Looking down Woodborough Road towards the village centre
Winscombe shown within Somerset
|OS grid reference|
|Unitary authority||North Somerset|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Dialling code||01934 (84)xxxx and (85)xxxx|
|Police||Avon and Somerset|
|EU Parliament||South West England|
|UK Parliament||Weston Super Mare|
Winscombe is a village in North Somerset, England, close to the settlements of Axbridge and Cheddar, on the western edge of the Mendip Hills, 7 miles (11 km) south-east of Weston-super-Mare and 14 miles (23 km) south-west of Bristol. The Parish of Winscombe and Sandford, centred on the Parish Church of Church of St James the Great, includes the villages/hamlets of Barton, Hale, Oakridge, Nye, Sidcot and Woodborough.
Historically part of Somerset, Winscombe has a few shops and businesses focused in the centre of the village, along Woodborough Road and Sandford Road. There is a doctor's surgery in the village, and two dentists.
It has been suggested that the name means a valley belonging to a Saxon named Wine.
Winscombe was the subject of an historical and archaeological study led by Professor Mick Aston, published in the Proceedings of the Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society.
From 1894 to 1974 Winscombe was part of the Axbridge Rural District. When this was abolished under the Local Government Act 1972 it became part of the Woodspring district in the new county of Avon. In 1996 this became the North Somerset unitary authority, which remains part of the ceremonial county of Somerset.
Slader's Leigh is a local nature reserve. It is a wildflower meadow with plants including devil’s-bit scabious, cowslip, betony, common spotted orchid and tormentil which provide a habitat for a range of butterflies.
Winscombe grew in the 19th century with the arrival of a branch of the Great Western Railway, opened in 1869. This was the Cheddar Valley line, also known as the Strawberry Line, which ran from Yatton to Wells via Cheddar. The railway was closed in 1963, and today the route is a public footpath and cycle track; the site of the former Winscombe railway station is now the Millennium Green. It is possible to walk, or cycle, from the railway station to the coast at Clevedon via Sandford, Congresbury and Yatton, and in the opposite direction through the railway tunnel at Shute Shelve Hill to Axbridge and Cheddar.
The railway station was originally named Woodborough, that being the part of the parish of Winscombe where it was; Winscombe was originally the settlement up by the church. The railway station was soon renamed Winscombe to avoid confusion with another railway station in Wiltshire named Woodborough. The railway station was closed in 1963 as part of the Beeching cuts to rail services. Part of the original track can still be seen from a platform by the Millennium Green.
There are two schools in the village, as well as community and sports facilities. State secondary education is provided at nearby Churchill Community School. Sidcot is a nearby fee-paying independent school run by the Society of Friends.
Things to do in Winscombe
Much of the village was built on land originally belonging to the Quakers, and so there is only one pub in the centre of the village, called the Woodborough Inn.
The Wine Shop of Winscombe, located next to the library offers regular monthly wine tasting events, in addition to hosting the annual Somerset Wine Fair.
Sports in the village
There is a very well established recreational ground located a short distance away from the centre of Winscombe which accommodates a variety of different sports, including cricket, tennis, hockey, bowls, football (Winscombe AFC) and a rugby union team (Winscombe RFC).
The rugby club hosts three annual tournaments for mini and junior players: a mini rugby tournament for local schools; a regional championship for under 8s; and the Mendip Sevens rugby sevens tournament for ages under 13s–under 16s.
The Church of St James has origins from the 12th century. The church is in the middle of the original hamlet of Winscombe. The church has 13th century origins but the present building dates from the 15th century, with restoration and a new chancel in 1863. It is designated as a Grade I listed building. The bells of St James have long called people to worship, the original bells being cast in 1773 by local founders, the Bilbie family. Two newer bells were added in 1903 by Taylors Founders. The eight bells are in the key of E flat and the tenor weighs 18-1-8 – 18 hundredweight, 1 quarter of a hundredweight and 8 lb (930 kg). St James holds regular services on Sundays, with bell ringing being provided for both the morning service and evensong.
The former railway station site now hosts an annual May fair, on the Saturday closest to May Day, and has a variety of activities, entertainments and stalls selling various products and promoting many local charities and organisations.
In September, the village hosts the annual Michaelmas fair in the community centre, a chance for villagers to show their handiwork, handicraft and produce.
- Tucker, Margaret, The Book of Winscombe, Halsgrove Press, ISBN 1-84114-344-8
- "Autumn newsletter 2007" (PDF). Mendip Hills AONB. Retrieved 25 September 2007.
- "Somerset Hundreds". GENUKI. Retrieved 9 September 2011.
- "Proceedings". Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society. See volumes 151 to 155.
- "Slader’s Leigh Local Nature Reserve, Near Winscombe". Avon Local Nature Reserves. Retrieved 25 August 2015.
- "Welcome". Winscombe Club. Retrieved 9 August 2014.
- "Church of St James". Images of England. English Heritage. Retrieved 16 December 2008.
- Moore, J. Rice, R. and Hucker, E. (1995). Bilbie and the Chew Valley clockmakers: the story of the renowned family of Somerset bellfounder-clockmakers. The authors. ISBN 0-9526702-0-8.
- "Dove's guide for Ringers". Dove's Guide/CCCBR. Retrieved 7 March 2007.
- "Moose International". Moose International. Retrieved 16 December 2008.
Media related to Winscombe at Wikimedia Commons