They may be small but there’s a lot of Somerset towns. I’m reaching the end of them now, and after Wellington it’s villages all the way to the end of that particular Beer Guide chapter.
It’s a shame that Wellington has just the one (seemingly perpetual) Guide entry, as the Travelodge was ideally placed, both for town and baby lamb spotting.
As a place nearly the size of Sandbach, I’m surprised I haven’t stopped here before, but it looks more like a straggly village on my Navigator, overshadowed by the Blackdown hills to the east.
With one notable exception, it was dull, and not a patch on near neighbour Cullompton in architectural terms. This was a bit of a surprise, as it has a noted independent school that takes up a large chunk of the town.
Despite the usual signs of relative affluence, a Waitrose, farmers market, Old Guys Rule stockist and countless dentists, the centre was still shabby. It’s good to see a cinema surviving in a town, however dilapidated it looks, so I won’t speculate on what Wetherspoons might make of it.
Every few yards there would be a small alley that promised much, but unlike Tewkesbury delivered little. The Baptist Church was probably the pick of the buildings.
The High Street pubs had closed, apart from The Vintage which looks more like an Olde Worlde restaurant than I suspect it is.
Wellington’s Waterloo Road is plain, but leads to the Dolphin, which was just wonderful. The exterior painting is perhaps an acquired taste, but the interiors decoration would feel cosy to anyone.
It’s quirky but not overdone, and I could have sat anywhere and felt comfortable. The Dolphin was just opening but within 20 minutes had a good mix of customers.
A range of facilities and activities including skittles, function room and book club and live music were clearly key to the pub’s success, as much as an excellent beer range (Otter Amber NBSS 3.5) and cheerful young staff.
Well worth a stop off the M5.
One more sign of the times. The public toilets were just about to close forever, without any obvious replacement community facilities. And that’s just the start of the cuts.