Somerset Art Weeks is an annual, county-wide celebration of the visual arts. Guided by directions in the guide booklet and looking out for the distinctive bright yellow signs, art-lovers can follow a trail, seeking out all forms of art in interesting and unexpected locations and buildings. Planning your art trail around journeys along the West Somerset Railway makes a great day out.
Easiest to reach on foot from the train are venues in Minehead, Watchet, Williton and Bishops Lydeard. Other venues can be reached by planning a longer walk or cycle ride from one of the station stops.
Within Minehead there are three venues to visit. Leo Davey’s studio gallery, in Quirke Street, off Friday Street is presenting painting, prints, sculpture and jewellery by four artists – Leo, Joanne Horrobin, Sue Lowe and Sarah Fox. Exmoor Jewellers (jewellery) and Gary Mills (textiles) are clustered nearby in Summerland Road/Summerland place.
Along the line, starting from Washford Station, a longer walk, passing Cleeve Abbey, will take you to Jane Hood’s studio, next to the White Horse Inn, for paintings, prints, jewellery and photography by Jane, Emma Lumley and John Kemp.
In Watchet make for Alison Jacobs’ Mayfly Studio in Swain Street. ‘Mudhorse at the Mayfly’, Alison, together with photographer Jane Kelly revisit 10 years of collaboration, with photography, painting, iPad art and artists newspapers.
New to the art weeks trail this year is Breeze, a new gallery in Williton, presenting a variety of work, oil, pastel and acrylic paintings, mixed media and pen and wash work, by the owner, Reg Ambrose, and three other artists.
Some more rural venues lie along the edge of the Quantock Hills, and could be reached not far from Stogumber and Crowcombe Heathfield stations. About a mile from Stogumber Station, at Hill Farm, Suzy and Tom Waldock are showing paintings, drawings and portraits. At Halsway Manor, just off the A358 near Crowcombe, a group of six artists are showing work under the title ‘Sylva’, a nod to the silver anniversary this year of Somerset Art Weeks, but also marking the 100th anniversary of the Forestry Commission, celebrating the forests of the Quantocks and Exmoor with painting, printmaking, mixed media, textiles, installation and sculpture and objects in wood. In Crowcombe there is also Emma Duke’s driftwood sculpture to be seen at Ashfield Farm.
At the end of the line, in Bishops Lydeard High Street, is the Alex Ash studio, offering contemporary wooden lighting and fine furniture design.
Many more art venues are open, and could be visited, by car on route to your WSR station. Take care to check open days and hours in the 2019 Somerset Art Weeks Festival Guide, which gives details and directions for all venues and can be found in Tourist Information points, libraries, museums, galleries and other cultural centres as well as cafes, bookshops and some of the WSR station waiting rooms. To receive a copy by post please email [email protected] or you can browse an online version at somersetartworks.org.uk.