Enjoy a lighthearted week of walking and dancing! Country dance workshops will take place each morning with caller Lisa Heywood and musicians Rod and Frances Stradling (Rod will also be your host for the week) and Poppy Weatherall. You’ll have a chance to brush-up your dancing skills and maybe learn a new dance or two, before heading off into the hills – quite literally – to enjoy the spectacular landscapes of this distinctive and nationally important protected area. Guided walks will be led by our knowledgeable and enthusiastic local guides Nan Ward and Roger Phipps, giving you a chance to learn more about the history and wildlife of the hills, or simply to enjoy an amble with in beautiful countryside in amiable company! Then it’s back to the Manor, for dinner, and dances every evening. Feel free to bring along instruments for the odd informal session in the bar!
“The ambience, company, scenery and walks, natural history… what more can you want?” Participant
Who’s it For?
This course aims to be suitable for all.
The morning dance workshops will be friendly and encouraging, enabling novice dancers to gain confidence and more expert dancers to refine their skills and try new dances.
The will be a choice of two walks each afternoon, tailored to meet the requirements and abilities of the group. One will be a shorter ‘stroll’ option, and the other a longer and more challenging route; the opportunities for walking on the Quantocks are endless. A reasonable fitness level is required – even short walks may include steep climbs – and appropriate clothing and footwear suitable for a variety of weather conditions is essential. Car sharing will be necessary for some of the walks.
“A lovely place to be and a wonderful holiday – thank you.” Participant
Rod & Frances Stradling are experienced in playing for many kinds of traditional dancing, and regular favourites at Halsway Manor! They play in the band Stradivarious together with Poppy Weatherall, who will be bringing her own wonderful fiddle playing to the weekend.
Lisa Heywood is a dynamic young folk dance caller based in Bristol. Her calling career started at the Sheffield University Ceilidh Society and has expanded to include styles such as English Playford, American Squares and Contras, European folk dances, and dances of her own devising. Last year she enjoyed presenting a varied programme of dances for the Walking and Dancing week, with something for everyone whatever their level of dance experience. Her workshops covered dances from a range of traditions and sources, as well as some techniques and flourishes.
Nan Ward and Roger Phipps are regular walk leader for Halsway Manor. They are keen walkers and have lived for many years in a small hamlet on the Quantocks; they invite you to join them and share their love of the Quantocks.
The Quantock Hills were the UK’s first AONB, receiving its protected status in 1956; its distinctive character, natural beauty and cultural heritage are so outstanding that it is in the nation’s interest to safeguard them. Explore and you will find rocky Jurassic coastline, exposed heathland summits, deep wooded combes, undulating farmland and attractive villages. A haven for wildlife, the Quantocks offer many rare habitats for flora and fauna, and are home to an important population of red deer. Evidence abounds of early settlements; Bronze Age barrows, ancient stones and ridgeways, Iron age hill forts and earthworks. Inspired by this wild hilly ridge, the young rebel poets Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William Wordsworth roamed, writing as they walked, forming the Lyrical Ballads and their notion of English Romanticism.