Visitor Centre Opening Hours:
Monday - Saturday 9.30am - 5.00pm. Closed Sundays.
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.
You will find a wonderful selection of basketware to buy, handcrafted from Coate's own willow, by their team of skilled basketmakers.
Enjoy free entry into the:
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 - browse our Gallery for examples.
A Walks Leaflet is available in the shop. There is a gentle walk through our withy beds, or a longer circular walk along the River Tone and up to the viewpoint on the top of Windmill Hill. Here you can sit and take a rest and enjoy the view across Hay Moor and Curry Moor to the far distance.
If the weather is warm you may see a variety of insect life on the moors. Damsel flies and the much larger dragon flies abound, as do many varieties of butterflies. Marbled white, small copper, common blue, and orange-tip are some of the many species of butterflies found here. Even the silver-washed fritillary has been seen, and the stunning hawk moth is not uncommon.
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.
• Video Room, This 40 minute video tells our full story, explaining the way we are keeping the best of this most traditional of industries, whilst also looking towards the future. To view our Visitor Centre video click here.
• Basket Museum with its large display of both familiar and unusual willow artefacts.
• Levels and Moors Exhibition highlighting some of the other activities that have taken place on this part of the Somerset Levels such as teasel growing and "clatting". There is a large 3D map of Stoke St Gregory and the surrounding area as well as historical information. This exhibition was opened by David Bellamy in 1987.
• 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.
We also offer guided tours, these are conducted by our experienced staff and show all aspects of willow growing and processing and basket-making. Guided tours take place twice a day at 11am and 2.30pm Monday - Friday and take approximately 1 hour. There is no need to book in advance for these tours, just call into the shop and purchase a ticket. There are no guided tours on bank holidays.
Price -Adults & Children over 5 years old- £3 per person.
-Under 5's are welcomed free of charge.
Group bookings and educational visits are very welcome, but by appointment only. Please contact Ellie Tee to discuss what your group requires and to arrange a booking.
Tel: 01823 490249