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Yeovil is a vibrant market town situated at the southern boundary of Somerset, bordering Dorset, and 130 miles from London. In the early 20th century, Yeovil had around 11,000 inhabitants and was dominated by the defence industry, making it a target of German raids during World War II. The worst of the bombing was in 1940, continuing until 1942. During that time, 107 high-explosive bombs fell on the town, killing 49 people and destroying hundreds of homes.
An iconic symbol of the town is Jack the Treacle Eater, a folly consisting of a small archway, topped by a turret, with a statue on top, as well as Hendford Manor in the town centre, which was built around 1720. It has since been converted into offices. Yeovil also has two theatres, the Octagon and the Swan, now a 10-screen cinema and 18-lane tenpin bowling alley, as well as the Yeovil Railway Centre, a small museum which celebrates the town’s railway history. If, however, you’d prefer to get out in the open, head to Yeovil Country Park. It is one of several outdoor spaces with educational, cultural and sporting facilities, and it’s well-worth a look around.
As a former centre of Britain’s leather industry, Yeovil is post-industrial in character. Its major employers continue to be centred on the aircraft and defence industries, despite attempts to diversify and the creation of numerous industrial estates. The aviation group, AgustaWestland, manufactures helicopters in Yeovil, and Normalair Garratt (Honeywell), builder of aircraft oxygen systems, is also based here. What’s more, BAE Systems produces high-integrity networked software, mainly for the armed forces, in the town. For those interested in retail work, Quedam Shopping Centre is home to some 45 shops, both high-street chains and independent stores and boutiques.
The town is on the A30 and A37, and has two railway stations serving separate lines. Yeovil Pen Mill is on the Bristol to Weymouth line, served by Great Western Railway, while Yeovil Junction is on the London Waterloo to Exeter line, served by South Western Railway. Bus services linking to Yeovil Junction are run by South West Coaches, except on Sundays and Bank Holidays, when a service is operated by First West of England.
Further education is mainly offered by Yeovil College, with land-based studies available through a Yeovil centre of Bridgwater College and some provision through private providers. The town also has a higher education university centre, University Centre Yeovil. The degree-awarding body fro this is mainly Bournemouth University, with University of the West of England offering some additional courses. Furthermore, secondary education in Yeovil is provided by four schools, Westfield Academy, Preston School, Bucklers Mead Academy and The Park School, a coeducational independent school for day students and boarders. Past pupils of Yeovil’s school include actress Sarah Parish (who attended Preston School), and cricketer Sir Ian Botham (who attended Bucklers Mead Academy).
So, what are property prices like for this attractive Somerset town? The overall average house price for Yeovil is around £206,487, with terraced properties selling for an average price of £170,700, semi-detached properties selling for an average of £207,828, and detached properties fetching £313,408. Whatever your budget, you’ll be able to find a property to suit your requirements.
Here’s one for the pub quizzers… Did you know that Yeovil is the home of Martin Clunes’ character, Gary Strang, in the TV comedy, Men Behaving Badly?