6 Travel 7 GOING SOUTH TFC volunteer Dave Ryan brings us on a journey through the South of England. The counties of southern England are recognised as a mouth-watering combination of rural tranquility, coastal cliffs, nestled coves, forests full of intrigue, national parks and desolate moorland ? all complemented by a rich historical and cultural heritage. If your travels ever take you to the South of England there is a wide variety of things to do all fuelled by a variety of gastronomic options showcasing the best of English food. A good meal is often followed, of course, by a trip to one of the many hundreds of lovingly preserved versions of the traditional English pub! They vary greatly in style and character and many serve local tipples, such as the scrumpy (a type of cider), the county of Somerset in particular is famous for. There is also a wealth of regional cultural festivals to enrich your experience across many fields including music, food, literature, drama and the arts. In terms of gathering information on the options available, you?ll find that each county/town has its own official tourist information website as do the events themselves. The VisitEngland.com and artsfestivals.co.uk websites are also handy for information for your trip. There are so many choices ? but here are a few examples to whet your appetite. Minack Theatre If you are spending time enjoying the considerable charms of Devon and Cornwall, look out for the remarkable Minack Theatre hewn out of the cliff-face above the waters of Porthcuron Bay in the 1930s. It has seating for 750 View of Pulteney Bridge in Bath, England Rainforest Biome, Eden Project, Cornwall 5
7 Travel people and presents plays, operas and musicals during the Summer months. Bring your own cushion and a warm blanket would also be a useful accessory. Newquay is host to multiple Summer /Autumn festivals (literature and film, not just surfing!) and the spectacular Eden Project is not just a daytime pleasure but also a location for performances in Spring and Summer held in a broad grassy arena much admired for its originality. Padstow in Cornwall is famed for its harbour and gastronomic charm ? a destination for many given the fame of local restauranteur and TV chef, Rick Stein. It is also at the heart of regional cultural tradition. One of its variety of events is the famed Obby Oss Festival which is celebrated annually on May Day. It is thought to be the oldest dance festival in Britain involving troupes of local dancers, a maypole, costumes and general fun and merriment. The Hunting of the Earl of Rone festival takes place in Combe Martin, Devon, each year and re-enacts a 400-year old manhunt with full costumes and general chasing around. A must for Agatha Christie fans is the annual Festival in mid-September (in Torquay) with all manner of exhibitions, author talks, murder mystery dinners and jazz. Also of note is the literary festival held each May in Fowey over three days with a concentration on the works of Daphne du Maurier. Somerset The county of Somerset has always evoked England?s pastoral heritage but the tranquillity is breached every year or so (if the fields recover in time!) by the Glastonbury Festival. It has been in existence on Worthy Farm since the 1970s. With its roots in flower power, alternative lifestyles and of course music, the festival has evolved into much more than a rock music festival with all types of music catered for from classical, jazz and blues to folk, rock, dance and soul ? a veritable feast for the senses. There are also many themed areas covering food, meditation, politics, comedy, literature and arts & crafts. Bring your wellies in case it rains and leave the mudsliding to the youth! Also, look out for music and literature festivals in Bristol and Bath ? notably Bath?s annual International Music Festival in May/June featuring jazz, classical and world music; Bristol?s Upfest, Europe?s largest street art and graffiti festival and Bristol?s Slapstick Festival celebration of silent film and comedy held every January. The counties of Hampshire, Dorset and Wiltshire overlap with the ancient English kingdom of Wessex, the location of Stonehenge and the region where King Alfred saw off the last of the Vikings. The Isle of Wight, just off the coast, is host to festivals throughout the year ? especially literature and of course sailing (Cowes Week in August). Also in the locale, Longleat House hosts not just the famous safari park but also events/concerts over the Spring/Summer months, while near Winchester, the Watercress Line is one of the most famous steam-powered railways in England. The rather odd Tichborne Dole Festival takes place in the eponymous town each March and locals line up to be ?doled out? an allowance of a gallon of flour in ceremonies dating from the 12th century. Recognised as the most Hastings.