We are pleased to be able to offer our latest social event - a Simonsbath Stroll, on Sunday 12 April. Come along and glimpse at the history of the remarkable village of Simonsbath, Exmoor - created as a small, remote farm in the C17th by an eccentric English merchant, lawyer and philosopher; planned as the hub of a great country estate in the early C19th by a midlands ironmaster; developed into a village in the mid C19th by a Worcestershire Conservative MP, and then bought by a former Liberal MP whose family managed the estate until towards the end of the C20th when the wild moorland surrounding the village was acquired for the nation by the National Heritage Memorial Fund.
Meet at the public car park in Simonsbath at 11.00 where Dr Graham Wills will share a little of his extensive knowledge of the history of Simonsbath, and particularly about the purchase of the Royal Forest of Exmoor by John Knight in 1820 and his vision of a great country estate here. We will look briefly at the landscape gardens he began to create and then stroll down through the village down to the riverside (about 500 metres) to view James Boevey’s house (1654) and the site of John Knight’s unfinished mansion. Then it’s a short walk across the road to the sawmill, where we will have a tour of the working, water-powered mill, seeing the turbine, the sawbenches and the engine.
After a picnic lunch there can be an optional walk up the main water supply leat to the main weir and back (total less than 2km), or a longer walk (4km) to the remains of Wheal Eliza mine followed by a cosy cream tea at a local café.
Come prepared for outdoors in Exmoor weather – sun, rain, cold, wind, mist, snow; or all of them! We can eat our lunch at the sawmill but there are few home comforts there. If the weather conditions are unfavourable the programme may have to be amended and we will spend longer in the mill, and/or in the cafe or inn!
Donation to Central Devon Labour Party funds £10 per adult (children and students free) to include light lunch.
Numbers are limited so please RSVP on the Events page of the website if you are intending to come. Further details will be sent later.