the University of Bristol. An unexplained cat theft from a lab leads scientist Smithy on a journey through his own experiment into the subatomic world. Can he find the cat and win over his colleague Sarah in the process?

As seen at the British Science Festival, this comedy about the strange and wonderful world of quantum physics features silly songs, dancing particles, scientific slapstick, and a search for Schrodinger’s cat.

The Last Baguette theatre company is a group of international theatre performers who met while studying in Paris in 2009, at the renowned Jaques Lecoq school of mime and the infamous Philippe Gaulier clown school. They make fast-paced, irreverent comedy theatre.

“We were students from eight different countries that knew we wanted to make comedy together. We are inspired by Monty Python, Buster Keyton and vintage science fiction,” said Tristan. After performing in Europe and North America, the Last Baguette are now company-in-residence at Pound Arts in Corsham.

Tristan added: “Making a show about science was very important for me. I love the idea of art and science being two sides of the same coin, and that the show embraces both comedy and science.”

What’s the Matter? has been performed all over the UK in theatres, festivals, museums and colleges.

“A really great fun show that was enjoyed by lovers of science and comedy in equal measure… we were transported to the best of Edinburgh Fringe.”
Tracy Sullivan – Director, Trowbridge Arts

Running time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Age guidance: 8+

Tickets are free and are available by emailing or calling 01823 328200.