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This article is about the town of Taunton in England. For the city in Massachusetts, see . For other uses, see . Taunton is a large regional town in , England. The town's population in 2011 was 69,570. Taunton has over 1,000 years of religious and military history, including a 10th century monastery and , which has origins in the period and was later the site of a .

The then built a castle, which belonged to the . The current heavily reconstructed buildings are the inner ward, which now houses the and the Somerset Military Museum.

Taunton Town The tower of rises over the • Website List of places : Taunton is undergoing a regeneration project with redevelopment of the town centre.

It has various transport links which support its central role in economy and commerce. These have included the which reached Taunton in 1839 and arrival of the railway in 1842. Taunton is the site of and 's and is home to , . Central Taunton is part of the annual circuit. It hosts the , which has been held in since 1866.

The is located on Admiralty Way. The War Memorial and town centre, Taunton The town name derives from "Town on the " – or Tone Town. which is now the site of a close to Junction 25 of the was the site of a and settlement and farm. There was a village near the suburb of Holway, and Taunton was a place of considerable importance in times.

The Saxon town was a with its own . King threw up an earthen castle here about 700, but it was destroyed by his queen in 722, to prevent its seizure by rebels.

Taunton Cross c. 1770 A monastery was founded before 904. The owned the manor, and obtained the first charter for their "men of Taunton" from in 904, freeing them from all royal and county tribute. At some time before the Survey Taunton had become a borough with very considerable privileges, and a population of around 1,500 and 64 , governed by a appointed by the bishops.

took over from as the in the late thirteenth century, but it declined in importance and the status of county town transferred to Taunton about 1366. Between 1209 and 1311 the manor of Taunton, which was owned by the Bishop of Winchester, increased two and a half times. The parishes of Staplegrove, Wilton and Taunton itself were part of the .

In 1451 during the Taunton was the scene of a skirmish between , and . and her troops passed through in 1471 to defeat at the . In the most of the Cornish gentry supported 's cause and on 17 September a Cornish army some 6,000 strong entered before advancing on Taunton. sent his chief general, Giles, Lord Daubeney, to attack the Cornish and when Warbeck heard that the King's scouts were at he panicked and deserted his army.

Henry VII reached Taunton on 4 October 1497 where he received the surrender of the remaining Cornish army. The ringleaders were executed and others fined a total of £13,000. changed hands several times during the of 1642–45 but only along with the town. During the it was defended by , from July 1644 to July 1645, with the town suffering destruction of many of the medieval and Tudor buildings.

After the war, in 1662, the keep was demolished and only the base remains. On 20 June 1685 the crowned himself king of England at Taunton during the and in the autumn of that year lived in the town during the that followed the . A road map of Taunton from 1948 The town did not obtain a charter of incorporation until 1627, which was renewed in 1677. The charter lapsed in 1792 owing to vacancies for the members of the corporate body, and Taunton was not reincorporated until 1877.

The medieval fairs and markets of Taunton (it still holds a weekly market today), were celebrated for the sale of woollen cloth called "Tauntons" made in the town. On the decline of the woollen industry in the west of England, silk-weaving was introduced at the end of the 18th century.

In 1839 the reached Taunton aiding trade to the south, which was further enhanced by the arrival of the railway in 1842. A permanent military presence was established in the town with the completion of in 1881.

In World War II the formed part of the , designed to prevent the advance of a German invasion. can still be seen along its length. Regeneration Taunton was named as a 'Strategically Important Town or City' in the government's Regional Spatial Strategy, allowing to receive funding for large-scale regeneration projects. In 2006, the council revealed plans which it called "Project Taunton". This would see the regeneration of the areas of Firepool, Tangier, the Retail town centre, the cultural quarter, and the River Tone, aiming to sustain Taunton as a central hub for business in the South West.

The new bridge under construction in the Tangier district. Taken in February 2011 The Firepool area on the northern edge of Taunton town centre, adjacent to the main line railway station, currently includes a high proportion of vacant or undeveloped land. The Council is promoting a sustainable, high quality, employment-led .

The Firepool project is set to attract 3,000 new jobs and 500 new homes. In Tangier, a brownfield area between and the bus station, the project proposes to build small offices and more riverside housing. The "Cultural Quarter" is the area along the river between Firepool and Tangier. The proposals have plans to extend riverside retail, an aim to attract more smaller, boutique businesses, such as those already found in the Riverside shopping centre. Plans for the town centre include greater pedestrianisation and an increase in size and number of retail units.

Several sites along the River Tone are set to undergo renovation. Firepool Weir lock – long silted up – will be dredged during 2011 to allow boats to pass from the navigable section of the Tone through Taunton to the .

Goodland Gardens has received a makeover and a new café, The Shed, has opened. Projects to develop Somerset Square (the paved area next to the ) and Longrun Meadow (country park near to ) have already been delivered.

Traffic congestion was identified as a serious obstacle to its continuing economic growth so part of the growth strategy for the town was new road infrastructure consisting of a new £7.5 million link road to ease traffic in the town centre (Taunton's 'Third Way') which was completed in 2011 and a Northern Inner Distributor Road linking Staplegrove Road, the railway station and Priory Avenue at a planned cost of £21 million opened in 2017.

Taunton includes an area named Holway which was once a village in its own right. Holway was originally one of the Five of Taunton Dean, the Infaring division or district of the three districts that made up Taunton Dean.

The parish of Staplegrove is situated in the northern suburbs of Taunton. The parish, largely built by Monsell Youell Construction Ltd in the 1970s, has a population of 1,889. Borough Council Taunton is the main settlement and administrative centre of the of . The district was formed on 1 April 1974, under the , by a merger of the of Taunton, , , and . Taunton Deane was granted in 1975, perpetuating the mayoralty of Taunton.

The district was given the name of an alternate form of the . Taunton Deane Borough Council consists of 55 councillors, of whom 20 are elected for in the town of Taunton.

The wards are: Blackbrook & Holway; Eastgate; Fairwater; Halcon; Lyngford; Manor & Wilton and Pyrland & Rowbarton. Eastgate ward returns two councillors, with the remaining wards each returning three. County Council County Hall, The Crescent is based at in Taunton, and consists of 58 councillors.

The town of Taunton is included in six electoral divisions, each returning a single county councillor: Taunton East; Taunton Fairwater; Taunton North; Taunton South; Taunton West and Taunton and Trull (which also includes rural areas). Five councillors are members of the Liberal Democrats, and one is a Conservative. United Kingdom Parliament is a represented in the of the .

It elects one Member of Parliament (MP) by the system of election. It is based on the town of Taunton but extends to include , many small villages and parts of . The current MP is , a member of the . European Parliament Residents of Taunton also form part of the electorate for the constituency for elections to the .

Taunton lies on the between the , and hills in an area known as the Vale of Taunton. It is surrounded by many other large towns and cities which can be seen on this directional compass: Taunton is 38 miles (61 km) southwest of , 28 miles (45 km) northeast of , 63 miles (102 km) northeast of Plymouth and 40 miles (64 km) northwest of .

Geology In the Taunton area (295–250 million years ago) red sandstones and outcrop, while rocks of age (248–204 million years ago) underlie much of Somerset and form the solid geology to the .

Nature reserves There are several in and around Taunton, which are protected under a designation in Section 21 of the . South Taunton Streams is an urban wetland, and in the northern suburbs is the Children's Wood riverside reserve which provides a movement corridor for animals including along the banks of the River Tone.

Birds occurring at the site include: , , , , and . It is also home to butterflies such as the and , , and , and to and . Weirfield Riverside is a linear nature reserve along the bank of the providing and woodland, bramble, scrub and rough grassland. The wetter areas which are sometimes flooded include , and . Silk Mills Park and Ride includes landscaping and ponds in three areas next to the created when the was created.

The woodland and grassland supports aquatic and marginal vegetation. There are a variety of birds, , reptiles and . Frieze Hill Community Orchard has been converted from to rough grassland and an . The and varieties of apples are among those grown. Climate Along with the rest of , Taunton has a temperate climate which is generally wetter and milder than the rest of the country.

The annual mean temperature is approximately 10 °C (50.0 °F). is less extreme than most of the United Kingdom because of the adjacent sea temperatures. The summer months of July and August are the warmest with mean daily maxima of approximately 21 °C (69.8 °F).

In winter mean minimum temperatures of 1 °C (33.8 °F) or 2 °C (35.6 °F) are common. In the summer the high pressure affects the south-west of England, however cloud sometimes forms inland, reducing the number of hours of sunshine.

Annual sunshine rates are slightly less than the regional average of 1,600 hours. In December 1998 there were 20 days without sun recorded at Yeovilton. Most of the rainfall in the south-west is caused by or by . Most of the rainfall in autumn and winter is caused by the Atlantic depressions, which is when they are most active. In summer, a large proportion of the rainfall is caused by sun heating the ground leading to convection and to showers and thunderstorms.

Average rainfall is around 700 mm (28 in). About 8–15 days of snowfall is typical. November to March have the highest mean wind speeds, and June to August have the lightest winds. The predominant wind direction is from the south-west. Population profile England Total population 102,299 4,928,434 49,138,831 Foreign born 4.1% 9.4% 9.2% White 98.4% 97.7% 91% Asian 0.4% 0.7% 4.6% Black 0.2% 0.4% 2.3% Christian 75.9% 74.0% 72% Muslim 0.3% 0.5% 3.1% Hindu 0.1% 0.2% 1.1% No religion 15.7% 16.8% 15% Over 75 years old 9.5% 9.3% 7.5% Unemployed 2.4% 2.6% 3.3% The town of Taunton (which for population estimates includes the – or former – plus the neighbouring parishes of , , , Staplegrove, and ) had an estimated population of 61,400 in 2001.

It is the largest town in the shire county of Somerset. Taunton forms part of the larger of Taunton Deane which also includes the town of and surrounding villages. Taunton Deane had an estimated population of 109,883 in 2010. The figures below are for the Taunton Deane area. Population since 1801 – Source: A Vision of Britain through Time & Inform Somerset Year 1801 1851 1901 1911 1921 1931 1941 1951 1961 1971 1981 1991 2001 2010 Population Taunton Deane 33,139 51,844 53,759 55,666 56,161 56,661 62,745 69,492 75,320 81,639 84,795 95,791 102,304 109,883 In 2011, the Taunton built up area subdivision had a population of 60,479 compared with 110,187 for the surrounding borough of Taunton Deane.

91.6% of Taunton's residents were White British in 2011 compared with 93.4% for Taunton Deane. Taunton's ethnic composition is similar to that of the whole of South West England which was 91.8% White British in the same year.

It's also average compared with other major towns in the same region including and . The larger urban area, which extends beyond the town's boundaries to include , and Bathpool, had a 2011 population of 64,621. The annual Taunton Carnival takes a route through the shopping district in the centre of the town. Taunton Deane had a low unemployment rate of 4.1% compared with the national average of 5.0% in 2005.

Taunton is home to the (UKHO) which is an organisation within the responsible for providing and other information for national, civil and defence requirements. The UKHO is located on Admiralty Way and has a workforce of approximately 1100 staff. At the start of the Second World War chart printing moved to Taunton but the main office did not move until 1968. Taunton is also home to one of the head offices of Debenhams, , and CANDAC. Moreover, the town is home to local offices for , the , and .

The first ever store of the multinational clothing retailer opened in Taunton in 1969. Taunton is also famous for the production of . Between April 2015 and April 2016, Avon and Somerset Police statistics showed a rise of more than 50% in violent crime. The same statistics also showed that approximately half of crimes committed did not result in a charge, with 37,332 incidents in Taunton over two years and 55,249 hours spent by officers at crime scenes.

Taunton has been noted for its growing drug abuse problems, with Taunton Deane Borough Council noting the prevalence of narcotics such as Krokodil in the community. Taunton Deane has the highest number of rough sleepers in Somerset, nearly double the number of West Somerset, the second highest district. Drug abuse has been noted as one of the leading causes of homelessness in Taunton and has made national news in recent years.

In 2017, a major police dawn raid operation arrested 27 drug dealers across Somerset, mainly based in the Priorswood and Halcon areas of Taunton. A significant number of weapons and class A drugs were seized in the operation, with Chief Inspector Lisa Simpson commenting, "People shouldn't have to live in places where dealers freely sell drugs on the streets, in parks or in areas where children play which is what was happening in Bridgwater, Glastonbury and Taunton." In February 2018, the murder of Heather Jordan in the Priorswood area of Taunton caused debate among local residents concerning the urban decay and rising crime in the town, questioning the success of the regeneration projects of Taunton Deane Borough Council as violent crime and drug abuse incidents continue to become more frequent.

Gray's Almshouses on East Street were founded by Robert Gray in 1615 for poor single women. The red brick buildings bear the arms of Robert Gray, dated 1635, and another arms of the Merchant Tailors. A small room is used as chapel and has original benches and a painted ceiling. It has been designated by as a grade I . was founded as a in the 12th century.

acquired the patronage of the hospital in the late 13th century and rebuilt it as in the early 16th century. From 1612 to 1938 the building continued to be used as almshouses, cared for by a local parish.

In the late 1930s it was converted into a hall of offices for the and accommodation for the Somerset Guild of Craftsmen. It later fell into disrepair until the with Falcon Rural Housing purchased and restored it for use as four dwellings of social housing.

It is a grade II* . The grounds of include the and , which incorporates the Castle Bow archway. Together with the municipal buildings they form a three-sided group of buildings just beyond the Castle Bow archway from Fore Street. The centre of the square is used as a car park, and a plain brick edifice of Mecca Bingo hall makes up the west side of it. The frontage of the (now a branch of ) in Fore Street dates from 1578 but the rest of the building is thought to date from the fourteenth century.

Tudor Buildings, Fore Street The area by the river north of the centre is surrounded by supermarket, retirement housing and the . Towards the centre, is the Zinc Nightclub, Bridge Street and Goodlands Gardens. Currently a regeneration programme is being executed, north of Bridge Street, which will include redeveloping the .

The cricket ground has hosted large open-air music concerts for in 2006 and 2012, and for in 2014. Shopping Hankridge Farm is a retail park close to the M5 motorway, with large stores including , , , , , and Taunton's second store. In addition, there is a 'Venue' on the park, with restaurants, the and Hollywood Bowl bowling. Now known as Riverside Retail Park. Taunton has three other retail parks. Belvedere Retail Park is situated close to the town centre and consists of retailers such as , and .

St Johns Retail Park is just off Toneway, going towards the motorway and consists of two units. It is occupied by and more recently joined by Go Outdoors, where two vacant units were amalgamated into one for their opening in April 2014. Taunton's second largest retail park is Priory Fields Retail Park, located on Priory Avenue. It consists of five units plus an anchor store, Extra.

It was redeveloped in 2003 to modernise the rather worn out appearance of the retail park and also to increase retail floorspace. The Old Market was a farmers market and took place on the Parade in front of Market House but this eventually moved to the Firepool area, although cattle trading on the site ceased in 2008. A large indoor shopping centre to the east of the Parade was built on a site which had, at one time been a pig market.

Although its official name is now Orchard, and before that the Old Market Centre, locals still refer to it as "The Pig Market" as one operated on the site from 1614 to 1882. County Walk is a small indoor shopping arcade in the town centre with an anchor supermarket, , plus several other large national retailers such as , and .

Public parks Victoria memorial water fountain, There are a number of public parks around Taunton including , Goodlands Park and Victoria Park.

The most notable is Vivary Park, located on land that was formerly a medieval , or , for and . Fronted by a pair of gates made by the of Glasgow, it contains the Sherford Stream, a tributary of the , which flows through the 7.5 hectares (19 acres) park, which is located near the centre of the town.

It contains two main wide open spaces, as well as a dating from 1922, a miniature , , two children's , a which was added in 1979, and an 18-hole, 4620-yards, par-63 . The park includes trees, rose beds and , with around 56,000 spring and summer being used each year.

The rose garden includes the Provincial Trial Ground. has been held annually in the park since the 19th century. It has been described as "The of the West", and attracts around 24,000 visitors over its two days. Goodlands Gardens, located in the centre of the town, is behind the department store and .

Rail is on the , the , and the . It is served and operated by and served by , with services to , , , , , , and , as well as the rest of the . There are generally one fast and one slow trains each hour to both Bristol Temple Meads and Exeter St Davids and one train to London Paddington. The former railway route to is now a known as the although services only operate between and Minehead. 's route 28 provide a link between the railway stations at Taunton and Bishops Lydeard.

In 2009, Project Taunton, the authority responsible for Taunton's major regeneration project, revealed proposals for , as part of their transport sustainability plan. Road Taunton also has good road links, having the junctions 25 (Taunton) and 26 () close to the town, as well as other major roads such as the and A358.

The Taunton bypass section of the M5, between the two junctions, opened in April 1974 and relieved the town of heavy holiday traffic on the A38. are located on that section of the motorway. However, with the flourishing local economy, traffic is a concern; in 2011 Somerset County Council predicted a significant increase from 2001 levels. Two major new roads have been undertaken since 2010. The 'Third Way' (A3807) linking Bridge Street and Castle Street opened in 2011 and the Northern Inner Distributor Road (NIDR, A3087) between Staplegrove Road and Priory Avenue, due to open March 2015, finally opened in July 2017.

2011 M5 motorway crash Taunton Bus Station Many local bus services are provided by . In addition to town services, these run to destinations such as , and . Other services are provided by and Hatch Green Coaches. Services were also operated by , but these services ended when the company closed on 12 May 2016.

Taunton Bus station is run by The Buses of Somerset and is served by coaches. A cross-town park and ride service is operated by The Buses of Somerset linking the Taunton gateway (near the M5 Motorway) and Silk Mills on the north-west side of the town.

Air The nearest airports are and ; both are within 40 mi (64 km) of Taunton. Trams A single-deck car in Fore Street, c.1910 The was opened on 21 August 1901. Six double deck cars operated on the 3 ft 6 in ( 1,067 mm) gauge line between and East Reach where the depot was situated. In 1905 the service was withdrawn for two months while the track was improved; the cars were replaced at the same time by six single deck cars and the old double deckers were sold to . A short extension beyond the station to Rowbarton was opened in 1909, making the line 1.66 miles (2.7 km) long.

The price of its electricity was due to increase in 1928 which the company refused to pay so it offered to sell out but this was not accepted. The electricity was cut off on 28 May 1921 and so the system closed. Canal The is a navigable waterway which links Taunton with Bridgwater, opened in 1827. Having been closed to navigation in 1907, it re-opened following restoration in 1994. State secondary schools in Taunton include , , and . Further Education is provided by , (which is sponsored by Richard Huish College) and the .

has a post-16 Further Education college specialising in performing arts and technical theatre called The SPACE (The Somerset Performing Arts Centre for Education). Heathfield Community School is also a Teaching School and the base of Taunton Teaching Alliance.

The Taunton campus of the is a partner college of . There are three coeducational in Taunton: , and . In March 2009, it was announced that , Minister of State for Schools and Families, had approved plans that would mean the closure of both and the nearby both in the Priorswood area of Taunton. The schools closed in August 2010, and were replaced in September 2010 by . Provision for young people with in Taunton is provided by two Special Schools and one Complex (PRU).

Sky College caters for boys aged 10 – 18 who have social, emotional and mental health difficulties. Selworthy School has pupils on roll between the ages of 4 and 19 who have complex and multiple learning difficulties, whilst the Taunton Deane Partnership College is a complex PRU for children in Key Stages 2, 3 and 4 as well as a Medical Tuition Service, Outreach & Advisory service and an Area Access Team.

Taunton is within Somerset Primary Care Trust and is home to , within Taunton and Somerset Foundation NHS Trust. This is one of two district hospitals within Somerset alongside .

A Nuffield Hospital is also situated within the town, run privately by . The town is also home to several doctor's surgeries as well as a family planning clinic, occupational health centre and chiropractic clinic. Church of The , built of sandstone more in the South Somerset style, preserves an attractive painted interior, but its most notable aspect is its 15th- and 16th-century tower (rebuilt in the mid-19th century), which is one of the best examples in the country and a 163 feet (50 m) tall landmark.

It was described by , an acknowledged authority on English churches, as "the finest in England. It makes its peace with the sky not just with a coronet but with the entire crown jewels cast in red-brown stone." The tower itself has 12 bells and 3 bells "hung dead" for the clock mechanism. The is also located near the centre of Taunton quite close to St.

Mary Magdalene. The oldest parts of St. James Church are early 14th-century, and there are fragments of 15th-century glass in the west end. Like St. Mary's it also has a sandstone tower but built to a much less impressive design. The tower was also, like St. Mary's, rebuilt in the 19th century – in this case thought to be due to building defects in the original tower. The church backs onto the and forms a familiar backdrop to the popular cricket ground.

is the town's church and dates from the mid-19th century. It was the second Catholic church to be built in Taunton after the , replacing the much smaller . The main church building is designated by as a Grade II* , while the is Grade II listed. The , which dates from 1721, is located on Mary Street in Taunton. , while living 16 miles (26 km) away, came to the chapel to preach on several occasions. Dr. Malachi Blake, who founded the Taunton and Somerset Hospital in East Reach, Taunton, was also a preacher at the chapel, attending in 1809 in celebration of the fiftieth year of reign.

The Chapel still has the original interior including oak pillars in the style. The and are also in oak, and there is an early 18th-century . In the latter part of the 17th century, Taunton had two places of worship: "Paul's Meeting" and the Baptist Meeting.

Paul's Meeting was built at the top of Paul Street soon after 1672 on part of a bowling green behind the Three Cups Inn, now The County Hotel, and rapidly became one of the largest congregations in the county. After Mayor Timewell both Paul's Meeting and the Baptist Meeting in 1683, the dissenters were driven to worship in private houses on the outskirts of Taunton, where their assemblies were regularly raided by the Justices.

Paul's Meeting survived attempts to turn it into a workhouse and, with the coming of and , followed by the , was reopened. , was educated in early life at Taunton Dissenters' Academy.

The Baptist Meeting became the Baptist New Meeting was registered in 1691 and rebuilt in 1721 as Mary Street Chapel. The theatre in Taunton town centre is the . This closed in February 2013 due to financial difficulties but was reopened in April 2014 by the Taunton Theatre Association (TTA) who were granted the lease from Taunton Deane Borough Council who had bought the 61-year lease of the site and its contents from administrator.

Tacchi-Morris Arts Centre is a professional theatre based at hosting touring theatre, dance and comedy, as well as productions by South West schools and colleges.

Tacchi-Morris Arts Centre also runs numerous community classes. The Creative Innovation Centre CIC has an arts and culture venue in the town centre. Several concerts are held each year Taunton's largest church, St Mary Magdalene. In recent years , The and have all performed to full capacity audiences. Taunton is also home to several choirs and orchestras who perform in the town's churches and independent schools' chapels. Many local musical and drama groups are members of the Taunton Association of Performing Arts (TAPA) which produces a diary and anti-clash calendar of performances in and around the town.

Three radio stations, , and , broadcast from Taunton. Popular culture references Taunton is mentioned in by , by , and 's , and was given the fictitious name of "Toneborough" by .

Taunton also features in by , part of series of books. Comedian mentions the town in his stand-up DVD , claiming to have taken part in a teleportation experiment sponsored by Taunton Cider. Somerset playing Yorkshire at the County Ground is an English rugby union club that is based in Taunton. They currently play in National League 2 South, having achieved back-to-back promotions in 2009 and 2010. The was originally home to , which was formed in 1829 and played at the County Ground until 1977 before moving to Moorfields, Taunton in conjunction with Taunton Vale Hockey Club, after which the County Ground has been solely used by .

Somerset CCC was formed in 1875, but the club did not achieve first class status until 1891. The County Ground has a capacity of 8,500 and the ends are called the River End and the Old Pavilion End.

It is the current home of the . The is situated by the County Ground. Taunton Cricket Club have since 2002 been located at the new , in Staplegrove, which features two . The Taunton Vale ground is also a regular home venue for Somerset's Second XI. have a ground adjacent to Vivary Park, while are located at the nearby Wyvern Sports and Social Club. All three clubs play in the or one of its feeder leagues. are a club, who play at Wordsworth Drive in the town. They were formed in 1947 by a few local businessmen as Taunton F.C., changing to the current name in 1968, and played their first friendly fixture in 1948.

For most of their history, Taunton were members of the Western League. They spent a six-season spell in the from 1977, and after a further period in the Western League, returned to the in 2002, after winning the in 2001. The club currently play in the Southern Premier Division after winning the Division One South and West league title, finishing 1st in the 2017/2018 season. are a Club who were formed at the beginning of 2003 as part of the 's plans to develop the game further beyond the traditional areas in the north of England.

Initially the side was made up of a mixture of based in Taunton and together with a number of local rugby union players keen to try the 13-man code. The Vikings play at Hyde Park which is the home of the , a club, which was formed in 1875. The is a semi-professional team competing in the Men's Division 1. The team play all their home games at Wellsprings Leisure Centre, which has a capacity of 500 seats.

The Grandstand at the racecourse is close to the and about 2 miles (3 km) from the centre of Taunton. Although racing had been held in the area previously, the first race at the present site was held on 21 September 1927. The stands are called the Orchard Stand and the Paddock Stand which provide catering facilities and are used for meetings and conferences on days when racing is not taking place.

are a local volleyball club that have played for a number of years, more recently in the Exeter & District League. They train and play their home games at Wellsprings Leisure Centre. There is an oval motor racing circuit at Smeatharpe which is close to the Somerset/Devon border, it is frequently referred to as the Taunton Banger racing circuit although it is around 11 miles (18 km) from central Taunton.

Local skateboarders raised £183,000 for a replacement at Hamilton Gault Park which opened in May 2010. is a community project in partnership with the who are developing a series of northshore and (DH) style mountain bike trails just outside the town.

Run by volunteers from the local close-knit riding community and funded solely by kind donations, they are also involved with the redevelopment of the "Norton Dirt Jumps". The following people were born or have lived in Taunton: • (born 1940) – former professional footballer and manager; born in Taunton • (born 1952) – actress; born in Taunton • (1634–1668) – English Puritan Nonconformist pastor and author • (1843–1922) – architect; born in Taunton • (born 1956) – actor; born in Taunton • (born 1944) – actress and model; former wife of both and • (born 1990) – and cricketer, known for his big hitting of the ball; born in Taunton • (born 1966) – who won three gold medals at the in Athens and three medals at the in London; born in Taunton; currently lives in , a village on its outskirts • – publisher • – noted composer and Principal of the .

Buried at Bishops Hull Church, Taunton. • – three-time Academy Award nominated and Tony Award-winning theatre and film director and producer • – British general, known as Gordon of Khartoum; educated at Fullands School, now a retirement complex off Shoreditch Road; lodged in a house next to the Temple Methodist Church • – astronomer and winner • – British radio personality and producer, currently co-producing on ; born in Taunton • (1809–1891) – barrister, travel writer and historian; born at Wilton House near Taunton • – English footballer currently playing for • (born 1987) – footballer who currently plays for ; born in Taunton • (born 1959) – business mogul, philanthropist, star of TV series ; born in Taunton • (1824–1899) – engineer, best known for the Metford rifling in the .303 Lee-Metford service rifle of the late nineteenth century; born in Taunton • – member of Olympic squad, the first GB volleyball team to play in the Olympic games • (1877–1967) – painter; first director of the ; born in Taunton • (1834–1890) – architect to Abraham Lincoln; born in Taunton • – actor and film producer, pupil of [ ] • – professional darts player • (born 1964) – actor, one of the stars of the joint HBO-BBC series Rome; born in Taunton • – celebrity chef; head chef at in Taunton, 1986–1990 • – former West Indies cricketer; born in ; resident in Taunton while playing for Somerset, 1974–1986 • (born 1964) – former England international and head coach; now head coach of Scotland; born in Taunton • (born 1982) – author; born in Taunton, but resident of , later and Taunton • (1873–1956) – military officer involved in establishment of ; born in Taunton • – England cricketer, recipient of the Taunton Deane Citizenship Award in 2005 • (1807–1886) – Governor of Madras; born in Taunton • – celebrity chef • (1865–1949) – of ; born in Taunton • – English writer, known for his children's stories such as the series • – born in Taunton and attended Taunton School; Attorney General for England and Wales; Conservative Member of Parliament • ^ • (PDF).

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