Written by Hilary Bradt
Stallcombe House, Sanctuary Lane, Woodbury EX5 1EX; 01395 232373; www.stallcombehouse.co.uk.
Sanctuary Lane. What an appropriate location for a place that is indeed a sanctuary for adults with a learning disability. I’d been intrigued to hear about Stallcombe from their neighbour at Sunnyhaye, where apples are grown with the same dedication as Stallcombe gives to all their projects, so arranged to pay a visit. We entered into a beautiful garden decorated with mosaic sculptures. On the doorstep of the kitchen was a box of luscious vegetables – one of the residents was packing up the veg boxes for delivery to local people who value this organic produce above anything else available in the area.
Then I was taken to the Weavery which, as the name suggests, has several looms but the spacious, light workshop is the centre for a whole range of high-quality craft production. And I mean high quality. The weavings, feltwork and textiles for sale are equal to anything I’ve seen in craft fairs. It’s an inspiring place, run by Samantha Smith (‘Drop in any time – the kettle’s always on’) who never tires of thinking up new projects. ‘It gives the residents a genuine feeling of pride to have made something that someone wants to buy’. Most sales are through their annual summer fair but check out their website for items currently available or to arrange a commission.
01395 232223; www.sunnyhayedrinks.co.uk.
Sunnyhaye Drinks, across the road, has been growing apples for many years but the juicing operation has recently been taken over by Adrian Setter who is passionate about his range of natural juices and soft drinks: apple & ginger, apple & mango, and pure apple among others. Look out for these at farm shops, some cafes and specialist food outlets.