A slice of paradise in West Somerset

Updated: Jun 28, 2019


Poppies, cornflowers, marigolds and chamomile adorn the hillside in this beautiful corner of the Quantocks

When hungry rabbits and slugs gobbled up farmer Ken Sellick’s crop, it sowed the seed for a stunningly good idea


As any outdoor portrait photographer will tell you, it can take a lot of time and effort to find a good location. That’s why, once you’ve found one, you tend to be a bit secretive about it. But sometimes there are exceptions. And this weekend I found one such a place.


The story

Four years ago, Somerset farmer Ken Sellick decided to take a stand against the rabbits and slugs that repeatedly ravaged the crops in one of his arable fields. Rather than sowing more wheat for them to feast on, he planted a stunning wildflower meadow. Then he opened it to the public to raise money for charity.


It’s a tradition that he has continued every year since, and it’s going from strength to strength. Ken planted poppies and cornflowers, marigolds and chamomile – all of which combine to create a glorious carpet of colour. Coupled with far-reaching views across the surrounding countryside and the Bristol Channel (and, on a good day, over to South Wales), it has turned this peaceful corner of West Somerset into a little slice of paradise.


The farm is located near the village of Stogumber, between the Quantock Hills and the Brendons. If you’re using Sat Nav, the postcode is TA4 4JF.


On a bright day, the views stretch as far as the Bristol Channel and South Wales (this was not a bright day!)

The cause

Each year, Ken chooses a cause close to his heart to be the recipient of visitor donations. He’s previously raised money for Alzheimer’s Research and the MRI scanner appeal at Taunton’s Musgrove Park Hospital. This year he chose local charity Elliot’s Touch.


Donna and Paul Stevens set up Elliot’s Touch in 2015 after losing their son Elliot to cardiomyopathy. The charity’s aim is to raise awareness and fund research into cardiomyopathy and mitochondrial disease in children – both of which can have devastating consequences.


When to visit

This year, there’s only about a week left before the wildflowers are past their best (in case you’re reading this blog out of season, I’m writing it in late June 2019). If you wait until 2020, Ken says he’ll be sowing his seeds to flower a month later than they did this year, meaning they’ll come into bloom in July.


Sharing a secret among the wildflowers

How to get there

The farm is located near the village of Stogumber, between the Quantock Hills and the Brendons. If you’re using Sat Nav, the postcode is TA4 4JF.


If it's portraits you want to capture, try to avoid harsh sunlight. Cloudy days are perfect - or just after dawn/before sunset, when the light is softer

What to take

1) Your camera. Whether landscape or portrait photography is your thing, the photo opportunities are both copious and magnificent.


2) A picnic. There are several picnic benches dotted around – and plenty of spots to put down a blanket.


3) Wellies (something we forgot. The shoes are now in the wash).


If you want to photograph young children among the flowers, consider taking something to stand on

Photography tips

If you’re planning to take photographs, here are my four top tips:


1) If you have young children that you’d like to capture among the wildflowers, consider taking something to stand on. The flowers are quite tall, and at ground level I could barely see the top of my daughter’s head. As luck would have it, I had an apple crate in my boot from a recent shoot – so I ignored the enquiring looks and balanced myself on this.


2) The field, by its nature, offers very little shade. Harsh daylight isn’t conducive to attractive portraits – so if the forecast is for good weather, try to visit the meadow at either end of the day, when the natural light is softer and more flattering.


3) To add visual depth to your shot, try to incorporate flowers in both the foreground and background. Ken has kindly mowed some strips into his meadow, precisely for this purpose.


4) If you have more than one lens, take them all. I only took my portrait lens, and immediately regretted it, because the landscape is absolutely stunning.


For added visual depth, incorporate flowers into the foreground and background of your shot.

Wildflower sessions

Next year, I’m planning to carry out some family shoots at the wildflower meadows. I’ll release dates and details nearer the time, but if you’d like to be added to my priority mailing list, please do get in touch.