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Open Spaces

Ilminster Town Council is responsible for the provision and maintenance of Herne Hill, Wharf Lane recreation ground, Britten’s Field, West Crescent recreation ground, Winterhay recreation ground, New Road cemetery, St Mary’s churchyard and the Burma Star Garden.

The Town Council does not allow metal detecting on Town Council owned and managed land (except when used for the purpose of clearing ground after events)

There is a  Recreation Ground Users Group to which anyone who uses the Town’s Open spaces is welcome; if you would like to be a part of it please contact the Town Council office.  The Terms of Reference can be found here, and were agreed by Town Council 20-12-22.

For further and more detailed information about Hedgerows please click here for Hedges and the Law UPDATED April 2015 (2)  this document was compiled by Natural England.

The Town council has undertaken some recent tree planting. Please click here for more information

Please click here for a Guide For Dog Owners And Walkers

A Brief History of Britten’s Field

In a meeting on the 22nd November 1988, the Town Clerk reported that the total amount received from the SSDC for the sale of recreation land at Wharf Lane amounted to £86,901.05.
John Halford, the Town Clerk of Ilminster Town Council at the time, negotiated the purchase of 19.13 acres of land adjacent to Wharf Lane Recreation Ground in May 1989.  HM Land Registry – Title No. ST363038.  This land was purchased from Somerset County Council for the sum of £47,500.   Planning permission was applied for on 20/1/89 for use in terms of recreation, leisure and open spaces.
During a meeting on 21/2/89, Cllr. Hodges suggested naming the field after Mr. Britten who had farmed the land for many years.
At a meeting of the Ilminster Town Council on 4/4/89, it was resolved that the Mayor, Deputy Mayor and Town Clerk be given authority to sign the Contract for the access and purchase of a right of way to the new recreation land.
In October 1989, a letter was received from Mr. Britten’s descendant, expressing their thanks and appreciation on learning that the newly purchased land was to be named ‘Brittens Field’ in memory of their father.


 Herne Hill

Herne Hill was given to the town of Ilminster in 1931 by Major Sir George Davies MP and Walter Trivett.  Now managed by Ilminster Town Council, the Hill covers approximately 25 acres and is maintained as a diverse woodland that can be visited and enjoyed throughout the year.  Following the Nature Trail offers an in-depth view of the variety of plants and animals that Herne Hill is home to.

The Town Council has a small team of people who have expertise in the flora and fauna to be found on Herne Hill and also extensive knowledge of the Hill’s history, this is know as the Herne Hill Advisory Group. There is a management plan for the Hill which includes an overview of how the Town Council will be managing the Hill e.g coppicing and path maintenance, and a reference section giving information about the history or the Hill and the species that can be found. The Advisory Group reports to Open Spaces Committee.

On 21 October 2018 The Town Council declared Herne Hill as a Local Nature Reserve(LNR)
Click here to view the LNR Declaration        Click here to view the LNR Plan 

Click here to download the Herne Hill Green Flag Management Plan July 2023

Click here to View the Woodland Management Plan – adopted 22_03_2016



Volunteers make a valuable contribution to maintaining our Open Spaces, for information about Volunteering with the Town Council please follow the link to our Volunteers page



There are byelaws which govern activities within the towns open spaces for a copy click here to open the byelaws document

Public Footpaths 

Click here to view the public footpaths.

Open Spaces Projects

The Town Council has various ongoing projects involving Open Spaces. This page provides a summary of the projects and will be updated as new information becomes available.

Winterhay Recreation Ground Play Area

The Town Council used money currently held by the District Council (raised from developers) to revamp the Winterhay Lane Play Area. The Youth Council undertook consultation with people who use or live close to the play and recreation area to establish what people wanted to see improved and based upon those findings a plan was compiled Click here to view plan.  The Town Council approved the plan, and quotations for the purchase and installation of the new play equipment were agreed at the Town Council meeting on 17 November 2015.  By the start of the school holidays in July 2016 the new equipment -including a basket swing, wide mound slide and large picnic bench had been installed and were ready for use.  The final piece of the jigsaw was to widen the public access gate to make it easier for people with pushchairs and wheelchair users to get in and out of the park.

Open Spaces Review – Wharf Lane Recreation Ground and Britten’s Field.

The purpose of the Open Spaces Review and the development of a master plan is to ensure that Ilminster’ s open spaces are fit for purpose not just now but for generations to come. As the Town Council owns or leases the land that make up the recreation ground and Britten’s Field it is taking the lead in providing an open space that is accessible to as many residents and visitors as possible with modern facilities and equipment.

The Town Council formed the Open Spaces Review Group which included representatives from football and cricket clubs to review the play and sporting facilities available at the recreation spaces owned and / or maintained by Ilminster Town Council and how they are maintained.  The Open Spaces Review Group did not have any decision making powers but made recommendations to the Council.  As it brief was largely fulfilled the Review Group was disbanded in September 2017 and a Rec Users Group will be developed in due course.

The Town Council has agreed the principles to be included in a master plan for the Recreation Ground and Britten’s Field. The full decisions of Council can be seen on this website under Town Council/Minutes/8th January 2014. A summary of the principles agreed are provided below, as a quick guide.

Click here to see the overall layout plan: Overall Layout plan

1. Existing play areas to be improved and enhanced.
2. Activity hubs and structural planting are part of the Master Plan, this includes provision for the southern slope of Britten’s Field, closest to the incline, to be used for sledging.
3. Access is to be improved by the construction of paths around the boundaries of the Recreation area.
4. Options for parking be explored, but the fall back position is that a limited number of parking spaces on Britten’s Field be made
5. Pitch Layouts as shown on the plan were agreed, subject to any minor adjustments required because of land levels.
6. Buildings be located as shown on the plan.

The following work has been undertaken in relation to the review

  • Workshops held with Cricket and Football Clubs to explore their needs and aspirations
  • Consultation questionnaires delivered to every household in Ilminster – June  2013
  • Consultation at the Play area on the Wharf Lane Recreation Ground June 2013
  • Topographical Survey undertaken
  • Landscape architects engaged to provide suggestions and feasibility information
  • Public consultation about possible layouts and ideas November 2013

Three small working groups were formed  to develop business plans, which include costings and timescales for the various elements of the work i.e. sports facilities, play area, paths and planting.

September 2019 Quotations have been received for module 1 – an activity trail and planting around the skatepark, the timing of the work is dependant upon dealing with the Section 106 funding process. Estimates and installation times have been compiled for the remainder of the masterplan and the Open Spaces Committee have agreed (10 September 2019) that a recommendation be made to the  Town Council to proceed with the project. It is anticipated that the recommendation and  further details will be considered at the Town Council meeting on 26 November 2019.


Cricket Facilities – Planning Permission  for internal improvements to the pavilion was obtained in 2014 (details of the Planning Application can be seen by using the following link http://www.southsomerset.gov.uk/planningdetails/ the Planning Application number is 14/03198/FUL). Since then it has become clear that a larger project, possibly involving rebuilding the Pavilion with a slightly larger footprint,  will be required in order to meet the English Cricket Board (ECB)  requirements. During the summer of 2019 representatives of The Cricket Club have met with South Somerset District Council and the ECB to discuss current standards e.g. for changing rooms, and funding. The Cricket Club are now considering the appointment of an architect to help design the Pavilion.


Football Facilities – Planning Permission to construct a new Football and Community Facility was granted on 18 December 2014. Details of the Planning Application can be seen by using the following link http://www.southsomerset.gov.uk/planningdetails the Planning Application number is 14/04748/FUL. The Town Council owns the new building and will lease it to Ilminster Football Club for a minimum of 25 years (Town Council meeting 22nd July 2014 Minute 219). The Football Club secured the grant funding needed to build the new facility; the  funding that the Town Council needs to provided at that time  was the £5,000 grant (agreed at the meeting held on 19th August 2014 (Minute 239)).

Following a process which included submitting a quotation and an interview, a Contract Administrator was appointed in March 2015, (that person’s job was compile all the documents needed for carrying out a tender procedure so that a builder could be appointed and a build cost agreed).  The Town Council formally agreed to accept the tender of £573,340 at their meeting on 22nd September 2015 and a contract with M W Lazell (Builders) Ltd was formally signed on 1st October 2015.  The contractor moved onto site the following week. The project was substantially completed in late summer 2016.

As part of the Planning Conditions, an Archaeological Report was required, please see the report in full attached below: Archaeological Report 2016


March 2017 Dog Survey

The Town Council conducted a survey about dogs and dog mess. To download the survey form Click here

The consultation closed on 31 March 2017 click here for an overview of the survey responses

The survey responses were discussed by the Open Spaces Committee 23 May 2017 and the following resolutions were made:

(i)            That the existing toddler and children’s play areas should have 1 perimeter fence, in an L shape from the  zip wire, with tie up posts on the outside for dogs

(ii)          That the Town Council should provide 3 additional dog bins to be located as follows: on the Canal side of Britten’s Field Canal, in the Recreation Ground on the side closest to The Mead, and on the Ridge Path towards Herne Hill.

(iii)         To request South Somerset District Council to provide at least 2 dog bins in the town – suggested locations are Swann Precinct and East Street (unless the SSDC dog warden has any suggestions for locations based on previous reports)

(iv)         Purchase “Poo Fairy” Posters for display around the Town Council’s Open Spaces.

As at 1 October 2017 “Poo Fairy” posters had been put up and the additional Town Council dog bins have been installed.




Ilminster Town Council
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