If you had to name places with literary associations, you might say Haworth, Stratford, the Lakes and Knole, but hardly Yeovil. If anything, the town is known for making gloves, helicopters and Yeo Valley yoghurt. But at the end of October a thriving literary festival takes over the Georgian Manor Hotel, built of local Ham stone, and other venues in the town centre. Though few people know it, Yeovil is also linked with Thomas Hardy and his Wessex novels.
If you’re driving from Oxford to London, as I was privileged to do as a third-year undergraduate with a car, you have two main routes: the A40 via Stokenchurch and Beaconsfield, nowadays more often the M40, or the A4130 following the river via Dorchester, on to Nettlebed and down the hill to Henley-on-Thames.
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