Events Diary

As part of an exciting programme of activities connected to our Heritage Lottery Fund project “Future Halsway”, there will be a number of events open to the public, free of charge. These will include heritage open days, a folklore walk for families, a seasonal folklore supper, a folk arts taster day and many more. These will be updated as dates are confirmed.


Midwinter Fires – A Seasonal Feast and Celebration

Sunday 13th January 2019 (6 – 9 pm). Families welcome.

Join us for a seasonal celebration – a feast during this special time of fire, food, rituals and renewal; to share food, stories, customs, songs and more. This event will be a lovely chance to discover fascinating facts and stories linked to this time of year in the informal setting of a delicious supper. Your host Tim Hill is fascinated by the stories and rituals we use to connect us to where we live, with the seasons, the land and our communities. He loves hearing people’s tales, history and ideas.  Whilst tucking into a spread of seasonal food, there will be open fires, a talk about seasonal celebrations, a space to share stories and songs and a procession; we will be looking back into the past, celebrating now and looking to the future. A great prelude to January’s Wassail Celebrations (17 January), maybe even incorporating our own Wassail tree! All ages are welcome, including children. Part of the evening will be spent outside (weather permitting), so please bring warm clothing! Places are free, though donations towards the food would be hugely appreciated, however places are limited so must be booked. If you are interested in attending or to book a place please email

Tim Hill is a musician and researcher based in Somerset. Much of his work is outdoors, creating music for shows, celebrations and festivals. He also researches outdoor music and processions and how we use sound in ritual and celebration. He plays in the Mellstock band, recreating the music of nineteenth century England.

Halsway Open House and Exhibition Week

January 21st-25th 2019

This New Year Halsway Manor is throwing open its doors to the public. From Monday 21st to Friday 25th January, come visit us for a rare chance to explore this beautiful Grade 2* listed building, as well as viewing two exciting temporary art exhibitions.

We want to celebrate both memories of Halsway and key people in Halsway’s history whose creative legacy is in our care: painter Frances Gair Wilkinson and folklorist Ruth Tongue.

Frances Gair Wilkinson owned Halsway Manor, where she used to run art classes, before selling up in 1965. Halsway is the caretaker of a wonderful collection of her and her parents Arthur and Lily’s oil and watercolour paintings, including scenes from Somerset and further afield in Italy and Bavaria. A must for all fans of landscape painting these recently restored works are on display to the public for the first time.

Ruth Tongue was a local folklorist, dramatist and storyteller. She is well remembered in old age, but Halsway has permission to exhibit images taken from a beautiful handwritten and painted book of folktales from her earlier years, giving a rare insight into the creative mind of Ruth as a young woman. Alongside this, visitors will get a chance to see elements of contemporary artist Andrea Oke’s Shadowlands project that was inspired by Ruth and exhibited as part of Somerset Open Studios 2018.

As well as the two exhibitions there will also be a display celebrating the personal memories of Halsway.

The manor will be open from 10-5 Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, with a special evening opening on the Thursday until 7pm. Tea and coffee will be available. As well as being able to drop in at any time during this period, we are also welcoming scheduled visits, for which we can offer a creative guide, for local interest groups and school parties. If you are interested in a scheduled guided visit please email

We are also planning a private view on Monday 21st January – time TBC so watch this space!

Whether you are an art fan, a heritage enthusiast or just curious to see what Halsway has to offer, we look forward to welcoming you.

Past Events:

Travelling Library Tour Dates

See individual libraries for opening times at

Wed 1 Aug – Nether Stowey Library
Mon 13 Aug – Watchet Library
Wed 22 Aug – Taunton Library
Fri 31 Aug – Williton Library
Mon 1 Oct – Minehead Library
Tue 16 Oct – Porlock Library
Thu 1 Nov – Dulverton Library
Fri 2 Nov – Dulverton Library

Heritage Open Days

Fri 7 & Fri 14 Sep, 10.30am – 3pm

As part of Heritage Open Days 2018 Halsway Manor will be open to the public for a limited time. Come and explore the manor and its grounds, read about its history and discover its secrets. Visitors do not need to book. Whilst no refreshments will be available, you are welcome to bring a picnic to eat in the grounds. Families and children welcome.

Halsway Summer Fete – family folk arts taster day

Sat 18 Aug, 12 – 4.30pm

Come and join us for even more family folk arts fun at this year’s summer fete. There will be a chance to try out a variety of things from Maypole and Morris, to blacksmithing and woodworking, to melodeon playing and more. Add in stalls, tea and cake and this is a brilliant day out for all the family.

Family Folklore Walk

Tue 28 Aug, 10.30am – 2.30pm

Come and join us for a family adventure full of storytelling, exploration and creativity for all ages. Come hunt for the Gurt Worm, the Quantocks own Dragon of the hills, to meet the fairy Lords and Ladies of Dowsborough hill fort, the Black Dog of Bicknoller, the witch from Crowcombe…. The Quantock hills are full of tales about magical and wonderful characters and we want you to discover them!

This event will combine the wonderful storytelling of Clare Viner, with chances to explore your own creativity and learn about the landscape from Quantock Hills AONB rangers, all whilst having a leisurely walk through beautiful countryside.

Clare Viner has been researching and telling these stories for many years. She brings a drum, laughter and magic, inviting you to dream into the landscape and find your own playfulness there.

Meet 10.30am Dead Women’s Ditch (not as sinister as it sounds!) – follow the road up on to the hills from either Nether Stowey or Crowcombe. It is clearly marked as a stopping place and has parking. Bring a picnic lunch!

This event is free, but as numbers are limited, please email your request to book a place to