Who are you?
A 36 year old ex-waitress/ cheese-monger/ TV runner/ ship’s First Mate/ Account Manager/ Chair of local charity Watchet Roots; currently a mum to two, wife to one, sister to five, good food and wine fan, pilates, cycling and walking enthusiast, Parent Governor to Knights Templar School and, as of last month, full-time Project Officer for the brilliant Steam Coast Trail!
How are you connected to Watchet?
I connected to Watchet after visiting friends who had moved here and I fell in love with the place. I’ve lived in many places: from growing up in Bath, moving to a grim flat in Dalston, sailing around dozens of Caribbean islands then most of the Mediterranean coast, returned to Bath, on to Bristol, then, since 2010, moved to the unique, eclectic, and very, very fun Watchet. My husband wasn’t convinced of the idea at first, saying ‘who wants to live in a seaside town in winter?!’ It took me three years to convince him but I proved him wrong; we both love it more and more each year and there’s so much to do (even in winter) thanks to organisations like the Onion Collective, Contains Art, Watchet Summertime and Watchet Town Council who put on fantastic events all year round.
As a Parent Governor I am also connected to Knights Templar School and love how it nurtures my kids and teaches them to love learning. I also feel deeply connected to Watchet through my friends and family. Having our kids here has been a brilliant decision as they’re growing up with a huge group of close friends and an enormous ‘village’ style family where everyone goes out of their way to lend a hand.
What do you love most about Watchet?
I love doing the very weird but hilarious Watchet Wheelbarrow Race (trophies in the downstairs loo!), I love the sea and beaches (just got a kayak!), I love Watchet’s sense of community, and seeing a steam train never gets tired. I love dipping chips in curry sauce from Harbour Fish Bar whilst sipping a cider in Pebbles Tavern, I love the Spice Merchant’s saag chana, I love a veggie breakfast at the Corner House Cafe. I love the Old Mineral Line, the fact we have a Town Crier and our own festival, I love being near Exmoor and the Quantocks (just got a mountain bike!) and that my kids can travel almost everywhere in town by bike. I love that I had the outdoor gym at the Memorial Ground installed, that I helped build the structure at Splash Point with a huge team of locals, and I love that I now have a job where I can continue to improve my local area by creating accessible, mixed-use paths for the community and visitors to enjoy in beautiful West Somerset countryside. Hopefully, in the not-so-distant future, I will also love the fact that the Steam Coast Trail includes Watchet!
Where is your favourite spot to take family/guests?
On a cold winter’s day, you can’t beat taking visitors on my favourite walk: up the hill past St Decumans Church, down past Snail Holt (say hello to the geese) and Kentsford Farm (say hello to the ducks and horses), then join the Old Mineral Line, see a steam train, say hello to the sea at West Beach then sit next to the open fire in The Star in Watchet for a roast dinner and a pint of craft ale. The. Perfect. Sunday.
Tell us something we didn’t know
In the UK, the average economic benefit-to-cost ratio of investing in cycling and walking schemes is 13:1 Yet, the UK government spends around £1.38 per person on cycling per year (for those living outside of London) – far less than the recommended £10 (rising to £20 by 2025) from the Get Britain Cycling report.
The Steam Coast Trail is, I’m proud to say, contributing to the far-reaching benefits of encouraging cycling and walking where cars would otherwise be used. Who doesn’t hate driving, let alone cycling, on the A39?! The Steam Coast Trail is working to develop a network of safe, accessible paths that can be used by cyclists, walkers, runners, responsible dog walkers and wheelchair/ mobility scooter users throughout West Somerset. There are also huge benefits to the local economy from increased tourism and access to employment and education, as well as improved health and wellbeing by linking rural, isolated communities. Please show your support by liking our facebook page or you can donate via our website www.steamcoasttrail.org
We will be holding a public launch event to celebrate Phase Two of the Steam Coast Trail opening on Sunday 21st October, 2 – 4pm behind Washford Station and all are welcome – hope to see you there!
– Sarah Ellwood
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