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Taunton also features in So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish by Douglas Adams part of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series of books.[115]

Somerset Vikings are a Rugby League Club who were formed at the beginning of 2003 as part of the Rugby Football League'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 Royal Marines based in Taunton and Exeter 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 Taunton R.F.C., a rugby union club, which was formed in 1875.[123]

The figures below are for the Taunton Deane area.

Taunton Cricket Club have since 2002 been located at the new Taunton Vale Sports Club Ground, in Staplegrove, which features two cricket fields. The Taunton Vale ground is also a regular home venue for Somerset's Second XI. Taunton Deane Cricket Club have a ground adjacent to Vivary Park, while Taunton St Andrews Cricket Club are located at the nearby Wyvern Sports and Social Club. All three clubs play in the West of England Premier League or one of its feeder leagues.

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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.[127]

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Stand in the centre of any of these towns and you’re no more than a few minutes from beautiful countryside, for Taunton Deane remains a largely rural area and is the home of many types of farming from livestock rearing to fruit growing, for which it has long been famed.

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A permanent military presence was established in the town with the completion of Jellalabad Barracks in 1881.[20]

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The Bridgwater and Taunton Canal is a navigable waterway which links Taunton with Bridgwater, which first opened in 1827 and having been closed to navigation in 1907 it re-opened following restoration in 1994.

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On the evening of 4 November 2011, 34 vehicles were involved in an accident close to junction 25 of the M5 motorway northbound, on the north eastern edge of the town at West Monkton.[78] Seven people were confirmed as dead, with a further 51 injured.[79]

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Taunton is the site of Musgrove Park Hospital and Somerset County Cricket Club's County Ground and is home to 40 Commando, Royal Marines. Central Taunton is part of the annual West Country Carnival circuit. It hosts the Taunton flower show, which has been held in Vivary Park since 1866. The United Kingdom Hydrographic Office is located on Admiralty Way.[2]

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Taunton is 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.[111]

In the Taunton area Permian (295–250 million years ago) red sandstones and breccia outcrop, while rocks of Triassic age (248–204 million years ago) underlie much of Somerset and form the solid geology to the Somerset Moors and Levels.[39]

Taunton Deane is also home to three towns – Taunton is Somerset’s lively county town; the bustling market town Wellington; and the historic borough of Wiveliscombe.

Taunton railway station is on the Bristol to Exeter line, the Reading to Taunton line, and the Cross-Country Route. It is served and operated by First Great Western and served by CrossCountry, with services to Manchester, Birmingham,[70] Cardiff, Bristol,[71] London, Exeter, Plymouth and Penzance, as well as the rest of the West Country.[72] 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.

Taunton is mentioned in The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro,[112] Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John le Carré,[113] Evelyn Waugh's Scoop and was given the fictitious name of "Toneborough" by Thomas Hardy.[114]

Local skateboarders raised £183,000 for a replacement skatepark at Hamilton Gault Park which opened in May 2010.

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Taunton lies on the River Tone between the Quantock, Blackdown and Brendon hills in an area known as the Vale of Taunton.

Moreover, the town is home to local offices for Defra, the Charity Commission for England and Wales,[54] and General Electric. The first ever store of the multinational clothing retailer New Look opened in Taunton in 1969.[55] Taunton is also famous for the production of cider.[56]

In World War II the Bridgwater and Taunton Canal formed part of the Taunton Stop Line, designed to prevent the advance of a German invasion. Pillboxes can still be seen along its length.[21]

Radio stations BBC Somerset,[103] Tone FM[104] and Apple FM[105] broadcast from Taunton.

Taunton Rugby Football Club 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.

Somerset County Council is based at County Hall 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.[36]

In 2009, Project Taunton,[74] the authority responsible for Taunton's major regeneration project, revealed proposals for Taunton metro rail, as part of their transport sustainability plan.

The following people were born or have lived in Taunton:

Taunton

Residents of Taunton also form part of the electorate for the South West England constituency for elections to the European Parliament.[38]

Taunton Freeriders is a community mountain bike project in partnership with the Forestry Commission who are developing a series of northshore and downhill (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".

Taunton Deane Borough Council consists of 55 councillors, of whom 20 are elected for wards 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.[35]

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Taunton is the main settlement and administrative centre of the local government district of Taunton Deane. The district was formed on 1 April 1974, under the Local Government Act 1972, by a merger of the municipal borough of Taunton, Wellington urban district, Taunton Rural District, and Wellington Rural District. Taunton Deane was granted borough status in 1975, perpetuating the mayoralty of Taunton.[34] The district was given the name of an alternate form of the Taunton hundred.

County Walk is a small indoor shopping arcade in the town centre with an anchor supermarket, Sainsbury's, plus several other large national retailers such as Subway, Costa Coffee, Maplin and The Entertainer.