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Strawberry Line WHAT’S ON

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Thu 29 Nov to Sat 1 Dec. Wedmore. Drama: Bazaar and Rummage. 7.30pm. £8. Village hall. Box office at the Paper Shop. Or call: 01278 641370. Sue Townsend’s touching comedy tells the story of three agoraphobic women and their ‘carer’ Gwenda, herself a recovered agoraphobic. A Wedmore Theatre production. Sat 1 Dec. Weare. Christmas Fair. Weare Memorial Hall. 2-4pm. Father Christmas. Table top games, tombola, Lucky Dip, home-made cakes and refreshments. Weare and District Scout Group event. Sat 1 Dec. Axbridge. Farmers’ Market. The Square. 9am to lunchtime. Local produce and barbecue. Buy your Christmas trimmings and food. Plus coffee and table top sale in Axbridge Town Hall. Stalls will include plants, bric-a-brac, cakes, tombola, books, toys and teas and coffees. Sat 1 Dec. Axbridge. African Drum workshop. In the Town Hall. 2.30- 4.30pm. £7.50. Tel: 01934 732128. Sun 2 Dec. Rowberrow. Walk. A Winter Walk around Rowberrow Warren. 1.30pm. 5 miles. Park with care off the A38 at Churchill follow Dolebury Bottom to the end of the track. £1. Sun 2 Dec. Cheddar. Childrens’ Christmas Decopatch workshop. Jules of Sew Vintage of Wells will lead the event. 2-4 pm at £15 per child, including refreshments and materials. An adult must accompany each booking. The Sitting Room Cafe, Riverside Cottage, Church Street, Cheddar BS27 3RF. Tel: 01934 741742. Sun 2 Dec. Wells. Reindeer Parade. Starts at 11am. Parade from 12noon. Events include Santa’s Grotto in The Swan Hotel; Christmas Tree Festival in St Cuthbert’s Church; stalls; live music; pig roast; horse and pony rides. Rotary Club event. Programme £1 with money to The Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance. Sun 2 to Mon 24 Dec. Cranmore. Santa specials on the East Somerset Railway. Dates: 2, 8-9, 15-16, 22-24 Dec. www. Tue 4 Dec. Clevedon. Health Walk. Co-ordinated by North Somerset Council and NHS North Somerset. Details on 01275 882 730. Bandstand, Seafront, Elton Road. 10.30am. Tue 4 Dec. Winscombe. Health Walk. Co-ordinated by North Somerset Council and NHS North Somerset. Details on 01275 882 730 or at Castlewood, Tickenham Road, Clevedon, BS21 6BD. Write: Sport and Active Lifestyles team, North Somerset Council, Town Hall, Walliscote Grove Road, Weston-super-Mare, BS23 1UJ. Email: sport@n-somerset. • Log on:, 4 Dec Walk starting from Sidcot Triangle 11am Winscombe Tue 4 Dec. Winscombe. Christmas late night shopping event. 5.30pm onwards. Includes The Sidcot choir, Fire Brigade, barbeque, community stalls, bell ringers and Santas Grotto. Tue 4 Dec. Wells Cathedral. Primary Schools Concerts today and tomorrow at 7pm. Thu 6 Dec. Yatton. Health Walk. Co-ordinated by North Somerset Council and NHS North Somerset. Details on 01275 882 730. Banwell (car park on right opposite the school) 2.15pm Yatton. Thu 6 Dec. Cheddar. Quiz. Cheddar U3A. 2pm at Church House Cheddar. For more details call 01934 710242 or go to www. Friday 7 Dec. Cheddar. Festive Night. Every year Cheddar comes alive with the magic of Christmas. Lights sparkle along the village streets and gorge as choirs sing in the streets and late night shoppers enjoy a glass of mulled wine or satisfying hog roast. The event includes Church Road, St Andrew’s Church, Cliff Street, The Gorge up to Costa Coffee, Tweentown, Station road, Bath Road, Redcliffe Street and Union Street. For details: 01934 743288 or email caroline@cheddarparishcouncil. org Sat 8 Dec. Winscombe. Comedy with Instant Wit. Quick-fire comedy and the Ros Cuthbert Duo. Bring your own supper, bar open. The Cricket Club, The Lynch. 8-10.30pm. Doors open 7.30pm. £10. Tel 01934 842970 or email www.roscuthbert. Sat 8 Dec. Winscombe. Extravaganza. St James’ Hall, Winscombe. £17.50. Includes food and live music. Tickets call Jane on 01934 820567 (mobile: 07552 907060). Sat 8 Dec. Draycott. Concert. The Cheddar Male Choir. Draycott Village Hall. 7.30pm. Plus the Draycott and Rodney Stoke First School Choir. Mulled wine and mince pies available. £5 adults/£3 children. Funds to the school and the choir. Tickets Draycott Post Office, Deane’s in Cheddar, Draycott School, or any choir member. Sun 9 Dec. Wells. Santa on the Run. 1pm. Watch lots of Santas run around the city for the Children’s Hospice. Starts in the market. Free. Tue 11 Dec. Winscombe. Health Walk. Co-ordinated by North Somerset Council and NHS North Somerset. Details on 01275 882 730. Woodborough Inn (with coffee and mince pies) 11am Winscombe. Wed 12 Dec. Congresbury. Christmas Fair. Broad Street. 6pm. Lots of stalls, live music and entertainment. In aid of Weston Hospice and the local Scout and Guide Group. A great night out for the whole family. Fri 14 Dec. Cheddar. Talk. The Catholic Church Hall, Tweentown, Cheddar. 7.30pm. Mendip Society event. “The Roman Army Fact & Fiction” by John Smith. £3.50 for non members with free refreshments. Sat 15 Dec. Cheddar. Live entertainment. Cheddar Arts. Variety show. £10. 7pm for 7.30pm start. Kings Theatre, KOW. Tue 18 Dec. Axbridge. Concert. Cheddar Male Choir will be providing a concert for the Cheshire Home resident’s, their families and friends. Thu 20 Dec. Yatton. Strawberry Line Walk. Co-ordinated by North Somerset Council and NHS North Somerset. Meet at Yatton library for a walk along Strawberry Line (+ lunch) 11.45am. Yatton. Thu 20 Dec. Winscombe. Talk. St.James Church Hall, Woodborough Rd, Winscombe. 7.30pm. Mendip Society event. “Fracking in Somerset”


There’s comedy with Harry the Spiv and Sally-Anne Haywood at the Axbridge Roxy on Wed 30 January 2013

by Nicole Brosper. £3.50 for non members with free refreshment. Thu 20 Dec. Cheddar. Coffee morning. U3A event. Church House Cheddar, 10-30am-12noon. Entertainment and carols from our Handbell group and Singers’ group. Tea Coffee and mince pies. For more details about our U3A call the membership secretary on 01934 710242 or go to


Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs. Thu 13 Dec-Sun 13 Jan. Theatre Royal Bath Sawclose, Bath BA1 1ET. Tel: 01225 448844. www. • Chris Harris stars in this traditional panto romp.

Heidi - A Goat’s Tale. Sat 8 Dec-Thu 13 Jan. Egg Theatre Bath Sawclose, Bath BA1 1ET. Tel: 01225 448844. • Childrens’ theatre at its best with this sparkling Alpine story.

A Christmas Carol – The Musical. Tue 18 Dec-Sat 22 Dec. Rondo Theatre Saint Saviour’s Road, Bath BA1 6RT. Tel: 01225 444003. www. • Live Wire’s take on Charles Dickens’ novel.


Jack and the Beanstalk. Fri 18-Sat 26 Jan. Town Hall High St, Bridgwater, Somerset TA6 3BL Tel: 07939 926449. www.bridgwater- • Pantomime by the people for the people.


Recycled Stockings II. Sat-Sun 15-16 Dec, Sat-Sun 22-23 Dec. Southville Centre Beauley Road, Bristol BS3 1QG. Tel: 0117 923 1039. • Show of Strength’s top family show.

Michael Morpurgo. The Best Christmas Present in the World. Tue 18 Dec. St George’s Great George St, Bristol BS1 5RR. Tel: 0845 4024 001. • One off performance of WWI story.

Peter Pan. Wed 26 Nov-Sat 19 Jan. Bristol Old Vic Theatre, Kings Street BS1 4ED. Tel: 0117 9877 877. • The renovated theatre stages JM Barrie’s fantasy with pirates and lost boys.

Hey Diddle Diddle. Fri 28 Nov-Sat 5 Jan. Bristol Old Vic Studio, Kings Street BS1 4ED. Tel: 0117 9877 877. • One for younger children directed by Miranda Cromwell.

Hansel and Gretal. Wed 5 Dec-Thu 13 Jan Tobacco Factory Theatre Raleigh Road, Bristol BS3 1TF. Tel: 0117 902 0344. www. • Brothers Grimm fairy story with live music.

Aladdin. Fri 7 Dec-Sun 6 Jan. Bristol Hippodrome St Augustines Parade BS1 4UZ. Tel: 0844 871 3012. • TV Loose Women Carol McGiffin stars in this traditional family show.


Little Red Riding Hood. Wed-Fri 26-28 Jan. Clevedon Community Centre Princes Road BS21 7SZ. Tel: tel: 01275 873405. www. • Comedy Club production.


Wind In The Willows. Fri 7 Dec- Sat 5 Jan. Brewhouse Theatre, Coal Orchard, Taunton, Somerset, TA1 1JL. Tel: 01823 283244 www. • Kenneth Grahame’s classic novel features Mr Toad.


Rumpelstiltskin. Sat 15-22 Sat Dec. Little Theatre Chamberlain Street Wells BA5 2PS. Tel: 01749 672280. • Community pantomime packed with song, dance, comedy and drama.


Sleeping Beauty. Thu 13 Dec-Sun 6 Jan. Playhouse Theatre, High Street BS23 1HP. Tel: 01934 645544. • Starring Lorraine Chase as the wicked fairy Carabosse.


Cinderella. Wed 30 Jan-Sat 2 Feb. Village Hall, Tel: 07743 119178 • The Wookey Panto Society has reformed after 13 years for this show so make an effort and see the Ugly Sisters of Wookey!


Cinderella. Fri 25-Sat 26 Jan. Yatton Village Hall The Causeway, BS49 4HL. Tel 01934 877012. • Community based pantomime about the rags to riches fairy story of poor Cinders.

Drama groups and theatres: send details of your productions to Strawberry Line Times. We are big supporters of theatre in the region covering professional and amdram shows alike with reviews of productions from the RSC to Axbridge Town Hall.

Fri 21 Dec. Clevedon. Health Walk. Tel: 01275 882 730. Meet at the Bandstand, Seafront, Elton Road. 10.30am. Sat 22 Dec. Axbridge. Santa in the Square. 5pm onwards. The Square is given over to the event with carols, live music, a pig roast, an auction, hot chestnuts, mulled wine and of course Santa who will arrive in spectacular style with the legendary Red Barrows. Free. Wed 26 Dec. Axbridge. Boxing day hunt. The Banwell Harriers usually meet around 11am in the Square. The place is packed with people and horses along with the hounds. Very traditional looking scene. Officially the hunt say to journalists the hounds follow a laid scent and don’t hunt foxes. Fri 28 Dec. Cheddar. Firework display at the football club. This is a rerun of the November display when thieves stole the cash. So back the fundraisers and turn up for a seasonal night of fireworks and fun. Tue 31 Dec. Axbridge. New Year’s Celebrations. The Square. From 11.50pm people gather for fireworks and to see in the New Year. Thu 3 Jan. Cheddar. Musical afternoon. U3A. Medieval Musical Instruments – Strings, ably described and played by Jonathan Weeks. Church House Cheddar 2-15pm. For more details call 01934 710242 or go to Thu 3 Jan. Congresbury. Horticultural Soc talk on unusual ways with vegetables! Methodist Hall. 7.30pm. Sat 12 Jan. Winscombe. Jumble Sale. Winscombe Community Centre, Sandford Road. 2pm. If you would like to donate unwanted Xmas gifts bring them along at 9.30am. Tel: 01934 843184. Sat 12 Jan. Clevedon. Drama reading. Community Centre, Princes Rd, Clevedon BS21 7SZ. 7.45pm. Supper with a rehearsed reading. Fri 18 Jan. Cheddar. Talk. The Catholic Church Hall, Tweentown, Cheddar. 7.30pm. Mendip Society event. “The Branch and its Twigs” by Terry Temlett. A look at the S&D’s branch from Wells to Burnham & Bridgwater. £3.50 for non members with free reshments. Sat 19 Jan. Axbridge. Charity Auction. Compton House Hotel. To raise money for Axbridge Sea Cadets. There will be no buyers or sellers premium – what you bid is what you pay. Every penny of the hammer price for each lot will go to the Axbridge Sea Cadets. The sale starts at 11am with viewing from 9am on the day. We are asking you to donate any saleable item to this auction so you can de-clutter your house and support a worthwhile youth organisation. All goods gratefully received: furniture, jewellery, ornaments, tools and household effects. To donate please phone Baz Hamblin : 01934 733939 or 07979 994126. Axbridge G. Auctions will be holding regular sales in the town in 2013. Sat 19 Jan. Wells. Children’s Festival at the cathedral. http://www. Thu 24 Jan. Winscombe. Talk. St.James Church Hall, Woodborough Rd, Winscombe. 7.30pm. Mendip Society event. “The S.S. Great Britain” by Ian Caisky. Listen to the full story of this local nautical wonder with remarkable stories that surround every aspect of this vessel and I.K.Brunel. £3.50 for non members with free refreshment. Wed 30 Jan. Axbridge. Comedy Night at the Roxy Cinema. With compere Sally-Anne Haywood, Anna Curl, Harry the Spiv and Paul McCaffrey. 8pm. Tickets from The Roxy Cinema. These are legendary nights of laughter. Don’t miss. Thu 31 Jan. Clevedon. Archaeologiy meeting. 7.30pm. Friends Meeting House, 15 Albert Road, Clevedon. Speaker Peter Insole, Bristol City Archaeological Officer talking on ‘Know Your Place - local reseach using computerised historical maps and images. Visitors welcome: £3/50p Fri 15 Feb. Cheddar. Talk. The Catholic Church Hall, Tweentown, Cheddar. 7.30pm. Mendip Society event. “Spinning and Weaving – keeping traditional crafts alive” by Janet Maher. £3.50 for non members with free refreshments. Thu 21 Feb. Winscombe. Talk. St.James Church Hall, Woodborough Rd, Winscombe. 7.30pm. Mendip Society event. “Household Electrical Appliances of a Bygone Age” by Peter Lamb. Take a nostalgic trip with a look at what our forefathers thought as being hi-tec ! £3.50 for non members with free refreshment. Sat 23 Feb. Winscombe. Book sale. Winscombe Community Centre, Sandford Road. 9am 12.30 pm. Tel. 01934 843758. Sat 2 Mar. Axbridge. African Drumming workshop. Wed 13 Mar. Winscombe. Pamper Night. Winscombe Community Centre, Sandford Road Pamper Night. Tel. 01934 844467. Fri 15 Mar. Cheddar. Talk. The Catholic Church Hall, Tweentown, Cheddar. 7.30pm. Mendip Society event. “Fishing and the Environment” with Dave Green. A good look at the most popular outdoor sport in the UK. from a member of The Salmon & Trout Fishing Assoc. £3.50 for non members. Thu 21 Mar. Winscombe. Talk. St.Jame’s Church Hall, Woodborough Rd, Winscombe. 7.30pm. Mendip Society event. “The Edwardian House” by Yvonne Bell. A peep behind the curtains of our houses a century ago and compare it to how we live today, and ask ” how did they live like that?” • Did we miss your event, play, film, talk or panto production? Email and make sure we feature your event on the website and in the next issue. Copy deadline for the magazine is 10 January 2013 - but for the website you can send it in anytime - and include pictures. Call Harry on 07789 864769 for more details.

There’s lots more what’s on plus a strong theatre section with previews and reviews: Would you like to review shows, films or events for us? Email for more details

Strawberry Line Times December 2012-January 2013 EVERY DAY ON THE WEBSITE

Top left is an unusual photograph of Axbridge from the 19th century looking as it would in 1899, above is the cliffs of Cheddar Gorge that so fixated the author of the guide book and top right is Rupert in his Norfolk suit - the only way to dress for a chap on holiday. There’s no truth in the rumour that Deane’s in Cheddar continue to stock them!

Strawberry Line Times December 2012-January 2013

The Victorian guide to the Strawberry Line

What was it like to visit the Strawberry Line in 1899? Using an 1899 Rupert Bridgwater took a trip from Clevedon to Wells in a tweed Norfolk suit in search of Victorian Somerset.

Cyclists should dismount when descending Cheddar Gorge and Clevedon is not condusive to bathing but does have smart shops. These and other useful tops help to make up an 1899 copy of Black’s Guide Book sold for one shilling in Winscombe’s stationer of the same era. Edited by A R Hope Moncrieff the author notes in his preface that as may be expected in a pocket guide to the British Isles that “everything has not been said that might be said; but so far as our limits allow, we have tried to point out to strangers what is best worth seeing in this most attractive corner of England.”

And so with guide in hand having first put on a very stiff and itchy Norfolk suit I set off in search of Victorian Somerset travelling from Clevedon to Wells - by bicycle. Traffic excepted and also the considerably greater number of houses built in the last 113 years there are surprisingly many things that haven’t changed a jot. Judge for yourself with these notes:

Clevedon: “This town straggles roomily on and beneath heights

overlooking the Bristol Channel, and has an agreeably informal aspect in its winding lines of villas and open terraces. To the right for the Pier, the smart shops, and the cliff quarter known as Walton, the Bristol end, where a sea walk leads along the edge to a nook called Ladye Bay.” It’s a description that wouldn’t be incorrect today of the town that’s “sheltered from cold winds by the bank of Dial Hill”. However the guide warns that bathing is not tempting due to the beach not being “very salt or sea-like,” but recommends Ladye Bay where “a good swim can be had when the tide is up.”

Yatton: “A thriving-like village, just outside of which on the east side stands a solid tower, capped by the uncommon feature of a truncate spire, marking the church, which contains a fine altar tomb and other monuments of the Newton Family.” Sadly there’s no record of the shops, blacksmith or pubs in the guide although it suggests a walk to Weston - now nicknamed Weston-super-Mare - because it’s a pretty town and quite lively. Presumably due to the vast numbers of Welsh miners who

descended on the resort by paddle steamer and the day trippers from Bristol’s growing suburbs in search of fun and frolics on their high days and holidays.

Congresbury: “A village graced with a fine church with a pleasant walk to wooded Wrington just four miles away.” The guide notes Congresbury is pronounced “Coomsbury.” The walk to Wrington warns of a ruined mill and a circuitous route along a river bank in order to approach the little town of 1,500 people noted for its connections with John Locke and Hannah More. It describes a path to Goblin Combe via The Golden Lion pub to “the savage glen, edged by Limestone cliffs and banks of screes.”

Winscombe: For some reason the author glosses over Banwell and Sanford and arives by train in Winscombe - no longer called Woodborough - which he describes as a scattered village. Like all good Victorians he heads to the church “with its fine yew” and “fine outlook”. He quickly embarks by trains for Axbridge through the tunnel from whence “we glimpse Brent Knoll; to the south swells the broken ground of Wedmore, and beyond an isolated hillock is seen the tower of Glastonbury Tor.”

Axbridge: “One the chief towns still having such dignity as petty sessions, a workhouse, and two banks can give but only 700 inhabitants.” He notes the “quaint old houses and stately church,” and claims to see the River Axe “below on the plain”.

Cheddar: “The station is about a mile from the entrance of the gorge, for which conveyances (4d) are usually in waiting. The Cliff Hotel, near the foot of the gorge is the goal of driving excursions.” The guide is clearly taken with Cheddar as it affords more space than anywhere else in the pocket book - even than Wells. It describes the fierce rivalry between the owners of both main caves, Gough’s and Cox’s - both charging 2/- entrance fee and both lit up to display their “stalactite wonders” for the “patronage of pilgrims.” We also get considerable description of the gorge and the surrounding country which clearly was the big draw for visitors seeking something of a lost wilderness that once covered England from end to end. He cautions cyclists to dismount once they arrive at the end of the wooded part of the top end of the gorge due to “not knowing what may be around each corner.” Something that some motorists should pay heed to today.

Wedmore: Our guide instructs us to take a short four mile walk across the pastures to Wedmore, a village of 3,000 people with its “rambles pleasant by contrast to the environing flats.”

Wells: “A city of under 5,000 inhabitants, wears a look of quiet diginity.” He describes the Town hall and Council Chambers with its exhibtion of portraits, the two stations within easy reach of the cathedral and reiterates the

truism that nowhere is a city with so many buildings still being used for their original purpose.


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