Traditional Crafts of the Somerset Levels

Date: Tuesday 14 May 2019

A visit to the Somerset Levels to savour some of the traditional crafts of the area

Traditional Crafts of the Somerset Levels

Withy beds

Traditional Crafts of the Somerset Levels

Eel smokery

Traditional Crafts of the Somerset Levels

Cider still

Coach Visit Tuesday 14 May 2019 

Traditional Crafts of the Somerset Levels

The Somerset Levels offer an unexpected historic, creative and gastronomic bounty.  

Willow: Coffee or tea with homemade shortbread on arrival at the Wetlands Centre.  Willow, as traditional to Somerset as cheese and cider, has been grown in the withy beds of the Levels for centuries, but there are now few signs of this once thriving industry. Our guided tour shows how willow is grown and harvested, before being processed into four natural colours for basket making.  

Eels: The rivers of the Levels once teemed with eels; so common as to be a form of currency in payment of rent to Glastonbury Abbey, but each year fewer make the 3,000-mile trip from the Sargasso sea to get here. Brown & Forrest’s family run smokery specialises in smoked eel. Our tour will touch on their mysterious life cycle, and demonstrate different methods of smoking a large variety of foods.

Cider: Somerset is the very core of English cider making, a drink which for many years was a staple for the rural population, cheaper than tea or coffee and safer than water to drink. Our last visit is to Barrow Hill Cider Farm where the apple blossom should be in bloom. The tour will show how award winning ciders have been produced for many years, and give an opportunity for sampling. In addition it is Somerset’s only cider brandy distillery.

Timings: Depart Culverhayes 9.00am.  Coffee at Lemon Tree Cafe 10-10.30.  Willow & Wetlands Tour 10.30 – 11.30.  Optional walk to see withy beds.  

Depart for Smokery 12.00. Eel smokery tour 12.30  to 13.30  Lunch  13.30 – 14.30 in restaurant (at own cost)       Depart for Cider Farm 14.45. 

Cider and brandy tour 15.15         Coach departs for Sherborne at 16.30

Cost: £35 to include coach travel; coffee + shortbread; and three tours.

Numbers limited to 25.    Visitors / guests welcome.

Please send cheque with completed booking form to Visits Secretary:

Douglas Maxwell, The Dairy House, Milborne Wick, Sherborne, DT9 4PW

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