Wessex Has It All - Come & Get It
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  The Wessaxens came here for a visit 1514 years ago and liked it so much they have stayed.

The Wessex Tourist Board Website is a success story. It is the voice of Wessex. The English Ancient Kingdom founded by Cerdicin 597AD. This site has attracted more than 21 million visitors since it opened in March 2002. Why ? Because we created the Internet Tabloid form to supply the information readers want. Our lovely Wessex lasses invite you in.  Information that is easy to use, easy to read and humourous. Some of our many pages may be clicked on below:
5s The British Handball Game Badminton Boxing Cricket Curling
Equestrian Football Golf Horseracing Ice Hockey
Ice Skating Lawn Tennis
Martial Arts
Motor Racing On The Beach
Rackets Real Tennis Roller Skating
Rowing Rugby
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The 21st Century Game
Famous Wessaxens
Berkshire(BRK) Cheshire(CHS) Cornwall(CON)  Derbyshire(DBY) Devon(DEV)
Dorset(DOR) Essex(ESS) Gloucestershire(GLS) Hampshire(HAM) Herefordshire(HEF)
 Kent(KEN) Leicestershire(LEI) London Tourist Guide Middlesex(MDX) Nottinghamshire(NTT)
Oxfordshire(OXF) Shropshire(SAL) Somerset(SOM) Staffordshire(STS) Surrey(SRY)
Sussex(SSX) Warwickshire(WAR) Wiltshire(WIL) Worcestershire(WOR) The Big Brum
Birmingham Tourist Guide
Bridgwater Tourist Guide Chard Tourist Guide Mendip Tourist Guide Taunton Tourist Guide Yeovil Tourist Guide
Wessex Films & TV Streakers Hall of Shame Fireworks Gardens of Wessex The UK Jewish Tourist Guide
Camping Theatre Hotels Guest Houses Pantomimes
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Caravan & Camp Sites in Berkshire  Caravan & Camp Sites in Devon Caravan & Camp Sites in Dorset  Caravan & Camp Sites in Gloucestershire
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This picture of Cerdic was drawn by Juliet Davey & is her copywrite

Hail My Subjects and My Visitors

Im Cerdic, First King of Wessex. The Royal Family of England descends from me. I landed in Briton in 497AD and my Kingdom became the most powerful in the land - it was called Wessex. (West Saxons) and Chard was my first capital. Wessex became England with the amalgamation of Mercia & Northumbria. After the Norman Conquest Wessex was divided up into eight different counties: Berkshire, Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Hampshire, Oxfordshire, Somerset and Wiltshire. My site covers the attractions & Events in those eight Counties plus the four GREATER WESSEX counties of  Cornwall, Kent, Surrey & Sussex. Visit the Attractions in the ancient kingdom of Wessex .Tarry a while. Stay in our hotels, guesthouses ,caravans or campsites We thank the many hotels, Guest Houses, Caravan camping sites, internet cafes, visitor centres, tourist offices,magazines, newspapers and County shows for freely advertising our sites.

Our sister site www.merciatouristboard.org.uk (The Mercia Tourist Board)  will be covering a further 12 counties. Those counties now online are listed below.


  Click County You require
ukmap Hampshire Somerset Devon Somerset Wiltshire Dorset Hampshire SUSSEX Kent Gloucestershire Berkshire Oxfordshire Worcestershire
Berkshire(BRK) Cheshire(CHS) Cornwall(CON)  Derbyshire(DBY)
 Devon(DEV) Dorset(DOR) Essex(ESS)
Hampshire(HAM) Herefordshire(HEF)  Kent(KEN) Leicestershire(LEI)
London Tourist Guide  Middlesex(MDX) Nottinghamshire(NTT) Oxfordshire(OXF)
Shropshire(SAL) Somerset(SOM) Staffordshire(STS) Surrey(SRY)
Sussex(SSX) Warwickshire(WAR) Wiltshire(WIL) Worcestershire(WOR)
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Eventually my descendants captured the whole of England and amalgamated Mercia & Northumbria. It is my ambition to eventually cover all the attractions of England. So far we have covered Wessex under the website www.wessextouristboard.org.uk (Formerly www.chardnet.co.uk)  and now we have started to cover Mercia under www.merciatouristboard.org.uk. Click on to the county you require on the table to the left.So far 20 counties + London have been prepared- slowly the rest will follow.

Further we have a multitude of reference pages which were created some time ago and are now under reconstruction. So on here you will find dedicated pages to specialist activities in Wessex & Mercia. These include a list of Agricultural ,Horse Shows etc, The Wessex Hall of Fame, Michelin starred restaurants in Wessex,Seaside Resorts, Theatres in Wessex & the UK, List of Films made in Wessex, Wessex Names, Golf Clubs, Football Clubs, Rugby Clubs, Ice Skating and Racetracks . Campers & Caravanners have their own dedicated section too. I have even got my own page for readers letters and news snippets, mainly from my ancient capital Chard. There is also a full A-Z list of shops services in Chard, Crewkerne & Ilminster. All about Chard & The History of Wessex are also included. A special section on the County Town TAUNTON is also online

As we bring each one of those Counties on-line you will be able to click through to it on the map of Britain to the left. If you think there is anything that should be added do contact me on  Contact Us or call up on0207 183 4978or fax on 0845 862 1954.


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 Independent, The (London). Aug 17, 2002. 
If you listen to Wessex FM, travel on Wessex Trains and use Wessex Water, you may be surprised to learn that Wessex no longer exists. Established in the 6th century, the tribal kingdom of Wessex changed shape repeatedly during its 300-year life. At its greatest, it stretched from Cornwall to Kent, with Winchester at its heart and Alfred as its king. The name Wessex is a shortened version of "West Saxony", although the region's early inhabitants included Jutes and Celts as well as Saxons.

Since its demise in the 9th century, there have been several attempts to resurrect the region, most famously by Thomas Hardy in the 19th century, who used Wessex as the setting for his novels. (Wessex was also the name Hardy gave to his bad-tempered dog.) Today, organisations bearing the name Wessex serve counties as far-ranging as Devon, Gloucestershire, Berkshire, Oxfordshire, Herefordshire and Hampshire. Some base their definition on archaeological and historical sources, some on where the Wessex dialect was spoken, and some on Thomas Hardy's map, while others have simply defined Wessex to suit themselves. In the spirit of "invent your own Wessex" this article focuses on the (arguably) core counties of Dorset, Wiltshire, Somerset and South Gloucestershire.


The Earl and Countess of Wessex actually live in Bagshot in Surrey. Prince Edward is the third Earl of Wessex, following on from Godwin, to whom King Canute first gave the title, and his son Harold Godwinson, later Harold II of England. When the Normans invaded in 1066 they abolished local earldoms, and the office of Earl of Wessex was abandoned for 1,000 years until Prince Edward adopted it on his marriage to Sophie Rhys-Jones. However, as the historian David Starkey points out, "The title itself is a total fiction. There is nowhere called Wessex."


The traditional view of Wessex is that of a region full of yokels; people who call you "my lover", and decline the verb to be "I be, you be, he be, we be, you be, they be" while conversing in a West Country burr about "them apples" and sipping a pint of scrumpy. This is, of course, far from the whole story, and today's inhabitants are more likely to be commuters than dairymaids. The region's landscape varies from rolling hills and hedgerows to trout streams and healing waters; from milk-and-honey valleys to chalk downland and bleak plains; from sacred sites to smugglers' coves, and from seaside resorts to suburban sprawl. Incidentally, Scatterbrook Farm in the TV series of Worzel Gummidge, was actually Pucknell Farm in the Test Valley in Hampshire (which may or may not be in Wessex).


The first guide to Thomas Hardy country was published in 1904, starting a trend in tracking down the sites featured in Hardy's novels. This pursuit is complicated by the fact that many of the places the author mentions have been condensed or expanded, while buildings have been transposed or amalgamated. If you want to follow the Hardy trail, take Fred Pitfield's Hardy's Wessex Locations as your guide (Dorset Publishing Company, pounds 9.95).

Perhaps the most-visited Hardy site is his own thatched cottage in Higher Bockhampton, Dorset (01305 262366, open 1 April-4 November, daily except Friday and Saturday, 11am-5pm; pounds 2.60 per person). It was built by his great-grandfather in 1800. Sitting in the window- seat here, Hardy wrote Under The Greenwood Tree and Far From The Madding Crowd. Nature trails through neighbouring Thorncombe woods, a wildlife sanctuary, are especially enchanting during the bluebell season, and from here you can also walk to Stinsford Church where Hardy's heart is buried. The rest of his body is interred in Poets' Corner in Westminster Abbey.

You can stay in cottages converted from barns built by Hardy's father at Greenwood Grange, a short distance from Hardy's Cottage (0870 585 1111; www.english-country-cottages.co.uk). The cottages have a communal indoor swimming pool, sauna and solarium. Each cottage sleeps four; and costs pounds 666 for a week in August.


Loads. On the Cobb (an artificial breakwater) in the historic Dorset seaside town of Lyme Regis, John Fowles' French Lieutenant's Woman stood hooded and windswept, and Louisa Musgrove jumped and fell in Jane Austen's Persuasion. After Charmouth, Lyme also boasts one of the best fossiling beaches on the south coast, and it was here that 11-year-old Mary Anning astonished the scientific community in the early 19th century by finding the skeleton of an icthyosaurus. A two- bedroom thatched cottage on the sea-front can be rented from Lyme Bay Holidays (01297 443363; www.lymebayholidays.co.uk) for pounds 525 per week in August or pounds 400 per week in September.

J Meade Faulkner was a contemporary of Thomas Hardy's and author of the much-loved smuggling story, Moonfleet. The Fleet is a lagoon separating Chesil Beach, an 18-mile ridge of shingle stretching from the Isle of Portland to Bridport, from the mainland. On the far side of the Fleet many vessels foundered, causing the lee shore to be known as "Deadman's Bay", or in John Meade Faulkner's story, "Moonfleet Bay". Fleet Old Church is where John Trenchard is supposed to have been trapped in Blackbeard's vault. Moonfleet Manor (01305 786948; www.moonfleetmanor.com) on The Fleet is situated at the end of a two-mile winding lane. It has a pleasantly ramshackle, old- colonial feel and superb sea views over to Portland Bill. A single room for one night starts from pounds 80.

Neolithic man certainly made his mark here. The greatest concentration of prehistoric monuments in Britain occurs in Wiltshire, which is home to burial mounds, hill forts and henge monuments. The most famous is Stonehenge (open 1 June-31 August, 9am- 7pm; 1 September-15 October from 9.30am-6pm; pounds 4 per adult, pounds 2 per child). The site is about to get a pounds 57m revamp designed to improve public access to the stones, to take away traffic and to create a visitor centre. Not far away is Avebury, the largest of the 900 or so surviving stone circles in Britain. Fourteen times larger than Stonehenge, the Avebury circle is also more than 500 years older. Access to the Avebury stones is free and unrestricted. Also in the vicinity are West Kennet Long Barrow, one of the longest Neolithic burial chambers in Britain; Silbury Hill, the largest artificial mound in Europe dating back to around 2700bc; and Windmill Hill, the site of the earliest Neolithic farming culture in England.

You can explore Wiltshire's Neolithic world on a new four-day walking tour run by Foot Trails (01747 861851; www.foottrails.co.uk). The trail crosses the open countryside of the Vale of Pewsey and the northern tip of Salisbury Plain, taking in at Windmill Hill, Avebury, Silbury Hill, West Kennet Long Barrow and Stonehenge. The cost is pounds 375 per person with a single person supplement of pounds 15 per night. Accommodation is at the two- star Lamb Inn, an old country hotel in the idyllic Wiltshire village of Hindon. You will walk about eight miles each day at a relaxed pace. Foot Trails also offers one- day six-mile guided walks around Stonehenge. The price of pounds 19.95 per person includes a picnic lunch.


Two of the best-loved walks that pass through Wessex are the Macmillan Way and the Monarch's Way. The 290-mile Macmillan Way actually starts in Lincolnshire, but passes through Wiltshire and ends on the Dorset coast at Abbotsbury. It was originally devised as a charity walk to raise money for the Macmillan Cancer Relief and is now fully waymarked. The walk has its own website at www.macmillanway.org.

The Monarch's Way follows the flight of Charles II after his defeat at the Battle of Worcester in 1651. It is more than 600 miles long in its entirety, but the section within Wessex runs from Bristol via Wells to Yeovil in Somerset, through Charmouth and Bridport in Dorset, then to Wincanton in Somerset and just north of Salisbury in Wiltshire before passing on into Hampshire and Sussex. The Monarch's Way website is at www.monarchsway.50megs.com.

Wycheway Country Walks (01886 833828; www.wychewaycountrywalks.co.uk) offers a series of guided walking holidays following the Monarch's Way. The price for a one-week guided walk is pounds 395 per person, including accommodation in small hotels, guesthouses or farmhouses, breakfast and packed lunch. The average daily walking distance is 10 miles.


Wessex has two patches of coastline; in the west the Severn Estuary stretches from Avonmouth in the north to Porlock in the south, while the south Dorset coast extends from Lyme Regis in the west to Christchurch in the east. The most popular seaside resorts include Weymouth and Bournemouth in Dorset and Weston-super-Mare in Somerset. Weymouth became a fashionable seaside resort after King George III went to bathe there every summer. If modern royals feel over-exposed, they may like to remember that every time the king bathed, crowds cheered and played the national anthem.

As Weymouth became increasingly popular, Bournemouth was developed as a more exclusive alternative. Portrayed as Sandbourne in Tess Of The d'Urbervilles, Bournemouth has not changed much since Hardy described it as a "fashionable watering place... with its piers, its groves of pines, its promenades and its covered gardens", and still likes to think of itself as a cut above its rivals, Blackpool and Brighton. More fun on piers is to be had at Weston-super-Mare in Somerset. Weston is also a good base from which to explore Wookey Hole Caves, Cheddar Caves and Gorge, Longleat, Bath and Bristol.


The thousand-year-old port of Bristol. This summer from 22 August- 22 September you can visit the "Dance Live! Bristol" festival. Spanning venues across the city, the festival features World Dance Day (Lloyds TSB Amphitheatre, 25 August) and "Dance Bites" introducing the Autumn Fashion Shows with Jeff Banks (the Mall at Cribbs Causeway, 19-21 September), among other events. For more information go to www.visitbristol.co.uk.

For gentler entertainment, attend a series of free Friday lunchtime and early evening jazz performances in Queen Square throughout August; take a boat trip from Bristol Industrial Museum around the Floating Harbour on the newly-restored John King, a 1935 motor tug; or explore Bristol's Georgian village, Clifton, on a guided walk any Saturday or Sunday in August at 12pm, 1pm or 2pm.



John Betjeman was a regular visitor to Dorset and loved the sounds of the names of the villages. His poem "Dorset" begins "Rime Intrinsica, Fontmell Magna, Sturminster Newton and Melbury Bubb..." Other Wessex towns and villages worth a visit include:

Lacock in Wiltshire. This National Trust village dates from the 13th century. Its lime-washed, half-timbered and stone houses made it the ideal setting for Meryton in the most recent BBC dramatisation of Pride and Prejudice. The medieval Lacock Abbey also featured in the film of Harry Potter (01249 730501; www.nationaltrust.org.uk). The museum, cloisters & garden are open 16 March -3 November daily, 11am- 5.30pm; closed Good Friday; the abbey is open 30 March-3 November, daily 1pm-5.30pm (closed Tuesdays and Good Friday). Entrance to all costs pounds 6.20 per adult, pounds 3.40 per child or pounds 16.80 for a family ticket.

In contrast, Poundbury, an extension of Dorchester, has been used as a model for urban development. This highly modern village has been designed, with input from the Prince of Wales, to be energy efficient, to create a sense of community, and so that people with different incomes live next door to one another.

Midsomer Norton in Somerset is ITV's murder capital of the country, while Golden Hill in Shaftesbury is featured in the famous Hovis advert, accompanied by Dvorak's "New World Symphony" and out- of-place Yorkshire accents.

The picturesque village of Corfe on the Isle of Purbeck in Dorset offers easy access to sandy beaches at Studland, Swanage and Sandbanks, the steam Swanage Railway, riding, golf and great walks. The ruin of Corfe Castle (01929 481294; www.nationaltrust.org.uk) towering above the village on a conical hill in a gap in the Purbeck ridge is visible for miles around (open daily all year, except 25, 26 December and one day in mid-March; April to October 10am-6pm; pounds 4.30 per adult, pounds 2.15 per child, pounds 10.80 per family - two adults and three children).

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Stormy FrontSTORMY FRONT suggests You Check For Traffic Problems

It has requested we do not mention the name of the traffic lady on BBC radio 2, instead we are happy to introduce our traffic lady "Stormy Front". So Find local news, sport and entertainment near you with your local BBC Where I Live website. Choose your nearest location in Wessex & Cornwall:

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 Carnival heritage wins £41,000 lottery grant

11:00 - 15-July-2010

The Carnivals In Somerset Promotion Project group has made a successful bid for Heritage Lottery funding to promote and conserve the history of the area's famous illuminated carnivals. A Heritage Lottery Fund grant of £41,000 has been secured to develop a range of facilities and key element will be a mobile exhibition unit, due to make its first appearance on Wells Cathedral Green on August 4. It will then be touring the county and elsewhere.The exhibition van will display the history, heritage, culture and community of the carnivals through images, video, text and memorabilia. The van also has a recording facility to collect oral histories and memories. Anyone with carnival memorabilia is invited to bring it along. A carnival DVD and educational package for schools is being prepared.

The Carnivals in Somerset Promotion Project (CISPP), was formed by volunteers in January 2009, in response to concerns that the heritage of Somerset's illuminated carnivals could be lost unless more people are encouraged to take part in the tradition.The carnivals bring in an estimated £40 million of tourist and other revenue each year. Around 10,000 people are thought to be involved in carnival and there are more than 50 float clubs and another 100 or so other clubs who enter as walking groups or individuals.
The origins of carnivals in Somerset can be traced back to the famous Gunpowder Plot of 1605, when Guy Fawkes and his fellow conspirators failed in their attempt to blow up the Houses of Parliament. King James I and his parliament decreed that the events of November 5 should be commemorated annually with the lighting of bonfires which led to a tradition of merrymaking out which the carnivals were born. The Bridgwater Carnival (the oldest event of its kind in the UK) can be traced back to 1847 through journalistic records.


The Somerset Carnivals are highly regarded as the largest illuminated processions in the world.
They occur late on in the year at various locations including: Bridgwater, Burnham-on-Sea, Chard, Ilminster, Glastonbury, North Petherton, Shepton Mallet, Taunton, Wellington, Wells,  Weston-Super-Mare, and Yeovil.

The carnivals in Somerset date back to 400 years, and are one of the most spectacular events in Somerset today. In some of the bigger locations (such as Bridgwater), you can expect to see crowds of more than 120,000.

The carnival floats (or carts as they are sometimes referred as), are designed and built by dedicated carnival clubs around the West Country.

These carnival clubs have many members who raise money throughout the year, and work relentlessly to achieve the spectacular carnival entries. The carnival floats take part in the carnival parade along with other entries; these range from clowns dancing in the streets to 100ft illuminated carnival floats (some with up to 30,000 light bulbs) pulled by tractors.

The timing of the West Country Carnival close to the British celebration of Bonfire night is no coincidence, as the roots of the original carnival in Bridgwater date back to 1605.  Guy Fawkes is the character most associated with the plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament, however the instigator was Jesuit priest Robert Parsons from Nether Stowey, a short distance from Bridgwater. Parsons and his colleagues were Catholics who wanted to put an end to the Protestant King James VI and Parliament of the day, in order to put an end to catholic persecution, hence they planned their ill-fated attempt on 5 November 1605. 

Bonfire night is a major annual celebration across the whole of England, but it is likely that the reason that the West Country Carnival was originally so keenly celebrated is that the South West towns were predominantly Protestant — hence the celebration of Robert Parsons' (and Guy Fawkes') failure. The religious origins of the event are almost forgotten and far less significant today
The Carnival Circuit
 The Bridgwater carnival was the first carnival of its type, however other carnival processions within the South West began some years ago. They start in late August and continue until late November. The oldest and largest circuit is the Somerset County Guy Fawkes Carnival Association Circuit which starts at Bridgwater, with many of the carts will appear in all of the carnivals. Prizes are awarded in several categories for the best carts in each carnival.

The three circuits are:
    * Wessex Grand Prix Circuit: Sturminster Newton, the third Thursday in August/weekend before Bank Holiday; Trowbridge; Mere; Frome; Shaftesbury; Gillingham; Castle Cary & Ansford; Wincanton; Warminster
    * South Somerset Federation Of Carnival Committee Circuit: Wellington held on the last Saturday in September; Ilminster; Chard; Taunton; Yeovil
    * Somerset County Guy Fawkes Carnival Association Circuit: Bridgwater on the Friday following the nearest Thursday to 5 November; North Petherton on the following Saturday; Burnham-on-Sea on the following Monday; Shepton Mallet on the following Wednesday; Wells on the following Friday; Glastonbury & Chilkwell on the following Saturday; Weston-super-Mare on the following Monday, the last carnival in the whole circuit. From 2012 this will change with Bridgwater on the first Saturday after 5 November, Weston-super-Mare on the following Friday, North Petherton on the second Saturday, Burnham-on-Sea on the following Monday, Shepton Mallet on the following Wednesday, Wells on the third Friday and Glastonbury on the third Saturday.
There is one unofficial carnival in the circuit, held at Midsomer Norton on the Thursday between the Shepton Mallet and Wells carnivals. There are also a series of unofficial Christmas carnivals, including Sidmouth.
[edit] Carts and floats

Uniquely in the West Country, the vehicles are called carnival "carts", unlike other carnivals where the term carnival float is used. The term "cart" is still used today to describe the large and elaborate trailers used in the procession. Carts are built by local clubs of individuals funded totally by charitable donations and sponsorship from local businesses.
Carts are always themed, with no restriction on the theme from the organising committee. Regularly chosen themes include:

    * Popular children's books - like Alice in Wonderland
    * Favourite children's characters - such as Disney characters
    * Scenes or themes from history - like Pre-Historic, Victorian or famous Battles
    * Scenes or themes from around the world - such as Australia, Rio de Janeiro or Spanish
    * Travel and transport - such as cars or trains, e.g. The Chattanooga Choo-Choo
    * Popular themes of the day - including pop songs or dances
    * The future or exploration - such as space
Carts include both music and costumed people to complete their theme. People and items on the cart can either be moving, or static in tableau format - the later being difficult to hold position for on a cold November evening.

Today these carts are driven by farm tractors, and usually also tow a large diesel driven electricity generator to provide the huge amount of power required to power the carts. Some generators used can provide over one megawatt of power, with 10,000 to 30,000 light bulbs not uncommon on a modern day cart.[8] The tractors themselves are often decorated to match the rest of the cart and generator, and in some cases modified so that the driver is positioned low down between the two front wheels. This allows for a higher degree of decoration without obscuring the driver's view. The length of the entire cart is often built to the maximum allowable of 100 feet (30 m).

These floats are also interspersed with walking exhibits, either groups or singles, and occasional marching bands or majorette troupes.

The dates of the Somerset Carnivals 
own(Click on Link)
Bridgwater   [route/map]
The origins of our annual carnival in Bridgwater can be traced back to the Gunpowder Plot of 1605 when Guy Fawkes and his fellow conspirators, failed in their attempt to blow up the Houses of Parliament. That story is well known to everyone, but what is not so widely acknowledged is that it was King James 1st and his parliament who decreed that the events of 5 November should be commemorated annually with the lighting of bonfires, a tradition which is celebrated across the nation to this very day.
5th November (Fri) The image
                          cannot be displayed, because it contains
                          errors. 7:00pm Somerset County GFCA
Burnham-on-Sea / Highbridge   [route/map]
In the late 1800s and contininuing into the 1900s Burnham celebrated November 5th with a bonfire in the High Street to which were rolled blazing tar barrels. In about 1907/8 there were concerns about safety and it was decided to have the bonfire on a field and  a torchlight procession starting in the High Street and processing to the bonfire field. Thus in 1909 Burnham had its first Torchlight Carnival Procession. This format continued until the outbreak of World War One ,and the carnival did not return until 1923.It then continued as an evening carnival until 1939, when an afternoon procession was held. Festivities were cocooned until 1947 and the event grew in size and popularity to become one of the most popular carnivals in Essex.Afternoon events were held on the Mildmay Ironworks Field and there were madi gras type events in the High Street after the procession. In the 1950s a full Funfair was introduced into the High Street and this remained until 1966. There were problems in this year and the following year an small afternoon procession was organised .1967 saw an Evening procession back,now at the end of September and much curtailed from pre-1966. Subsequent committees have built that carnival up to what you now see today, with one of the most successful Carnivals in the South East of England.

8th November (Mon) 'Wrath Of Neptune' from Masqueraders
                          Carnival Club won the 2007 Burnham-On-Sea
                          Carnival 7:30pm Somerset County GFCA
Castle Cary
The Castle Cary & Ansford Carnivals take place annually in October. Our Children’s Carnival usually takes place on the afternoon of the second Saturday, when children and parents process through Castle Cary town centre. The Illuminated Carnival takes places on the evening of the following Saturday.Around the time of the Illuminated Carnival, a fun fair is in town, and high street traders compete in a window-dressing competition. The Carnival Committee produces a 64-page Carnival Programme,on sale locally, which provides information about the Carnival, serves as a directory to the local businesses that advertise in it, and includes competitions. On our pages you will see line drawings that have appeared in our Programmes, drawn by Committee member Pam Pope. On the evening of the procession there are barbeques, hog roasts, and other hot food and drinks around the town.
16th October (Sat) http://www.orchard-farm.co.uk/IMGP7463.JPG 7:30pm Wessex GP
In 1967, representatives from the League of Friends and Chard Youth Centre met to discuss ways in which to raise money for the respective groups. Gerald Quick, Mervyn Ball, Tom Miller and Wendy Clulow decided that the best option would be to revive Chard Carnival, after a break of 13 years. The carnival is now in its 43rd year and has raised over £85,000 pounds for local charities and organisations, including Chard Christmas Lights, Children’s Hospice South West, Chard Hospital and all the local schools. In the early 1970’s, Chard, Ilminster, Wellington and Taunton formed the South Somerset Federation of Carnivals, with Yeovil joining at a later date. This provided a competition for the best entries from the 5 towns taking part.

9th October (Sat) Carnival05 7:15pm South Somerset FC
Sandra Shore, secretary of the now-disbanded committee, said: "It was felt that due to the current climate and the difficulty in fund raising, obtaining sponsorship, the cost of public-liability insurance and new rulings on health and safety, it would be impossible to commit to staging this event with the limited funds the committee had in reserve following the disastrous summer last year and the poor attendance of floats at the carnival in December

Carnival has been in Frome since 1929 having been founded by Mr Alan Bennett together with others who worked at that time for Butler and Tanners, a local printing firm who are still one of the main employers in the town. Frome carnival grew in popularity over the years and this was aided by the fact that Mr Bennets daughter Hazel met and married Mr Roy Butler M.B.E. he became known as "Mr Carnival" and was well known in the community for his dedication to the carnival charity which was formed to help local people in need.
25th September (Sat)
7:00pm Wessex GP

9th October (Sat) http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3257/2913898587_bfd7ecece5.jpg?v=0 7:30pm Wessex GP
Glastonbury   [route/map]
Glastonbury, with Bridgwater, is the biggest. At each carnival there are collections to raise money for charities.The Carnival takes over the town for one day, starting at around 7.30 in the evening. Thousands of people pour in from near and far, traffic is closed off, and the town reeks of hot dog stands and outdoor snack bars. People line the streets, all wrapped up against the cold, and the Carnival floats weave through town. It's quite a close-and-friendly affair. Apart from crowds in the streets, people hold parties in houses along the route and the pubs fill up after the event. Kids love it - there's a fairyland element to it, even though the high-volume music makes it a little, shall we say, modern!
13th November (Sat) None 7.00pm Somerset County GFCA
This is the second Carnival in the Somerset circuit, Ilminster is a small market town South of Taunton.  Ilminster always have some good organisation and put on a well organised show with more entries than most towns. There are prizes for 1st, 2nd and third in their different classes, there is a cup for “Spirit of Carnival”
 It's a fun night out for all the family and you can help raise funds for charities or the clubs for the next year's entry. Thousands attend the carnival, so watch out as parking can get very limited on carnival nights and the town centre can often be cut off to traffic during the carnival.

2nd October (Sat) Float at Ilminster carnival 7:15pm South Somerset FC
A popular annual event started in 1928 when Mere Carnival was founded.
18th September (Sat) 7:00pm Wessex GP
Midsomer Norton   [route/map]
A very enjoyable Carnival which has been running since 1948
11th November (Thur)


North Petherton   [route/map]

North Petherton Guy Fawkes Carnival, was formed in 1948, and joined the Somerset County Guy Fawkes Carnival Association in 1952,and is regarded by many of our thousands of spectators, as the family carnival. This is due mainly to the fact that it held on a Saturday night, which allows the youngsters to stay up a little later than normal. The other reason is that is runs straight through the town of North Petherton, Somerset, with no awkward turns, causing unnecessary hold ups.  As with thousands of visitors converged into our small town emergencies will always happen and no amount of planning will not eliminatethis, please be patient as the emergency services will deal with theses as soon as possible, and allow the carnival to resume, if they need to be on the route.  North Petherton Guy Fawkes Carnival, offers ample viewing throughout the whole route, which allows even the youngest and eldest of our visitors, to watch this marvelous spectacle of light, sound and movement.  We do not charge for admission to one of the three, largest illuminated carnivals in the world, however a street collection will take place during the carnival itself, by numerous collectors and collecting vehicles, proceeds of which, go towards the running of the carnival, prize money and  finally the local  charities of which we support. We are always grateful for any amount we collect, however our collections have equated to only 30p a head. With over three hours of entertainment from the dedicated entrants and the cost for them to build these exquisite entries, we urge you to give at least  £3 per head from your group of friends or family, and secure the future of North Petherton Carnival for future generations, to marvel over.
6th November (Sat) http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2256/2044853940_70c83ed4fa.jpg?v=1195511091 7:00pm Somerset County GFCA
Shaftesbury Carnival is an annual event that has become part of Shaftesbury’s history. This year will be the 133rd Carnival, a great achievement that involves hundreds of people to make it such a great success. A lot of people give their time voluntarily including people driving Courtesy cars for our Mayor and retiring royal family, collecting vehicles who turn out year after year, the many marshals that walk miles back and forth, the owners of the land at our assembly areas, who are always most helpful and of course, our sponsors for their continued financial support, without which the Carnival could not survive. There are more too numerous to mention, so thank you, thank you, thank you all.
2nd October (Sat) http://www.getusonline.co.uk/dorset/images/com_sobi2/clients/259_img.jpg 7:00pm Wessex GP
Shepton Mallet   [route/map]
The origins of Shepton Mallet’s carnival are some what unique. It all began because the town needed a community centre. In the early 1960s the Shepton Mallet Community Association was inaugurated to raise funds for the project.Organisations from across the town and surrounding villages pulled together and it was agreed that bringing carnival to Shepton Mallet was one way to draw in much needed funds.A Carnival committee was set up in 1965 and carnival came to Shepton Mallet. Over the following decades, thousands of pounds have been raised for local charities, unfortunately donations to the community centre fund were stopped when it was realised that for various reasons the centre would not be set up.Mr Bob Kerslake and Mrs Maura Kerslake were amongst the founder members with Mr Lionel Edwards as chairman an office he held for thirty years this he handed over to Don Clifford who remains as chairman at the present time. In the years that followed, from 1965 the sponsorship raised by the carnival queens and princesses has done much to cover the running costs, with street collections making up the balance to cover costs and make donations yearly to local clubs and charities.Over the years the carnival grew and in 1978 there were a record 151 entries. It was at this stage that the decision was made to no longer plough money into the community centre fund, there still being no visible progress on that project. In fact Shepton Mallet 30 years later still does not have a community hall.
10th November (Wed) Mary Poppins 2008 7:30pm Somerset County GFCA
Sturminster Newton

EVENTS start on Sunday in the run-up to Sturminster Newton Carnival with a church service, a walk round Broad Oak, and skittles at the Bull. On Monday there is a jumble sale, on Tuesday a pet show and darts at the Royal British Legion, on Wednesday a quiz, and on Thursday the fun fair will open and the Dorset Doddlers carnival fun run will take place. Bingo on Friday, August 20, is followed by carnival day itself. Sir Thomas Tyldesley's Regiment of Foote will be at Durrant re-enacting the battles of the English Civil war. In the afternoon there will be children's fancy dress, and an evening parade celebrating the carnival's 60th anniversary. The day will end with a firework spectacular.
21st August (Sat) http://www.sturminsternewtonrotary.co.uk/images/carn2008cap/carn011cap.png 7:15pm Wessex GP
The Taunton Carnival is over a 1.5 mile long route and features stunning illuminated floats and walking entries with lights, glitz and glam.BUSINESS administration apprentice Lizzy Grigg was crowned Miss Taunton 2010 at a ceremony at Taunton’s Albemarle Centre. Lizzy will head the Taunton carnival parade in October.
16th October (Sat) Miss Taunton 2010 result 7:00pm South Somerset FC
Come along to the town carnival. Leaves Canal Road at 7pm, and makes its way through the town centre before finishing at Cradle Bridge (by the library)
Entry forms and a route map are available form our website or the town council offices at 10/12 Fore Street.

23rd October (Sat) 7:00pm Wessex GP
carnival floats, bands & Masqueraders - 6:45pm from Boreham Road

30th October (Sat) Warminster Carnival 2006 7:00pm Wessex GP
 WELLINGTON Carnival, which was under threat because of a demand for £1,500 from the Performing Rights Society, has been given a reprieve following intervention by Taunton MP Jeremy Browne. The society wanted to claim the money under a new law. But carnival chairperson Josephine Chave was able to negotiate a substantial reduction after Mr Browne took up the cause. The carnival is set to go ahead as planned on September 25th
25th September (Sat) Wellington Carnival 2006 (Andy Jones) 7:30pm South Somerset FC
Wells   [route/map]
The Wells Carnival is a spectacle not to be missed. It is said be the biggest illuminated carnival in the world. These huge floats make their way slowly through the medieval streets intertwined with street performers with highly inventive and stunning costumes. As it is dark at this time of year the blaze of colourful lights, music, dancing and beautifully tailored costumes on these floats creates a unique and exciting atmosphere. The tableau floats usually depict a scene with all the performers in a fixed pose effectively creating a living picture.
The carnival is Free to see and all these floats are created by enthusiasts who are raising money for Charity.
The 2010 Wells carnival is scheduled to take place on Friday 12th November at 7.00pm and is a must see for anyone planning to come to the area.  There is also a fun fair in the market place.
12th November (Fri) Wells Carnival (12th November 2010) 7:00pm Somerset County GFCA
Weston-super-Mare   NEW ROUTE - [route/map]
WESTON-SUPER-MARE ILLUMINATED CARNIVAL, A SPECTACLE OF LIGHT, MUSIC & COLOUR The earliest newspaper records concerning Weston super Mare November Carnival go back to 1871.  In those days it was usual for the Parade to start at the Knightstone Island and after wending its way through almost every street in the town, it dispersed on the beach, where bonfires were lit and effigies burned.  These were not only Guy Fawkes, but any unpopular figure of local disdain or even international infamy.This year approximately 100,000 spectators are expected to line the route around the town. There will be around 130 entries, of which 50 will be large illuminated floats up to 100 feet long and up to 17 feet high.
15th November (Mon) 7:15pm Somerset County GFCA
Wincanton (23rd October cancelled ?) Wincanton Carnival 2006 (photo: Jo
                          Merritt) 7:00pm Wessex GP
Yeovil unknown

List of carnival clubs
The following is a list of major carnival clubs and their home town locations:

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Location of National Trusts Sites in Wessex

national trust
Click here for www.nationaltrust.org.uk


Somerset apple

Trains, Planes, Ships, Taxis, Car Rental, Coaches, & Buses
Wessex Tourist Board

 To plan your journey by car or public transport click on to the Door-to-Door Journey Planner
Road planner
Tickets are also available from: Chard Tourist Information Centre,
Guildhall ,Fore Street,Chard,TA20 1PP Telephone : 01460 65710 
Email: chardtic@chard.gov.uk Website: www.chard.gov.uk

click on blue to visit the sites
Address Telephone
for London , Yeovil & Taunton.
Cornishway West, New Wellington Road, Taunton, TA1 5NA
Tel : 01823 331356
Fax : 01823 331356
Bristol Airport
Bristol International
FROM NORTH M5  Leave the M5 at junction 18 (signposted A4 Bristol & Airport). Take  the A4 towards Bristol following signs  for the airport. Go past Bristol City Football ground and connect with the A38 towards Taunton, the airport is  situated 8 miles South of Bristol on the A38.
Tel : 0870 121 2747
FROM SOUTH M5  Leave the M5 at Junction 22, at  roundabout take 3rd exit signposted  A38. At East Brent roundabout joining  the A370 take 2nd exit signposted A38 & airport. Continue on this road for approx 11 miles, airport is on the  left.
British Ferries
Poole to Cherbourg
Plymouth to Roscoff & Santander
Brittany Ferries
Tel : 08705 360 360

 Weymouth to St.Malo & Channel Islands
Ferry Terminal, The Quay, Weymouth, Dorset


Tel : 0845 345 2000

Exeter Airport
Exeter International Airport is situated off the A30, five miles from the City of Exeter. From the M5 motorway junction 29, travel 1 mile eastbound on the A30.  
Tel : 01392 367433

Taunton Station
Paddington(London)  to Plymouth Line
Po.Box 313,


Tel Bookings:
08457 000 125
Tel : Enquiries: 
08457 48 49 50
Fax : 0845 600 8363
First Southern National
 Bus Company
run buses in Somerset and Dorset
Taunton Bus Station
Tower Street, Taunton
Tel : 01823 272033  
                  Express Coaches to Taunton 
or Yeovil
4 Vicarage Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 3ES 
Tel : 0870 580 8080
National rail
National Rail Enquiries
Tel : 08457 48 49 50
South West Trains
to Crewkerne
to Exeter Line
Overline House,Blechynden Terrace,Southampton,
SO15 1GW
Customer services Centre
tel:0845 6000 650 or 0845 6050 441
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Literary Wessex Tour

A tour of literary Wessex and the south west of England, starting and finishing in London.

On this twelve day tour we travel through one of Europe’s oldest landscapes; a landscape that has inspired writers and artists for centuries and continues to exert its power and resonance today.

Our Literary Wessex tour will include visits to the ancient stone circle of Stonehenge, Salisbury and its Cathedral, which boasts the tallest spire in England, the rolling hills of Hardy country, the elegant city of Bath, as well as the city of Winchester, the coastal town of Lyme Regis and the picturesque Isle of Wight, lying a short ferry trip from the mainland.

All this, of course, in addition to London, where we will re-discover the locations associated with such peerless literary figures as Shakespeare, Dickens, Johnson and Pepys.

Available at any time of the year as a private tour


Literary Wessex Day 1 We will rendezvous at our London hotel from where, in the afternoon, we will set out for the Charles Dickens Museum at 48 Doughty Street for a guided tour. We will then walk through Dickensian London to Fleet Street, the city’s old publishing centre, to Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese, where Dr Samuel Johnson, James Boswell, David Garrick, William Makepeace Thackeray, Dickens, Oscar Wilde and W.B. Yeats Rhymers Club met to discuss their work.

Literary Wessex Day 2 In the morning we will drive to Jane Austen’s House, Chawton, where we will have tea and a guided tour by a member of the Jane Austen Society.

After lunch, we will drive on to Winchester Cathedral, the inspiration for Anthony Trollope’s Barchester novels, and visit Jane Austen’s grave. We will then visit King Arthur’s Round Table at the Great Hall and follow John Keats’ Walk, the inspiration for his ode – ‘To Autumn’.

I take a walk every day for an hour before dinner and this is generally my walk. I go out at the back gate across on street, into the Cathedral yard, along a paved path, past the beautiful front of the Cathedral, turn to the left under a stone doorway – then I am on the other side of the building – which leaving behind me I pass on through two college-like squares seemingly built for the dwelling place of deans and Prebendaries – garnished with grass and shaded with trees. Then I pass through one of the old city gates…

We will stay overnight in the historic city of Winchester.

Literary Wessex Day 3 In the morning we will drive to Southampton and take the ferry to the Isle of Wight and the Farringford Hotel, formerly the home of Alfred, Lord Tennyson.

In the afternoon we will visit Freshwater Bay, where Lord Tennyson, Julia Margaret Cameron, G.F. Watts, Annie Ritchie, Edward Lear, Virginia Woolf and others lived and wrote. Woolf’s only play, Freshwater (1935), concerns her life and friends here.

We will be given a tour of the area, Julia Margaret Cameron’s home and studio, Dimbola Lodge and Tennyson’s home. Our guide will be Dr Brian Hinton MBE, Chairman of Dimbola Lodge and an authority on Tennyson, Cameron and the literary history of The Isle of Wight.

In the evening, we will have a special reception meal with a guest speaker.

Literary Wessex Day 4 This morning we will visit Literary Bonchurch, the hotel where Charles Dickens wrote parts of David Copperfield, the house where Algernon Swinburne was raised and the grave in which he is laid to rest. We will then travel to the northern part of the Island and visit Shanklin and Colebrooke, where John Keats lived and wrote.

Keats wrote ‘The Eve of St Agnes’, ‘Lamia’ and part of his epic ‘Hyperion’ at Shanklin, which he described in a letter as:

a most beautiful place, sloping woods and meadow grounds reach around the Chine, which is a cleft between the Cliffs to a depth of nearly 300 feet at least. This cleft is filled with trees and bushes in the narrow part, and as it widens becomes bare, if not for primroses on one side, which spread to the very verge of the Sea, and some fishermen’s huts on the other, perched midway in the Balustrades of beautiful green Hedges along their steps to the sands – But the sea, Jack, the sea – the little waterfall – then the white cliff – then St Catherine’s Hill.

After some concluding remarks from Dr Brian Hinton we will take the Yarmouth ferry back to the mainland and our next hotel.

Literary Wessex Day 5 In the morning we set off on our exploration of the heart of literary Wessex - sites and landscapes associated with Thomas Hardy and the Vale of the Little Dairies. We will visit Sturminster Newton, where he wrote The Return of the Native (1878), Tess’s Cottage, and have lunch at what was The Pure Drop Inn at Marnhull.

After lunch we will visit Hardy’s Casterbridge (Dorchester) his house, Max Gate, his childhood Cottage at Higher Bockhampton and Stinsford Church, where his heart is buried.

Hardy chose to build his home at Max Gate as it looks out across open fields towards Winterborne Came and the world of his friend, the dialect poet, William Barnes who, like the musicians gallery in Stinsford church where Hardy’s father played the violin, reminded him of a rural way of life celebrated in Under The Greenwood Tree (1872). The destruction of that way of life is artfully shown in The Mayor of Casterbridge (1886), where Henchard’s reliance upon weather lore, verbal agreements and rule of thumb are replaced by Farfrae’s more calculated economic methods and technical innovation.

Literary Wessex Day 6 In the morning we will visit Sherborne Abbey, where poet and statesman, Sir Thomas Wyatt (1503-42), who pioneered the sonnet in England, is buried. The former lover of Anne Boleyn and favourite of Catherine Howard died of a fever whilst passing through Sherborne on the king’s business. His Songes and Sonettes (1557), translations and imitations of Petrarch’s sonnets, appeared in Tottel’s Miscellany, setting the trend for aristocratic love poetry.

In the afternoon we will visit Sherborne Castle, built by the poet, courtier and adventurer, Sir Walter Raleigh (1552-1618), who in 1594 wrote The Passionate Man’s Pilgrimage, in 1594. He developed the castle from a medieval hunting lodge after persuading Queen Elizabeth I to allow him to buy the deer park from the church.

Ralegh’s literary friends included Christopher Marlowe, Ben Jonson and John Donne - all of whom fell in and out of favour with court circles.

Ralegh seduced the Queen’s Maid, Elizabeth Throckmorton, and was imprisoned. He eventually married Elizabeth and moved to Sherborne. After he was beheaded in 1618, Elizabeth took his head back to Sherborne so that his friends and staff could pay their respects.

Literary Wessex Day 7 In the morning we will visit the coastal town of Lyme Regis, with its Cobb and harbour walk, inspiration to Jane Austen in Persuasion (1818) and to John Fowles’ The French Lieutenant’s Woman (1969), which is set largely in 1867 Lyme Regis. Jane Austen holidayed in Lyme Regis in 1803 and 1804, and there is a Jane Austen Garden.

John Fowles (1926-2005) moved to Belmont House in 1965 and curated the Lyme Regis Museum from 1978-88. Here Fowles wrote The Ebony Tower (1974), Daniel Martin (1977), Mantissa (1982), A Maggot (1985) and The Tree (1992).

Fossils have been discovered locally since the early nineteenth century and it is believed that the tongue twister, ‘She sells seashells on the sea shore’ is derived from the exploits of Mary Anning, who found an entire marine dinosaur in 1811 and continued to find and sell fossils in Lyme Regis throughout her life.

Henry Fielding, Tennyson, Llewelyn Powys and Graham Swift have also been inspired by Lyme’s Jurassic landscape.

OUr literary Wessex tour then takes us to the Somerset levels and the Isle of Avalon, the centre of King Arthur’s Wessex.

Literary Wessex Day 8 Glastonbury, the site of the legends of King Arthur and the ancient home of Christianity in England, remains a spiritual centre and place of pilgrimage. Its history inspired medieval writers and chroniclers, such as Geoffrey of Monmouth and Thomas Malory, as well as Tennyson’s Idylls of the King (1859), John Masefield’s novel, The Badon Parchments (1948) and A Glastonbury Romance (1933) by John Cowper Powys. We will visit the Abbey ruins where monks are believed to have found the remains of Arthur and Guinevere in 1191 and the Tor where some suggest Joseph of Arimathea and his followers buried the Holy Grail.

John Cowper Powys captures the spirit of the place:

As these two slept, the shapeless moon sank down over the rim of the Polden Hills. As these two slept, little gusts of midnight air, less noticeable than any wind but breaking the absolute stillness, stirred the pale, green leaf-buds above many a half-finished hedge-sparrow’s nest between Queen’s Sedgemoor and the Lake Village flats. Here and there, unknown to Sam Dekker or any other naturalist, a few among such nests held one or two cold untimely eggs, over whose brittle blue-tinted rondure moved in stealthy motion these light-borne air stirrings pursuing their mysterious journeys from one dark horizon to another.

Literary Wessex Day 9 In the morning we travel to Bath where we will spend the day and overnight.

We will visit Jane Austen Centre for a Guided talk, the Royal Crescent, Pump Rooms and other sites associated with the wits, Congreve, Gay and Arbuthnot, Dr Johnson, Hester Thrale, Fanny Burney, Richard Brinsley Sheridan, Sarah Siddons, Shelley and Mary Godwin, Dickens, Thackeray and many others.

There will also be time for relaxation and shopping in the lively city centre.

Literary Wessex Day 10 Today we visit Stonehenge, of which Henry James (who visited in 1872) wrote:

You may put a hundred questions to these rough-hewn giants as they bend in grim contemplation of their fallen companions; but your curiosity falls dead in the vast sunny stillness that enshrouds them, and the strange monument, with all its unspoken memories, becomes simply a heart-stirring picture in a land of pictures …

The centre of the stones is also, of course, where Tess, of Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the Durbevilles, dies.

We will then travel to the Cathedral city of Salisbury, following in the footsteps of Samuel Pepys, who visited Salisbury in 1668.

Literary Wessex Day 11 In the morning we conclude our tour of literary Wessex proper with a visit to Salisbury Cathedral, inspiration to Anthony Trollope’s The Warden (1855) and William Golding’s The Spire (1964). Golding taught at Bishop’s Wordsworth school next to the cathedral.

The Cathedral contains a commemorative stone to Sir Philip Sidney’s sister and inspiration for The Arcadia (1590), the poet, Mary, Countess of Pembroke, inscribed with an epitaph by William Browne, and a bust of local writer and naturalist, Richard Jefferies.

In the afternoon we return to London.

Literary Wessex Day 12 On our final morning we will visit Westminster Bridge, about which Wordsworth wrote Earth has not anything to show more fair following his walk on 3rd September 1802 across the bridge, the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey and Poet’s Corner, where there are monuments to England’s most celebrated poets and writers.

Please contact us for booking or further information regarding the Literary Wessex tour


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