Willows and Wetlands
Visitor Centre Opening Hours: Monday - Saturday 9.30am - 5.00pm. Tearoom opening times: Monday - Saturday 10.30 am to 4.30 pm. Guided Tours: Monday - Friday 11.00am & 2.30pm (Not Bank holidays).
Tel. 01823 490249
Postcode TA3 6HY
Come and see the willow industry from the Withy Bed to the Basket at the Willows & Wetlands Visitor Centre. The Centre is owned and run by the Coate family, who have been growing willow on the Somerset Levels since 1819.
Visitors will find a warm welcome and are invited to learn about the history and art of willow growing and basketmaking. The Centre was opened by David Bellamy in 1987 and has proved a huge tourism success for Somerset.
You will find a wonderful selection of basketware to buy, handcrafted from Coate's own willow, by their team of skilled basketmakers. Why not call in to the tea rooms to enjoy tea and a homemade cake after your stroll around the centre!
Enjoy free entry into the:
• Video Room, where our short video depicts the way we are keeping the best of this most traditional of industries, whilst also looking towards the future.
• Basket Museum with its large display of both familiar and unusual willow artefacts.
• Levels and Moors Exhibition - highlighting the history of both the beautiful countryside and this most traditional of English industries.
• Environmental Interpretation. This display tells the story of the way water has shaped the Somerset Levels and continues to play a major part in life here today.
The Shop & Furniture Gallery stock an enormous range of baskets, from the unusual and decorative to the practical. Furniture and garden items, as well as smaller willow to suit most pockets, are also displayed. If you cannot find the basket you want, a custom made service is available.
Willow is also sold, both for basket-making or as a living willow (in season), or green willow for garden structures. DIY kits for borders and climbers are also obtainable for those gardeners who enjoy a "hands-on" approach.
The Courtyard Tea Room is a delightful stop for coffee and home-made cakes, or a light lunch. Whether you prefer the cool, flagged floor of the traditional tea room, or the landscaped courtyard with its rushing water feature, the surroundings are a pleasant place to relax, especially if you have just returned from one of our walks.
P H Coate & Son, Meare Green Court, Stoke St Gregory, Taunton. TA3 6HY