Sam Wilmot, 23, is doing an important public service in the pursuit of one simple goal: to find the best place to sit.
Sam, from Yate, Bristol, spends his spare time visiting and rating public benches based on important criteria, such as comfort, design, location, and view.
He’s already reviewed nearly 200 benches around the UK so far – but hasn’t yet given a perfect 10/10 score.
Every bench’s rating is posted on Sam’s dedicated Instagram page, @ratethisbench, where along with a caption detailing his assessment of the seat, he posts a photo of himself sitting on the bench and looking at the camera, as well as a photo showing the view.
The Bridgwater War Memorial in Somerset received a 5/10.
Sam wrote: ‘As this style of three plank bench goes this is one of the better ones, the iron frame work, well crafted and thick planks that once upon a time had a nice varnished finish makes this a good bench.
‘It’s situated in a nicely kept war memorial garden in Bridgwater, has a lovely stone base and has a nice plaque.
‘The bench was a good height and the back rest well angled. Overall, 5/10.’
A bench in Lee Abbey, Devon, received a higher score, with seven points out of ten.
For this one, Sam wrote: ‘North Devon really does have some of the best scenery and benches around.
‘A short walk from our campsite down the mother of all hills reveals this gem that looked across the private Bay of Lee Abbey.
‘The grass embankment was a little wild and the base over grown but it provided enough of a space to plant my feet.
‘The bench was comfortable, wooden, well constructed and had the all important arms and dedication.
‘The back rest was a good height and there was a curvature to the seat. All in all a very solid and satisfying place to sit, breathe and ponder, 7/10.
‘This morning’s post is dedicated to the sad news of Riley Gale’s passing, rest in power. Hold onto your loved ones.’
The highest score on Sam’s Instagram page goes to a bench in Saint John the Baptist Church in Old Sodbury, Somerset – which was given a whopping 9/10.
Sam wrote: ‘As benches go, this is as near to perfect as you’ll find. Beautifully crafted, perfectly placed and lovingly donated by a man’s family.
‘My bio is this quote from Samuel Beckett, “we spend our life, it’s ours, trying to bring together in the same instant a day of sunshine and a free bench”.
‘I fully believe this to be true. I waited patiently to sit on this bench as a courting couple spoke of life’s wonders and love. But it was worth the wait.
‘A break in the rain and finally some sunshine offered the perfect chance to take in the view, and what a view it was.
‘If you ever wondered why this page exists, it’s for moments like this. A solid bench, comfortable seating, firm arm rests, a touching plaque and a slabbed base.
‘I have no recommendations for this bench other than to the people smoking dank in a graveyard at midday, have a little common decency for the dead and those around you.
‘I’d love to have a bench such as this dedicated to me one day. Quality, 9/10.
‘The reason this is not a 10 is because I don’t know what the perfect bench will be until I have rated my final bench and reflect on the best ones.
‘But there’s every chance with hindsight this will be it. This is my favourite bench to date.’
If you’re wondering what makes a bad bench, one in Bathampton is a solid example, receiving just three out of ten and the following review.
‘I’m convinced this is a chiropractor’s bench, it was on a slope along the canal but the top of the back rest was mid-back which made it good for leaning against to stretch out stiffness,’ said Sam.
‘It was very low, pretty uncomfortable, there was no solid base, no plaque, no arm rests, barely a view and far too many people about.
‘It’s in desperate need of some treatment and tidying too. Not a bench I’ll be rushing back to. 3/10.’
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