Cherry Dobson - Upholstery Courses - Somerset

About Cherry and The Lilac Barn

In the year 2000 my husband and I moved to the south west from the south east where he had commuted to London for 20 years. We chose the south west for various geographical and family reasons, but also for the soft and gentle feel of the south west with its open spaces and clean air.

We found a house and barn situated in a garden of around an acre and a quarter near the village of Burrowbridge on the famous Somerset Levels. The Levels is a huge area of countryside that was swamp when Alfred the Great was charging around it fighting the Danes.

Over hundreds of years the area has been tamed and drained into an area of special scientific interest and peaceful beauty. Wild flowers and birds abound and easily accessible and visible ranges of hills such as the Black downs, Poldens, Quantocks and Mendips surround us.

The River Parrett with its famous Parrett Trail walks and many cycle routes are nearby.

Having taught upholstery at an Adult Education Centre for over 20 years the idea of day and residential courses came to us as a good reason to restore the tumbledown barn in the garden. We were not sure whether it was a barn or a cow byre and judging by the old chains and horseshoes we found, we believe the carthorse lived there as well. Over a six-month period the ‘barn’ was restored to a very high standard and a small kitchen and toilet suitable for the physically challenged were added.

With its pleasant terrace and the beautiful garden surrounding it, up to eight students at a time come to learn popular skills from painting to upholstery. The day courses cater for the local students whilst the weekly courses are for students from further afield and are usually residential.

September 2011

Life has now moved on.

With the death of my husband in 2003, my father in 2007 and my mother last year aged 100 I have moved to the Willows and will now operate Lilac Barn from a studio at English Hurdle.

This is a lovely light and airy studio and I am sure it will prove to be a wonderful workplace.

Whilst there are options in accommodation, we hope that our main source will be the converted farm buildings Walkers Farm Cottages. These are self-catering and have been awarded 4 star rating by the Tourist Board -click on Walkers Farm Cottages for more information. If you prefer a Bed and Breakfast accomodation then Sam Dixon and Brook Farm are highly recommended details of all these are on course page.

Please come and see us for a learning holiday. While you’re here walk or cycle around beautiful Somerset; listen to and watch the birds; see the flowers; see the stars in a clear night sky.