The NHS continues to struggle to cope with a budget rising by 2% a year (and demand for services by at least 5%), while the public seem not to notice Council cuts of 20% and more.  That’s a simplification, and the stress on care budgets is clearly knocking on to the NHS, but I have wondered how Councils do it. On my visit to Somerset this weekend I have seen some irritating, rather than life-threatening impacts  of cuts.

Taunton is a modest County town, probably on a par with Stafford or Bedford for visitor numbers, though on the doorstep of some of the UK’s best countryside in all directions.  This was only my 2nd visit, though I annually plan to attend a cricket game there, and annually fail.  While my son visited a friend in the Quantocks, I had chance to explore on a gorgeous autumn day.

I know that, in an age of I-Phones and Booking.Com, most travellers can get the information they need themselves, but I was still surprised to find the prominent Tourist Office closed at 10.45.  I like to amble aimlessly around towns and suburbs, but without a map or obvious information boards I couldn’t work out what was essential viewing.  Since the castle now appears to be a hotel, the most prominent public building looked to be the County Museum; also closed all day on Sunday.  Just as well that Vivary Park is an absolute gem; one of the best civic parks in the UK.

Just up the road is the large village of Bishop’s Lydeard, gateway to the Quantocks and a stop on the famed steam railway.  After a walk among the redstone buildings, I was pleased to find public toilets, less so to find them closed for the winter. Another good reason to ensure villages don’t lose their pub.


  1. Taunton’s one of those places that sounds quite interesting but in fact turns out not to have much of tourist appeal. It doesn’t seem to have much of a selection of pubs, either. I remember going in a rather quirky free house round the back of the High Street called the Mason’s Arms which I believe has now bitten the dust.


  2. “Taunton is a modest County town, probably on a par with Stafford or Bedford for visitor numbers” and probably little changed five years later. ,

    Liked by 1 person

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