Jessica Chaffey, Editor Somerset Living


CEO and founder of Somerset Day on why he has such a love for the county

Nigel Muers-Raby is the founder of Somerset Day, which takes place on May 11. The day marks Alfred the Great’s call to arms and the gathering of ‘all the people of Somerset’ to march against the invading Viking army. It is now an annual opportunity to celebrate all that is great about Somerset and its residents and communities.
What do you love most about Somerset ?
Its sheer diversity – wonderful countryside and coast, friendly people and incredible entrepreneurial businesses.
Describe Somerset in three words.
Welcoming, relaxing, invigorating.
How would you describe the people in Somerset ?
Friendly, welcoming and unhurried.
Do you have a favourite Somerset restaurant ?
Woods, in Dulverton, for its great atmosphere, fantastic food and award- winning wine offering.
Do you have a favourite Somerset landmark ?
Exmoor. It has a wildness and beauty hard to nd in England nowadays. Its scale and remoteness from any large towns means it is still something of a wilderness where you can enjoy peace and solitude. It provided inspiration for some of our greatest artists and poets in the 19th and early 20th centuries and it remains a place of intense beauty, little changed over the centuries.
Where was the last place you went to in Somerset and why?
The Newt in Somerset – an incredible project creating wonderful gardens.
It’s on a scale that’s hard to imagine and is clearly one man’s vision and legacy. It reminds me of the landscaping projects undertaken by the great English aristocratic families, such as the Dukes of Devonshire at Chatsworth. It’s an ever-evolving project and you see a new perspective in each visit.
Describe your perfect weekend in Somerset.
Taking in the glories of Exmoor and enjoying the food and company at Woods.
What has been your greatest achievement ?
Establishing Somerset Day
What advice would you give to your younger self  ?
If you see an opportunity, seize it with both hands – you will always regret not doing so!
Why do you think Somerset day is so important ?
Somerset is often the county people pass through on their way to the West Country, but it has more to offer than any other county in the West Country. It is home to breathtaking scenery, and a long list of ‘ the best’, including, cider, cheese, the largest music festival in Europe, the longest Heritage railway in the UK, one of the largest illuminated carnivals in the world, the oldest residential street with original buildings surviving intact in Europe (Vicars Close, Wells) and much, much more.Somerset is the breadbasket of England, with 8,500 farm food and drink producers, more than in other county. It is the oldest county in England and predates any state in Europe. We have so much to be proud of and Somerset Day is an opportunity for communities, organisations, businesses and individuals to come together and celebrate Somerset as a place to live, work, play and learn.

 With thanks to Jessica Chaffey, NewsQuest South West – Published in Somerset Living October 2019

What another amazing Somerset Day we all enjoyed…

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