Welcome to the website for Ashwick Parish
This website contains a wide variety of information on the Parish. Some is to do with formal matters, such as the activities of the Parish Council, and some is more informal, embracing topics such as amenities, clubs and societies and community events. It includes activities for both residents and visitors to enjoy.
Introduction to the Parish:
Ashwick lies at the eastern end of the Mendip Hills. It is set in rolling countryside, in the area between Shepton Mallet, Wells and Frome, with Bath being about 15 miles to the north-east. For those who do not know the area Oakhill will probably be a better known name (and easier to find on the map!): Oakhill village is within the Parish of Ashwick. There are also a number of other small settlements in the Parish, including the hamlet of Neighbourne, a cluster of dwellings near Ashwick Church, plus parts of Nettlebridge, Benter and Gurney Slade.
The area is rich in history: Ashwick is an ancient settlement going back to the 9th Century AD, but with much older connections – the earliest traces of human occupation are Neolithic tumuli dating back to more than 4,000 years BC and there are two Roman roads crossing the area. In early modern times the people of Ashwick were very active in the wool trade, with many Parishioners employed in stocking-making in particular. Then in 1767, thanks to the excellent quality of the Mendip spring water, the Oakhill Brewery was started. The Brewery soon became the major employer for the area and responsible for the growth of Oakhill from a small hamlet to the village it is today. This was the only Brewery in the country to have its own light railway, and the famous Oakhill Invalid Stout once sold in larger quantities than did Guinness! Sadly, a disastrous fire in 1925 led to the Brewery’s demise.
The Parish remains a largely rural area with picturesque rolling countryside scattered with outlying farms. Some farms concentrate on dairy farming, others on beef cattle, with sheep becoming more popular again. Agriculture is now the main economic activity locally. Apart from farming, many residents commute to surrounding towns, including Bath and Bristol, a few even as far as London, while others have small businesses or work from home. Ashwick attracts tourists from far and wide, providing comfortable places to stay with good walking, interesting history and ease of access further afield.
Ashwick Parish may be rural, but it is a very lively community with plenty going on for all ages and tastes, as we hope this website will demonstrate.