Thanks you to Robbie for his summary of Kilve village, and his kind words about Kilve Court.
A Jewel in the Crown
Nestling on the North Somerset coast in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (the first such area to be declared anywhere in England) many might guess that the village of Kilve, with just 400 inhabitants, was one of those villages which could be found on an ever growing list where village life was in decline. How wrong they would be!
Sitting right in the centre of the village, nestled in its own 40 acres grounds and gardens stands Kilve Court, a beautiful Georgian country house acquired by the Somerset County Council in 1962 as a youth centre and since developed over the years as a residential education centre. Today it attracts thousands of young people every year and you would be forgiven to wonder how such an establishment manages to have such a wonderful relationship within such a small village. The joy of hearing happy young voices as they work their way through the maze (planted to celebrate the millennium and with many of the yew tree plants being donated by the villagers themselves) on a summers evening, or a near daily ritual of young happy faces trudging down Sea Lane to capture the delights and hidden treasures of Kilve’s shoreline (and even happier faces as they return back to Kilve Court having had an exhilarating day out!). Joyous sounds which have become part of daily village life and which the residents relish with a joy of their own.
The village boasts a thriving shop and Post Office. The pub -The Hood Arms – can be traced back to 1726. The Grade 11* listed church possibly dates back to the 10th or 11th century and the parish church of St. Mary the Virgin dates at least to 1265 when a rector was named for the church.
The nearby ruins of the Chantry are a scheduled monument. Its foundation dates back to 1329 when five priests were to say divine service for the then lord of the manor. Amble a hundred yards further on and one reaches Kilve Beach, now designated as a site of special scientific interest. Altogether great ingredients for a popular village. However, add to the mixture the residents of Kilve and one can understand why then village continues to thrive. Everybody has a heart-felt sense of belonging to a community and one only has to pick up a copy of the monthly village news to realise that activities of every perceivable kind are enjoyed.
Where there are children, there have to be adults too and the relationship between ‘those in charge’ and the need to have a close liaison with what goes on in the village could not be more amicable. ‘The Court’ opens its doors to the whole village on so many occasions, not least over the Easter period when the village stages its superb Antiques Fair. One must not forget either the employment opportunities that exist at Kilve Court, many local people taking advantage of good and rewarding employment right on their doorstep.
Some 56 years of such a happy co-existence within such a small village, and one which we all fervently hope will continue for many years to come.