Nestled under the northern slopes of the Mendips, close to the Blagdon Lake in the Chew Valley, lies the quiet and unassuming village of Ubley.
The derivation of the village’s name is lost to time: in the 10th century it was known as Hubbanlege; a century later is was Tumbeli (or “rolling meadow” in old English). The name may come from local king Ubba, although it may also have been given the name in Veb, after the Latin word for lead, from the lead miners who lived in the area.
Today, the village has a population of around 330 people, most of whom live in old, stone built houses around the village green.
Ubley is a village that takes pride in its appearance, although the Best Kept Village signs date from twenty or thirty years ago. It is a quiet place in a quiet valley, and one with a community feel that is even more apparent because of the events of the last year or so.
At the heart of the village lies St Bartholomew’s Church. Grade I Listed, it was closed on the day I visited, but was being frequented by a large number of crows, diligently building nests within its open steeple.
The grounds around the church are a peaceful, safe haven for those who have been buried within them over the years.
The village War Memorial remembers the five villagers who died in the First World War. There is only grave to a fallen solder in the churchyard and, ironically, that is for Second Lieutenant Alfred Newington, who wasn’t even a local man. (You can read more about his life and story by clicking on his name.)
Within easy reach of both the Mendips and Blagdon Lake, Ubley is worth a visit; it provides plenty of opportunity for walking and cycling. It is far enough away from the hubbub of the main Weston to Bath road, but accessible to it, to warrant stopping off.