Happy Somerset Day! Today marks the 4th annual celebration of Somerset Day, which started back in 2015 to share why Somerset is an amazing place to live, work and visit. With an abundance of events happening over the weekend to celebrate, we have decided to look into the history of Somerset Day – why is Somerset Day held on the 11th May?

blackdownhills - The history behind Somerset Day

It is thought that King Alfred the Great – also known as the King of Wessex – set out on a mission to gather all the locals of Somerset to create an army to march and fight against the Vikings on this day in 878AD. Although the date of his victory is unknown, it is commonly estimated to be around this time and was chosen to be the date where locals nowadays will remember the victory of King Alfred the Great and the locals of that time.

 

Somerset Day has come far from just honouring a victory of a King many years ago. Many use this opportunity to share the greatness of Somerset and how it is a diverse area to live, with many businesses flourishing, not to mention the areas of outstanding natural beauty that surround the county. It remembers all aspects of Somerset history, including farming traditions which are still in place today and of course, enjoying well-loved food and drink which is Somerset based, such as good old scrumpy.

 

Every year, many events take place, including festivals, fairs and street parties and afternoon tea days! To find a full list of events that are taking place today and over the weekend, why not check out our What’s On in May 2018 blog post or visit the official Somerset Day website.

 

Whatever you get up to this Somerset Day, don’t forget to share your love for this wonderful county!

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With Somerset being an area full of stunning landscapes and the home to famous screenwriters, actors and directors, there is no doubt as to why there are so many films which have a link to Somerset. Here is a list of 5 films which you have probably heard of or watched yourself based in Somerset – can you recognize where they were based? 

Hot Fuzz

Despite the storyline being based in a fictional village within Gloucestershire, the well-known film Hot Fuzz was filmed in Somerset’s city of Wells.

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Photo Credit: SJ Price

Jack the Giant Slayer

This modern adaption of Jack and the Giant Beanstalk featured the famous Cheddar Gorge as the setting for the giant’s home.

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Photo Credit: Iankelsall1

Les Misérables

The musical phenomenon Les Misérables was adapted into a musical film starring Russell Crowe and Hugh Jackman. Pulteney Bridge (based in Bath, Somerset), was deemed the perfect match for Inspector Javert’s (played by Russell Crowe) suicide.

pulteneybridge - Big hit movies starring Somerset
Photo Credit: Falco

The Huntsman: Winter’s War 

The prequel and sequel to the film Snow White and the Huntsman, this fantasy film was filmed at Wells Cathedral for its dramatic, gothic architecture – ideal for the movie plot.

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Photo Credit: Klue07

And our real claim to fame here at Dimpsey…

This adaption of the novel, Far from a Madding Crowd was released in 2015, however you will notice that in during the film you will see a shepherd’s hut. We are delighted to have the original shepherd’s hut featured in the film here at Dimpsey Glamping.

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How many of these film locations did you know of?

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Somerset has been famous for making good scrumpy for hundreds of years. The local dialect for a strong or sharp tasting cider, made in Somerset is ‘scrumpy’ and has been consumed and made within Somerset as well as being distributed around the world for centuries. With Somerset being one of the biggest cider counties in the UK, the West Country is known for the traditional method of cider making, using original, sharper types of cider apples. But, where did the cider process come from and how did it become so vastly enjoyed in Somerset?

Cider and cider production have been established in the UK since the Roman era, with Cider being recorded in history from the 11th Century onwards, with Kent, Hampshire and Somerset being the three main apple growing and cider producing counties in England. Since the 11th Century, most houses were producing cider and selling cider to the public as well cider being used as a wage for workers. Also being noted in various medical folklore as a health supplement, cider and cider apples were enjoyed not only as an alcoholic beverage, but also as a beauty luxury, with ointments and facial washes being created and sold due to apples having health properties which was used to smooth and clean the skin, causing a boom in the sales of cider.

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Cider Apples

Being loved throughout history, there is no surprise that cider is still very popular in Somerset in the present day. Despite most cider producing companies now farming their apples abroad, true Somerset cider can still be enjoyed with some famous cider companies such as Sheppy’s and Thatchers still using their apple orchards and cider breweries in Somerset. Good on them!

Cider is produced using a pulping, pressing and fermentation process, where the juice is extracted from the apples and mixed with yeast. The first step taken when creating cider is crushing the apples in order to remove all pips from the apples and to make the pressing stage easier. This stage is carried out within a large mill, with the pulp almost resembling apple sauce.

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Traditional Cider Wheel

The extraction of the apple juice is the second stage, with the pulp being placed in a tank and mixed with other pulps from other variations of apple. Up to as many as 6 different types of apple can be combined in this stage in order to create the desired taste, depending on what type of cider is being made. The pulp is then layered in forms, a piece of nylon cloth with apple pulp on top, ready for the extraction process to take place. The nylon cloth is removed, leaving behind a square of apple pulp. This stage is repeated around 10 times in order to create a stack blocks of apple pulp, also known as a cheese. This stack is then placed in a tray and pressed by a hydraulic pump.

Preservatives are passed through the juice as the mixture cools down as well as the juice being pasteurised if it isn’t being fermented. If the juice is being fermented, the chemicals needed to start the fermentation process is added to the juice, which can take up to a month to fully ferment. After fermentation, the last stage is packaging ready to be shipped to the stores that we love. So next time you sip an ice cold glass of scrumpy, remember that you a drinking a little piece of Somerset history!

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As the nights draw closer and the very first few leaves start to drop from the trees, you can just start to feel a little chill in the air in the evening here at Dimpsey Glamping. I always feel that with each season Dimpsey comes to life with it’s very own sense of comforting magic. Autumn is no exception, with the nip in the air, the deep golden sunsets, the bronze and copper leaves as they change from the lush summer vibrant green and the stars shining brightly as the sky becomes clearer at night. All these things herald the start of Autumn.

The Dimpsey Glamping Shepherd’s Hut is built to last. And as the oak cladding changes colour, just as the leaves do at this time of year, the hut ages into a majestic dwelling nestled in the Blackdown Hills that is warm and cosy yet full of whimsy and luxury.

So next time you visit Dimpsey in the Autumn time, why not spend some time just enjoying all the wonder and colour this season brings. Light the campfire, watch the stars, take a dip in the woodfired hot tub or cook a meal in our outdoor kitchen. Autumn is here….

dimpseyautumn - The Autumn Equinox at Dimpsey Glamping

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As the Summer fades out and the rainy season fades in, there are still plenty of things to do in South Somerset even with an umbrella at the ready. Dimpsey Glamping is situated in the Blackdown Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in South Somerset and even in the rain the Blackdown Hills are an amazing and beautiful place to visit. But there are many attractions and interesting places to visit that are inside and therefore not affected by rain, so your holiday can continue with all the fun and relaxation that you need, whatever the weather.

dimpseyrain - Rainy Day Activities & Attractions Near Dimpsey Glamping South Somerset

Chard Museum & Heritage Centre – http://www.chardmuseum.co.uk/

Distance from Dimpsey: 1 mile

Just around the corner from Dimpsey Glamping is the delightful Chard Museum & Heritage Centre. Full of exhibitions and artifacts from the local area, this little local museum receives rave reviews and always a well worth visit. The museum is open until the end of October.

 

The Cider Works at Perry’s Cider – http://www.perryscider.co.uk/visit-us/35/the-cider-works

Distance from Dimpsey: 6 miles

Soak up the atmosphere of real working cider mills, grab a cider or a bite to eat in their tea room & eatery, before checking out the local foods, drinks, gifts and art in the farm shop, or just stock up on your favourite ciders which can all be tasted before buying.

They also have a small museum on site – housed in the original 16th century thatched cider barn where the company first started from. The barn is stocked to the roof full of old cider making and farming equipment, as well as two hydraulic presses that they still use every autumn to press their ciders.

 

Shakespeare Glass – Taunton Gallery – https://www.shakspeareglass.co.uk/pages/taunton-gallery

Distance from Dimpsey: 14 miles

Based in the heart of Taunton, Shakespeare Glass and it’s Taunton gallery has a large range of contemporary artists as well as their own glass. Their stock is always changing but they generally have a selection including unique glass jewellery, ceramics, textiles, paintings, prints, wood turning and stone carving. Along with all this, there’s a large display of Will’s work, from his brand new Coasts and Somerset ranges to our ever popular baubles and goblets.

 

The Museum Of Somerset – https://museumofsomerset.org.uk/

Distance from Dimpsey: 14 miles

Set in the heart of Taunton, the Museum of Somerset lies within the 12th Century Taunton Castle and tells the county’s story from prehistoric times to the present day, using real objects, interactive games, eye-catching film projections and the words and voices of Somerset people, past and present.

 

Fleet Air Arm Museum – http://www.fleetairarm.com/default.aspx

Distance from Dimpsey: 21 miles

Representing the Royal Navy In the Air, the Fleet Air Arm Museum is a must for all air travel enthusiasts. With four exhibition halls, over ninety aircraft and over 2 million records and 30 thousand artifacts, the Museum is Europe’s largest naval aviation Museum. In addition. it houses the first British Concorde which you can go on board, view the cockpit and visit the award winning Aircraft Carrier Experience.

 

So whatever the weather, you’ll always find something to do…

 

 

 

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Happy National Somerset Day everyone! We are thankful here at Dimpsey Glamping to be situated in the beautiful county of Somerset but there is a lot more to Somerset than Cider and Cheddar Cheese 😉 Here are our top 10 facts about Somerset which some of you may not know. Enjoy!

1. With an area of 4,171 sq km and a population of about 508,000, Somerset is England’s seventh-biggest county by area but only the 22nd-biggest by population.

2. Somerset has 11,500 listed buildings, 523 ancient monuments, 192 conservation areas, 41 parks and gardens, 36 English Heritage sites, and 19 National Trust sites.

3. Designed by artist Serena de la Hey, the Willow Man near Bridgwater in Somerset, also known as the ‘Angel of the South’ is over 40 feet tall and made from willow branches woven on to a steel frame.

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4. The oldest human skeleton in it’s complete form was found in Cheddar Caves, based in the Mendip Hills. The skeleton is estimated to be over 9,000 years old.

5. According to weather archives, it snows in Somerset more than anywhere else in England.

6. Wells in Somerset, is England’s smallest city.

wells in somersr

7. Skittles, a game of pins which are to be knocked down by a ball, originated in Somerset. This then became the more popular, ten pin bowling which is known all over the world.

8. Somerset has a lot of celebrity names under it’s belt. Mary Berry, John Cleese, Charlie McDonnell, Jenson Button, Maisie Williams, Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Dame Jacqueline Wilson, Bill Bailey, James Purefoy, Sir Peter Blake, Don McCullin, Russell Howard, Richard J. Roberts and the entire band of Portishead were all born in Somerset.

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9. The Ancient Welsh, Celts and Saxons called Somerset ‘The Land Of The Summer’. They called it this because they could only ‘live off the land’ in this area during the Summer because the area flooded in the Winter.

10. Taunton in Somerset was the first town in England to be permantly lit by electric street lighting in 1881.

How many facts did you already know? Have a wonderful National Somerset Day!

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Who doesn’t love a bit of nature, and of course, luxury? And if you can combine the two, then why not we say! So imagine our delight when we came across Hikki.

Hikki aim to bring indoors, out. Through previous experiences in his life, and the sheer love for nature, Per, founder of Hikki, wanted to be able to combine both modern designs and the ancient concept of hot tubs to provide an ultimate relaxing sensation.

The really exciting news is that we now have a Hikki Hot Tub at Dimpsey Glamping! The wood fired hot tub adds a touch of sheer luxury to the beautiful surrounding natural landscape, allowing you to enjoy pure bliss as you relax outside.

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We sourced the hot tub from the UK distributor and have found it to be an excellent addition to the shepherd hut set-up.  It is perfect for guests to use themselves and as it only takes just over two hours to warm up, it becomes part of a perfect Dimpsey evening.  Fill and light the hot-tub, and light the garden oven.  Prepare and cook your supper whilst feeding the fire in the hot tub every now and again.  Eat supper and then sit and watch the dusk come in with a coffee – allowing your supper to go down, the hot tub to get up to heat and the star curtain to fall into place in the sky.

Step into the tub and sit back and watch the cosmos overhead – at this point you start realising what a small part of a large universe we are, and how amazing it is to spend time just ‘being’.

Then away to the shepherd’s hut for snuggly hot chocolate before bed. Watch our video below to see just how it all works!

It isn’t just Hikki Hot Tubs though that have sparked the love for nature in Dimpsey. Beetham Farm, where Dimpsey Glamping is located, has always had a magical connection to nature and has been enjoyed by many people over the generations such as Arthur C Clarke. Until the age of 8, Arthur lived here at Beetham Farm and was able to enjoy the night sky every night. He then became the co-writer for ‘A Space in Odyssey’, which we like to believe was inspired by watching the stars in the same place that Dimpsey Glamping guests stay today.

With the addition of Hikki Hot Tubs, we want you to be able to feel like you can simply sit back, relax and watch those stars, as Clarke once did, to make you feel at home and peaceful. We love being here and we hope you do too!

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I am currently sitting in my kitchen with a cup of tea working away on my iPad and feeling very content. Why? As I sit here and look around, I feel the warmth from memories and history that this farm house is full of. Especially here in the kitchen where we cook and eat together as a family. But it’s not just that, its more. It’s about appreciating the land around me.

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Dimpsey Glamping is based in Chard, Somerset. We are a small working farm with nature in abundance. We have everything we need to make your break away perfect because the land we live on is so beautiful. To wake up hearing the bird song and to go cuddle up at night with the one you love with the sound of a crackling camp fire are both wondrous things, and these natural things add to your experience here with us. Today I am feeling very proud of what we have achieved and also very proud of where we are in the world.

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Before we bought this farm a few years ago, I sent the ‘farm for sale’ brochure to my friend Sally to show her. I was so excited that we had found this farm and her reply was “it looks so…. magical”.  And she was right, the farm makes everyone feel content and relaxed. It really is a great place to be.

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Somerset is a beautiful county with so much to do from nature reserves and walks across the Mendip Hills to the medieval history of Glastonbury. From the quite village of Chard to the busier town of Minehead. From bustling shopping centres, to the small tea rooms and from woodlands to beaches, Somerset really does have it all. And we are here. Dimpsey Glamping is right here in the middle of it all. Surrounded by all these amazing and beautiful places, including our own little farm.

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So as you can see, I am sitting here with a huge smile on my face. We are Dimpsey Glamping and we love being here 🙂

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Seeing as we have our own Shepherd Hut here at Dimpsey, we thought it would be an idea to look at the very beginning and the origin of the word Shepherd. Shepherd – a person who tends to, looks after and guards sheep (the dictionary definition) – originates here in England and is the combination of the words sheep and herd.

From Old English to English in the present day, the word has seen a few alterations both in the spelling and in the pronunciation. The main alteration pattern is through the different eras: scēphyrde, shepherde to shepherd; however, this is not the only way that the word has evolved over time. Depending on where you come from, and the dialect you use, shepherd has also been spelt shepard, sheperd, sheppard and sheppherd.

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Although the use of the word has decreased over the years when it comes to talking about the profession, we as a nation see this word popping up constantly as it has been used as a surname, as a name of a certain homely food – Shepherd’s Pie – and of course, you also have your Shepherd’s Huts and that is where Dimpsey comes in 🙂

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Here at Dimpsey we’re always looking at ways that we can make your experience even cosier, more relaxing and as chilled out as possible.

Recently we’ve been slightly obsessed with the art of Danish ‘hygge’, which is hard to explain and even harder to pronounce. But we’ll attempt to do both! The Danish word ‘hygge’ (pronounced ‘hooga’) translates roughly to ‘cosiness’. But there’s much more to the unique Danish concept of hygge than just a few rugs and a fire…..

Here’s how we discovered hygge!

Emma came across hygge on her recent family holiday and explains how it all fell into place for her…”We’ve holidayed in the same place in Cornwall for 18 years now – it’s our wind-down and get-away-from-it-all time.  We’re in a house next to a beach on the North Cornish coast, with our best friends and their family, so generally there are around 16 of us there including a grandparent from each family.  It might seem like a boringly samey holiday to some people, but we just love hanging out together, bringing and making great food – our own produced meat and various gin infusions abound, as well as a mound of artisan cheeses from http://www.countrycheeses.co.uk/ in Tavistock.  We hang out on the beach, dig major engineering works, go for walks on the Southwest coast path and chat over long lunches and suppers.

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“While we were there, I read an article in the Saturday Telegraph and I could finally put a name to the feeling we get whenever we stay in the Dimpsey Hut – that warmth and cosy companionship of just being – with no distractions and no urgent matters needing attention.  I leant back in my chair and passed it to our friend’s Mum to read – she’s Danish – and as I passed it to her, I said what a great word it was and how much I liked the images that it conjured up.  She looked at me with her wise eyes, and said  ‘What you do here every year is hygge, you make time for each other, you have no other agenda – the nearest English word is cosy, but it doesn’t really do it justice – you do this already and do it very well, that’s why I come with you.’ “

For Claire, who’s a new member of the Dimpsey family, it was a literal literary moment! She had been reading (obsessing over!) Helen Russell’s most excellent book The Year of Living Danishly, and could totally relate to Helen’s new experience of the hygge during her new life in Jutland, Denmark. In fact, Claire thought her Danish roots had been encouraging her to hunker down and hygge in the UK (albeit with a large glass of red and Helen’s book!). Claire says: “Helen‘s writing uncovers the Secrets of the World’s Happiest Country and she dedicates a whole chapter to hygge. It’s inspiring and laugh out loud funny. It makes you want to do anything you can do embrace the hygge experience.”

In an amazing coincidence, it was Helen Russell who wrote the article Emma had read, so we now feel Helen is an honorary member  of the Dimpsey family because her writing about hygge brought it all together for us. When you come to stay at Dimpsey you’ll be able to grab a copy of The Year of Living Danishly in the hut – we got one to share with you so you can read about hygge whilst doing the actual thing!

With our new obsession firmly in place, we looked deeper into the idea behind hygge, we just knew it was something that fitted perfectly with the Dimpsey values and experience.

Visit Denmark says that: Hygge is as Danish as pork roast and it goes far in illuminating the Danish soul. In essence, hygge means creating a warm atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life with good people. The warm glow of candlelight is hygge. Friends and family – that’s hygge too. There’s nothing more hygge than sitting round a table, discussing the big and small things in life. Perhaps hygge explains why the Danes are the happiest people in the world?’

So, we want you to get happy, to find your inner hygge and use the Dimpsey hut to be all hygge about life. With our cosy, intimate and warm hut we’re sure you’ll create that atmosphere, no problem at all.

The truly marvellous thing about hygge is that it’s not just for winter! You can still hygge at the Dimpsey Hut in spring and summer and autumn! The Danes use picnics, barbeques and chilling with friends as an excuse to embrace hygge, and we’ve got all this on hand at the hut, so you’ll never miss an opportunity to hygge!

If you fancy getting hygge, you know where to come. And of course, we’re always so happy to hear your feedback about your stay at the Dimpsey Hut – the hygge the better!

Happy hygge!

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