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Taunton Leisure

Over 40 years in the outdoor industry has been an amazing experience not to mention an incredible journey. Founded originally by the Clark family and still in the same hands today we are still passionate about the outdoors and the industry in which we work. Our success stems not only from our retail stores and online business but equally our team of dedicated and knowledgeable staff that offer an unequalled level of service. Our focus today is still the same as when we first started in 1977 to seek out unique brands with an equally great heritage and with a passion for products and the outdoors that we all enjoy so much.

Simon Clark, Taunton Leisure Managing Director.

Taunton Leisure is founded

Taunton Leisure & Camping is founded by Chris Clark and opens its doors on East reach, Taunton for the first time. Back then the store was not much bigger than a garden shed and amongst other various bits and bobs, mostly sold family tents in the summer and mobile gas heaters for domestic use through winter. The company is still independently run by the Clark Family. The Original Taunton Leisure Logo featured a gas bottle going for a hike.


Purchase new premises

This small shop grew so successfully that within a year, Taunton Leisure was able to purchase the premises in East Reach, we still trade out of this shop today, though it has been redeveloped and extended many times to accommodate our ever growing range of outdoor kit


Start selling tents, camping equipment

Business expanded rapidly and in addition to tents, camping equipment and bottled gas Taunton Leisure now offered carefully selected footwear, rucksacks, climbing and canoeing products. Taunton Leisure also brought out a lot of own label gear including boots, packs, jackets and even an Icelandic tent.


Launch sleeping bags

Taunton Leisure launches its own brand sleeping bags Seen here with MD Simon Clark from left to right: The Purple Softy, Rainbow Expedition and the Rainbow warrior. We still see some of these bags in circulation today. Many have been all over the world. £1.00 from every sleeping bag sale was donated to Greenpeace.


Opens Second store

Taunton Leisure opened its second shop in Bristol along Bedminster Parade, the shop has grown a reputation as one of the very best footwear fitters in the South-west and has many people travel from further parts of the UK for the fantastic range and service.


Opens Third store

Taunton Leisure opens a third store in Swansea, sadly no longer with us.


Opens Third store

Taunton Leisure produces its in-house catalogue detailing many pieces of kit within its range, we used family and friends as models, took our own pictures and used a local company to throw it all together. It of course featured an era appropriate order form which could be filled in and posted off in order to have products delivered to have great kit straight to your door! The mail order catalogue was available in this form for another 10 years.


Our catalogue

A catalogue cover from 1990/1991


New Exeter Store opens

Taunton Leisure opens its Exeter Shop, its largest shop yet. It has a permanent tent display area upstairs, a massive range of climbing gear and fantastic facilities for all sorts of outdoor gear.


Expanding orginal store

The original Taunton Store gains a huge extension to make way for even more gear and has a natural stone fireplace fitted.


Offering a helping hand

On this day adventurists Richard and Andrew Mclaughlin from Taunton completed a 17,000-mile journey by cycle and sea kayak setting what was at the time claimed to be the longest human-powered journey. During their trip they survived a shipwreck, were shot at in West Timor, survived a cyclone and narrowly escaped being thrown in jail in Tibet. At Taunton Leisure we were delighted to have helped with advising on and supplying essential equipment for this adventure.


Another helping hand

Taunton Leisure Exeter offer their services in assisting customers Ann Daniels, Caroline Hamilton and Pom Oliver in becoming the first British women to have trekked to the North Pole and also the first women to have trekked to both poles as part of an all-female expedition, occasionally they still pop in.


25 Years old

Taunton Leisure celebrates 25 years!


New website

Taunton saw the introduction of e-commerce functionality to our website. In other words, you could buy outdoor gear online!


Simon Clark takes over

Chris Clark, the founder of Taunton Leisure retires. Simon Clark takes over all operations.


Taunton updated

The Taunton Leisure logo was updated to its current design and our loyalty cards were updated accordingly as well. Here are some other logos and loyalty cards from throughout the years.


Nick B in Sweden

Exeter Shop Manager Nick B makes us proud while on a training trip to Sweden with Tentipi. He went Ice fishing and caught this monster!


40 Years old

Taunton Leisure celebrates 40 years!


A quality down sleeping bag for under £200–The Mountain Equipment Earthrise

Taunton Leisure | 19/08/2022 13:11:02

Mountain Equipment Earthrise – the sustainable and sensible choice as your new sleeping bag Nick, our tech gear buyer, takes a quick look at the Earthrise range and the differences to the similar Helium model from Mountain Equipment. So why buy an Earthrise, after all there are plenty of.... More

La Sportiva – Innovation with Passion

Taunton Leisure | 04/08/2022 15:23:00

La Sportiva – Innovation with Passion Read up on this iconic, Italian footwear giant and check out our featured footwear available online and in store. It is near unanimously agreed amongst outdoor gear experts that La Sportiva make some of the best mountaineering boots, hiking footwear, climbing shoes and.... More

Top picks from our Summer Sale

Taunton Leisure | 29/07/2022 11:09:32

Top picks from our Summer Sale Take a look at some of the highlights and great offers in our grand array of reduced clothing and gear. It’s that time of year again and our Summer Sale is on! We have a fantastic selection of the industry’s best outdoor clothing and gear from.... More

Who are Optimus?

Taunton Leisure | 28/07/2022 15:35:24

Who are Optimus? Learn all about this European stove maker, trace an iconic legacy and take a look at some of our featured Optimus products. New to our range and providing an exciting choice in our range of lightweight outdoor stoves and cookware comes Optimus, a stove maker of world renown.... More

Staff review: Osprey Eja 38 rucksack

Taunton Leisure | 25/07/2022 15:42:38

Staff Review: Osprey Eja 38 rucksack Does a rucksack have to compromise on performance to prioritise a low weight? Follow Bristol Shop’s Hannah as she takes on Osprey’s latest ultra-lightweight trekking packs and gives her thoughts. For the past couple of months, I’ve been testing out Osprey’s latest iteration of the Eja 38L backpack.... More

Staff Review: Osprey Sirrus 24 Rucksack

Taunton Leisure | 15/07/2022 14:51:38

Staff Review: Osprey Sirrus 24 Rucksack Follow Exeter Shop’s Rachael as she takes on Osprey’s deluxe day pack and gives her thoughts. I’ve been trialling the Osprey Sirrus 24 pack (the smallest literage of five in the family) since mid-April, and have found it to be.... More

Staff Review: Osprey Eja Backpack

Taunton Leisure | 07/07/2022 17:15:42

Staff Review: Osprey Eja Backpack Follow Amy from the Exeter Shop as she embarks on a jolly ramble with the newly updated lightweight pack from Osprey. The updated Eja family of packs has arrived at Taunton Leisure and I.... More

Making the most of your family camping escape

Taunton Leisure | 01/07/2022 11:28:26

Making the most of your family camping escape Read on as we give our best tips to turn your camping set up into the envy of the campsite, ensuring your comfort and fun! After a long few cold months, you deserve to make the very most of your camping getaway, either with.... More

Polyester vs. Polycotton. Which is right for you?

Taunton Leisure | 17/06/2022 13:13:14

Polyester vs. Polycotton. Which is right for you? Looking for a new tent this Summer? Have a read on the pros and cons of both polyester and polycotton flysheets and decide which suits you better. Choosing the right tent can be really tricky, especially with the pressure of a.... More

Rediscovering an old pilgrimage route through the South Downs

Taunton Leisure | 15/06/2022 14:27:09

Rediscovering an old pilgrimage route through the South Downs In collaboration with Mammut and the British Pilgrimage Trust, take a stroll with Oliver, our guest writer as he takes on some Mammut gear and goes walking. Writer: Oliver Smith Photography:.... More