West Harptree is a small village in the Chew Valley, North Somerset. It is approximately 10 miles south of Bristol and 10 miles from Bath. It has a population of 380. The parish of West Harptree lies on the north side of the Mendip Hills and consists of the main village and the hamlets of Ridge, North Widcombe and parts of South Widcombe.
The name 'Harptree' was listed in the Domesday Book of 1086 as 'Herpatreu'. At this time, West Harptree comprised of two manors (later they were called Gournay and Tilly) and to this day, two very fine manor houses remain on the same sites; Gournay Court and Tilly Manor. In the centre of the village is the very pretty twelfth century church of St Mary.
The area to the north of the parish was flooded in 1956 to create Chew Valley Lake which is the second largest reservoir in the Mendip area. The picturesque lake is a haven for bird watchers, sailors and fishermen.
The village boasts a thriving shop, post office, doctors surgery, dentist, beauty salon and two public houses.
The parish council has responsibility for local issues, including setting an annual precept (local rate) to cover the council’s operating costs and producing annual accounts for public scrutiny.
The parish council evaluates local planning applications and works with the local police, district council officers, and neighborhood watch groups on matters of crime, security, and traffic.
The parish council’s role also includes initiating projects for the maintenance and repair of parish facilities, such as the village hall or community centre, playing fields and playgrounds, as well as consulting with the district council on the maintenance, repair and improvement of highways, drainage, footpaths, public transport and street cleaning.
Conservation matters (including trees and listed buildings) and environmental issues are also of interest to the council.