A commemorative brick dedicated to Leonard Woolf has been laid within the flight of steps at the picnic spot on Colliers Way* – September 2016
From the flight of steps looking south across the valley, stands the church and former Rectory where Leonard Woolf stayed.
12th Century Grade I Listed Church of St Mary Magdalene, Great Elm, Near Frome
Leonard Woolf’s friend, Leopold Campbell Douglas, was Rector from 1908-1913
Glebe House (formerly The Rectory) where Leonard Woolf stayed
View from Colliers Way to the village of Great Elm
Extract from: Beginning Again – Autobiography of the Years 1911-1918
“Two days later I went and stayed for four days with Leopold in [Great Elm, near] Frome. In 1911 Somerset was still rural and Frome a typical market town with fewer than 10,000 inhabitants.
Life in Somerset moved exceedingly slow and the well-oiled wheels of Leopold’s life moved in the rhythm of the life around him. It was fascinating to watch him now shepherding his sheep in the somnolent, typically agricultural, profoundly English parish… I went to church with Leopold; I went with him to visit some of his parishioners
We sat through the long sunny summer afternoons in the garden heavy with leaves and flowers; we ate heavy meals of juicy joints, Somerset cream and butter, home-made bread, peas and beans and raspberries.
We drove slowly to Bath which with its peeling buildings still slept peacefully in the 18th century. Except that the car was ousting the parson’s gig and the railway had ousted the stage coach, the life into which I dipped for four days in the Frome [Great Elm] rectory in 1911 was centuries old.”
LEONARD WOOLF and Frome’s Missing Link
Plans have been in place for a long time to extend Colliers Way* the long distance cycle route from Bath to Great Elm and on into Frome, thus completing the “Missing Link”.
To support the fund raising efforts of local volunteers, “Pave the Way”, we have bought a brick which will commemorate Leonard Woolf’s several visits to the area. The etched bricks will form part of an ornamental flight of steps in the rest area along the path from Great Elm to Frome.
*The Colliers Way – Route 24 of Sustrans National Cycle Network – is a recreational path extending 23 miles through beautiful rolling green landscape. It starts just outside the Georgian City of Bath and extends from the Limpley Stoke Valley at the north, to the Frome Valley at the south. This picturesque way follows the route of the old Somersetshire Coal Canal which was superseded by a railway and has now been transformed for leisure use.
Tracing the route of old railways and quiet lanes, this relaxing and mainly traffic-free environment is excellent for walking and cycling, with large sections suitable for wheelchair users and some where horse-riding is allowed.