Local Area

This page is still under development too!  We plan to put all sorts of information on this page about the area in which we live and from where we source much of our local produce.  We will include photographs, places to visit, a little history, flora & fauna and even some walks and cycle rides around the area.

If you have anything that fits these descriptions - for example, a favourite walk within about 20km of The Village Stores, please send us details at info@stokevillagestores.co.uk, and we will see if we can include it. 

Some of the following was compiled by Ben Cross of Heathfield Community School, Taunton, when he spent a week with us on Work Experience.  The remainder we have added over a period of time.  For more local area information, visit The Village Stores - we have brochures, maps, guide books and local interest books - many of which published by Halsgrove - a publishing house based not far away in Wellington.

The Somerset Levels

The following is an extract from 'The Somerset Levels' by Rodney Legg and published by PiXZ Books

"The historic line of the Somerset coast in 7000BC, off Hinkley Point, was three miles out into what is now Bridgwater Bay.  Existing foreshore at Hinkley Point covers six beds of peat.  The lowest of these (40 feet below present sea level) dates fromt he time when sea levels were rising after the end of the last Ice Age.  Shoreline woods at Stolford were becoming a submerged forest by 3806BC.  That is a key date.  Tree-ring analysis shows that Neolithic people were advancing into the wetlands, along what we know as the Sweet Track from firm ground at Shapwick, which is the oldest known road in Europe.

Sea walls, causeways and drainage ditches date from the monastic period when ecclesiastical owners such as Glastonbury abbey and Wells Cathedral required tennants to protect their investments.  The next great move forward in land reclamation, reversing the inland surges of the sea, came with a raft of Inclosure Acts.  Attempts to drain King's Sedgemoor were resisted by the commoners in 1775, 1788 and 1791, but a £60,000 project went forward in 1796.  This enclosed 18,000 acres.

On land there is peat-digging, once for fuel and now for horticulture, and the willow is cropped for basket-making, cricket bats and bio-fuel." 

Towns & Villages

Burrowbridge

The name ''BurrowBridge'' comes from the Old English words buruh (fortified hill) and brycg (bridge).

Located in near the heart of the village is a well known tourist attraction Burrow Mump, an ancient earthwork now owned by the national trust, which from my experiences is a very nice place to visit for a family picnic. Also associated with the village is Alfred The Great, for those of you who dont know, Alfred successfully defended his kingdom against the Viking attempt at conquest, and by his death had become the dominant ruler in England. He is the only Englishman to be reffered to as ''The Great''. There is a monument at Athelney to remember Alfred for his doings.

North Curry

North Curry is a fairly large village, but is quietly tucked away on the southwestern side of the Somerset Levels, well away from the main highways. The buildings, history, and village life make North Curry a surprising gem amongst the winding, hedgerow-bordered country lanes that tie it to surrounding villages.

North Curry was settled in Saxon times, and was a royal manor in the 11th century.  A market village since the 13th century, North Curry's sources of wealth have included hunting, fishing, and wool trade, with access to other markets via the nearby River Tone. Evidence of the prosperity of the village can be seen in the exemplary architecture, including 68 listed buildings.

Stoke St Gregory

Right in the heart of Somerset is the cosy village of Stoke St Gregory, Famous for its high quality willow products, produced by the Willow and Wetlands Centre. The village is also very popular for photographers because of its wildlife and its high quality local produce.

For a village the size of Stoke St Gregory you will be surprised to discover how much commercial activity takes place. Tourism and agriculture are well represented and apart from that there a number of businesses, some of which are renowned nationally and internationally. There is a low rate of unemployment in the village.

Monuments

Burrow Mump

Excavations have shown evidence of a 12th century masonry building on the top of the hill. The first recorded writing mentioning this site is from William Worcester in about 1480 when he referred to it as Myghell-borough. A medieval church dedicated to St Michael, belonging to the Athelney Abbey, dates from at least the mid 15th century. This formed a sanctuary for royalist troops in in 1642 and 1645 during the English Civil War, and a detachment of the King's Army occupied it in 1685 during the course of the Monmouth Rebellion.