12th April 2021

Celebrate Somerset countryside with artwork

Store Manager, Bill Atkinson at Taunton Leisure with Somerset’s AONB Nature and Wellbeing Officer, Kristen Lambert.

SOMERSET residents and visitors are being invited to enter a creative competition this month (May 2019) demonstrating how they feel when they are outdoors in the county’s green spaces.

Somerset’s three Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) are searching for artwork entries including paintings, drawings, photography, poetry or creative writing pieces that show the emotions evoked by these landscapes.

Taunton Leisure, which is on East Reach in Taunton, is supporting the competition and Store Manager, Bill Atkinson, who is an experienced hiker, explained: “We’re delighted to be helping judge this competition, which is part of Naturally Healthy May 2019, and to be also providing some of the prizes.”

Taunton Leisure, which is a family-run business, has been helping its customers get the right clothing, footwear and outdoor leisure equipment for more than 40 years.

“Our team here are all experienced walkers and hikers and we appreciate how important the county’s open access spaces are. We have three wonderful AONBs, the Blackdown Hills, Mendip Hills and Quantock Hills, on our doorsteps and, as research has so often proven, spending time outdoors can greatly benefit all our well-being.”

Some of the competition entries will be displayed at exhibitions across the county and there will be a finale in September at the Museum of Somerset in Taunton.

Prizes have been donated by Taunton Leisure and the winners will be decided with the help of the retailer.

Kristen Lambert, Nature and Wellbeing Officer, who is responsible for increasing awareness of Somerset’s AONBs and what they have to offer, said: “We believe that experiencing and connecting with natural landscapes and environments makes us feel good and can improve health, wellbeing and happiness, but we’d like to find out how connecting with natural environments makes individuals feel here in Somerset though this competition.

“Entries must be submitted by May 24, 2019 digitally by email to me via klambert@somerset.gov.uk or by post to ‘Does Happiness Grow on Trees?’, Quantock Hills AONB, Fyne Court, Broomfield, Somerset TA5 2EQ.”

The competition and the Naturally Healthy May 2019 initiative are part of Somerset’s Nature and Wellbeing Project, which targets communities who are currently not accessing the Hills, but for whom access to the natural environment may be of great benefit to them.

Kristen added: “Funded by Somerset Public Health, the project focuses on targeting communities that lie geographically close to the three AONBs, specifically: Blackdown Hills: Taunton, Chard, Wellington, the Mendip Hills: Wells, Cheddar and Burnham-on-Sea and the Quantock Hills: Taunton, Bridgwater and Williton.

“There are lots of special events taking place as part of our Naturally Healthy May 2019 including guided forages, walks, forest bathing and wild discovery days. To find out about all the events happening across Somerset, please click here https://docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/11909d_1fd636a777444820b015939f8d65d906.pdf.”

Taunton Leisure, which has stores in Bristol and Exeter as well, stocks well-known brands such as Altberg, Rab, The North Face, Vango, Outwell, Osprey, Mountain Equipment and Meindl to name a few.

Customers travel specifically to visit the store as it is well-known and respected for its specialist expertise and skills, including its boot fitting and rucksack fitting services.

From walking boots to climbing shoes or tents to outdoor cookware, Taunton Leisure supplies more than 3,500 products online or in-store and has friendly knowledgeable staff on hand to offer expert advice too.

It also provides niche products and is the only retailer in the UK to sell Snow Peak Titanium Cookware.

For more information, please visit Taunton Leisure on East Reach in Taunton or www.tauntonleisure.com. Alternatively, please call 01823 332987 or connect via https://www.facebook.com/TauntonLeisure/ or https://twitter.com/tauntonleisure.