Welcome to The Cotswolds!

I love the English Cotswolds and think everyone should visit this beautiful place at least once in their lifetime. Having lived all over the world and traveled as much as possible, I still think that this little part of England is one of the world's greatest treasures. This site is dedicated to helping spread the word and encourage sustainable travel to the Cotswolds.

If you enjoy reading this blog, please help spread the word by sharing with your friends!

Friday, 23 April 2010

A 3-Bed Dwelling in a Jacobean Manor in the heart of the Cotswolds for £217,000?!

In some of the most beautiful Cotswold countryside, just outside Winchcombe and very near the bustling town of Cheltenham, is Postlip Hall.  The Postlip Estate is at the end of a three-quarter-mile drive in a valley off B4632, the road between Cheltenham & Winchcombe.  There's been a house here since before the Norman Conquest. The Chapel, built about 1145, is the oldest of the present buildings. The Tithe Barn's origins are a bit of a mystery, as no documents have survived- it may be as old as the 12th century Chapel, or could have been built at any point between 1140 and about 1400.

And for £217,000, you could live there.  I am not wrong. But it's not so straightforward as all that.  Postlip Hall is something of a commune, with eight families cohabiting the building and forming a co-housing group, where the community owns the property.  The Hall is divided into eight separate ‘living units’, each with its own front door (and usually a back door) so everybody has a private ‘house’ that’s part of a much bigger cooperative framework.   People can thus move fairly freely between private life and group life.  They share some communal rooms and they also share the fifteen-acre grounds, pond, stream and kitchen garden.  They don’t cook communally, but eat informally together every now & then, especially in the summer.

So, not the traditional housing set up, and certainly not for those who like to keep to themselves, nor for those looking for a holiday home.  But there are some real benefits here for those looking for a very peaceful, simple and natural life in a true community.  And, in an area where country houses are notoriously expensive, this is an opportunity, for the right family, not to be missed.

Of course, there are plenty of things to be considered here, so please read the details of the property and their website thoroughly.  But there is one small event that happens here that could set the stage, and could provide a good opportunity to experience Postlip Hall before thinking about living here (but be warned, an opening in this place is VERY RARE and only comes along every few years at best, and this one may be gone before you can say "stone mullioned windows")- The Cotswold Beer Festival.  This is CAMRA's (the Campaign For Real Ale) official festival for locally brewed, proper English Ale, and it's a very cool event.

Here is a snippet of what the folks at Postlip have to say about the dwelling on offer, along with a link for those of you who think you might just be the next family of the Hall:

Would you like to...
... own part of a Jacobean manor?  ... bring up your children in fifteen acres of freedom and opportunity?   ... eat home-grown organic vegetables and fresh eggs?  ... be entertained by musical & dramatic events in the Great Hall & Tithe Barn?  ... join with us to get great pleasure from an amazing and beautiful place?

And would you enjoy...
... gardening organically in a walled garden?  ... caring for chickens, sheep and Gloucester Old Spot pigs?  ... maintaining and preserving a Grade 1 listed historic building?  ... rebuilding drystone walls, mowing lawns and weeding flower borders?  ... running the Cotswold Beer Festival and other public events? ... taking your share of community activities and meetings?

Postlip now has a three-bedroom unit for sale at £217,000 because one of our families is moving on after nineteen years.      

For full details and to make an inquiry, CLICK HERE.

You have to admit, that's a pretty good sales pitch.  And if you're not ready to start interviewing for your seat in the Manor, at least mark your calendar for the 2010 Cotswolds Beer Festival, Friday 23rd to Sunday 25th of July!

Monday, 19 April 2010

May Hill

I thought I'd write a little about May Hill, seeing as May Day is fast approaching...

May Hill is a hill between Gloucester and Ross-on-Wye, whose summit is on the western edge of Gloucestershire, though its northern slopes are in Herefordshire.  May Hill is the most familiar landmark for many miles around, with its near circular mound and the crowning clump of trees, and at 296 metres (971 feet) it is the highest point around. On a clear day you can see up to 12 other counties. May Hill has a circular trench, 100 metres in diameter, and is said to be an old earthwork from the Iron Age. Within this area is a mound that is said to be a round barrow.

It forms part of a low range of hills separating the River Severn from the River Wye. The Hill used to be known as Yartleton Hill, but may have been renamed because of the May Day activities there (see below). The top of the hill is a Site of Special Scientific Interest. Much of the hill is owned by the National Trust, though the very top is vested with the Longhope Parish Council (though with no fences). It was recently included among 'the seven wonders of the West Country.'

Each May Day (the first of May), Morris Dancers dance in the new dawn on the top of May Hill and hundreds of observers join in the celebration. A ceremony on May Day morning has been carried out for several centuries, originally it included a mock battle between youths.

The summit is reached by three public footpaths, two of them forming the Gloucestershire Way and Wysis Way.

Here is a great video of the May Day celebrations last year atop the hill:

Contact details for May Hill/National Trust
Ebworth Estate
The Camp
Gloucestershire GL6 7ES

01452 814213 (General enquiries)
01452 810054 (Warden)

May Day 2010
This year the Lassington Oak Morris Men will be dancing in the Spring at 5:15am (sunrise) at the top of the hill.  Hope you can make it!

More info & some great photos
There's loads of detail about May Hill, as well as some stunning photographs by Alan Wood, on the Ross-on-Wye visitors website, so please have a look!

Friday, 9 April 2010

St. George's Day in The Cotswolds

Cry God for Harry, England and St George! St. George's Day is upon us and Boris and I hope you'll be doing your bit to celebrate all things English, whether here in the UK or anywhere else. Of course, to truly celebrate in style you'll want to be in the Cotswolds. Specifically, you'll want to be in Ilmington, Warwickshire...

And why Ilmington? Of course, there are great festivities all over the country; but, there is a very traditional little festival happening in this northern corner of the Cotswolds that sounds like a perfect day out. For on April 22, there will be a Grand St George's Day Supper and Barn Dance with Traditional Songs and Readings. And there will be Morris Dancing, too.

There will be a Traditional Sausage and Mash Supper followed by Apple Pie, Port and Cheese, Coffee and Tea. There will be a bar.

Perfroming will be the Ilmington Morrismen. The traditional Ilmington Morris Men come from the village of Ilmington which is situated 8 miles south of Stratford-Upon-Avon, in the county of Warwickshire on the northern edge of the Cotswold Hills. Although mainly a continuous tradition of Morris Dancing has been recorded within the village for more than 350 years, there have been a number of significant periods of revival of their own unique dances, which number 24, including a broom dance (believed to have come from nearby Blackwell) originally danced by Sam Bennett (Fiddler) from the early 1900’s. Sam's original Hobby Horse (named affectionately Sam), now the oldest in the country, was made in 1899. It is still active with the side on many occasions.

The village of Ilmington is about 8 miles south of Stratford-on-Avon in the Cotswolds. Ilmington is the highest village in Warwickshire and is at the foot of the Ilmington Downs, which are the highest place in Warwickshire.  So, there is some beautiful rambling to be done during the day before you decend into the village for the party!

Event Details:
Telephone number: 07711 121210

Email: theflyingmorrisman@hotmail.com

19.00 – Midnight

Ticket information:
Tickets £15 per person. Available from Paul Bryan.

Ilmington Village Hall
Shipston on Stour
CV36 4LZ