The Society was formed in 1996 by a group of Darshill residents and registered as a charity that year, No. 1059952. Society membership was extended to include residents of the adjacent hamlet of Bowlish in 2000 when the Society became known as the Darshill and Bowlish Conservation Society (DBCS). Membership is open to all residents of Darshill and Bowlish, currently around 180 adults.
The hamlets of Darshill and Bowlish are in a valley to the west of Shepton Mallet, Somerset. The River Sheppey runs through the hamlets, with leats, sluices, weirs, millraces and former millponds that supplied the power for the many mills that were operating in the hamlets. The (Upper) Darshill Factory was the last working mill building to close in 1929.
DBCS owns two parcels of land which include the former millpond to the Darshill Factory, and the woodland with the natural springs that for many years provided the water supply to the former Anglo Bavarian Brewery in Shepton Mallet. The Society also has ownership of the 7-bay car park in Back Lane, Darshill for the use of residents and their visitors. The initial aim of the Society was to manage the landholdings but today DBCS has widened its activities to cover Ecology, Land Management and Community, the results of which can be found on the regularly updated website, http://www.darshillandbowlishconservationsociety.org.uk/
In September 2018 DBCS set out to deliver the Darshill and Bowlish Heritage Project which would meet one of the three main objectives noted in the Charity’s Constitution, ‘to educate the public in geography, history, natural history, and architecture of the area’. The project was completed in August 2021 and is a fitting celebration of DBCS’ 25th anniversary.
We hope that you enjoy reading the Project’s findings on these pages and that you might purchase a copy of the hardcover book.