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Marvellous Mells

Marvellous Mells

MELLS SOMERSET

Mells is a beautiful Somerset village, (the county is jam packed with them) but it probably doesn’t get the publicity it deserves. I’m sure that many people drive through Mells on their way to somewhere better known. They are missing out. Make a stop in Mells and you won’t be disappointed. There are beautiful walks, great places to eat and large dollops of architectural genius on display.

Mells Somerset

If you enjoy keeping fit, you could reach Mells by taking the Colliers Way Walk and Cycle Path. This path links Radstock to Frome and, on its way, passes around the back of Mells (just half a mile from the village’s shop and award-winning cafe). So, having worked up an appetite, you could reward yourself with a cup of tea and a slice of cake/bacon roll/bowl of soup on arrival.

MELLS SHOP, POST OFFICE & CAFE

Mells cafe had a very auspicious start as it was opened by Mary Berry in 2011. The cafe has gone on to build a great reputation for serving fresh, home-cooked food. A century ago the building was home to the Jacobs family. Back then it was two stories high and the family of 7 all slept upstairs!

Mells Somerset

A few hundred yards behind the village shop and cafe is a public footpath. (It’s near to The Barns at Woodlands End.) Skirt around the edge of the field (often planted with sweetcorn during the summer) and look out for a narrow opening on the right hand side which has a stone stile.

Mells Somerset

The little stone stile is quite well hidden

This leads directly onto a main road, so take care crossing. On the other side is a large gate. This is the beginning of a lovely walk on a bridle path through woods on the Mells Estate.

Mells Somerset

In some places, fallen trees are suspended above the path and the resulting dappled sunlight is beautiful. The sound of the river makes it very peaceful. There is also a small waterfall.

Mells Somerset

You can enjoy an easy walk along the flat bridle path or scrabble up steep, wooded banks. If it’s really hot there are plenty of places to paddle in the river.

Mells Somerset

Only a short way down the path are some ruins of Fussell’s old iron works. While some of these are now out of bounds many of the old works can still be explored. 

Mells Somerset

A SPOT OF LUNCH?

After all that exercise you might be ready for something else to eat. Now here comes a tricky decision. You could go to The Talbot Inn – a stylish 15th century former coaching inn or grab a bite to eat at The Walled Garden Cafe

Mells Somerset

At the latter you can stroll around the small grounds and eat at one of the numerous tables dotted around. There are also straw bales and sheltered seating.

Mells Somerset

Take a seat on a straw bale

If it really is a miserable day weather-wise make a dash for tables in the large greenhouse.

The Walled Garden Cafe offers a good selection of pizzas (cooked in a wood-fired oven), sandwiches, salads and other light bites. This is a plant nursery, so there are plenty of great things to look at and buy.

Mells Somerset

Directly opposite the entrance to The Walled Garden is Mells Tithe Barn. This medieval, Grade II listed building is now used predominately for private parties and celebrations. Talking of celebrations, probably the biggest annual event in the village is the popular Daffodil Festival. Here, you can enjoy music, displays and games. There are arts and crafts, various demonstrations and a host of different animals on display.

Mells Somerset

The road leading to St. Andrew’s church

Sorry, I digress. After the restorative powers of a hearty lunch, you’ll be ready for another stroll around the village.

ST. ANDREW’S CHURCH, MELLS

Mells Somerset

St Andrew’s church is a Grade I listed building which dates back mainly to the 15th century. It is open to the public during the day.

Mells Somerset

The porch at St. Andrew’s church

Don’t be put off by the metal gates across the front porch. These aren’t locked during the day and are used to stop birds from nesting in the porch.

Mells Somerset

The church has some beautiful stained glass windows which date back to the mid 1800s. Inside the church there is also a striking equestrian statue. The statue is one of only a handful designed by Sir Alfred Munnings and it rests on a plinth made by Edwin Lutyens. It’s in memory of Edward Horner who was killed in battle during the First World War.

Mells Somerset

Wander around the well-kept graveyard and you’ll spot beautiful memorials to the Asquith and Horner families, the poet Siegfried Sassoon, Monsignor Ronald Knox, (translator of the Vulgate version of the Bible) and Lady Violet Bonham Carter (grandmother of the actress Helena). Even the yew trees owe their placement to Lutyens.

MELLS REMEMBERS THOSE WHO LOST THEIR LIVES IN BATTLE

Mells Somerset

The striking war memorial

Stroll back past the tithe barn and Walled Garden and you will come across a striking war memorial. This was also commissioned from Edwin Lutyens and features St. George slaying the dragon. The powerful inscription was written by the Poet Laureate Robert Bridges and reads as follows,

We died in a strange land facing the dark cloud of war and this stone is raised to us in the home of our delight.”

The memorial cost £400 and was paid for by the Asquith and Horner families. It was unveiled in 1921.

MELLS MANOR

You can still catch a glimpse of where the Horner family used to live. While there isn’t any public access to Mells Manor it is visible from various places in the village. The manor of Mells was bought by Thomas Horner (following the dissolution of Glastonbury Abbey) in 1543.

Mells is a village with a long and rich history and there is still much to enjoy here today. Oh, and did I mention it’s just 10 miles from my B&B. Incidentally, my 5 bedrooms are named after rivers which criss-cross Somerset. One of my rooms is fittingly called Mells (it’s a beauty!).

 

Reference books; The Home of our Delight and Mells Village Trail

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