Tuesday, April 20, 2010
The ancient market town of South Molton is a centre for the local agricultural community. For the visitor, it’s the gateway to some of the most beautiful countryside in Britain.
It is noted for its elegant Georgian buildings and antiques shops which offer every kind of memorabilia from bric-a-brac to period architectural items including bathrooms! It is a good centre for day-to-day shopping too, with small, friendly family stores, a sprinkling of national names and a pannier market which, on Thursdays and (in summer) Saturdays, sells fine local produce.
There are lots of places to eat and drink, from quaint tea-rooms and restaurants to the traditional English pub. Guided tours take you around the splendid town hall built in the 1740s. The 15th century parish church with its 500-year-old font should definitely be on all visitors itineraries.
Not far from South Molton is the Cobbaton Combat Collection which ranges from tin hats to tanks, song sheets to a Morrison Air Raid Shelter. This year they celebrate their 25th anniversary. Two large hangars house the military displays, with tanks and vehicles arranged into as used tableaux. The glider fuselage now depicting a D-DAY landing was built for the film A Bridge Too Far. A recent addition is an Argentinian Mercedes G Wagon, ex Falklands War. The new Home Front building has wartime British civilian life displays, from a Red Cross First Aid Post, to a farmyard scene complete with two Land Girls. The Quartermasters Stores stocks a range of militaria, collectibles and souvenirs, with light refreshments from the NAAFI Wagon.
South Moltons small museum holds a wealth of fascinating bygones, including a fire engine from 1739. You can also see a copy of the boroughs charter, granted by Elizabeth I in 1590. You can leap literally into the 21st century at the towns fine swimming pool and visit Quince Honey Farm to watch a world of bees at work.
Today, South Molton is a place to stroll around in a pleasant environment and enjoy a town of which you can say, like its surroundings, THIS is England.