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Cotswold -Homes The Property & Lifestyle Magazine for the North Cotswolds

Bourton on the Water Late Night Shopping at The Christmas Fayre

Wildlife in Winter

How To Build a Hedgehog House

Out and About in the Cotswolds

God’s Wonderful Railway

Christmas Cookbook Festive Family Favourites

Suited and Booted

Looking Good this Season!

Hot Property: Ask The Experts

Making Money from Your Holiday Home

Trade Local This Christmas:

Save on Christmas Gifts, Pampering and Beauty, Fine Dining, Fab Furnishings... & Much More!


Cotswold-Homes Magazine ConTenTs Spotlight on: Bourton on the Water

Hot Property: Ask The Experts

Late Night Shopping at the Christmas Fayre


Happy Feet Penguin-Cams At Birdland


The Cotswold School A First Class Education


Spooky Goings On In Bourton


Wildlife in Winter What The Gamekeeper Saw: Adam Tatlow


Saving the Water Vole with Wildlife Trust’s Will Masefield


A Winter’s Trail Wildlife Watch For Cotswold Kids


How To Build A Hedgehog House


Out and About in the Cotswolds

Letting Your Holiday Home: Character Cottages’ Andy Soye offers advice


HARRISON & HARDIE: Finding Your Perfect Property


Suited and Booted: Looking Good this Season Home on the Range with Kathy Twiston-Davies


An Equestrian Love Affair at the Ellenborough Park Hotel


Aptus Suits David Cameron Pays A Visit


Pretty In Pink Party Looks by Justine Collins


Stylish Dressing with Brocks’ Nigel Newhook


God’s Wonderful Railway Toddington Back On Track


Cotswold Homes Business Directory

Ancient Ways of the Wolds Burial Mounds and Wall Paintings


Cotswold Business Digest Celebrating Cotswold Success Stories


The Wyck Hill House Hotel Networking with Cotswold-Homes


Celebrating a Cotswold Christmas Blessings of the Season from Rev Veronica James 30 Festive Family Favourites by Anna Arnell


Boxing Day Clever: Lazy Food


The Cotswold Diary of An Equestrian Lady


Village Noticeboard: What to Do This December? 37 My German Christmas by Rachel White


Eat Fit Not Fat! Keeping Trim with Tim Spittle


Trade Local This Christmas: 78 Cotswold Homes Privilege Card Offers Save on Christmas Gifts, Pampering and Beauty, Fine Dining, Fab Furnishings... & Much More! Something you’d like to share? Perhaps you’ve had a business success, an inspirational day out or would like to pass on a recipe to our readers? You too can become a Cotswold-Homes contributor simply email

To speak to Collette about Ad Sales,

please telephone 01608 653899 or e-mail

To speak to Matt about editorial features or forthcoming events, please telephone 01608


653899 or e-mail

To receive a Privilege Card through the post, visit our website, click on the Cotswold-Homes Club button to register. To see a complete list of current offers, click on to the Magazine and Gallery, Privilege Card section on the home page.

Design team: Not picked up your FREE Privilege Card yet? To get

one, simply fill in this form, cut out and hand to any of the businesses listed in this month’s Privilege Card section (pages 79 - 81) Name:.................................................................................... E-mailaddress......................................................................

Can you think of a better place to spend your Christmas than the North Cotswolds? The grey, concrete expanses of English cities just don’t have the same allure: the traditions of the festive season seem to demand more scenic, even rustic, surroundings. Last holiday the rural landscape was wonderfully white – perhaps even a shade too white for many, as hills, valleys and villages were smothered in snow. As the cold stuff piled up against our doors, the working world skidded to a halt – it was a frosty ordeal for countryside commuters but, for the inner child in all of us, a cause to rejoice! Of course, allowing for the possibility of yet more ‘picturesque’ weather conditions, you’ll want to make sure that your calendar is well stuffed. Not to worry - within these pages, you’ll find a fine breakdown of festive events. Need inspiration for the prospect of epic Chrismas shopping? Don’t forget that you can use your very own free Cotswold Homes Privilege Card to claim on many free local discounts and offers! It’s certainly an essential item for the wallet - especially at this time of year. By making good use of this lovely little card, we can all help to make this season a prosperous one for our local businesses. Have a Merry Cotswold Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Address.................................................................................. ...............................................................................................

Matt Dicks, Editor, Cotswold Homes






Every Christmas, Bourton finds itself aglow with good cheer. Midwinter sees the village transformed into a festive spectacle of light and colour, its quaint high street shop fronts festooned with glowing decorations. Year after year, a huge Christmas tree stands ceremoniously in the waters of the River Windrush, like a beacon of seasonal cheer and goodwill to all. It’s a heart-warming scene, and the atmospheric backdrop for the beloved annual Fayre. In anticipation of this event, Cotswold-Homes spoke to David Lancaster, of the Christmas Fayre committee, who was eager to share his excitement with us.


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‘The profusion of lights reflecting in the rippling river water creates a scene never to be forgotten,’ he enthused. ‘Local inns report a great many repeat bookings and the event typically draws thousands. This year you can expect to see bespoke shops, boutiques and stalls offering a fantastic range of gifts – and make sure that you keep an eye out for a sumptuous hog roast, children’s roundabout, stilt-walking reindeer, Santa’s grotto, barrel organ, brass band, snow machine and the town crier!

‘On the first Friday of December every year the village centre comes alive for the grand opening. Visitors start pouring in from dusk onwards, but the evening officially starts at 6:00pm when the lights on our famous Christmas tree in the River Windrush are turned on and the festivities begin (we do hope that Father Christmas will be helping us with that again this year!). The shops will be open, the streets packed with stalls, all offering an array of Christmas gifts, goodies and mouth-watering titbits.’


The Traditional Christmas Fayre, until recently known as the Victorian Evening, has this year undergone a re-branding to allow the possibility of including other historic themes. David foresees a time when the village might host medieval banquets, 70s rock festivals or ancient midwinter celebrations. ‘We’re keen for this to be seen as a family and community event. The Fayre’s not just about shopping – we want children (and husbands!) to be as excited by the attractions and atmosphere as possible.’


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‘The Traditional Christmas Fayre is a must for everyone who loves the yuletide season, with the senses bombarded by festive sights, sounds, tastes and smells... After attending the Fayre, you’ll know that the Christmas season has really begun. And anyone who disagrees should, in the words of Ebenezer Scrooge, ‘be boiled with his own pudding and buried with a sprig of holly through his heart!’’



PENGUIN-CAMS AND WINTER CARE AT BIRDLAND Thanks to Bourton on the Water’s famous Birdland, the Cotswolds now hosts many unusual and exotic creatures. We spoke to Simon Blackwell to find out how they fare against the challenges of a chilly British Christmas – and how you can watch the famous penguins from the comfort of your own home.

Hello Simon. Birdland is home to many exotic species - how do they fare over the winter period? Do any of them require additional care? Birdland has over 500 birds representing 130 species, from finches through to pelicans and all seem to have different requirements depending on which part of the world or habitat they originate. Generally the more delicate species will be housed inside during the winter months and the rest will be supplied with shelter and heating as is required. There will also be some dietary changes and the keepers are more active, thawing padlocks and breaking ice. We also have to look after the wild birds in the Nature area by supplying many feeding stations, especially during heavy snow and freezing conditions. We understand that you’ve developed an exciting new feature - the Penguin Cam? The Penguin Cam, which was funded by ExploreGloucestershire, was an idea we had to allow people to watch the penguins 24/7. In the UK there are only King Penguins at Birdland and Edinburgh Zoo, so it is a rare opportunity to observe this species and they are large enough to be viewed reasonably on the screen especially at 2.30 pm every day when they are fed. Incidentally we are going to add a new webcam for 2012 so the Greater Flamingos can also be observed throughout the year, including

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their active courtship displays. Were the penguins at liberty to enjoy the heavy snows of last year’s Christmas? Christmas 2010 saw some heavy snow which closed the Park for a week and although we lost a few aviaries all the birds were fine. The penguins would seem the beneficiaries of such extreme conditions and the Kings were seen to be tobogganing or just standing in the snow - not once did they seem even slightly cold! The Humboldt penguins which originate from Peru preferred to hide in their nestbox burrows or stay in the water as they are used to cold water but not snow. Is it true that the Bourton penguins have featured in movies? It is true that some years ago, under a previous ownership, some of the penguins were flown to America to take part in a Batman film. It was probably a good stunt at the time, but we now know that movement of birds can cause a lot of stress. We still undertake filming for different wildlife TV programmes, but we never allow the birds to be moved from their enclosure. How can people become involved with the care of your animals? There are several ways that visitors can now

involve themselves with the birds at Birdland. The first would be to adopt one of our birds, which is an ideal gift - full details are now on our website. Also available are day experiences - either ‘Feed a Penguin’ or ‘Keeper for a Day’. We have just opened our Encounter Zone which should be in full swing for 2012 where visitors can interact with spiders, snakes, owls and more, including ‘Reptile Awareness’, ‘Bird of Prey Encounters’ and ‘Meet a Keeper’ . For schools we run a Work Experience programme and we are just starting a volunteer programme to help expand our educational resource and to assist the keepers. What are the issues facing British birdlife today? How can the average person help? This is a large issue that has many opinions and explanations. The obvious would be to talk about weather change, farming techniques, building practices, highways etc. The best way to help bird life in the UK, for everyone who enjoys watching any form of animal in their garden, is to supply them with a feeding station. Just ensure that it is fit-for-purpose - please make sure that all receptacles used to offer the food are cleaned regularly as old food and dirty feeders are more detrimental than no food at all!




Cotswold Homes Magazine

A First Class Education

A First Class


Ofsted Report heaps praise on The Cotswold School at Bourton on the Water The Cotswold School, which achieved Academy status in September 2010, is a popular, happy and successful 11-18 school set in beautiful rural surroundings between Cheltenham and Oxford. Whilst it serves the North Cotswolds, an excellent reputation for academic success attracts students from the surrounding counties of Oxfordshire, Warwickshire and Worcestershire. It currently hosts around 1200 students, including over 250 pupils in its highly successful sixth form, which year-on-year sends students to the highest ranking universities.

that this is a ‘truly exceptional school’. At the heart of the school, inspectors observed ‘a blazing passion to ensure every student is able to be the best they can’. This passion shapes the very highest expectations of the 950 pupils in the main school and 250 in the Sixth Form and builds an academic excellence that consistently ranks amongst the top comprehensive schools in national league tables. At A-Level A*/B rates exceed 60% and A*-C rates exceed 80%, whilst at GCSE in 2011 over one third of all entries were at the top A*/A grades with 91% of students achieving 5-15 A*-C grades.

The school has become a fixture in lists of top state schools at GCSE and A Level. The most recent Ofsted inspection judged the school to be Outstanding in every single category, concluding

‘Inspiring teaching’, an ‘outstanding curriculum’, ‘exemplary behaviour’ and ‘very positive relationships’ are all identified as the ingredients that make The Cotswold School such an

enjoyable and exciting place to learn. As a specialist Language and Science College, a new Outstanding Academy and with state-of-the-art facilities in such a beautiful rural location, The Cotswold School is a unique blend of innovation and traditional values. Over the past 15 years the school has won well over £10 million of capital investment which has financed the construction of a Sixth Form Centre, Astro turf tennis courts and a Sports Hall, a new English Block, Science Laboratories, a Music Centre, Design rooms and the commencement of the 10 classroom Mathematics department - in total this equates to 35 classrooms. We can’t wait to see what new developments will serve a new generation of Cotswold children in the years to come.



Curiouser and Curiouser Reflections on a childhood spent in eccentric Bourton-on-the-Water. With its array of curious attractions and restful atmosphere, Bourton was the perfect playground for a slightly over-imaginative child. As I waded in the River Windrush I could imagine that the stones and fragments of piping underfoot were the skeletal remains of some extinct beast (though as it happens, Neolithic human bones unearthed from beneath my old primary school suggest that this area has been a settlement since prehistoric times). When I entered my teens, the pleasures of visiting the model railway were replaced by the dubious thrills of loitering around the petrol station forecourt. By the time I became an ‘adult’, I was keen to savour the very different excitements offered by a city university – safe in the knowledge that Bourton would remain largely unchanged on my return. In many ways, the village seems tailor-made for children. Yet it serves as more than an attraction for parents seeking half-term entertainment for tykes – it makes a clear appeal to the inner child in all of us. Whilst duly delivering a nostalgic impression of a

bygone Britain, the village also tantalises our sense of wonder, exhibiting an impish desire to confound expectations. After all, how many other rural English villages can be said to contain penguins and miniaturised replicas of themselves? Most appropriately, Bourton remains home to children’s star Brum. During the opening of his television show, this little, living vintage car would leave the comfort of the Motor Museum in pursuit of adventure, weaving through the crowds of milling tourists and over the iconic bridges as he made his departure. Every morning before school, I would scrutinise the television screen in case I had been somehow captured on camera as Brum trundled

“Whilst duly delivering a nostalgic impression of a bygone Britain, the village also tantalises our sense of wonder, exhibiting an impish desire to confound expectations.”

past. Even a cameo from one of my friends would have satisfied – but alas, I was always disappointed. At least I could indulge in the reflected glory of having my village broadcast daily on national television. There is some suggestion that children’s author Lewis Carroll might have visited Bourton (or thereabouts), and several of the village’s attractions could attest to his influence – the Model Village, for instance, makes one feel exactly how Alice must have felt after drinking some of Wonderland’s miraculous growing potion. The Dragonfly Maze, masterminded by artist Kit Williams, shares a Carroll-like delight in myth, riddle and visual trickery, and Birdland contains an encyclopaedia of odd-looking species (some of them appearing in the Wonderland stories). On the high street, there’s a clear Wonderland theme running through, with the likes of the Mad Hatter Tearoom and the White Rabbit gift shop. The comparison with Carroll’s books is a good one, as Bourton’s eclecticism can seem eccentric at times (an especially surreal moment comes as you realise that the model village also contains a model model village). Of course, the character of any place is founded on the strength of its community, and it is here that the village truly shines through. Though Bourton’s fortunes are plainly founded on its ability to charm and attract visitors, its backbone is doubtlessly the people behind the fairytale front. The two local schools provide an excellent standard of education, meaning that Bourton alumni go on to do all kinds of amazing, inspiring things. It’s not just a place to take the family, but also a great place actually, to bring one up. Whilst it may not be the first place you’d chose to reflect quietly on the splendour of the countryside, its playful character and unique spirit truly set it apart – even from the rest of the Cotswolds. If the whole place were to mysteriously vanish overnight, it has supplied me with enough fond memories to last a lifetime. MD


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Local spook-seeker Edward Charnel provides a guided tour of Bourton’s bloody history hardened of sceptics can learn an interesting thing or two from him about the village’s past. Do you know the story of why there are two clocks on the church tower? Have you heard about the town’s former witchcraft museum, or where the village’s old whipping post went? Perhaps you’d be interested in the criminal origins of the phrase ‘every Tom, Dick and Harry’, or why an old German gun kept getting thrown in the river? Or maybe you’d like to know where to find a stone that will predict the weather? Edward will illuminate all, and what I hear is apparently only a snippet of his full routine. He even tells of one superstition particular to Bourton-on-the-Water; that the placing of a live pigeon under one’s bed would ensure the survival of a sick loved-one – at least long enough to say one’s goodbyes. But there was one local mystery I wanted answering above all others: Why is there a stone skull and crossbones set on the keystone over ‘Tis the season to be spooky, and when I meet up with Edward Charnel I find that his supernatural sideline as a ghostly tour guide is keeping him in demand: BBC Oxford are due to arrive to film him at work immediately after we finish the interview. He arrives to meet me at the war memorial dressed in full Goth regalia, compete with skull-capped cane, top hat and a set of vampire teeth hidden in a little box. ‘Do you want the teeth in for a photo?’ he says. ‘I won’t wear them during the tour. They interfere with my storytelling…’ During the walk I learn a lot – a whole lot – about the village’s past, enough to make me embarrassed about my ignorance. For somebody who has grown up here, there’s an awful amount I don’t know about my old hometown. As it turns out, there’s a whole world of myth and superstition hidden behind the quaint façade. Bourton is an old settlement, very old, with remains unearthed here dating back to Neolithic

“...we agree that some things really should remain a mystery.” times. Chewed human bones have been discovered, suggesting ancient (perhaps even ritual) acts of cannibalism: you won’t find that in the tourist brochure. Despite his vampiric appearance, Edward is a pleasant intermediary between the world of past and present, paranormal and, er, normal. Whether or not you believe that evil fairies once sailed down the River Windrush by using eggshells as tiny coracles, or that there really is the ghost of a brick (yes, a brick) haunting a local restaurant, there’s no doubt that even the most

the door to the church of St. Lawrence? With its eroded jaw and empty sockets, the grisly icon seemed to glower at me on my childhood journey home from school – an all-too-early reminder of my mortality. ‘It could be something to do with the Knights Templar, or buried plague victims; but there’s no real record of that,’ says Edward. ‘It’s anyone’s guess, really.’ And with that as our final stop, we agree that some things really should remain a mystery.


The Cotswold Festival


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Wildlife Photography by Adam Tatlow

Two hares skip together through snowbound Gloucestershire - an uncommon sight. Adam’s work as a gamekeeper means that he is able to witness the behaviour of all kinds of Cotswold wildlife. Deciding to capture these beautiful and fleeting instances on film, he now sells his work as limited edition prints. See more of his photography at 16

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oUR CoTswold RiveRs

Renewed hoPe FoR RaTTy and FRiends Rescuing the Water Vole, by Will Masefield, Cotswold Community Wildlife Officer

Cotswold rivers... Our

When Kenneth Grahame penned the classic Wind in the Willows, he could not have predicted the dangers that lay ahead for Ratty and his beloved river bank. It would not be for several decades that Ratty’s arch enemies would appear regularly on the scene, but when they did, the water rat (now known more accurately as the water vole) and his relatives would be decimated beyond the gloomiest expectations of conservationists, nature-lovers and children’s novelists. Due to predation by introduced American mink, and to habitat degradation and fragmentation of populations along our rivers, the water vole


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is now rare; terribly rare. It is so rare, in fact, as to be extinct in Devon and Cornwall, and to be heading that way in most other areas, with around 90% of previously inhabited sites now devoid of water voles. Sadly, this picture is mirrored in the Cotswolds, but there are plenty of reasons, without depressing you too much this festive season, for optimism. So, having taken in the bleak picture of an iconic native mammal on the brink of extinction, and having experienced a shiver of

disquiet at this lamentable situation, now allow yourself to feel a warm glow of hope, like the trickle of a hot tap near your toe in a tepid bath. We still have water voles in the Cotswolds, and although these populations are isolated and vulnerable, there are opportunities to enhance their habitat and ultimately to connect them. With partners, local landowners and communities, Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust, through its Cotswold Rivers Living Landscape programme, is building a future for this beleaguered river mammal in the Cotswolds. What’s most exciting about this initiative (and at this point please feel free to allow the warm glow of optimism to infuse your whole body, with the exception, perhaps, of your extremities) is that local people are taking a hand in enhancing their own rivers for wildlife. Volunteers in the Cotswolds, however little time or experience they have at their disposal, are turning out to make a real difference, by enhancing river habitats, controlling invasive plants and also receiving training in wildlife identification and survey techniques.

“The Water Vole is so rare, in fact, as to be extinct in Devon and Cornwall, and to be heading that way in most other areas, with around 90% of previously inhabited sites now devoid of water voles.” The Cotswold Rivers Living Landscape programme, supported by a Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) award of £48,600, is already making a really positive contribution to our river wildlife, and it isn’t just Ratty’s descendents who are benefiting, but a whole suite of plants and animals such as bats, owls and kingfishers, as well as local schoolchildren and communities. We want to help people understand, enjoy and value their wildlife heritage, and ultimately maybe even our extremities can feel that warm glow of optimism

- even in the depths of a Cotswold winter! If you would like to know more about the programme, or volunteer with us at your leisure, do contact me at will.masefield@ ring me on 07793 307056, or look us up on Facebook at www. Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust, www. Registered charity no. 232580




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asK The eXPeRTs


� A � G N I S U HO G O H E G D HE IT’S A DIFFICULT LIFE FOR HEDGEHOGS THESE DAYS. NOT ONLY DO THEY HAVE TO CONTEND WITH NATURAL PREDATORS LIKE FOXES, HEDGEHOGS NOW FACE HAVING THEIR WOODLAND HOMES DESTROYED BY BUILDING WORKS AND ARE OFTEN INJURED OR POISONED BY PESTICIDES AND HUMAN WASTE. MANY ALSO LOSE THEIR LIVES BY SIMPLY CROSSING OUR BUSY ROADS. But you can help! By creating a safe space for a hedgehog to live, you will be providing valuable shelter and keeping him away from the many threats presented by the modern world. you can attract a hedgehog to your garden by growing a ‘wild’ corner. letting plants grow and leaving out small dishes of cat food and water will help coax a hedgehog into spending the winter with you! Make sure there are no tins, glass jars, pesticides or slug pellets around as these could harm the hedgehog. But remember - if you see a hedgehog out in the daytime, he is probably ill – particularly if he doesn’t curl up into a ball. ask a parent to help you take him to a vet! whatever the nature of your accommodation, make sure the entrance hole is 10cm square – otherwise, the poor hedgehog will be vulnerable to foxes, dogs and cats!








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If you live in or have ever visited the Cotswolds, chances are you have some memory of its wonderfully preserved steam railway. With the Cheltenham – Honeybourne line first constructed and expanded in the early twentieth century, restoration work began in the 1980s with the intention of returning the service to its former splendour – and it has been put to work, delighting visitors ever since. For years, the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway has been one of our area’s best-loved attractions, tended and operated by a community of local well-wishers and enthusiasts. This railway offers visitors the rare opportunity to learn to drive a steam engine, hire a carriage for events and ride directly to the horse racing at Cheltenham. It even runs a very special Christmas service featuring none other a giftbearing Father Christmas. Faithfully preserved, the Gloucester Warwickshire Railway is operated on the goodwill of some 640 volunteers and is one of the last opportunities 21st century commuters have to enjoy travelling by steam train. 75,000 passengers are carried each year and company turnover exceeds £1 million. Sadly, this one-of-a-kind steam heritage railway has been imperiled by two untimely embankment collapses. Last Christmas, much-needed revenue was lost when the Santa Service had to be cancelled. The GWR needs to raise a total of £1,000,000 to repair the affected areas and ensure the future of the service. They’re over halfway there, but they still need any help that our readers are able to offer – no matter how small the contribution! Details of the appeal can be found on – alongside a wealth of beautiful photographs, railway history and other information. There are also plenty of opportunities for volunteers to lend a hand!


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“This railway offers visitors the rare opportunity to learn to drive a steam engine...”

“The GWR needs to raise a total of £1,000,000 to repair the affected areas and ensure the future of the service.”


How can you help? The GWR welcomes all donations – no matter how large or small. • By credit card over the telephone - 01242 621405 • By cheque payable to GWSR Plc, Post to Emergency Appeal, The Railway Station, Toddington, Gloucs. GL54 5DT • By cheque to associated charity the GWRT to take advantage of Gift Aid if you are a taxpayer. Cheques payable to GWRT please! (Please note that to maximise donation benefit, GWR can only acknowledge receipt if you enclose a sae)


toddinGton steam

Take a Ride on the Gwr Details of the route passengers will take, as described on, an excellent archive of history, photographs and information about the railway.

“Note the absence of the ‘clickety-click’ from the wheels - a benefit for local residents!” ‘The railway offers a 20-mile round trip between Toddington and Cheltenham Racecourse, through some of the most spectacular scenery in the Cotswolds. As you leave Toddington, once a major fruit distribution centre, the train passes the workshops where our fleet of steam and diesel locomotives are maintained and restored. The journey then takes you past the village of Didbrook and the site of Hayles Abbey Halt which served the nearby Abbey (featured elsewhere in this very magazine! - Editor). Good views of the Cotswolds can be seen from both sides of the train, before arriving at Winchcombe station, which is actually at Greet, about a mile from the town. The station building here once stood at Monmouth Troy and was painstakingly dismantled, moved and rebuilt by volunteers. This is also the headquarters of our carriage and wagon department. Shortly after leaving Winchcombe the train enters Greet tunnel 26

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which, at 693 yards, is the second longest on a preserved railway. Emerging on to an embankment offering splendid views over the Vale of Evesham to the distant Malverns, the train passes the village of Gretton and hamlets of Stanley Pontlarge and Far Stanley. Not far away is the famous Prescott Hill Climb, home of the Bugatti Owners’ Club.

in 2003 to Bishop’s Cleeve - mature Scots Pine trees mark where the station once stood (closed 1960). Here, the train runs over what is believed to be the only continuously-welded section of line on a heritage railway. Note the absence of the ‘clickety-click’ from the wheels - a benefit for local residents! A housing estate now occupies what was the station yard.

After a long straight through Dixton cutting the train reaches Gotherington. The original station (closed 1955) is now a private home, but the owner has a number of interesting railway artefacts in his grounds, including the awardwinning ‘Gotherington West’ - an original ‘pagoda’ Great Western iron-built halt (no public access). If you are alighting at the new platform which, with its stone-built shelter, was built by volunteers, please move to one of the first two carriages. Leaving Gotherington, you may get a glimpse of Tewkesbury Abbey in the distance with the distinctive Malvern Hills beyond. Now the train descends over the extension completed

As the line approaches Cheltenham Racecourse, views of Cleeve Hill (the highest point of the Cotswolds) open up. Passing under Southam Lane, the racecourse comes into view before entering the station, which was opened by HRH The Princess Royal in April 2003. There is a new platform level building here with toilet facilities (including facilities for disabled visitors). The original and unique Swindon-built pre-fabricated station building, reached by a ramp, is perched high above the track at road level. The station once again fulfils its original purpose - bringing race-goers for important meetings such as the Cheltenham Gold Cup.’

JarGon BUster: A Rider’s Guide

Like many organisations, the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway has its own ‘industry jargon’. This can be confusing for many visitors and sometimes results in media stories beset with misunderstandings. Railway terminology common to Network Rail and other heritage railways as well as the GWR - presents some mystifying words and phrases to those unfamiliar with them. What on earth is a ‘fishplate’, or a ‘shark’? Well, let’s find out! ‘Coffee Pot’ Colloquial term applied locally to the locomotive and autotrailer combination that once worked local trains between Cheltenham and Honeybourne. Dogfish A special type of hopper wagon designed to carry ballast. It has a capacity of 24 tons and is equipped with chutes to allow the ballast to fall on to the track. Fishplate, Fishbolt Nothing to do with fish! Fishplates are heavy steel bars each with four holes, used to connect rail ends together. Four fishbolts pass through first one fishplate, the ‘web’ of the rail and through a fishplate on the opposite side, then tightened up using special nuts. The fishplates are greased regularly to allow the rail ends to expand and contract during extremes of temperature. Headshunt A length of track that allows shunting movements to be made in to and out of sidings. Shark Not the ‘Jaws’ type, but a brake van equipped with ploughs, which can be raised or lowered to level off tipped ballast. Sleeper Lengths of timber or pre-stressed concrete on to which the rails are fixed. Concrete sleepers - which are almost maintenance-free - are now used extensively used by the GWR. Staff or Token A vital safety device handed by the signalman to the driver or fireman of a train entering a single-track line. Train The collective term for the coaches or wagons being pulled by a locomotive (‘the train is being pulled by a steam locomotive’) or for the combined ensemble of locomotive and carriages / wagons. A locomotive should not normally be singly referred to as a ‘train’. For example:


What on earth is a ‘fishplate’, or a ‘shark’? Well, let’s find out!



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Cotswold Homes Magazine

Christmas in the Cotswolds


Cotswold Homes Magazine

Christmas in the

Cotswolds 2011

Blessings of the Season from the Rev Veronica James, Area Dean of the North Cotswolds.

Services you might like to come along to in some of your Church of England parish churches in the Cotswolds:

Christmas in the Cotswolds is like the verse from the carol:

Advent Carol Service: Sunday 27th November 4pm Lower Slaughter

‘As with gladness men of old Did the guiding star behold As with joy they hailed the light, Leading onward, beaming bright, So, most gracious God, may we Evermore be led to Thee.’ Our churches stand out on the hills and in the vales like beacons welcoming in the Christmas season of goodwill. It is a time of coming together, returning for the holiday, sharing with the villages and towns, in all that enriches lives and fills us with the joy of the Christ Child. As each week of Advent passes in December, we light another candle on our Advent Wreath in our Cotswold churches; one for the Prophets, one for John the Baptist, one for Joseph and one for Mary the mother of Jesus, before we then light the candle for Christ on Christmas morning. Our Cotswold churches are a reminder to us all that they have been here for centuries, witnessed many Christmas Festivals - and now it is our turn. We will walk down the aisle and take up our place just like those who have done before. With the mince pies, mulled wine and memories taking away the chill in the air, our hearts will be warmed. Our carols will be sung, bells will ring out, Christmas trees lit and we will celebrate together.

Family Christingle Service: Sunday 11th Decemeber 11am Guiting Power Christmas Carol Services: Friday 16th December 6.30pm Guiting Power Sat 17th December 5pm Cutsdean 6.30pm Naunton Sun 18th December 2.45pm Lower Slaughter, 4.30pm Temple Guiting 6.30pm Upper Slaughter Sat 24th December 7pm Farmcote Christmas Eve Communions: Saturday 24th December 9.30pm Temple Guiting 11.30pm Naunton 11.30pm Upper Slaughter Christmas Day Services: Sunday 25th December 9am Lower Slaughter Holy Communion 10.15am Guiting Power Family Service 11.30am Cutsdean Holy Communion

Every Blessing - Veronica


tried and tested

Tried and tested

The Cotswold


Anna’s Christmas Family Favourites

Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat... and there are some things we really shouldn’t skimp on. Supermarket pigs-in-blankets may be fine but roast turkey is so much better with a freshly made stuffing; a home-made Christmas cake will knock spots off shop-bought and a fabulous pudding - sweet, chocolatey and creamy - will be the culinary highlight of any festive feast. Here, Anna Arnell shares a few time-honoured, tried-and-tested favourite family recipes, including a quick-and-easy apple chutney to go with all those lovely leftovers on Boxing Day.

“A good Christmas is inextricably linked with the provision of food, meaning that expectations for the big feast can be pretty high. But that doesn’t mean it needs to be stressful, just as long as you really like to eat what you are cooking. The recipes that I’ve selected reflect the things that I really associate with Christmas and that the family couldn’t do without; the cake and the stuffing, for instance, are some of my husband Rich’s non-negotiables! Cooking for this occasion can be a daunting process, but I try to bear in mind that if I can roast a chicken then I can just about manage its overgrown cousin, the dreaded turkey!” Anna Arnell

Green Stuffing: From Josceline Dimbleby’s cookbook ‘Cooking For Christmas’ published in 1978 and now out of print. Ingredients: 1lb (450g) thin leeks, finely sliced 8oz (225g) spring greens, chopped 2 large cloves garlic, minced 1 large bunch parsley, finely chopped 4oz (120g) butter 1 tbsp fresh tarragon, chopped 2 tsp bottled green peppercorns 4oz (120g) fresh brown breadcrumbs 1 large egg, beaten well salt & pepper Method: Melt half the butter in a large frying pan and fry the leeks gently until soft. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, then add the greens and cook them for 1 minute. At this point in goes the remaining butter, the herbs and the peppercorns and mix well. Turn out into a bowl and add the breadcrumbs, beaten egg and seasoning. Use straight away.


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No-Cook Apple Glut Chutney:

Christmas Cake:

Chocolate Pavlova:

I think that this recipe might have originally come from BBC Good Food magazine, it was scribbled down for me on a piece of paper by a friend of mine. I have taken some liberties with her version and this is my own version, accordingly:

This is originally from ‘How To Be A Domestic Goddess’ by Nigella Lawson. I have slightly tweaked the recipe and now use ginger wine rather than brandy or sherry.

From Nigella Lawson’s ‘Forever Summer’.

Ingredients: 900g (2lbs) apples, peeled and cored 450g (1lb) onions 450g (1lb) dried apricots or dried figs 450g (1lb) sultanas 450g (1lb) brown sugar 2 tsp ground ginger 1 tsp coriander 1 tsp sea salt 450ml white wine vinegar Method: • Chop the apples, onions and apricots or figs into small cubes. Bear in mind that this isn’t going to be cooked and so the size and shape of your cubes will determine the texture of the final chutney. You can chop them up one by one in the food processor (although be careful not to whizz them up to a pulp) or you can practise your knife skills and create little dolly mixture sized cubes like me. • Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl and leave to marinate for 1-2 days, stirring occasionally. • Put into warm, clean jars and keep for a month or so before eating. A note on cleaning the jars: As this chutney isn’t cooked it is really important to make sure that the jars are completely clean. I put my jars through the dishwasher and then boil them to sterilise, but I still keep the chutney in the fridge to be on the safe side - it seems to store this way for a good 12 months, beyond that I don’t know as we’ve eaten it all by that point!

Ingredients: 700g sultanas 225g raisins 110g currants 120g glace cherries 100g mixed peel 120ml ginger wine 225g butter 195g brown sugar 1 tsp orange zest 1 tsp lemon zest 4 large eggs 2 tbsp orange marmalade 350g plain flour 1 tsp mixed spice + ½ tsp cinnamon + ½ tsp nutmeg or 2 tsp of mixed spice Method: • Soak the dried fruit overnight in the ginger wine using a large covered bowl or kilner jar. • Preheat the oven to 150°C/gas mark 2. • Line a 23cm round tin (20cm square) with at least two layers of baking paper, coming well up above the rim of the tin, to prevent scorching. • Cream the butter and sugar, beat in the orange and lemon zest, then add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each one, and finally the marmalade. • Sift the dry ingredients together, add to the creamed mixture, then add the fruit. • Pour and scrape into the well-wrapped-up tin, level off the top and then bake in the preheated oven for 3-3½ hours, or until a skewer comes out clean. • As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, brush the top with more ginger wine and wrap up the whole thing, tin and all, in foil. The cake will steam gently inside the foil, preventing it from drying out. • When the cake is completely cool, you can wait until the next day, unwrap completely, brush over with ginger wine again, and re-wrap with baking parchment and foil before storing in a cake tin until the week before Christmas. Then you can give it its final booze feed and decorate with marzipan and icing.

Ingredients: 6 egg whites 300g caster sugar 3 tbsp cocoa powder, sifted 1 tsp balsamic or red wine vinegar 50g dark chocolate, finely chopped Topping: 500ml double cream 500g raspberries 2-3 tbsp coarsely grated dark chocolate Method: • Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4 • Beat the egg whites to satiny peaks and then add the sugar a spoonful at a time and keep beating until the meringue is stiff and shiny. • Add the sieved cocoa, the vinegar and the chopped chocolate and fold in carefully until the cocoa is incorporated. • Spoon onto a baking sheet, making a rough circle approx 23cm in diameter. • Put into the oven, turn temperature down to 150°C/gas mark 2 and cook for 1-1.25 hours at which point the outside will be dry, but the inside will still be squidgy. • Leave to cool in the oven with the oven door propped open (I put a folded tea towel in the door to keep it open). • To serve, flip the pavlova over onto a plate so that the squidgy bottom is on the top. Cover with beaten cream and raspberries and decorate with grated chocolate.


Boxing Day Clever

Fairweather Family Food

Boxing Day Clever

Born and bred in the Cotswolds, Collette Fairweather lives with her husband Oliver in the village of Longborough, celebrating Boxing Day with her extended family. Here, she shares some valuable tips on how to produce luxurious, delicious buffet food with the minimum of effort. After the strain of culinary masterpieces on Christmas Day, Boxing Day always arrives with a contented sigh of relief, as I can prepare so much in advance, an array of delights produced for maximum impact but with minimal effort! Coronation Turkey, for example synonymous with Boxing Day, the simplest of creations! Slice an onion, fry with 2 teaspoons of mild curry powder until soft, throw in a jar of mango chutney, a tub of Greek yoghurt, ½ pint of double cream, 1 tbsp mayo and tomato puree/ketchup. Warm through. The big question: to add sultanas or not? My husband is convinced it’s not coronation sauce without! Serve hot in a large jug with sliced, cold turkey. You can even freeze the sauce – just defrost slowly at room temperature. Dauphinoise Potatoes also freeze well. My cheat – for the creamy sauce, fry a thinly diced onion with a clove of garlic, a few


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dried mixed herbs, add a generous pint of double cream and heat through. Peel and thinly slice potatoes; arrange layers of potatoes, grated cheddar and sauce in a greased dish, cover with greaseproof paper and foil, bake until tender (approx 1 hr), remove foil/paper and crisp up for 10 mins. Baked Brie is lovely served with a spoon and crusty bread: use a whole brie, place in an ovenproof dish of similar size, scrape away the top, poke in some fresh rosemary & sliced garlic, drizzle with white wine, bake for about 20 mins until it bubbles and oozes. Glazed Ham is easy and special. Just peel back the thick layer of fat on a boiled ham, criss-cross the thin layer below. Mix together Dijon and wholegrain mustards and soft brown sugar as a thick paste, smear over the ham and roast in a medium oven for max ½ hour. Don’t worry if it burns a little around the edges, it’s

caramelising and adds character! Roast Salmon always graces our table. When buying salmon, ask for the sides to be trimmed and pin bones removed. Massage the fish salt, pepper, dried tarragon, chives and parsley with lemon-infused olive oil, don’t cover - just roast in a medium oven for half an hour. Serve with good, shop-bought mayonnaise mixed with lemon zest and chopped parsley. Brighten up your table with blanched, chilled, crunchy French beans, tossed in traditional French dressing: olive oil, white wine vinegar and Dijon mustard. Drizzle olive oil over on-the-vine cherry tomatoes, sprinkle with salt, roast until they blister, then snip into little bunches onto a platter. Dot around bowls of leafy salad, pickles and chutneys, and let guests simply serve themselves!


Diary oF an eQUeStrian laDy


‘Hare’ of the Dog, anyone? Collette Fairweather reflects on the seasonal rituals that bind family and Cotswold community together Having lived in the Cotswolds all my life, our Christmas rituals seem to me as established as our heavenly Cotswold honey-coloured stone. Here, holiday traditions present an excellent excuse to join the family and head on out into the wider community.

It’s the opportunity to see all the wonderful faces of friends, all gathered here on this particular morning to laugh and recount the excitements of the day before. I watch our children relentlessly chasing the beagles, with the kennel hands calling each hound back by name.

For as many years as I can remember, our Boxing Day festivities have commenced in Upper Slaughter – a truly picturesque village, steeped in the past. It’s the place where the Dummer Beagles congregate for a most historic and seasonal sport. In the Slaughter vista, the mid-morning frost gives way to the winter sunshine, with the sun so low in the sky that it seems to burn through the trees. The lake below, surrounded by rolling hills, maintains its frozen borders, reminding us all that we are stuck fast in the grip of winter.

It’s only after a flurry of speeches that the hounds are really let off, tearing through the open countryside like wild things. Those who wish to work off this season’s calories chase on after them, dashing over the hills and far out of sight. Well, what better way to banish the fat of yesterday’s turkey? But it’s not the only benefit that being here brings.

Everyone has their own way of keeping the chill from their hearts. For some, it may be mince pies or warming port. For others, perhaps it’s the opportunity to watch the fashion parade of brand new Christmas clothing. For me, it’s another comfort that drags me from my hard-won slumber on what should be considered a day of rest.


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Having such an event at the climax of the local calendar is a timely reminder of the privilege that each one of us enjoys, living in an area as beautiful, as historic as this. These festive traditions inevitably recall the people who have gone before - the lives and customs that must have been shared throughout the passage of time. As the New Year approaches, I can join with my loved ones and give silent thanks at the dawning of another year we’ll spend here, together.

Plagued by chattering teeth and spreading frost? Why not dust off your gowns and dinner jackets and head off to a large tent in a field? The North Cotswold Hunt Ball brings you some unseasonal warmth with their Sahara-themed night on Sat 3rd December at Nayles Barn - after dinner tickets are still available. CotswoldHomes will be there, so look out for an exclusive photo spread in our next magazine issue! Field and Style in Stow on the Wold launched 3rd November, a new shop filled with dressage necessities and frivolities. Owner Heather Sumner hosted a sparkling evening, introducing her charming new products to keen amateurs and equestrian royalty. We wish Heather a Happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year! Never has the sweet smell of leather tack, the distinctive aroma of horse and the faint whiff of manure been more appealing than with Durham’s Farm Riding School’s privilege card offers this month. With lessons and hacks half price for new riders and three lessons for the price of two, why not treat yourself or give the perfect Christmas gift for all children and big kids alike?

village notiCeBoarD

Village notiCeBoarD Your Discerning Cotswold Christmas Calendar

Make a gift, judge a tree, have a flutter, shop at night: There’s plenty to keep you busy before the big day, so put down the turkey baster and start pencilling in those festive diaries! Firstly, a reminder - don’t forget to check this issue’s listing of traditional Carol and Christmas services as supplied by the Area Dean of Gloucestershire, Veronica James. If there’s one thing the Cotswolds excels at, it’s a community Christmas – a truly picturesque coming together of neighbours, friends and family. You’ll find that there are plenty of opportunities around to reflect on tradition and share in the good tidings. Now, onto the activities: from the 1st to the 31st of December - the Little Paper Pop Up Gallery runs at Cirencester’s New Brewery Arts Gallery, offering canny Cotswoldian creatives the chance to craft their very own Christmas gifts (see for more details). Want to support fledgling creativity within the community? Make sure to visit the Christmas Tree Festival featuring entries decorated by the children of Stow-on-the-Wold, with public voting determining the winning trees (9th- 11th December, St. Edwards Church, Stow-on-the-Wold. £2 per ticket).

Ever felt curious about the origins of Father Christmas? Why not peer into the myth and superstition with ‘Who was St. Nicholas?’ - a curious talk held at the Moreton Area Centre (2 - 4pm, 15th December 15th – call 01608 650881 to book. £5.50 a ticket).

a spectacular two days of horse racing and hurdles at The International at Cheltenham Racecourse. There’s always the dim hope that a well-placed bet might cover the cost of Christmas excess – though perhaps not…!

All very well, but what about feasting, fun and seasonal revelry? On Friday 2nd of December, make sure you head down to Bourton-on-the-Water for the brightest and most magical of all our local Fayres. After the customary lighting of the tree at 6pm, a whole host of entertainments and attractions will keep hearts warm throughout the midwinter chill. Of course, one can hardly fail to notice this issue’s picture special of last year’s festivities – a hearty taster of what’s in store. Alternatively, Broadway also puts on an excellent display of traditional merriment with its two late night Christmas shopping evenings (Friday 25th November and Friday 2nd December 5.30 – 8.30 pm) featuring plenty of street entertainment. Of course, 10th – 11th December hosts

However you choose to spend the festive season, Cotswold-Homes hopes that it finds you full of good cheer. So have yourselves a Merry Christmas – and a Happy New Year.


What the Gamekeeper Saw


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Have yourself a merry little Weihnachtszeit Rachel White lives in Moreton in Marsh and loves a good Cotswold Christmas - but spent every childhood Christmas in Germany. Every time she sees a Christmas Tree, it brings back happy memories of a very traditional Christmas, German-style! “Most people know that the Christmas Tree was brought over from Germany by Prince Albert , Queen Victoria’s consort. My family Christmases, over the last 30 years, have been distinctly Anglo-German in flavour. During Advent, the first part of a two-part German Christmas, most families will have an advent wreath on their table, lighting one of four candles each Sunday. “This first part is the time for Germany’s famous Christmas markets, running from Advent through to Christmas Eve, occasionally to New Year – the larger ones are meccas for tourists worldwide but most are really town markets, just an excuse for people to get together, a glorified outdoor bar in the ice and snow! A few stalls will sell hand-crafted wooden toys or gifts - most have hot snacks and Glühwein, an alcoholic concoction made with soft fruits such as blackcurrants or cherries – often locally brewed, it can be fairly potent! “On the eve of 5th/6th December, German children leave their shoes outside their doors and this is when Nikolaus (Father Christmas) visits during the night, leaving presents. Christmas Eve, like most countries in Europe, is when family presents are exchanged after decorating

the tree. In our house, once the tree was festooned with real candles and decorations, our presents arranged beneath, everyone would leave the room and the door was shut, otherwise the Christkind (the Christ child) wouldn’t leave us presents! “Traditionally, German families sit down to a dinner of carp on Christmas Eve but now food for sharing is more popular – fondues, for example, or raclette (a table-top grill and individual pans to melt Swiss raclette cheese on top of potatoes). On Christmas Day and Boxing Day (called First and Second Christmas Day) most families visit relatives far and wide, sitting down together to eat a large meal with roast goose or turkey, and indulging in sweet Christmas treats – chocolate-covered or glazed gingerbread biscuits (Lebkuchen), thin spicy cinnamon biscuits (Spekulatius), a light Christmas fruit-bread with or without marzipan (Stollen)…and chocolate, lots of it!

“Have a lovely Christmas. Frohe Weihnachten!”



Country Health and Fitness:

Forget about all

the trimmings! Tim Spittle of Rapid FX explains how YOU can keep trim over this tempting time! The festive season is upon us again! Whether your year was one of fitness and well-being or simply a case of ‘about to get on track’, the overindulgent treats, drinks and full fat meals that tempt us take a heavy toll on our ever-expanding waist lines and result in many breathless climbs upstairs. With more and more cases of obesity, Type II diabetes and early menopause in women affecting those over forty, we must not drop our guard if we want to reach those golden years mobile, happy and full of vigour. We all enjoy a seasonal nibble, but overindulgence can lead to long-term, self-created health problems. So what can be done to combat excessive Christmas feasting? Well, it is recognized that we should carry out at least thirty minutes of steady exercise which leaves us breathless five days a week. Eating a varied diet of mainly low GI (slower-digesting) whole foods, fresh vegetables, fruit, grains, unsaturated fats (generally soluble at room temperature) along with lean meats and low fat dairy will also set you on the path to fitness. So switch off the computer, give your virtual self a rest and get back out there shopping at a brisk pace. 350 calories may be burnt in an afternoon on the high street – what an excellent excuse! Switch the TV off, gather the family and enjoy a good walk through some of our outstanding Cotswold countryside. The hills around Broadway, Bourton Woods and the Cotswold Way offer a superb, picturesque backdrop to a fat-burning family stroll. 40

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A one minute fast, one minute slow approach for 45 minutes will raise your metabolism and keep you burning fat for longer. For those who want to indulge a little bit more over the Christmas period but hold on to that jeans size, try thirty minute interval runs or power walks (45 seconds fast, 45 seconds recovery) three times a week and never put on a pound. Change bowls of sweets to more traditional unsalted nuts, switch full fat chocolate to dark chocolate and enjoy three squares a day (which can act as an appetite suppressant). Avoid mixing fat with sugars to reduce stacking on the pounds. Wine with a big carb-heavy meal is the road to disaster, yet the odd social glass on its own leaves a lighter footprint on your tummy. Keep Christmas dinner in check. Large quantities of fibrous green vegetables are just what you need. Pop on another slice of turkey and the higher protein will keep you feeling fuller for longer. Swap some of those roasties for delicious oven-roasted sweet potatoes and fill up the trifle with fruit. Make sure you drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration when consuming alcohol and salty meals. Enjoy Christmas and keep meal sizes sensible and alcohol in moderation then rest assured that those New Year’s fat-busting resolutions will come much easier. Try these three great body-firming exercises from the comfort of your own home:



“Switch off the computer, give your virtual self a rest and get back out there shopping at a brisk pace. 350 calories may be burnt in an afternoon on the high street – what an excellent excuse!”

Exercise 1: Place your hands flat on the floor and keep an equal distance between your knees (Fig. 1). Slightly pull your tummy in as you draw your knees towards your chest and kick back, then repeat at a moderate pace for high repetitions until you start to tire. Without changing your body position, hold the same leg out horizontal to the floor, bend it at the knee and point the heel upwards (Fig. 2). Make small pulses up and down until you tire or loose your shape from this position, taking care not to dip your back. Do both exercises back to back on the left side, then repeat on the right side for a great way to work your bottom. Exercise 2: Start by lying on your back, hands flat on the floor, raising one leg up as shown in the picture (Fig. 3). Engage your core muscles by comfortably drawing in your tummy towards your spine, gently pressing down with your hands. Breathe in through your nose and out through pursed lips and squeeze your pelvic floor. Then hold your hips level as you lower the raised leg to the same angle as the supporting leg and make small pulses up and own. 12-16 repetitions, repeat left & right 3 times to build your core stability and strengthen your mid section.



Exercise 3: Add this effective stretch to your home work-outs. Sit on the floor and gently curve both legs, trying to keep your feet and knees on the floor as shown on the picture (Figure 4). Place one arm behind you for support and raise the other, stretching towards the ceiling. Look up towards the extended hand and stretch for 20-30 seconds. Then repeat and do the same for the other side. (For Tim’s Privilege Card offer, turn to page 78) Photography by Antonia Deutsch




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COULD YOU EARN MORE FROM YOUR HOLIDAY HOME? Andy Soye and Matt Faraday are the owners of Character Cottages (www.character-cottages. com), an independent holiday letting company based in the North Cotswolds. They aim to offer a very different service to their clients, with greater flexibility and a great range of services designed to make life simpler for would-be holiday let landlords. In our “Ask The Experts” feature, Andy and Matt have looked at four cottages currently on the market for a purchaser hoping to find a second-home with some additional income from holiday-letting; here, we ask them about their company and exactly how they differ from other agencies. Your company is very different from more traditional holiday lettings agencies in that most others are quite restrictive, aren’t they, about the amount of time the owner can use their cottage and at what times of year? Yes, we do think we’re different. We founded Character Cottages because we were holiday home owners who were dissatisfied with the services provided by some of the larger holiday letting agents. We have specifically designed our business with the objective of enhancing our guests’ holiday experience whilst maximising owners’ profits, which includes being more flexible with pricing and allowing virtually any start and end days for guest breaks. How does your company differ in terms of the service you provide? What services do your clients find most helpful compared with a more traditional letting agency? A key feature of our business is that we will manage every aspect of letting a holiday home 44

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on behalf of the owner, should they wish us to, rather than just dealing with taking bookings. This full service offering is perfect for owners who want to maximise their profits from holiday lettings whilst minimising the effort they have to put in. We are particularly good at helping owners who do not live near their holiday properties and, in some cases, actually live abroad! What makes the ideal holiday cottage, in your opinion? A high quality holiday let in the Cotswolds should contain many of the following features: plenty of character, such as inglenook fireplaces, exposed brickwork and wooden beams; a child friendly, enclosed garden; well equipped, with sufficient and appropriate crockery, cutlery and kitchen equipment; located away from busy roads; within walking distance of a nice pub. Which villages in the North Cotswolds are top of your list as ideal holiday destinations? The North Cotswolds is blessed with numerous beautiful villages that are perfect holiday destinations. Outside the main market towns, we love Blockley, Ebrington, Great Rissington, Guiting Power and Kingham, to name just a few of these lovely villages. What advice would you give to someone setting out to let their cottage for the first time? Do you have a general list of do’s and don’ts, some bon mots of wisdom for anyone anxious about taking the plunge? Our key advice would be to talk to us first! Many

second-home owners are put off holiday letting by fear of the initial set up costs, followed by the on-going management and maintenance requirements. Character Cottages was set up to eliminate these concerns, enabling owners to maximise their profits whilst we do the hard work on their behalf. Indeed, one cottage we recently launched took over £10,000 of bookings in the first six weeks, which paid off the initial set-up costs a few times over! If you had to write a mission statement for your company, what would it be? Our aim is to be the first choice company in the Cotswolds for holiday home owners and guests alike. We want to build our reputation on the quality of the properties we take on, the provision of the broadest range of services to owners in the industry and the quality of the customer service that we provide to guests.

Andy Soye Character Cottages

Mat Faraday Character Cottages Visit Andy and Matt’s website:, or talk to them on 0844 870 8532 or e-mail them


Ask the experts... HOW TO FIND THE PERFECT PART-TIME HOLIDAY LET, PART SECOND HOME? HARRISON & HARDIE is the North Cotswold’s most renowned independent estate agency, having three offices specialising in the sale and letting of period and modern homes from bijou apartments to large, period, family properties. Everyone who works in the company has lived in the area for most, if not all of their lives - creating a team with wonderful knowledge and real understanding about the benefits of living in this beautiful part of the world, working on behalf of customers and clients to match the ideal home to the requirements of purchasers with a very long wish list!

Andy Soye owns an independent holiday let company, We asked him to give his opinion on the choices that the team put forward and to estimate what the properties might achieve, gross annual revenue and an average weekly price. He says: “In our assessment, we have worked on 45 bookings per annum, so one could say that the “average booking value” would be £X/45. It’s very difficult to give weekly prices - they change throughout the year and most bookings are not for a week, so as such they tend to be between 65 and 75% of the full price.”

We are looking for a traditional, period property to purchase as a second home and to use as an occasional holiday let. We need a minimum of three double bedrooms, somewhere to dine as a family (there are six of us), with a good, safe garden for our children to play, and off-road parking. Our budget is between £650,000 - £750,000.

“Full of traditional character including inglenook fireplaces and exposed beams” Tom Burdett is Branch Manager of HARRISON & HARDIE’s Moreton in Marsh branch. His choice is a chocolate-box thatched cottage, offered to the market at £695,000.

Tom says: “Emily’s Cottage is one of the most pictureperfect thatched cottages one could hope to find, a four-bedroom, period Cotswold stone property situated in the centre of the lovely village of Ebrington, not far from Chipping Campden. Full of traditional character including inglenook fireplaces, exposed beams and latched braced doors, the cottage enjoys an elevated position looking out over beautiful gardens, which are laid mainly to lawn and offer a great deal of privacy but with tantalising countryside views. These are most comfortably enjoyed from the octagonal, cedar summer house strategically placed at the far end of the garden.”




“Overall, Emily’s Cottage represents the best of both worlds”

“The cottage, once part of a row of tiny workers’ cottages, now inhabits the majority of Rosebank Terrace. Internally, the rooms are elegantly and traditionally furnished with ease of living in mind, including a fully fitted oak kitchen with polished granite work surfaces and a stone tiled floor, and to the opposite end a separate utility that could easily serve as a second kitchen or be converted into a ground floor shower room. There are two delightful reception rooms - a formal sitting room and a “snug”, both with views over the village and gardens and each with open inglenook fireplaces - and, off the kitchen a large, formal dining hall leading out onto a conservatory. “Upstairs, the bedrooms in the main part of the house are amply provided with an en-suite bathroom and a separate shower room. A luxurious master bedroom is approached by its own separate staircase, a galleried landing area and en-suite bathroom - the current


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owners have commissioned a fitted, four-poster, bespoke king size bed (available to purchase by separate negotiation). Outside, approached by a driveway that runs behind neighbouring properties, is a shared gravelled parking area leading on to single storey stone outbuildings, one used as a garage and the other as a store: these might be suitable for conversion into a work-from-home space, subject to the necessary planning consents, and it is worth noting that the owners are currently having the reed thatch restored by a master craftsman. “Overall, Emily’s Cottage represents the best of both worlds - a hugely traditional and exceptionally pretty home, delightfully furnished with every modern home comfort, and as such it is an ideal second home or holiday-let property.”

“traditionally furnished with ease of living in mind, including a fully fitted oak kitchen with polished granite work surfaces and a stone tiled floor”

Andy Soye: “This is really the ultimate chocolate box cottage which will pull the greatest eyeballs from a marketing perspective - with a quirky layout that allows different groups to occupy separate spaces, perfect for multi-generational gatherings at Christmas time, it could sleep 6 + 2. Close to the fairytale charm of Chipping Campden, an award-winning gastro pub less than 5 minutes walk away and a small farm shop in the village, it would gross around £45,000 per annum.”




“A huge inglenook fireplace fitted with a wood burning stove and enjoys lovely views over surrounding countryside” Katy Hill is Branch Manager at Bourton on the Water - her choice is Garrick House near Andoversford, a lovingly restored detached period property offered at £675,000:

Katy says: “Garrick House is absolutely perfect as a combination of occasional second home and holiday let property - Cotswold stone, detached, with loads of character, a lovely, safe garden with lots of nooks and crannies to explore, ample parking and immaculately presented accommodation, it is situated on the edge of Andoversford and therefore perfect to make the most of everything the North Cotswolds and Cheltenham has to offer. “Garrick’s Cottage is equally a great family home - the Cotswold School bus stops literally right outside the front door - however, there is so much about Garrick Cottage that would make it a great investment for a holiday let, particularly with the potential it offers for the Cheltenham Festival, as ardent horse-racing fans will pay huge money for that week alone. Tie that in with the proximity to the North Cotswolds and I believe you have a winner! “Internally, there are many period features and, just like Tom’s choice, Garrick’s Cottage is 48

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definitely set up for ease of living, with a wonderful fitted kitchen and traditional Aga, a separate breakfast room ideal for family life, a winter and a summer sitting room, a study and a separate dining room - the “winter” sitting room has a huge inglenook fireplace fitted with a wood burning stove and enjoys lovely views over surrounding countryside. The majority of the cottage looks out over the beautiful gardens, making it a very private place to enjoy the summer months - there are many specimen trees, wide lawns, a vegetable garden screened behind evergreen hedges, a haven for wildlife and small children! “Upstairs, the property has four bedrooms - a twin room and two doubles served by a family bathroom and a master bedroom with an en-suite bathroom, all delightfully cottagey with sloping ceilings, pretty dormer windows and full of character. Outside, there is a large gravelled parking area with room for several vehicles where one could quite easily build a detached garage, if preferred, subject to the usual consents. At £675,000 this property is an absolute gem and should be viewed as soon as possible.”

“Absolutely perfect as a combination of occasional second home and holiday let property - Cotswold stone, detached, with loads of character”

Andy Soye: “This grand, imposing house has a stunning garden, fabulous for children and outdoor entertaining, a very spacious ground floor, plenty of character and room to sleep 8. The lockable gun-cupboard would be useful for secure storage as a part-time holiday let. With a local pub down the road, Cheltenham and the North Cotswolds close by, this would be a great holiday base, to gross around £45,000 per annum.”




“Converted in 2007 to a very high standard - a stunning property that would be perfect for a variety of different buyers” Leigh Glazebrook, HARRISON & HARDIE’S Stow on the Wold Branch Manager, opts for 3, Ferndale Barns at Lower Swell, a listed barn offered at £650,000.

Leigh says: “3, Ferndale Barns, at Lower Swell, was converted in 2007 to a very high standard and is a stunning property that would be perfect for a variety of different buyers, none more so than as a holiday let or second home but equally for a glamorous professional couple who enjoy throwing big dinner parties, for example. Part of a small, select development on the edge of the village on School Hill, the stone barn is arranged over two floors with a split-level ground floor providing a real wow-factor and a great entertaining space, having an enormous, double-height kitchen/breakfast room with a large separate utility room, leading on through to a fabulous dining hall, which in turn leads down to a huge sitting room. “Upstairs, there are two double bedrooms served by the main bathroom and a master bedroom with its own en-suite bathroom. Everything is presented beautifully, immaculately decorated and furnished - it would be the perfect holiday home with 50

Cotswold Homes Magazine

“Everything is presented beautifully, immaculately decorated and furnished - it would be the perfect holiday home ”

children in tow, as the garden, mainly laid to lawn and easy to maintain, is still plenty big enough to have a vegetable plot with lots of space to play, but it’s also a great lock-upand-leave, having a separate, pitched double garage providing great storage - room for a classic car or two!

With Stow on the Wold only about a mile or so up the road (just about walkable, if you don’t mind hills!), a great local pub, superb countryside, even its own little primary school, Lower Swell is a delightful, quintessential North Cotswold village and 3, Ferndale Barns is just the place to enjoy rural life at its best.”

Andy Soye: “This stunning converted barn has huge kerb appeal, a neutral, crisp style and decor which would appeal to the majority of top-end guests. Its spacious and well laid out accommodation would comfortably accommodate 6. Situated in a classic Cotswold village, right in the heart of the North Cotswolds with beautiful walks in all directions, a good local pub and Stow on the Wold on its doorstep, this is a perfect overall location for a high-quality holiday let, and would bring in around £35,000 per annum gross revenue.”




“The Old Manse is as peaceful an antidote to city life as one could possibly hope to find” Karen Harrison says: “My choice would be The Old Manse - once both chapel and home for the minister’s family, now a fabulously converted, family-sized period property in the idyllic Cotswold hamlet of Cutsdean, offered to the market at £750,000. The Old Manse is as peaceful an antidote to city life as one could possibly hope to find, a haven for artists or writers - a three storey house of honey-coloured stone, crammed with bags and bags of personality, it sits looking out over fields from a delightful enclosed garden (large enough for children but not too much maintenance for an occasional home), the


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interior providing great spaces for entertaining and plenty of rooms for guests to sleep over, with five bedrooms and a study on the first and second floors, served by four bath/shower rooms. “The principal rooms on the ground and first floor all have high ceilings, flooded with light from tall picture windows, and many period features including exposed beams and fireplaces. There is a sizeable conservatory leading from the kitchen/breakfast room out onto the garden, a separate dining room and a huge sitting room, perfect winter and summer spaces, with a number of features to tell of its previous heritage, including a little section cut

out from the landing floorboards that once enabled the minister’s wife to listen to the sermon when she became too ill to attend services. With cellars and outhouse, this is a house of huge charm and, although it has been updated to provide comfortable living, feels quaint and largely untouched by the march of modern life. As a holiday home, I can’t imagine a more enchanting place to come to stay as a family - it doesn’t provide parking but it is so rural one doesn’t have to worry, of course - and I can only recommend that you make an arrangement to view as soon as possible.”

“A three storey house of honey-coloured stone, crammed with bags and bags of personality”

“With cellars and outhouse, this is a house of huge charm and, although it has been updated to provide comfortable living, feels quaint and largely untouched by the march of modern life” Andy Soye: “This house has great kerb appeal, a peaceful setting, rural views and lovely outside space, one could easily convert the study into a sixth bedroom to market as “sleeps 8 + 2” to maximise profit. Jackdaw’s Castle and Snowshill Manor are close by and the popular pub at Ford is just about within walking distance - it could perform really well as a holiday let, gaining upwards of £50,000 per annum gross revenue.” For more information about any of these properties, simply visit To arrange a viewing, please contact: Moreton 01608 651000 Bourton 01451 822977 Stow 01451 833170.



Ask the experts... CAN WE FIND A PERFECT, FULLY-OPERATIONAL HOLIDAY COTTAGE, THAT IS ALREADY BRINGING IN A GOOD INCOME? We are looking for an up-and-running holiday-let cottage and have our heart set on Bourton on the Water as the ideal tourist destination. We have a maximum budget of £300,000, which would need to include all the furnishings. What can you suggest?


“If you are looking for the complete package, Lucy’s Cottage is a very wise buy” Lucy Dicks is a sales negotiator for Harrison & Hardie in Moreton in Marsh. Who better to sell the benefits of her name-sake, Lucy’s Cottage - a two-storey period, Cotswold stone cottage on Clapton Row?!

Lucy says: “Lucy’s Cottage is an ideal holiday let investment, situated in the heart of this beautiful village. Priced at £295,000 the double-fronted cottage, occupying a quiet position on one of the most picturesque streets south of the river, has a southerly-facing garden to the rear with off-road parking for two cars. Our current vendors, Mr & Mrs Harrison, looked at many potential holiday lets throughout the North Cotswolds before falling in love with Lucy’s Cottage and have been delighted with their choice, operating for two full seasons now as a successful holiday let, having ensured full bookings through a variety of repeat business and recommendation, a bespoke website and regular advertisements with the English Tourist Board. With a highly traditional exterior, a cosy sitting room boasts exposed stone walls and log burner, providing the pre-requisite character essential for a holiday cottage - a spacious dining room and newly-fitted kitchen completes the ground floor, two double bedrooms and bathroom occupy the first floor. The property is centrally heated for ease and comfort, whilst its position ensures only a short walk to the centre of the village so even the most idle of holiday-makers has everything within easy reach, from tea-rooms, shops and restaurants to lovely rural walks and tourist attractions. If you are looking for the complete package, Lucy’s Cottage is a very wise buy - everything you could need, wish for and expect from a holiday-let cottage - the vendors will even do a deal on the furniture with you, if you wish!” To arrange a viewing, contact the Bourton on the Water office of HARRISON & HARDIE on 01451 822977 54

Cotswold Homes Magazine


Ask the experts... HOW CAN WE FIND A RURAL HOME THAT WILL SUIT A THREE-GENERATION FAMILY, ALL WITH DIFFERENT NEEDS? We are a large family with a wide spread of age ranges - we have four children ranging from toddler to teenager, and we have been joined by my recently widowed father. We love the countryside, we are all horsey people but we need to be on the Cotswold School bus route. My father is not able to use stairs easily or walk far and he can’t drive - we need somewhere not too remote, so my father can pop to the local pub and the children can make friends. our budget is somewhere between £800,000 and £950,000

“Naunton is a beautiful village nestled into the folds of the Windrush valley” Steven Buchanan is Senior Sales Manager at the Bourton on the Water branch of HARRISON & HARDIE. His choice is Close Hill in Naunton at £845,000.

Steve says: “I think I have the ideal property, situated in the centre of the golden postcode village of Naunton, beloved by the horse-racing fraternity. Naunton is a beautiful village nestled into the folds of the Windrush valley, a cluster of traditional stone cottages scattered along the banks of the shallow river, surrounded by exquisite countryside. Naunton enjoys a close knit community with several young families, so your children should easily find friends. It has a good village pub, the Black Horse, which is an easy walk from the house, for your father to sit and enjoy good company. Nearby lies the popular Naunton Downs golf course, also a good place for making new friends, if you and your husband fancy a good walk - it’s a slightly windy setting but beautiful, with a sociable club house.Naunton is on the bus route for the Cotswold School and only a 20 minute drive from Cheltenham, with Stow on the Wold close enough for a daily shop, so it is a great spot for anyone wishing to enjoy a rural lifestyle


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without feeling too isolated from amenities. “Close Hill is a detached modern property, originally built in the mid 1960s and extended by the present vendors to create a substantial home, The house is slightly elevated above the banks of the stream to the front, screened from village view by clever, mature planting. Backing onto open fields and woodland to the rear, the gardens of this property are a delight - they slope gently upwards, a woodland glade bordering one side and a well-stocked vegetable garden to the other, with lawned terraces, a mass of mature planting and a well-stocked fish pond. The owners have created a number of strategically-placed seating areas at various levels for shade and sun, including a stone-built rustic shelter ideal for pre-dinner drinks, all designed to enjoy this most restful of settings. On the ground floor are free-flowing, interconnecting rooms perfect for entertaining, most with glazed double doors leading out onto garden terraces. A full-height sitting room and

“Backing onto open fields and woodland to the rear, the gardens of this property are a delight”


grand entrance hall both have exposed A frames, giving character, light and a sense of space. The large, beautifully-equipped traditional kitchen/ breakfast room is fitted with a generous array of shaker-style fitted wooden units. At one end, there is a comfortable, spacious seating area for the whole family, with doors leading out onto the garden, perfectly situated to enjoy peaceful summer breakfasts. With a dining room, sun room, study and two ground floor bedrooms and bathroom and, on the first floor, three further bedrooms including a large master bedroom suite, Close Hill is ideal for a wide range of potential purchasers, but particularly for a family with different ages. There is considerable scope for further extension, (subject to the necessary planning consents), possibly to create a separate annexe suitable for your father, too. I would recommend you organise a viewing as soon as possible!” To view Close Hill, telephone Steven at Harrison & Hardie’s Bourton branch: 01451 822977





Cotswold Homes Magazine

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Newlands is a retirement community set in the heart of the North Cotswolds - but seems much more like a luxurious country house hotel with its handsome architecture, tranquil setting, impressive grounds, stunning views and beautifully appointed rooms.  This is a retirement home second to none, an independent establishment that prides itself on its first class reputation and extensive facilities, with a registered care home at its heart. Just as Newlands is an extraordinary place, so the residents are an interesting community - many of them have led varied and incredibly productive lives, with a number who have been recognised for their contribution to British life. 

There is no doubt that Newlands endeavours to address the most exacting standards of these residents. An attentive, professional, caring team is on hand 24 hours a day so that residents are provided with an atmosphere akin to a rather comfortable country club, where simply nothing is too much trouble. Cuisine of the highest quality is provided in an elegant, fully licensed restaurant. For less formal occasions, there is a cosy coffee shop where, on warmer days, one can enjoy views of the beautifully landscaped gardens from the sunlit terrace. If wishing for a more intimate experience, one can arrange to meet friends in the library, doubling as a private dining suite. In preparation for such social occasions, a spot of pampering with the hairdresser can be paired with a relaxing session in the beauty therapy room for the ultimate in “me-time”!  Indeed, this is care of the very best kind.  Set in acres of landscaped terraced gardens with spectacular views over the surrounding Cotswold countryside, the location offers the best of both worlds - a stunning, rural outlook yet with the all the wonderful amenities that Stow on the Wold has to offer literally just around the corner.  Whether seeking an opportunity to take domiciliary care, hospitality or merely to be surrounded by home comforts on reaching a decision to move out of one’s original family home, Newlands certainly takes some beating. In addition to the grand house itself, Newlands has also built some stunning assisted living apartments and cottages, with a floor space and quality of finish that exceeds any provided by local competitors. 

Over the years, Newlands has built upon its reputation, establishing a business that is widely respected and, just as importantly, totally integrated into the life of one of the most stunning of Cotswold towns. “We aspire to excellence,” says the management team. “We aim to provide a high quality service and seek to establish standards not seen thus far in our industry. We have a dedicated staff, caring professionals who take enormous pride in their work.  The quality of care, hospitality and service we provide, coupled with our breathtaking surroundings, set us apart from our competitors.” What has been their greatest success and, looking forward, what plans do they have for the future of Newlands?   “We are very proud to have established an authentic retirement community which has consistently produced the highest standards and certainly ranks amongst the best, if not the very best example of its kind.  We look forward to seeing the community flourish and are committed to setting even higher standards within our industry, in order to provide the very best possible experience for all our customers.” To arrange a visit to this beautiful home, please contact the team at Newlands on 01451 832323 or write to: Newlands, Evesham Road, Stow on the Wold, Gloucestershire, GL54 1EJ.  Alternatively, visit


Ye ancient Wonders oF the WoLds

‘Ye Ancient Wonders of the Wolds’ (by bicycle)

Father and son take a hectic tour of ancient Cotswold history

During the last few months, I have spent far too much time chained to a keyboard, far too much time staring slack-jawed at a glowing screen. While my mind races, my body tends to sit inert as a fat lump of pudding. There have been times where I have feared I might actually develop deep vein thrombosis, like some miserably cramped airline passenger. So, in an effort to stave off physical paralysis, I recently found myself calling my somewhat-moreactive father to arrange a bike ride. ‘Just a little bit of father and son time, really...Something to flush out the arteries...Nothing too heavy,’ I told him as we agreed a convenient date. Days later, while nursing a mild cider hangover, I arrived at my father’s house only to find him unfolding a worryingly large map. ‘We’re going to ride to an ancient burial mound...a crumbling ancient turf labyrinth...see the gruesome gargoyles of St. Peter’s...a beautiful war organic tea room...’ he said excitedly, tracing the winding route with a finger.

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Whilst my brain was intrigued, my stomach emitted a groan of protest. What I had first envisioned as a mildly exerting bike ride had just grown into a whistle-stop tour of a mythologicalsounding Gloucestershire. I remembered a television programme in which actor Ewan McGregor and his less-famous mate roared across the planet on motorbikes. I imagined a scaled-down, rural version with all the horsepower and manly banter replaced by my desperate peddling and the occasional bout of sarcastic bickering. Pocketing an aged digital camera, we hit the road. Our first stop was a pretty stone-stilted cricket pavilion reputedly built with the funding of Peter Pan author J.M. Barrie. Eager to photograph the unusual structure, I scrambled over the surrounding fence and snapped away, waving hello at a confused sheep on my way back to the bikes. ‘Were you just worrying that sheep?’ asked Dad, his eyebrow raised, ‘Because if I see a farmer approaching with a shotgun resting in the crook of his arm, I’m ******* abandoning you.’


Ye ancient Wonders oF the WoLds

Fleeing the scene of the crime, we cycled along an exceptionally scenic road towards our next destination, where there was much to see. The modest village church of Hailes contains some fantastic (if rather faded) 12th century wall paintings that depict elephantine demons and hunting dogs, remnants of a mural believed to warn Sabbath-breakers. In the grounds, a beautifully spiralling ‘turf labyrinth’ bamboozles visitors – at least those who choose to follow the winding markings, rather than simply tramping straight over to the centre stone with its crucifix marking. After leaving a small conker perched atop the stone as an offering, we popped into the neighbouring Abbey, now a beautiful ruin of arches and stone. The monks who lived here lived their lives in silence, with verbal communication usually permitted only in exceptional circumstances – such as lying desperately ill in the


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infirmary. The Abbey once achieved nationwide fame as it housed a vial that was said to contain the blood of Christ himself. After scoffing a tasty luncheon of beef baguettes at the Mount Inn in Stanway, we went to St. Peter’s Church in Winchcombe, where the notorious stone gargoyles scowl down from the exterior. Modelled (somewhat unflatteringly) after the town’s 15th century civilians, each one of the grisly carvings is grotesquely unique – meaning that every horrible face is well worth a look. Inside, the Church discloses yet more intrigues. Hidden imps, lonely statues and empty coffins, a box with three locks; the local Stewards cheerfully presented us with an extensive collection of riddles, secrets, myths and wonders. We left Winchcombe with an increased appreciation for this attractive and most curious church.

There was just one more stop to make. Our final destination, the ancient burial mound of Belas Knap, was a morbidly appropriate end to our historic tour. Slogging uphill under a sombre sky, we didn’t pass a single soul – there was not even the merest sheep to be seen. The message 15 MINUTES TO BELAS KNAP had been shakily scrawled on a post by a previous visitor. Trees lined the passage to the summit or slumped, bleached and deceased against moss-covered walls of stone. ‘This must have been a hell of a long way to drag your dead,’ I gasped. ‘That was probably the point,’ replied Dad. Suddenly, we had reached the end of our climb and found ourselves staring at the mound. ‘I came here on a school trip,’ Dad remembered, ‘About forty years ago.’ Climbing atop, one could see - well, everything. The land stretched out for miles and miles in every direction. This great big hump of earth is old – very old, having been around since 2,500 BC – and once contained around 38 skeletons. From its breathtaking vantage point with far-ranging views that take in Sudeley Castle,

We left Winchcombe with an increased appreciation for this attractive and most curious church. the spiritual significance that the barrow must once have held is obvious to see. Today, it is certainly impressive enough to inspire reflections on life and death. With its false entrances, secret compartments and suggestive contours, it may have also been an important location for fertility rituals. Weirdly enough, this timeless site also somewhat recalls the lumpy hillside home of the Teletubbies: perhaps the BBC’s creative department once drew inspiration from prehistoric burial sites. Then again, perhaps not. As we went back down the hill, I managed to take one last picture of the valley before the camera’s digital memory expired with a pained shriek. As we returned to Dad’s house, I made him transfer over two hundred images from camera to computer – I’d been more than a little snap-happy. Though a lengthier excursion than I had originally intended, the day had proved an interesting reminder of the colourful heritage that exists, often underexplored, all around us here in the Cotswolds. May the next trip be as illuminating…


Cotswold Hide & Fleece Co.

Home on the Range Cowhides and Sheepskins by Cathy Twiston-Davies

Waste not, want not: Cathy Twiston-Davies explains the method and philosophy behind her new furniture business


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Whilst her already-famous young jockey sons Sam and Willy are racking up the prizes, Cathy Twiston- Davies and her partner James Mayhew have been busy at work establishing The Cotswold Hide and Fleece Company, an exciting new enterprise that provides a stylish and unusual twist on clothing and furniture. The new business is founded on turning fleeces and hides provided for them by Mill Farm Organic into a one-of-a-kind product – every hide supplied is different, meaning that each creation is unique. The company’s range currently includes footstools, cubes, gillets, hats, cushions, rugs and throws, with several new ideas in the works. Hides and fleeces are taken from animals such as pedigree South Devon cows, Welsh Black Mountain and Wiltshire Horn sheep. ‘We use hides which would otherwise have gone to waste,’ says Cathy, ‘growing up in a family of six, we would always learn how to make use of something that would otherwise have been thrown away.’ It’s a way of thinking that seems prudent indeed in the modern climate. The end result is a world away from mass-manufactured furniture – and what’s more, only local carpenters and upholsterers are used in the construction process. Turnaround is swift – it’s the process of ‘curing’ that takes time, a dedicated process involving Pittards, the famous tannery in Yeovil. The methods used in manufacture seem as traditional as is possible today, recalling a design heritage that goes back hundreds, even thousands of years – where precious skins would have been vital to early living. A selection of the company’s products can be viewed by telephoning Cathy to book an appointment and Lapstones of Chipping Campden have a few items on display. Cathy and her partner James Mayhew, are swiftly becoming a fixture at trade shows, charity fairs and lunches – Sudeley Castle and Daylesford being among the most recent. Furniture can be customised with natural oak or aluminium legs, meaning that individual pieces can acquire either a rustic charm or a contemporary character – becoming suitable for a wide of interiors. With several innovative ideas in the pipeline, we can’t wait to see what Cathy creates next.

Visit for more details or contact (See Cathy’s Privilege Card offer p.79)


The Ellenborough Park Hotel

Equestrian Love Affair at

The Ellenborough Park Hotel

The hotel previously known as The de la Bere has revived its glamorous racing heritage, embracing its historic links with the Cheltenham Racecourse with a new moniker - The Ellenborough Park Hotel. After a two-year programme of repair and renewal, undergoing a complete refurbishment with a stunning finish by the famous interior designer, Nina Campbell, the hotel opened to full occupancy in time for the Cheltenham Festival in March 2011. So for the first race meeting of this season, my birthday present couldn’t have been more perfect - a weekend of racing combined with a luxurious stay at The Ellenborough Park Hotel. There are 62 rooms in the hotel, now, and each major suite is named after a famous racehorse the Arkle, The Kauto Star, The Istabraq and The Stormyfairweather, a splendid duplex suite with its own private garden. Ardent race-goers don’t even have to battle with traffic - the hotel runs a private access shuttle service on race days. We were booked into the Tower, a beautifully furnished room approached by a steeply winding stone staircase, looking right out across the Racecourse. 66

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A handy pair of binoculars stood helpfully in an alcove, ready for use - three huge windows took our gaze out in different directions, the sunset dropping pink and gold over the racecourse as we sunk onto the enormous bed. We re-charged our batteries after a day’s racing with a hearty room-service menu... the most delicious burger and chips we have ever eaten, even if not the most romantic of meals! Awaking to a bright, Saturday morning, we trained the binoculars upon preparations at the racecourse, fascinated by all the behindthe-scenes commotion as caterers descended, horse-boxes pulled in, ambulances took up their stations. Despite our excitement at the idea of getting there again, we were rather reluctant to leave. The room overlooked an outdoor, heated pool which we briefly debated before sinking

into a deep bath big enough for two (discreetly screened in one corner of the room) and then phoning down to book ourselves an extra hour’s stay in bed! Forgoing breakfast for an early lunch in the oak-pannelled Beaufort Dining Room proved a great decision, every course was exquisite - had it not been for my husband’s insistence that we were missing out on the racing, I would gladly have succumbed to a pampering treatment or two, leafing idly through Spa’s brochure of delights. From the impeccably courteous staff to the fabulous fine dining, every aspect of our stay had been of the highest quality. No wonder that The Ellenborough Park was recently awarded an industry “Oscar” by World Travel Awards, named UK Leading Country House Hotel. We shall definitely be staying again. Karen von Speyr


Aptus Suits

Well-Dressed MAN

about Country

Aptus Suits have only ever had one simple goal – ‘Hand: tailored quality without the customary price tag.’ Combining impeccable customer service and upholding the finest standards of tailoring, Aptus Suits are based in the heart of the Cotswolds rather than London. The countryside location is no bar to success - neighbouring Prime Minister David Cameron gave them valuable positive press after he recently paid them a visit. We spoke to Alex Edwards to find out more. You have one or two very famous clients - how important has your photo shoot with David Cameron turned out to be? Yes, we are lucky that our studio in Dean is just several hundred metres from David’s house, and within several miles of other very well known celebrities. The photoshoot with David Cameron allowed Aptus initially to spark media attention that without his support may have taken longer to attract. However, although we do tailor for ‘celebrities’, Aptus suits has a diverse range of clients, both men and women from 17 – 70. We can offer full canvas hand sewn-suits for those looking for the Saville Row experience from £625.00, and for those looking for a more affordable option we offer a half canvas part hand-sewn suit from £430.00. What do you aim to achieve next year, as a growing business? It must be pretty full-on at the moment? Aptus is growing quicker than I ever could have imagined. We are now tailoring 5 times as many suits as we were just 6 months ago. Moving forwards into the next 6 months we have several exciting developments: Firstly we are launching Aptus Suits country ready-to-wear range, 68

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interaction with the public is ‘likeability’. It is essential that clients feel they are special. At Aptus we call it ‘going beyond’. It is all about exceeding expectations. Marketing in general can be quite expensive, whilst ‘word of mouth recognition is free’. As cynical as it sounds ‘initially trust no one’. We had a tailor that we used for over a year. The quality at first was superb, however over time he began to cut corners and as such the quality deteriorated. We learnt two key lessons: Always have more than one supplier - do not allow your company to become reliant. Secondly, always install checks and measures so that you can set a benchmark of quality you should be able to expect from your workforce. In fact it was a blessing in disguise as we now have a new tailoring team that continues to exceed our expectations.

including tweed goose down gillets, tweed jackets, country overcoats, cashmere jumpers and many more. All of which we will sell at the leading country shows across the UK. Secondly we are toying with the idea of launching our own shop, providing both readyto-wear clothing and bespoke garments to the Cotswolds. The idea is that it would become a ‘one stop shop’ for all business and country clothing needs. What is the average turn-around time for someone from their first fitting to the finished article and what are the processes you go through with your client along the way? The average turnaround time is between 4 – 8 weeks dependent on the garment being tailored. First fitting: During this fitting we take around 30 of your unique body measurements, as well as showing you a selection of some of the finest cloths available, and discussing the cut and design of the garment to tailor it exactly to your needs and wants. Second fitting: After 4-6 weeks your jacket is usually ready for its second fitting. The second fitting is a chance for both parties to see the jacket on. During this fitting the garments are often pinned ready for any slight alterations needed. Final Fitting: The tailored garment is now ready to be taken home and enjoyed. All suits come in their own Aptus branded suit carrier. Do you find that you spend a good deal of time helping people to choose or are your customers mostly set in their tastes and ideas? Each one of our clients is different. Some clients will have a very clear idea of exactly what they want, others appreciate the help of our fitters to suggest cloths and cuts which will work best with their body shape. As we always keep our clients patterns on file, it means having a second suit tailored becomes simply a matter of picking the desired cloth. What is the very best thing about your job? The best thing about the tailoring and fashion industry is seeing the satisfaction and confidence a well fitted garment can give to its

“Like all businesses Aptus has grown through trial and error. I think critical to success, particularly in any business where you have interaction with the public, is ‘likeability’. It is essential that clients feel they are special. At Aptus we call it ‘going beyond’. It is all about exceeding expectations.” owner. We have many disabled clients. Aptus offers them the opportunity to wear clothing that otherwise they might have struggled to find. We have recently tailored a suit for a gentleman who, after his accident, only wore jogging bottoms. He said the tailored pair of chinos we made him, “not only fit great but also feel incredibly comfortable to wear”. We have since tailored him shirts and a sports jacket as well.

Do you think entrepreneurs are born or can you become one? I think entrepreneurs have lots of similar characteristics: hugely competitive, risk takers, addicted to business and success, incredibly passionate and forward thinkers. I believe you can develop your intrinsic skill set as an entrepreneur but I don’t think it is something you can be taught. When you get home - pipe and slippers or jogging bottoms? When at home my favourite items of clothing are: my soft cashmere jumpers and my incredibly warm goose down tweed gillet. I believe that clothing should not only look great but also feel great, too. At the weekend - town or country? I am definitely a country boy at heart. There is nothing better on a cold winter’s day than wrapping up warm and taking the dogs on one of the Cotswolds’ many stunning walks, stopping briefly to enjoy food at one the area’s homely pubs. (See Aptus Suits’ Privilege Card Offer on p. 79)

When you first went into business, what was the wisest piece of advice you were given and by whom? During a conversation with the owner of Ted Baker, Ray Kelvin, he said ‘never let the business become dependent on you, in time this will limit its growth’ At Aptus we outsource the Accounting, Marketing, PR and Design departments, as such the partner’s time can be spent focusing entirely on growth and customer service. If a friend was thinking about setting up in business, what would you say is the worst mistake you have made whilst working for yourselves and what would be your advice to guard against making the same mistake? Like all businesses Aptus has grown through trial and error. I think critical to success particularly in any business where you have 69

Pinkgloss Boutique

Pretty in Pink How To Look Good For the Party Season

Beautician Justine Collins of Pinkgloss Boutique has attended to a number of celebrity clients and travels across the country to meet demand for her services, balancing business with running a family of three. In this issue, she shares some seasonal beauty tips with our readers. Hello, Justine. You’ve worked with quite a few personalities, haven’t you? Would you care to name drop? I have worked with a variety of celebrities and television personalities - I loved working with Rachel Hunter whilst filming ‘Make Me a Supermodel’ in London. She is a warm and friendly woman, very natural. I have also done a shoot for OK magazine with Kate Garraway, Linzi Stoppard and Kerry Katona. Last year I helped with Katie Price’s wedding preparations and appeared on her TV show. Every job is different and I love that. There are a few clients that I will keep under my hat though!

So how did you first get into the beauty industry? Initially I studied fashion and did a bit of makeup on the side. As I got involved more with photoshoots and shows I grew interested in how makeup can transform a face - the reaction from clients when you have done their makeup can be very satisfying. Fashion and beauty are closely linked so I do use all of my skills when working. I recently won L’Oreal Colour Trophy with a client – Abacus Hair Studio in Bewdley. I designed and made the dress and did the makeup for the model during the competition. When everything comes together it’s a great feeling. What is the best thing about being a business owner? Are there any drawbacks to being your own boss? I feel that I have achieved a fair amount as a business owner. When I opened a beauty boutique during a recession, I heard a lot of remarks such as ‘you’re brave!’ But now that we have established ourselves on the High Street, we have cultivated a really good reputation in and around Chipping Campden as a place to come and receive excellent customer service. I have found a fantastic team who are really passionate and knowledgeable about their industries – together, we are a very strong, very skilled team. I do think that this is just the beginning for Pinkgloss.


Cotswold Homes Magazine

“When I opened a beauty boutique during a recession, I heard a lot of remarks such as ‘you’re brave!’ But now that we have established ourselves on the High Street, we have cultivated a really good reputation in and around Chipping Campden as a place to come and receive excellent customer service.” What advice would you give to someone setting up on their own? The advice I would give to somebody who is thinking of starting their own business is to do what comes naturally to them - it is vital to be trained in your area so that you are an expert in your field. You will then, without doubt, be the best at what you do and can offer a brilliant service to your customers. I do believe a business built on recommendation has much more of a chance of survival in today’s climate, which in turn will help to grow the business. What do you think is the one treatment that can make the biggest difference to how you look? I think groomed brows can make such a difference to a person’s appearance. Just to

have tidy brows makes a huge difference - a little outlay every 4-6 weeks is worth the expense. It can knock years off you- the brows frame the eye. Eyebrows do give character to the face as well, so it is essential they are treated well and regularly maintained. What about the rise of the metrosexual man? Have you seen evidence of this in the Cotswolds? It’s a massive turnaround for men over the past few years to actually come and have treatments. We offer an award-winning skin, shave and body care range for our men in the boutique. Billy Jealousy has won over 11 awards and we are very lucky to be a stockist. The most popular treatment is a back, neck & shoulder massage with an express facial. We are seeing an increase in manicures, pedicures, waxing & Xen-tan applications too. How can our readers stay looking good over the winter? The winter months always play havoc with our skin. A moisturiser twice a day is essential. Wear a moisture mask as a weekly pick-meup and definitely have an Ila-spa Ananda or Rainforest facial every 4 weeks. Never forget your lips and hands in winter; invest in a great lip balm and hand cream, keep these in your bag at all times so you can apply them throughout the day. Makeup should be kept dewy and healthy looking - avoid bronzing powders and anything too flat, stock up on shimmers, cream blush and gloss.

Finally, what looks are trendy this season for the fashion-conscious girl? Earthy tones, or ‘nudes’ as the beauty industry have named them, are a massive trend this winter - use gold, bronze, camel and mushroom tones for your eyes, black liner and mascara for definition. Keep everything soft for this look; Valentino, Burberry and Versace all worked this kind of look. If you prefer the other huge trend this winter, go for a strong lip and clean eyes. Orange, Red and Burgundy seem to be the favourites this season for lips. I wouldn’t advise a glossy finish but try a more matte approach, well defined to give a strong edge. Minimal makeup for the rest of the face, keep blush very soft, always check your brows, fill in any gaps with a brow shadow and fix with a clear brow gel. Mascara should be applied to the top lashes only with or without black eyeliner. False lashes are great to finish this look off. Singles, clusters or a strip make the eye pop. D&G and Stella McCartney have shown off the eyeliner and brow look beautifully. (See Justine’s Privilege Card offer on p.79)

Brands offered in the boutique: Becca Cosmetics, Paul & Joe, Miller Harris, Voluspa Candles, Korres, Neals Yard Remedies, Essie, Shellac, Billy Jealousy, Ila-spa plus new brand Ecoya (December 2011), Services and Treatments: Manicure, Pedicure, Tinting, Waxing, Massage, Facials, Eyelash Extensions and LVL Lashes, Makeup Lessons, Event Makeup, Bridal Hair and Makeup, Xen Tan for Ladies and gentlemen Mon – Sat 10 – 5.30pm with late nights on a Thursday (7pm) and Friday (6pm) Pinkgloss boutique 3 Grafton House High Street Chipping Campden Gloucestershire GL55 6AT Tel: 01386 841110


broCks Menswear



With a second shop opening in Cirencester, we ask Nigel Newhook of Brocks Menswear in Stow on the Wold for sartorial tips on how to look good this season.

Only a year after opening their first store, Brocks Menswear in Stow on the Wold, Paul Brock’s uniquely classy take on smart-casual menswear has evidently resonated with the Cotswold gentleman Paul has just opened a second store in the heart of Cirencester. Here, we talk to Nigel, of the Stow on the Wold store, about Brocks’ ethos, ‘timeless classics with a contemporary twist’.

What are your favourite labels and why? Since we opened just over a year ago, Holland Esquire has been one of our most successful brands. Holland Esq. embodies our archetypal man, a man who is smart and well presented but still wants the fun and difference in the details. The same can be said for Eton, our most popular shirt brand, exquisite cottons and excellent craftsmanship with just the right amount of personality in each design. Are there any up-and-coming designers that you would particularly recommend? We have recently taken on a few new brands such as Hackett, Hartford and Crockett & Jones. Hartford, whilst being the youngest brand, has already built a strong reputation for brilliant fabrics and construction. Both Crockett & Jones and Hackett are both already deeply rooted in English heritage and bring some traditional styling to our contemporary selection. Describe your ideal winter ensemble. Hackett Naval Peacoat, Hackett Angora Blend Roll Neck Sweater, Hackett Moleskin Houndstooth Trousers, Crockett & Jones Lowndes Double Monk Shoes and Hartford Floral Scarf (not pictured).


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What should the customer expect from Brocks? We try to provide the most personal level of service available. As we are not a large chain we can look after everyone who shops with us on a one-to-one basis. We maintain a strong knowledge on the cut and fit of our products, their provenance and after-care. What we believe should be a standard service from all clothing retailers is now sadly somewhat hard to find. What are your favourite accessories currently in-store? We have some great scarves from Hackett and

Hartford, exceptional fabrics like cashmere and silk wool blends in some really interesting and eye-catching patterns: perfect for the coming winter! How did you find your path into fashion retail? Prior to working with Paul I earned a first in (BA Hons) Illustration and Design. My love for clothing stems from my love for all aspects of design and my appreciation of aesthetics.


1. Hackett Polo Neck £158 2. Hackett Naval Pea Coat £432 3. Crockett & Jones Lowndes Double Monk £305 4. Hackett Moleskin Houndstooth £187


4 3

“We maintain a strong knowledge on the cut and fit of our products, their provenance and after-care. What we believe should be a standard service from all clothing retailers is now sadly somewhat hard to find.” Brocks has clearly proved that the Cotswold gentleman desires quality clothing with a contemporary look - we hear you are opening a store in Cirencester? Yes, it’s been very pleasing. We opened in Castle Street, Cirencester at the beginning of November.. Paul will be running the Cirencester shop while I will be running the Stow shop. Hopefully it will give our existing customers more flexibility as to how and where they decide to shop with us. Of course, we will still be upholding our high level of personal service and product knowledge.

1 2

1. Eton Contrast Collar Shirt £118 2. Holland Esquire Houndstooth Moleskin £375 3. Crockett & Jones Langham £315 4. Agave Elex Denim £168



See Brock’s Privilege Card offer, p 80


business digest

business digest focus on local business - This issue: bourton on the water

Box of Delights Cotswold-Homes would like to extend a warm welcome to Steve and Tina Brassington who have just set up shop with Box of Delights in Bourton on the Water following several successful years managing hotel price comparison website, They’ve secured a great location along the High Street and a wonderful array of products and ranges that are simply ideal both for presents and furnishing the Cotswold household. Remember, you can get 10% off everything in store with your free Cotswold-Homes Privilege Card – just in time for Christmas!

Lovemycow James MacCurrach of Lovemycow wins Best Beef Farmer at Taste of Gloucestershire Awards James MacCurrach, a third generation farmer from Tagmoor Farm just outside Bourton on the Water has won Best Beef Farmer at The Taste of Gloucesterhire Food Awards held at the Centaur. Dozens of the county’s best food businesses, including farms, drink producers, breweries and cafes were shortlisted for 13 awards which were presented at Cheltenham Racecourse. The awards were presented by Gloucestershire’s first lady of cooking Prue Leith, who recently appeared as a judge on BBC Two’s Great British Menu. She said: ‘I am passionate about good food and education but also about good business too.’ James MacCurrach said; ‘We are thrilled to have won this award. It is huge boost to us to be recognised in a regional award for our beef. We take great pride in our herd and the flavour of our beef.’ To order Lovemycow beef, please visit or call 01451 810198. We should also remind our readers that Love my Cow are now running a generous Privilege Card offer - 10% off all orders over £10. So, if you haven’t already done so, pick up your free Cotswold-Homes Privilege Card and serve up a succulent Christmas meal - at a healthy discount!

Pulhams win Major Industry Award

Success for local operator at national coach and bus awards Pulhams & Sons (Coaches) Ltd. of Bourton-on-the-Water was recognised as a winner at the Route One Operator Excellence Awards, held at the National Motorcycle Museum, Birmingham. The awards, organised by leading trade magazine Route One, recognise excellence in the operation of coaches, buses and minibuses. Pulhams Coaches was a winner in the category for Medium Coach Operator of the Year. Commenting on the company’s success, Andrew Pulham, Company Director said: ‘We were absolutely thrilled to be

nominated in this year’s awards and to win is an outstanding achievement. As a family business our focus remains on customer service as well as continually reinvesting in a modern fleet of high quality vehicles. Our staff are very important to us and we have an excellent operations team. We are very much looking forward to an exciting future.’ The Route One judges couldn’t fail to notice that sheer hard work and dedication has earned Pulham & Sons an outstanding reputation that has spread way beyond their native Cotswolds. Their focus has always been fixed on high standards of maintenance, excellent customer service and continuous investment.

Wyck Hill House Hotel

Cotswold-Homes Christmas Conference at The Wyck Hill House Hotel Cotswold-Homes recently hosted a business networking event in the conference rooms at the beautiful Wyck Hill House Hotel, near Stow on the Wold. Membership of the Cotswold-Homes Trade Directory, open to all independent businesses based in and / or serving the North Cotswolds, gives business owners the opportunity to attend networking events like this one at the Wyck House Hotel for free - and to benefit from discounts for business-to-consumer events hosted by Cotswold-Homes. This particular meeting was called to coordinate a promotional campaign for the Christmas Fayre and Late Night Shopping in Bourton on the Water. Wyck Hill House Hotel is a member of the Cotswold-Homes Trade Directory. General Manager, Gordon, says: “When CotswoldHomes launched in July last year with a party here, the hotel had recently undergone a complete refurbishment - the launch was very well attended and a great showcase for our newly-opened hotel. Cotswold-Homes provides an excellent platform that is designed to support all sorts of local independent businesses - this has clearly resonated as a

positive benefit with many local businesses. It has been interesting to see how quickly Cotswold-homes has grown, with an innovative range of affordable marketing opportunities - such as the Privilege Card scheme, which is really simple and effective, both for start-up and established businesses.” Leah Quinn, events co-ordinator for CotswoldHomes, said: “Wyck Hill House Hotel is such a great place to host business meetings but it is so much more than that - all the rooms in the original part of the hotel are gorgeous and I can quite see why it is so popular as a wedding venue. The Adams room, for example, is an exquisite room to host a small, intimate wedding and equally, there are glorious grounds where one could put the most amazing marquee looking out over wonderful views - it really is a beautiful place.” Discover for yourself why the Wyck Hill House Hotel is so lovely – just don’t forget to take advantage of their generous restaurant and spa Privilege Card offers this December.




10% off


everything until the enD of january 2012

claridges barn near dean chipping norton oxfordshire oX7 5Xg 01608 645306

high street bourton-on-the-water gloucestershire gl54 2aQ 01451 822800

RAPID FX booK a Free personal trainer halF-hour taster session with tim and his team


oFFer ends January 31st 2012 Rapid fX 10 draycott business Village draycott nr Moreton in Marsh gloucestershire gl56 nJy 01386 702 940

PRE-BOOK A 4 COURSE CHRISTMAS LUNCH FOR 2 WITH A FREE BOTTLE OF HOUSE WINE FOR £50 THROUGHOUT DECEMBER 2012 high street bourton-on-the-water gloucestershire gl54 2an 01451 822244


1 Park street stow-on-the-wold gloucestershire gl54 1aQ 01451 831649

4 ember lane esher surrey kt10 8eR 0844 870 8532

Wyck Hill House Hotel & SPA

45 minute chilD’s Private riDing lesson usually £42 reDuceD to £25 until the enD of january 2012 nether Westcote chipping norton gloucestershire oX7 6sd 01993 832520


Timeless Tales


50% OFF BEATRIX POTTER calendars WHILST STOCKS LAST high street bourton-on-the-water gloucestershire gl54 2ae 01451 810414


Visit the Magazine and Gallery section for a full list of Privilege Card offers from local businesses current during December, January and February. Register on-line by clicking on Cotswold-Homes Club button to get your FREE card or pop into one of the offices of HARRISON & HARDIE at Moreton, Stow or Bourton to pick one up, or telephone us on 01608 653899 and we will send one to you in the post within 7 working days! Then start saving on all sorts of products and services, from gifts to beauty treatments, fine dining to horse riding, fab interiors to clothing, we have something for everyone!

The Chestnut Tree


Colefax and Fowler, Jane Churchill, Mulberry, GP and J Baker, James Brindley and much more! Get 20% discount on all fabrics and sofas until the end of January 2012 lark Rise beech grove Fulbrook oxon oX 18 4de 01993 822385

10% OFF NEW PURCHASES AND 20% OFF REPAIRS UNTIL THE END OF JANUARY 2012 the grandfather clock shop sheep street stow-on-the-wold gloucestershire gl54 1Js 01451 830455

bouRton-on-the-WateR discoVeR the cedaRs foR aMaZing chRistMas gifts and With all PuRchases of £50 oR oVeR ReceiVe 5% off youR total sPend duRing deceMbeR 2011 the high street bourton-on-the-water gloucestershire gl54 2an 01451 822399

10% oFF all eXterior maintenance and repairs

Plus a fRee gutteR cleaRing and 10 Point Roof check until the end of deceMbeR 2011

15% discount on all hot Food until February 2012 high street bourton-on-the-water gloucestershire gl54 2an 01451 820474

booK an ila-spa rainForest Facial For halF price (normal rrp £70) november and december 2011 only

unit 65, northwick business centre, blockley, gloucestershire, gl56 nRf 08447 405065

3 grafton house high street chipping campden gloucestershire gl55 6at 01386 841110

Cotswold Kitchen & Tableware Moreton-in-Marsh

5% OFF THOMAS LEGALSERVICES DURING DECEMBER 2011, JANUARY AND FEBRUARY 2012 Thomas Legal Group is a dedicated provider of conveyancing services in and around the Cotswolds brunswick house gloucester business Park brockworth gloucestershire gl3 4aa 01242 230454

15% OFF ALL JUDGE BAKEWARE UNTIL END OF FEBRUARY 2012 8 high street moreton-in-marsh gloucestershire gl56 oah 01608 652028

50% oFF a 30 minute riding lesson For new customers or buy 2 lessons and get the 3rd Free until the end oF January 2012 durham’s farm Riding school chastleton moreton-in-marsh gloucestershire gl56 0sZ 01608 674867




the cotswold hide and Fleece company 20% oFF 3Ft x 2Ft handmade Foot stools ordered, until the end oF January 2012


Four course Festive menu – booK a table For Four and enJoy a Free bottle oF delicious prosecco, valid until end oF december 2011

burford Road stow on the wold gl54 1hy 01451 831936

great rissington gloucestershire gl54 2lP 01451 820388

Wyck Hill House Hotel & SPA

great rissington


Beautylicious bourton-on-the-water

SpraY awaY the winter blueS and prepare for the partY SeaSon with SIENNAX SPRAY TANS, norMallY £25 NOW £15 until the end of februarY 2012 high street bourton-on-the-water gl54 2aP 01451 820012


church street stow on the wold gl54 1be 01451 831200


Buy any Delicious homemaDe cake anD enjoy a free Pot of tea or filter coffee

naunton gloucestershire gl54 3ay 07778 000419

spend over £10 & get 10% discount until end oF January 2012 tagmoor farm bourton on the water gl54 2lf 01451 810198

monDay to friDay, until the enD of feBruary 2012 Victoria street bourton-on-the-water gl54 2bt 01451 820737

R & D WALKER LTD T/A CHECKETTS glaze your hams and wrap your pigs in blanKets For less! 10% oFF all porK products until the end oF January 2012 24 high street moreton-in-marsh gl56 0af 01608 651002

COME TO MANGEN & WEBB COUNTRY CLOTHING, THE SQUARE BOUTIQUE OR OUR SADDLERY SHOP AND BENEFIT FROM 10% DISCOUNT UNTIL END 31ST DECEMBER 2011. Mangan & Webb country clothing st edward’s cottage, the square, stow on the Wold gl54 1ab o1451 831649


ANDREW CouldSOYE you earn more AD from your holiday home? T.B.A Character Cottages enables you to generate substantial profits from holiday lettings, whilst still enjoying the benefits of your country retreat. By working with us, an attractive three bedroom Cotswold holiday home can generate more than ÂŁ30,000 of income every year.

Our unique, full service offering takes away the effort and headache of setting up and running a holiday let. You can use your property when you wish, whilst relaxing in the knowledge that your prized asset is earning you an annual income.

Visit, call 0844 870 8532 or email us on

To find out how much profit your existing or potential holiday home could generate, contact us for a free property appraisal.


PSYCHIC BULL: DELUXE EDITION OF FESTIVE PROPHECIES Our grumpy mystic beast mulls over the zodiac Christmas is coming; I can always tell when icicles start drooping off my nose-ring. I don’t know what people see in it, personally. No, I don’t need Christmas spirit: Give me a salt lick and I’m happy enough. All my dear turkey friends seem to have an over-generous holiday allowance - they’ve obviously skipped the country for somewhere nice and hot meaning that while most of you are chuckling away in front of The Royle Family, I’m standing alone in a smelly cowshed. Still, even if I had someone to pull a cracker with, my rigid hooves would put me at a distinct disadvantage. Well, let’s get this silly horoscope business over with, shall we?

Aries: You will receive an unwelcome visit from three ghostly visitors, each spook imploring you to change your ways. But fear not: You needn’t become a better person. Simply bury your head in your pillow until these patronising ghouls give up the ghost and go away. Taurus: This year you find yourself in danger of forgetting the true meaning of Christmas. Permit me to remind you that it’s hoarding a sultan’s ransom of lavish gifts and cramming your human body with as much food as physically possible. Gemini: Poor Gemini - I foresee you standing on a monochrome bridge contemplating your supposedly squandered life. Hold tight and wait for heavenly intervention! Cancer: Crabby old cancer. I know this is going to sound a bit rich coming from me, but just try to loosen up and enjoy the holiday, yeah? Leo: A loved one’s cruddy gift disappoints. Still, it’s the ‘thought’ that counts. Isn’t that what they always say? Virgo: You’re invited to celebrate Christmas with friends at their holiday cottage - turns out to be a wintry pig run in Lancashire. Take this excellent opportunity to adjust your life expectations.

Libra: Take a moment to weigh up what’s really important to you. Is it the acquisition of money, or your place in the wider community? Well, I don’t know about you, but I don’t have much time for Tiny Tim. Scorpio: A faulty connection in an antiquated set of Christmas tree lights puts your life in jeopardy. Combat this by instead garlanding your tree with strings of sausages, toilet paper and tinfoil. Sagittarius: I sense a grisly surprise lurking in Santa’s grotto. Better give him a miss this year. Capricorn: An irksome relative will annoy you this season by repeatedly referring to Christmas as ‘Exmass’. Get your own back next holiday by pelting them with ‘Eastor’ eggs at Spring. Aquarius: Happy days, Aquarius! You’ll befriend a magical snowman who’ll take you on a breathtaking watercolour tour of snow-covered England. But come morning, he’s melted away. Just like all the other men. Pisces: An embittered mother-in-law spikes your Christmas ham. Decline all meats and opt for vegetables.

*DISCLAIMER: Cotswold-Homes accepts no responsibility for the Psychic Bull’s curmudgeonly lack of seasonal cheer.

With the chiming of festive bells not so far away, we wanted a seasonal scoop for our readers – and who better to approach than the legendary Father Christmas himself? Cotswold-Homes approached the jolly big man for a chat.

managing to keep to schedule this year? FC: I’m pleased to report that, despite increased demand, we’re still well on schedule! It is difficult, though. All those intricate X-Box microchips are obviously very fiddly for us to manufacture. I just have to keep a close watch on the workshop - the elves are starting to unionize.

CH: Hello, Mr. Claus. You’re looking rather trim this year.

CH: A lot of children’s icons are having image overhauls these days – Doctor Who, for instance, is thinner and younger. Have you ever considered updating the white beard and red uniform?

FC: Ho ho ho! I’ve just been bench-pressing ice blocks at the North Pole. Mrs. Claus has expressed concerns about my waistline. She’s rationing my mince pies, you see.

FC: Ho ho ho – No, not at all. I’m a stickler for tradition, I’m afraid. I don’t want to mess around with my identity - I’ve got a very strong global brand.

CH: With a booming population and increasingly expensive tastes, are you

CH: But what about the reindeer? Surely they can’t be the most efficient form of haulage in


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this day and age. Have you considered the pulling power of an airborne 4X4? FC: Think of the fuel costs of flying around the world - not to mention the emissions! I’d rather shell out for a few hay bales and endure a bit of reindeer methane. CH: That’s pretty thrifty. Are you cutting back on production costs? FC: What? Santa Claus Industries has always represented the very highest standards of bespoke elf-craft and gift-making. All this stuff about us outsourcing to goblins is simply ridiculous. CH: Milk or Sherry? FC: Milk when I’m on the job. I’m setting an example for well over a billion children, you know. But I do indulge the odd decanter of sherry when I arrive back at the Pole keeps out the cold, you know.


Wyck Hill House Hotel and Spa is a truly wonderful romantic setting, with stunning views, beautiful gardens and the delightful combination of a traditional setting with modern facilities and attitude; the perfect mix for your special day! Whether it’s an intimate party of family and friends or a large gathering of up to 120 guests, our dedicated wedding co-ordinator will be delighted to work with you to capture your vision, build your perfect package and ensure that your special day is as individual as you are.

Wyck Hill House Hotel & Spa

Burford Road, Stow-on-the-Wold, The Cotswolds, Gloucestershire, GL54 1HY T: 01451 831 936 E: W:

Cotswold-Homes Magazine  

Magazine Issue 3

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