Sedbergh, England's Official Booktown
Sedbergh became an official booktown in 2003. It was created in the aftermath of the 2001 foot and mouth epidemic to attract visitors back to the town. It is one of three official booktowns in the UK with the others being Hay-on-Wye in Wales, and Wigtown in Scotland.
Hay-on-Wye is the original booktown that was established in 1961 by Richard Booth. There are now many booktowns around the world, and an established International Organisation of Booktowns to bring them together to share ideas and knowledge.
As well as Westwood Books, there are a number of other bookshops in Sedbergh. The Dales and Lakes bookshop is host to a number of secondhand book dealers who rent shelf space there, and is based inside the Tourist Information Centre on Main Street. We also have Clutterbooks, a charity bookshop who's profits go back into the local community, plus a number of other outlets who stock books alongside other services.
There are also many interesting literary connections in the area such as Brigflatt's Quaker Meeting House, which was the subject of the famous 'Brigflatt's' poem by Basil Bunting. Of course, slightly further afield there are also connections to Beatrix Potter, Wordsworth and the Lake poets plus Ruskin and the Bronte's.
Sedbergh is featured in Alex Johnson's beautiful book, 'Book Towns' as well as Bookshop Tours of Britain by Louise Boland.