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Prue Leith Bake Off Star Rachel Joyce Renowned Cotswold Novelist Seren Bell Rare Breeds Artist Cotswold Calendar Autumn / Winter Events Down on the Farm Rural Life Competitions ... Panto, Theatre, Racing, Shopping… Hot Property Beautiful Homes, Expert Advice TV C4’s Best Laid Plans At Home With The Architect


Season’s Greetings Cotswold Homes is ringing the changes As we head into shortening days and log fires, this time of year comes with the opportunity for reflection and change even as we honour our traditions. That’s why, in this Autumn/Winter 2017 edition, we’ve opted for a clean new look - while keeping our commitment to bringing the Cotswolds the best content we possibly can. Our centerpiece is the first part of a pull-out-and-keep series - Guide to the North Cotswolds - highlighting the endless usefulness of the Interactive Map on our website, pulling together all our fabulous articles and in-depth knowledge about this beautiful part of the world. Leading proceedings in the main magazine are our exclusive interviews with two household names. Culinary legend and star of Channel 4’s rebooted The Great British Bake Off Prue Leith offers us an insight into the hit series, while best-selling author Rachel Joyce talks all things from The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry and beyond to her newest novel The Music Room, as we caught up with her after the recent Festival of Literature at Cheltenham. Talking of tradition: in the last few issues, we’ve showcased striking artwork from artists represented by Stow on the Wold’s Fosse Gallery. Now we turn the spotlight on Seren Bell, whose wintry renditions of rural landscapes and rare breeds have captured the attention of Prince Charles. Her artwork graces the cover of this issue and there’s plenty more to see within. Meanwhile, our Autumn / Winter Calendar will give you a few ideas on how to spend your time over the coming months. We also bring you all your regular features - from an intimate look at what’s coming to the stage at Stratford’s Royal Shakespeare Company, a whole new selection of brilliant Competitions and Events plus our resident columnists reflecting on a wide variety of topics. And just as you’d expect, there’s our wonderful Hot Property section, with pages and pages of dedicated to the best properties on the market. So, here’s hoping you enjoy reading this issue as much as we have putting it together, with best wishes of the season to you and yours.

Cover Image: Mistletoe, Road to Hereford by Seren Bell Seren Bell will be exhibiting new artwork in Stow on the Wold’s Fosse Gallery from 5th - 22nd November 2017. Read our interview with Seren in this issue, and visit her website at www.serenbell.co.uk.

Contents 03 Competitions

A sackful of prizes are yours for the winning this winter season

08 Prue Leith

Collette Fairweather quizzes the Great British Bake Off host

12 Rachel Joyce

The bestselling author on life, writing and the Cheltenham Literature Festival

16 Seren Bell

The award-winning artist on capturing rare breeds

22 This Winter at the

Royal Shakespeare Company A look at two of the hottest productions from Stratford’s winter season

30 Winter Calendar

Warm your spirits with our pick of Cotswold events

46 Down on the Farm - Rural Life An insight into rural affairs and the joys of country life

54 Hot Property

Our pick of the North Cotswold market - plus advice from our experts

56 TV C4’s Best Laid Plans At Home With The Architect

Lydia Robinson and her partner, project designer Lawrence Grigg, on Channel 4’s Best Laid Plans Cotswold Homes Magazine Our next edition, January 2018, will bring you more upcoming events, offers and articles showcasing the local area – helping you to get more out of life in this beautiful part of the world. To speak to a member of our team, please telephone 01608 651000 or email: Editor’s Desk: matt@cotswold-homes.com Property: karen@harrisonjameshardie.co.uk Food & Drink/Equestrian: collette@cotswold-homes.com Marketing & Sales: keelin@cotswold-homes.com Website & Admin: rachel@cotswold-homes.com





WIN! A Family Ticket to JACK AND THE BEANSTALK at the Oxford Playhouse on Wednesday 6th December FEE-FI-FO-FUM, I smell lots of panto fun! Win tickets for Oxford's most GIGANTIC panto yet! Scale new heights with Jack and the Beanstalk, Oxford Playhouse's spectacular family pantomime.   After getting into humungous trouble with his mother for selling their cow for a handful of beans, Jack's dreams come true when they start to grow… and grow… and GROW. Join him on an adventure as he outwits the giant and is reunited with his childhood

sweetheart Jill...all with a little help from his friends. With hilarious jokes, lots of sparkle and bucket loads of music and dancing there’s fabulous festive fun to be had by all. Cotswold Homes is offering a family ticket (4 x tickets - up to 2 x adults) for the Wednesday 6th December performance at 6pm. To be in with a chance of winning this great prize, just head to the competition section of www.cotswold-homes.com. Competition closes on Thursday 23rd November.

WIN! 4 TICKETS to see SLEEPING BEAUTY at The Theatre, Chipping Norton on Sunday 3rd December at 4pm Once upon a time there lived a Princess, her long-suffering Nanny, her doting Fairy Godmother, and grumpy old King Lenny. On her 18th birthday, the Princess pricks her finger on a spinning wheel and falls deeply asleep. When she wakes up, exactly four hundred years have passed and things have got a whole lot groovier...But who just kissed her? What strange clothes everyone is wearing! And what's that music?! Heaps of jokes, oodles of fantastic original tunes and a good dash of British history combine to make this a Sleeping Beauty like no other. From the glorious pageantry of the Tudors to the flower-powered freedom of the sixties, Chipping Norton's panto is the most spectacular, the most splendid and the most stupefyingly funny show of the year.



When she wakes up, exactly four hundred years have passed and things have got a whole lot groovier...But who just kissed her? For your chance to win 4 tickets to see Chipping Norton’s next panto smash on Sunday 3rd December at 4pm, simply visit the competition section of www.cotswoldhomes.com. Good luck! Competition closes on Thursday 23rd November.


WINTER COMPETITION GIVEAWAY ONLY WITH COTSWOLD HOMES WIN! A PAIR OF TICKETS TO The Nutcracker AT THE ROSES THEATRE ON Sunday 12th November at 7.30pm Russian National Ballet is coming to The Roses for the very first time to delight you with a beautiful new production of The Nutcracker. A nutcracker who may just be a handsome prince in disguise – so prepare to enter a magical new world… The Christmas story is based on "The Nutcracker and the Mouse King" written by E.T.A. Hoffmann. It tells the story of Marie, a rather sad little girl, whose godfather Drosselmeier gives her a Nutcracker doll as a present on Christmas Eve which turns into a prince and the magic starts…

the Ballet as perfect dream of a flawless world where everyone is happy, and good always triumphs over evil. People are always trying to beautify their life and through beauty we try to create harmony and joy. In the set design of The Nutcracker I tried to create a sense of lightness and convey a celebration mood."

This is the ultimate and beautiful fairy-tale where goodness and beauty triumph.

For a truly magical experience this Christmas time, we’ve snapped up a pair of tickets to see The Nutcracker at The Roses Theatre in Tewkesbury on Sunday 12th November at 7.30pm. To enter this competition, head to the competition section of www.cotswold-homes. com. The prize draw closes on Thursday 2nd November.

Set designer Lubov Sidelnikova says: "The Nutcracker - a delightful and kind fairy tale with a gemstone of Tchaikovsky's music. Therefore, I wanted to embed the set design of

WIN! A PAIR OF TICKETS TO SEE A FILM OF YOUR CHOICE AT EVESHAM’S RENOWNED ART DECO CINEMA, THE REGAL The Regal Cinema in Evesham is a lovingly restored art deco style cinema with a coffee shop and licensed bar that attracts movie-goers from across the region. It hosts a wide variety of events

Terms & Conditions Entry to our competitions is open to all except the colleagues (and their families) of Cotswold Homes and Harrison James & Hardie. Winners will be drawn at random and notified by e-mail or by phone and may be posted on our website. No alternative prize or cash substitute is available for any of the prizes. In the event of a winner being unable to accept their prize then another winner will be drawn. It is a condition of entry that all rules are accepted as final and that the competitor agrees to abide by these rules. The decision of the judges is final and no correspondence will be entered into.

that include live music and comedy performances, live sports broadcasts and transmissions of live theatre productions, as well as the latest blockbuster films! The lucky winner of this pair of tickets will be able to see a film of their choice for free (subject to availability).   To enter our draw, visit the competition section of www.cotswold-homes.com. Competition closes on Thursday 7th December.

Entries must be made via the competition section of the Cotswold Homes website www.cotswold-homes. com (or as specified in entry terms of a specific prize) and entry is restricted to one per person. Late, illegible, incomplete, defaced or corrupt entries or entries sent through agencies and third parties will not be accepted. The winner will be drawn at random from all entries received by the closing date and notified via the contact details supplied. The winner will be contacted within seven days of the closing date of the prize draw. Should the Promoter be unable to contact the winner or should the winner be unable to accept the prize, the Promoter reserves the right to award the prize to an alternative winner, drawn

WIN! A SIGNED HARDBACK COPY OF RACHEL JOYCE’S NEW NOVEL, THE MUSIC SHOP It’s a love story as well as a journey through music. The Music Shop is an exquisite and perfectly pitched new novel from the bestselling author of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, Perfect and The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy. Turn to pages 12-15 for our exclusive interview with Rachel where she talks about the writing of her new book. We’ve got two signed hardback copies of The Music Shop to give away to lucky winners. To be in with a chance of snapping one up, head to the competition section of www.cotswold-homes.com. Competition closes on Thursday 7th December. in accordance with these terms and conditions. The prize is described as available on the date of publication and all prizes are subject to the terms and conditions of the supplier. The prizes do not include travel insurance, food and drink, personal expenditure, or incidental costs, other than where mentioned. All elements of the prize are non transferable and there are no cash alternatives. The winner may be required to take part in publicity. Events may occur that render the prize draw itself or the awarding of the prize impossible due to reasons beyond the control of the Promoter and accordingly the Promoter may at its absolute discretion vary or amend the promotion and the entrant agrees that no liability shall attach to the Promoter as a result thereof.




WINTER COMPETITION GIVEAWAY ONLY WITH COTSWOLD HOMES WIN! a garden design consultation worth £250 from Oxford Garden Design Look forward to the springtime and give your garden a bit of makeover! If you’ve always wanted to have your very own bespoke outdoor space, then the first step is having a great design.

b y d es i g n

WIN! a £75 voucher to spend at Amanda Hanley’s beautiful interior design store in Burford Gloucestershire interior design consultant Amanda Hanley is renowned for her classic style, insider knowledge and friendly, inspirational approach. With 30 years' experience of creative project management, Amanda has an enviable contacts book of architects, craftsmen and builders, as well as a welcoming studio space in the Cotswold town of Burford, stocked with beautiful home furnishings - from

fabrics and wallpaper to cushions. Create your dream bespoke kitchen, choose a new paint scheme, or find home decor ideas. And to kick-start your interior styling dreams, we’ve giving one lucky winner a £75 voucher to spend in Amanda’s Burford store. To enter our draw to win this great prize, simply head to the competition section of www.cotswoldhomes.com. Competition closes on Monday 11th December..

We've teamed up with handmade sofa retailer Timeless Chesterfields to offer you the chance to win one of their beautiful genuine wool throws for your living room.

The winner of this fantastic prize will be able to choose which colour throw they'd like to receive, so it’s a great chance to pick out a pattern that matches your own home's décor.

These plaid throws are ideal for draping over your furniture to add a touch of style and some extra warmth. They're made with 100% British wool and are available in seven attractive colours.

To enter our draw to win this great prize, simply visit the competition section of our website www.cotswold-homes.com. The competition closes on Monday 11th December.


With a value of £250, a garden design consultation is where the talented garden designers from OGD come and talk to you to find out what your aspirations are before producing ideas and plans for a garden design that mirrors your wishes. Sheena Marsh and her team are based in Carterton, Oxfordshire and have transformed gardens both large and small in and around the Cotswolds. To enter our draw to win this great prize, simply visit the competition section of our website www.cotswoldhomes.com. The competition closes on Monday 11th December.

WIN a beautiful genuine wool throw from Timeless Chesterfields


In this issue, we’re giving one lucky person the chance to win a coveted design consultation with the awardwinning garden design company, Oxford Garden Design.



Monday – so it’s an ideal way of rounding off the festive season.

Celebrate the New Year in style! Whether it be with friends, family or colleagues, Cheltenham is the home of Jump Racing and is most certainly the place to be on New Year’s Day. This hugely popular race meeting takes place on a Bank Holiday

We’ve snapped up two pairs of Club tickets to this popular race meet so to be in with a chance of winning, simply head to the competition section of www. cotswold-homes.com. Competition closes on 11th December 2017.

With a Family Fun Zone, a wide variety of refreshments available and live music throughout the day, this is an event not to miss.

WIN! A FAMILY TICKET INCLUDING LUNCH TO THE POINT-TO-POINT at Cocklebarrow Races on 28th January 2018

We’re offering a great prize for the county’s equine lovers, courtesy of the Heythrop Hunt. Enjoy all the action at the Point-to-Point on Sunday 28th January 2018, taking place at the Cocklebarrow racecourse at Aldsworth, just south of Northleach. This Point-to-Point race is always a popular event and winners of the Family Ticket prize will be given lunch as well as a free car park pass. This year there will be even more entertainment provided for visitors to enjoy, including the Tough Mudder challenge, terrier racing, Bucking Bronco, children’s entertainment and much more. Gates open at 10.30am with the first race around noon. To enter this prize draw, head to the competition section of www.cotswold-homes.com. Competition closes on 11th January 2018.






Stealing a few moments with Prue Leith, new judge of The Great British Bake Off, to talk contestants, tents - and onesies.

Prue Leith has a special place in my heart. Her achievements boggle the mind - she’s a Michelin-starred restaurateur; the creator of Leiths Good Food catering; the founder of cookery school Leiths School of Food and Wine; a TV presenter, a cookery writer, columnist and novelist. She was a nonexecutive director of British Rail, Whitbread, Woolworths and Halifax, and was awarded a CBE in 2010. She was my first ever interview. I remember it well: we sat at her kitchen table (me sitting first on the cat). The window framed a bucolic Cotswold vista. Prue was a flurry of arms and legs whirling around her kitchen. Crash-bang went the cupboards. Up shot the dishwasher door, with the aid of a shoe. The fridge was closed by the nudge of a hip. Suddenly, she landed opposite me, pouring the tea – playing mother. She drew a deep breath, fixed her gaze squarely and said: ‘Go.’ She is a captivating woman.



And now, years later, I’m after her again. For the Great British Bake Off came a-calling, its ‘controversial’ move to Channel 4 setting Prue in the shoes of the beloved Mary Berry. Of the original ensemble, only Old Blue Eyes (Paul Hollywood) made the leap, leaving millions fretful for the Bake Off’s future. Happily, public angst was misplaced. The winning format remains the same as in the previous seven series. Twelve amateur bakers compete for the coveted ‘star baker’ award through three baking challenges, filmed over a succession of weekends in gruelling sixteen-hour days. The national treasure is in capable hands. When were you approached to join the ‘Bake Off’ bandwagon? [In the] beginning of March. Filming started very soon afterwards. I had to audition

though. I thought I was just meeting Paul to see how the chemistry worked, but actually, when I got there to the house in south London, it was all set up like a little Bake Off. There were two contestants making soda bread and brownies, and I had to judge in front of a couple of camera men. There were make-up ladies and a stylist and the whole kit and caboodle, and by the end of it I had got rather nervous. And so the first few takes really didn’t go very well, and Paul finally said ‘for goodness sake, just go for it, stop referring back to me.’ Because off-camera I was gabbing away in my usual way, and on-camera I was


“Emotions run very high, especially towards the end. The truth is, everyone ends up such friends, you find them over and over again helping each other. I can’t imagine any kind of sabotage.”

too considered. And so I thought, to hell with it, I’ll let myself go! And needless to say, it all worked much better. What was your impression of the contestants? The first thing is they really have to be very bright. Thousands of people apply, and the job they have to do once they are chosen is fantastically difficult. Every week, they have to make up two more cakes, the signature challenge and the showstopper. And then they have to practise them, and as soon as they’ve perfected that one another one lands on them.




The tent itself - it must play havoc with the actual baking? On the first morning’s filming the tent was freezing, and so we were hugging hot water bottles, and I was wearing a purple onesie! But because you’re in a tent it can be very cold or hot or humid and it can also get full of bees! And so it can be very challenging in that respect. The contestants are chosen for their baking ability, they are the twelve best amateur bakers in the country. I really was very surprised how good they actually were! It was all a bit of a surprise, as I don’t watch a lot of television and I hadn’t really watched the Bake Off before now. Do you, like me, find yourself investing in the contestants? Everyone does, you can’t help it, it’s a very kind show, nobody is trying to humiliate anyone, which is such a common [element] of reality shows. There’s no belittling to make the public feel superior. Nobody is made to feel the fool. Emotions run very high, especially towards the end. The truth is, everyone ends up such friends, you find them over and over again helping each other. I can’t imagine any kind of sabotage. Do you ever feel tempted to give them a little hug when the disasters inevitably happen? Yes - I quite often do! And you haven’t slipped when the contestants reveal their grand plans and say ‘I wouldn’t do that if I were you’? I have occasionally, particularly at the beginning. Because I’m so used to teaching, I’d automatically offer advice, and a voice from behind the camera would call out: ‘Prue, don’t help them!’ Did you watch yourself on Tuesday night? Yes, there was a whole lot of us at home in Oxfordshire, and my husband, John, said very dramatically: ‘You’re not cooking for all of us tonight…I’m going to go and buy fish and chips.’ So he did. John is so very accommodating of my career. He came down to the Bake Off. Sometimes Noel’s girlfriend comes or Sandie’s wife comes, and we all have dinner or drinks together and it’s so nice.



... off-camera I was gabbing away in my usual way, and on-camera I was too considered. And so I thought, to hell with it, I’ll let myself go! And needless to say, it all worked much better. As a teacher, did you ear-mark the winner early on? Well, you can see natural traits. So much of it is about being organised, and disciplined, simply clearing up as you go along. If your bench is a mess, you’re going to end up in a muddle - it [creates] panic and stress. That’s the easiest way to spot them. And now that filming is done, and we all impatiently await the big ‘Bake Off’ reveal what is keeping you occupied? I’m re-releasing Relish, which now includes the Bake Off and my marriage to John. I’ve nearly finished my trilogy of novels, which will be out next year. And I’ve got two cook books in the [making]. One is a cake book with my niece, who is the pastry chef at the Ivy. She will do all the wonderful dinner party creations, and I can do the family crumbles and cobblers! And then I’m going to do a ‘Best of Prue’, [featuring] my favourite recipes of my career. That should be released sometime next year. And then there’s the Bake Off. I love the show. I plan to keep going, as long as they’ll have me. Mary did it for seven years and she was my age when she started. So she had a fantastic long run - something which I hope to emulate.

Relish: My Life on a Plate by Prue Leith is published by Quercus. The hardback edition is £20






Bestselling author Rachel Joyce captivated the hearts of readers with her award-winning 2012 debut, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, which saw her named the National Book Awards’ New Writer of the Year. Since then, she’s continued her winning streak with The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessey, Perfect and A Snow Garden and Other Stories. The recently released The Music Shop is Rachel’s fourth novel, and fifth book overall. Prior to becoming a writer, Rachel enjoyed a twenty-year career as an actor, performing leading roles for the RSC, the Royal National Theatre, The Royal Court, and Cheek by Jowl, winning a Time Out Best Actress award and the Sony Silver.

wrote my autobiography when I was eight. [Laughs]. It was quite short, but it was about my poetry, which I felt had been overlooked.

She has written over twenty radio plays for Radio 4, and won the Tinniswood Award for Best Radio Play in 2007. She now lives in the Cotswolds with husband Paul Venables and her children. Ahead of Rachel’s appearance at the 2017 Cheltenham Literature Festival, Matt Dicks caught up with her to discuss her runaway success.

I did! And I didn’t even tell anyone I was doing that. Yes, it was a children’s story. I went to the library and I made a list from the Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook. I only sent it to one publisher - I can’t remember which one - and I did it under a pseudonym as well. I don’t know why - I think I had the Brontës in my head a bit.

Rachel, you’ve been an actor and a writer of radio plays. But was writing novels where you always wanted to end up?

Your debut - 2012’s The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry - was amazingly successful. It won the National Book Awards’ New Writer of the Year Award. It was longlisted for the Booker. And it was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Prize. What was it like dealing with that smash success?

Yes, it was. It always was. Even when I was a child, that’s what I wanted to do. I always wrote, when I was a child - I was always writing stories and terrible, terrible poems. I



I heard you sent a book to a publisher when you were fourteen.


For years and years I’ve been going to Cheltenham to listen to writers speak. I really enjoy it. There’s something about Cheltenham, perhaps more than any other, that feels a bit magical.




then, which was my second book. The other stuff came and went really. Harold Fry was, I’ve heard, around six years in the making. Does it remain the book that was most challenging to write? No, they’re always equally challenging [laughs]. It didn’t take six years to write - it started as an afternoon play, and then I wrote a lot of other things, then I decided I needed to really commit to writing a book. Harold Fry seemed a very obvious book to write, because I had already explored it in a play - although the play is a very short medium. But also, because it was very dear to my heart. I’d written it for my dad when he was dying, and there still felt a lot that needed to be said - about losing someone, about grief, about pilgrimage, about faith. About trying to find your place in the bigger picture. Those things all seem very alive for me. So your latest novel, The Music Shop, has got this nice idea at the centre of it. The character of Frank, who runs the titular music shop, has this gift for alleviating the woes of his customers with music - with specifically chosen records. Where did the seed of this idea come from?

“I found in London that I suddenly has a desperate and visceral need to see the sky. I mean, I’m a Londoner, but [the feeling] really was extraordinary, how potent it was, that I couldn’t see enough sky.” Well, it was quite strange. It can be a bit overwhelming, at times. But I had another book that I wanted to write. And I always feel that if I’m writing, if I’m being creative, that’s the place where I’m happy, and where I’m grounded. That’s where I feel connected up with things. Thinking about success…seems to me a hiding to nothing, really. I mean, what is it? It’s all so ephemeral. So for me, it was much, much better to absorb myself in the book that I was writing



That was quite a complicated one, and again it happened a very long time ago partly it came about because my husband and I really love music, we play music all the time, and I’m very interested in how music can reach you, sometimes, in a way other things can’t. It can take you to places of safety - or places of adventure. So those are the kinds of things I’m interested in. But it specifically came about when Paul and I moved to the Cotswolds, which was - gosh - fifteen years ago. My husband couldn’t sleep at night. I don’t know why. We tried all sorts of things, and none of them really worked. In the end, we found a music shop in Cheltenham, as it happened, where Paul told the owner he couldn’t sleep, and he said: ‘I’ve got something that will help you.’ He found Paul this CD. He brought it home, and played it - and it worked. He did sleep! So we were so moved by this idea, that Paul - who wasn’t really into classical music then - went on a bit of a journey into classical music through this record shop. So that was the seed of the idea - a shop where you could go where the owner had a gift for finding people the music they need.


I saw on the Penguin website that there’s a playlist of songs that you’ve curated… There is! There’s a Spotify playlist. Because the book is a story, in essence, about a man who is passionate about vinyl, and wants to save vinyl, in the year that vinyl is being overthrown by CDs. But it’s also about music, and the publishers have made a playlist so that people can listen to the tracks as they read. It’s also a big love story about two people who can’t quite…Well, everytime they get together, something goes wrong. It’s about how they can overcome themselves. You mentioned living in London before you moved to the Cotswolds. I wonder what impact that’s had on your creativity? You’ve described yourself in interviews as something of a people-watcher… I think it definitely did open up my creativity. Partly, I think, it was where I was. I found in London that I suddenly has a desperate and visceral need to see the sky. I mean, I’m a Londoner, but [the feeling] really

was extraordinary, how potent it was, that I couldn’t see enough sky. It was if I couldn’t breathe properly. I really needed to do it. Paul was an actor then, and I was writing, so it was possible for us to move out of London and still work. I did tap into something more…reflective, I think, in myself. And in terms of people-watching…Even though we now live on some kind of remote hill, we do live by a public footpath, so I do get to watch people. And I sit in cafes, and on trains, and I endlessly…I’m endlessly moved by people, through watching them. When I talk about your books with my friends and colleagues, there’s a theme that seems to come up. People are drawn to this sense of positivity, for want of a better word, that seems to be espoused by your stories…Is there a personal philosophy that you’re articulating in your books, do you think? I find them very difficult to talk about from the outside. I suppose my interest is always in finding my place in a bigger community, and so I write about people who are doing that,

or are struggling to do that. But because I believe so much in the power of the community - and also, mystery - I suppose those are the things I keep coming back to. And with The Music Shop, more than any of the others, I felt that I needed to write a happy book. So it is a happy book, even though the characters go through some dark things - because you can’t just be happy. At the end - it’s a redemptive ending about community, and being part of some bigger thing. You’re no longer a ‘new author’ - you’ve written a few books now. Is there anything you wish you’d known beforehand about the writing process, or being an author? No, I don’t think so. The trick for me is not to really think about it - I mean, I do think of myself as a writer, because that’s what I do every day. But I’m also a mother, and a friend, and a person who wanders up and down Stroud, and those things really matter to me. And a wife! [laughs]. I musn’t forget to mention that! So is there something I’d wish I’d known? No. I went into it knowing remarkable little about the publishing business, and I would rather stay that way. For me, the craft is the important thing. I think about that a lot. So the Cheltenham Literature Festival’s coming up, and you’ll be speaking again. What’s that like to attend, as an author? I think of it as an honour, partly because it’s Cheltenham. For years and years I’ve been going to Cheltenham to listen to writers speak. I really enjoy it. There’s something about Cheltenham, perhaps more than any other, that feels a bit magical. I suppose it’s all the marquees. It’s rather like the circus coming to town. Only with writers! But I think people do consider it an honour to be asked to speak there. It’s so eclectic - it’s such a rich mix. There’s something for everybody.

The Music Shop is published by Penguin, and is available at all good booksellers. Find out more about Rachel and her books at www.penguin.co.uk







Dedicated to celebrating both rustic livestock and the natural beauty of the Welsh valleys, artist Seren Bell counts Prince Charles amongst her collectors. Ahead of her showing at the Fosse Gallery in Stow on the Wold, Seren reveals the inspirational powers of heritage breeds and her local landscape. Every Seren Bell picture is a showcase. Old livestock breeds are placed front and centre, presented for your inspection. Yet there is none of the urgency of the auction: sheep, geese, cockerels and pigs return your gaze, restive. Even a pack of hounds has a still and sculptural quality. They are animals as art, to be appreciated for the elegance of their form just as much as their utility. Meanwhile, the dramatic landscapes that surround them refuse to cede the spotlight: skeletal trees reach for shepherd-delighting skies, as hoarfrost creeps across the land. Resplendent with detail, what might be considered ‘background’ instead speaks of a deep and spiritual love for the rural. That love is sourced in the Wye Valley in Radnorshire, where Seren lives. From the heights above the valley, one can see the Black Mountains and the Brecon Beacons. These hills and mountains, Seren says, ‘have formed a backdrop to my life.’

Like the Cotswolds, the Wye Valley is an officially designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, known for both its natural bounties (limestone gorges, marshes, mysterious forests) and its historical and industrial relics (hill forts and copper/ iron/tinplate works). This is where Seren’s ancestral tree is rooted. It’s not hard to see why, after studying English and Fine Art at Exeter University in the mid-eighties, she could not resist returning. ‘It’s magic here,’ Seren enthuses. ‘We live in the Upper Wye area, between Builth Wells and Hay on Wye. We moved to the area because my husband’s a big salmon fisherman. I like being out as much as possible - walking the woodland tracks and outdoor areas. It’s just the sort of landscape I like - an ancient, farmed, working landscape. ‘I love the winter. I really like a bit of snow and hoarfrost. That’s when you see the bare bones of the landscape.’






And what of the animals she portrays? What draws her to them? ‘I particularly love the old breeds. It’s really important to preserve the old stocks. I love the ways that the different breeds of sheep, in particular, have adapted to their environments. Right down to the pigs and poultry, the old breeds are maginificent. I really like to look at them. ‘But with more modern breeds like the Texel [sheep]…I don’t like them, they’re so short-necked. They’re like carcasses on legs somehow indicative of the modern age. But the older varieties are so handsome. When you see the rare breeds at the Malvern Show - you see there’s a lot of heritage there. They’re like old buildings, in a way. They have to be preserved and looked after.


I love the ways that the different breeds of sheep, in particular, have adapted to their environments. Right down to the pigs and poultry, the old breeds are maginificent. I really like to look at them. breed fancier - the Prince of Wales, Patron of the Rare Breeds Survival Trust, whose Highgrove estate is a bastion of all things heritage. And so, two years ago, Seren was commissioned to immortalise the Highgrove stocks - including Tamworth pigs, Shropshire sheep, West of England geese.

‘The breeders themselves work so hard. They’re always very flattered when you take an interest, and they’re invested in the aesthetic look of the animal - it’s not all about business.’

‘I went to Highgrove two or three times to look at the animals and photograph them. It was quite a terrifying experience. I’m not so good with commissions,’ she laughs, ‘because I’m such a terrible people-pleaser. But it was fascinating. It’s a beautiful place - a lovely farm run on organic lines.’

It’s not surprising that Seren’s passion has caught the eye of perhaps the ultimate rare

Stark and atmospheric, yet inviting to the beholder, Seren’s recent works hearken








“One hopes that, in one hundred years, we’ll still have Gloucester cattle and Old Spot pigs, and the untarnished beauty of the Wye Valley.”


to the more ‘visionary’ figures in 19th and 20th century British landscape painting: it’s not surprising when she counts Samuel Palmer and John and Paul Nash amongst the artists she loves. Yet Seren is not foremost a painter: her pictures are instead painstakingly rendered in crayon, pen and ink. (In 2009, she received the St Cuthberts Mill Award for best work on paper). The spirit of Seren’s style also recalls the best of British folk art - work produced by self-trained artists over the centuries, typically honouring animals, traditions, occupations and pastimes. Such pictures, often made simply to fulfil a creative urge, now stand as records. Testaments to vanished lifestyles, and things muscled from the path of progress.

Gloucester cattle, originally bred as a compromise between dairy and beef, stand as an example of a breed at the risk of disappearing altogther, were it not for the conservation work of farmers like Joe Henson, and those others who fight to keep them alive despite economic adversity. One hopes that, in one hundred years, we’ll still have Gloucester cattle and Old Spot pigs, and the untarnished beauty of the Wye Valley. Better admire them while we can - fortunately, it’s a short trip to Stow on the Wold, where you can see Seren’s work this November.

Seren Bell - New Paintings: In the Shadow of the Black Mountain - Showing at the Fosse Gallery in Stow on the Wold, 5th - 22nd November 2017, www.fossegallery.com Discover more about Seren and her work at www.serenbell.co.uk. o20






Scrooge Today A new adaptation of Dickens’ festive classic, A Christmas Carol, is bound for the stage, as part of the RSC’s 2017 winter programme. Ahead of the show’s Stratford debut, the show’s writer David Edgar muses on the origins, currency and message of this timeless tale.

Sometime in the autumn of 1979, I received a phone-call from Trevor Nunn, the then artistic director of the RSC. He explained that the company wanted to do a version of a Dickens novel, and asked if I would be interested in adapting it. As my brain rushed chaotically through what I remembered of the Dickens canon, he explained that the choice was already down to two: the dark and majestic late novel Our Mutual Friend and the earlier picaresque jollity Nicholas Nickleby. Instructing me to think about it, Trevor said he’d ring back in a couple of days.

Why? A Christmas Carol poses a particular problem for the adaptor. Unlike Nickleby (but like Jekyll & Hyde) the novel has been adapted dozens if not hundreds of times, and most people know it through the plays and the movies. But, actually, the constant reinvention of the story is one of its fascinations. Originally, in fact, it was to be a political tract. In early 1843, Dickens had read an excoriating parliamentary report on the condition of child labourers in Britain’s mines and factories, and determined to produce a Christmas pamphlet titled ‘An Appeal to the People of England on behalf of the Poor Man’s Child’. In October, he decided to make the same appeal through fiction. By the end of November, he’d written A Christmas Carol. Starting out as a demand for social reform in a blisteringly miserable and angry decade (the Hungry Forties saw the nearest thing to a general strike before 1926), the story was later to veer from a Christian allegory (Scrooge as a pilgrim, the Cratchits as the Holy Family) via a children’s fable to a post-Freudian case-study. In post-war Britain, Scrooge was portrayed as an asset-stripper and (in his converted form) a kind of hippy; in Reaganite America, adaptors asked whether there was anything wrong with Scrooge’s perfectly sound business model at all.

Immediately I consulted my wife. The extent of my Dickensian scholarship can be judged from the fact that my first question was ‘Is Nicholas Nickleby the one with Mrs Gamp in it?’ (It isn’t). Her advice was to do it if it was Our Mutual Friend but not if it was Nickleby.

As with Shakespeare, the greatness of A Christmas Carol lies in its capacity for reinterpretation. The fact that it’s at least three stories (one for each ghost) allows the contemporary adaptor to look at Scrooge’s life – as he does – as a confrontation with past abandonment, present injustice and the possibility of future change. And there is of course a fourth life in A Christmas Carol. Dickens too was suppressing the secret pain of his own childhood. As he wrote the story, he was supporting a huge and growing family, not all of them (he sometimes felt) entirely worthy of his largesse. And in order to do so, he was in considerable debt. He was thus both vulnerable and attuned to Scrooge’s arguments for people standing on their own two feet.

But by the time Trevor called back, the die had been cast. He and fellow director John Caird (the team that was to direct Les Misérables) had decided on the early novel. I decided – sensibly, on this occasion – not to follow my wife’s advice, and sat down to read.

The success of Nicholas Nickleby was partially attributable to its time. A year into Margaret Thatcher’s government, as unemployment rocketed and swathes of industrial Britain collapsed, people wanted to hear that there was more to life than money.

Following Nickleby’s now legendary success on both sides of the Atlantic, I decided to quit while I was winning, and resolved never to adapt another Dickens (although I did do a Jekyll & Hyde for the RSC in the early 1990s). Three years ago, the company asked if I might be persuaded to reconsider that decision. To both the RSC’s and my surprise, I found myself saying yes.

As a call for social justice, A Christmas Carol is perhaps similarly topical today. Around the time I agreed to adapt it, a leading cabinet minister assured the nation that financial independence is the only pathway to dignity and self-respect – and, thus, that acceptance of a helping hand when you need it is a pathway to indignity and shame. Ebenezer Scrooge: alive and well. A Christmas Carol plays in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon from 27 November 2017 – 4 February 2018, with Phil Davis as Ebenezer Scrooge. Visit www.rsc.org.uk for booking and further details. BEST AVAILABILITY JANUARY.




Play On:

Twelfth Night at the RSC

Director Christopher Luscombe tells all about Stratford’s hilarious new Twelfth Night which sees comic Adrian Edmondson pulling on the iconic yellow stockings of Malvolio.

You were last in Stratford with the RSC directing the hit productions of Love’s Labour’s Lost and Much Ado About Nothing in 2014. Could you tell us what you’re looking forward to about working in Stratford again? Working in Stratford is a dream for a director. You have such a great team around you, and everyone, in all the different departments, is so highly skilled. You can really be ambitious in planning the production, confident that your colleagues will bend over backwards to realise what you have in mind. In Twelfth Night we're aiming for something pretty spectacular, and I know that the workshops are excited by the challenge. Could you tell us how you first got into directing? I was an actor for many years, including a seven year stint at the RSC. While I was working for the Company in the early ‘90s I devised a show called The Shakespeare Revue - comic songs and sketches inspired by Shakespeare. This started life as a Sunday night charity show and I directed it for fun really. But the show took on a life of its own, and before long we found ourselves performing it in the West End. I loved the whole process of directing, and so I decided to tackle a play. One thing led to another, and here I am now, back at the RSC but this time with my director's hat on. What was it that appealed to you about directing Twelfth Night? I'm fascinated by comedy, and have spent most of my life working on funny material



in one way or another. But I suppose my favourite comic writing has a bit of darkness in it too. Twelfth Night is generally thought of as Shakespeare's greatest comedy, and some of it is hilarious - but there's sadness as well, and a lot of the characters are dealing with difficult emotions. There's bereavement and unrequited love and loneliness in amongst the farce of mistaken identity. So I think it's going to be really interesting to find the balance between all these elements. Your last RSC production designs were based on the interior and exterior of Charlecote Park, just down the road from Stratford. Is there anything you can tell us about the design and concept for this new production? Yes, I love putting Shakespeare plays in specific locations and periods. Twelfth Night mainly takes place in two different locations - Olivia's manor house and Orsino's court. I've decided to place Olivia in the country, and we're basing the design on Wightwick Manor, just outside Wolverhampton. It's a magnificent late-Victorian family house, designed according to the rules laid down by Oscar Wilde in his lecture The House Beautiful. Wilde was a devotee of the so-called Aesthetic Movement, which grew out of William Morris's beliefs about interior design. It's a very beguiling look.


Twelfth Night is generally thought of as Shakespeare's greatest comedy, and some of it is hilarious - but there's sadness as well, and a lot of the characters are dealing with difficult emotions.



Hess on the music for Twelfth Night, who you’ve worked with before. How big a part does music play in the whole feeling of the production? I think there's more music specified in the text of Twelfth Night than in any other Shakespeare play. There's the famous line 'If music be the food of love, play on', and the characters quite often break into song or play instruments. We're visualising Orsino in the city, and we've given him a bachelor pad based on Leighton House in Holland Park. It's chic and glamorous, and gives his material a very particular feel.

make an audience laugh. But anyone who saw Ade in War and Peace on television will know that he's also a wonderful straight actor, and he'll be expert at finding what really makes Malvolio tick.

I’m setting the three scenes that take place between these locations in railway stations, as the characters travel back and forth. The set designer, Simon Higlett, has worked wonders to conjure up all these different worlds.

Similarly, I've been keen to work with Kara Tointon. She's also well-known from her television work, but is a brilliant stage actress, and has the wit and intelligence that is needed to play Olivia. I know that both Ade and Kara are very excited to be making their RSC debut in Twelfth Night - it's a play that all actors seem to love.

Ade Edmondson is playing the role of Malvolio. What do you think he’ll bring to that comic role being known for being a comedian and playing comedy roles on TV? Ade and I have been trying to find a play to do together for quite a long time now. I wanted someone for Malvolio who has 'funny bones' - an actor who is instinctively funny, and doesn't have to work too hard to

You’re working with composer Nigel

I'm lucky to have a composer like Nigel, who is a past master at setting Shakespeare's verse to glorious, tuneful music, and who seems to be able to compose in any style. In this instance, we're specifically recreating the popular music of the late 19th Century, so there's lots of reference to Music Hall, parlour ballads, Gilbert and Sullivan - as well as a nod to Chopin and Liszt! Music, rather like lighting and design, can be so helpful in creating an atmosphere that suits the play, and Twelfth Night has given Nigel a huge range of possibilities. But I think it's fair to say that the overall feel will be Romantic with a capital ‘R'.

Twelfth Night plays in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, 2 November 2017 - 24 February 2018. Visit www.rsc.org.uk for booking and further details.




Sarah Matthews: A Passion for Racing Photographer and joint chair / stable visit organiser for Cheltenham and Three Counties Race Club Sarah Jane Matthews on her dedication to all things equine

My first racing memory of any kind is telling my father that Red Rum was going to win The Grand National for the 3rd time. He laughed at me and said: ‘OK, your monthly pocket money can go on him.’ (Which was the grand total of £5). I was so sure about Rummy winning that I didn’t think twice about it. My first time going to the races (that I can actually remember) was The Japan Cup. My father was posted to The British Embassy in the late 1970s, and I went out there rather than go to boarding school. Thanks to this, I fell in love with flat racing, and followed Walter Swinburn and Steve Cauthen when we got back to England in the early 1980s. I started taking photos when I was racing right from the start - mainly to have a record of the day, and all of the wonderful equines that I’d seen. The first time I actually got asked to take a particular photo was when a friend of mine was leading up her favourite horse, who was definitely not a world beater! She hadn’t got any photos of that kind as he never came anywhere. I took the one and only photo she has of him, as he was retired soon after. We still talk about it and how much it means to her. I love going NH racing these days and still try and take photos of every horse that I see. I am classed as a keen amateur, so no selling or publishing is allowed - but as they are mainly for me as a record of my day’s racing, there is no harm in it. I am the stable visit organiser for Cheltenham and Three Counties Race Club so my camera goes along on those visits to capture the visit. I have been asked by friends to do photo shoots. It pleases me no end to see memories captured for other people. The bond between humans and equines can be breathtaking, and to see a horse in action is out of this world. I have 4 ex-racehorses of my own. They are all retired, out in the field for their final years. Living happily as a herd. The Cheltenham and Three Counties Race Club was formed in August 1985 with the help and support of the late Lord Oaksey OBE. CTCRC meets for monthly meetings on the third Wednesday of each month from September to May. Meetings are generally held at The Victory Club in Cheltenham. A guest speaker or speakers from the world of horse racing is the feature of each meeting. Some monthly meetings are held at racecourses, and stable visits and racecourse visits are also organised. In addition, the Club organises the Cheltenham Festival Preview held in the Centaur at Cheltenham Racecourse. Find out more information here: www.ctcrc.co.uk







Cotswold Events: WINTER CALENDAR Plays, pantos, festive train rides, concerts, fayres, workshops - and some of the hottest jump-racing around. Welcome to winter in the Cotswolds.

Make Panto in a Week (Ages 7-20), The Roses Theatre, Tewkesbury 23 - 27 October 2017 10.00am - 3.00pm If you’ve ever felt the urge to join in with the Roses’ magical pantomimes, this is for you. Join them on a week-long holiday project full of cheers and jeers and celebrate all things pantomime Cinderella’s slipper, Jack’s beanstalk, even an ugly Dame or two. You know you want to join in. Oh yes you do! www.rosestheatre.org



Westonbirt Charities Fair & Festival, Westonbirt School 24 – 25 October 2017 10.00am – 5.00pm

Now in its 17th year and bigger and better than ever, there is something for everyone at the Westonbirt Fair. Spoil yourself with cashmere and jewellery. Buy gadgets for men and stocking fillers for children. Find the perfect Christmas gift for friends and family and treat yourself to something scrumptious from the artisan food hall. Tickets available at www.westonbirtfair.org

Fairport Convention's Golden Anniversary Tour 27 October 2017 7.30pm, St Edward’s Church, Stow on the Wold Award-winning English folk rock band and festival throwers Fairport Convention celebrate their 50th anniversary this year, and are swinging by Stow on the Wold as part of their tour. Come and see why they’re still going strong after half a century of rocking. Tickets are available from The Borzoi Bookshop (01451 830268) or Debbie@HolidaysPlease (01451 810255) or book online at WeGotTickets.com. More information at www.musicatstow.co.uk / www.fairportconvention.com


The Showcase, Cheltenham Racecourse

Sleeping Beauty, The Theatre Chipping Norton

27 - 28 October 2017

14 November 2017 - 14 January 2018

Two days of top racing action! The Showcase is a popular meeting to get the season underway at the Home of Jump Racing with many of the top owners, trainers and jockeys having runners during the two days. The October meeting marks the beginning of the year for many horses, ready to get going in a season which will - fingers crossed - bring them back to The Festival in March. For booking and information, visit www.cheltenham. thejockeyclub.co.uk

Once Upon A Time there lived a Princess, her long-suffering Nanny, her doting Fairy Godmother, and grumpy old King Lenny. On her 18th birthday, the Princess pricks her finger on a spinning wheel and falls deeply asleep. When she wakes up, exactly four hundred years have passed and things have got a whole lot groovier...But who just kissed her? What strange clothes everyone is wearing! And what's that music?!

Toyah Willcox 28 October 2017 8.00pm, St Edward’s Church, Stow on the Wold Chart-topping singer and Quadrophenia star Toyah Willcox will also be calling at Stow this October - catch her while you can. Tickets are available from The Borzoi Bookshop (01451 830268) or Debbie@ HolidaysPlease (01451 810255) - or book online at www.WeGotTickets.com. More information at www.musicatstow.co.uk / www.toyahwillcox.com

Heaps of jokes, oodles of fantastic original tunes and a good dash of British History combine to make this a Sleeping Beauty like no other. From the glorious pageantry of the Tudors to the flower-powered freedom of the sixties, Chipping Norton's panto is the most spectacular, the most splendid and the most stupefying funny show of the year. www.chippingnortontheatre.com

Christmas Exhibition, The Old Silk Mill, Chipping Campden 17 November - 31 December 2017, The Gallery at the Guild A mixed exhibition, displaying work by all 28 members of this artist's co-operative gallery. A perfect place to find a unique gift for your loved ones this Christmas. www.thegalleryattheguild.co.uk

The November Meeting (formerly known as The Open), Cheltenham Racecourse 17 - 19 November 2017 Three thrilling days of racing action await at Cheltenham this November. One of the most popular days of the season, Friday or Countryside Day - has a unique country fair atmosphere and a range of displays and demonstrations covering many equine and other country pursuits. Next up is Paddy Power Gold Cup Day, considered by some as the best day of Jump racing this side of Christmas - with huge crowds flocking to the course to enjoy a day out. Sunday is a family day with free children’s entertainment and plenty of racing action. For booking and information, visit www.cheltenham.thejockeyclub.co.uk




Cotswold Events: WINTER CALENDAR

Bath Christmas Market 23 November - 10 December 2017 Set between the Roman Baths and Bath Abbey, Bath Christmas Market is sure to draw massive crowds again. Hundreds of handmade products will be displayed and sold in around 200 traditional wooden chalets. More than 80% of the chalets host businesses from the South West - and over 60 chalets are brand new for 2017. For more information, visit www.bathchristmasmarket.co.uk



Jack & the Beanstalk, Oxford Playhouse 24 November 2017 - 7 January 2018 FEE-FI-FO-FUM, we smell lots of panto fun! Scale new heights with Jack and the Beanstalk, Oxford Playhouse's spectacular family pantomime. After getting into humungous trouble with his mother for selling their cow for a handful of beans, Jack's dreams come true when they start to grow… and grow… and GROW. With hilarious jokes, lots of sparkle and bucket loads of music and dancing there’s fabulous festive fun to be had by all. Get your tickets at www.oxfordplayhouse.com


Late Night Christmas Shopping, Broadway 24 November and 1 December 2017 5.30-8.30pm Once again, Broadway sets winter aglow with its traditional assortment of music, street entertainment, double-decker bus rides, a Tree of Light, mulled wine - and, of course - festive food. All brought to you by Broadway’s great shops and eateries. Don’t forget to visit one of the Cotswolds’ most attractive villages this Christmas!

Woodstock Christmas Market

A Christmas Carol, The Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford upon Avon 27 November 2017 - 4 February 2018 David Edgar, one of the RSC’s greatest living writers, adapts Charles Dickens’ festive tale of redemption and compassion. One of the most loved short stories ever written, in one ghostly Christmas night, cold-hearted Ebenezer Scrooge learns to pity himself and to love his neighbour – but is that enough? Book tickets and find out more information at www.rsc.org.uk

25 November 2017 10.00am-7.30pm, St Mary Magdalene Church, Park Street

Bourton on the Water Late Night Shopping

This year, Woodstock’s Christmas market will be opened by Dominic Chapman, with full choral entertainment throughout the Event. Town lights will be turned on at 6pm. The market will showcase a range of wares, including jewellery, jigsaws, handbags, woodcraft, paintings, photos and cards, soaps, wax art and cushions. Phew!

Bourton on the Water is certainly a magical place to be at Christmas time, with the famous Christmas tree in the river presiding over festivities - and many of the shops and eateries staying open late to launch the festive season. It’s also one of Father Christmas’ traditional stopping points. Don’t miss the festive fun this December!

Moreton in Marsh Christmas

GWR Santa Steam Specials & Santa Railcar Specials, Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway

25 November 2017 From 9.00am Come along to Moreton's 7th Christmas Market! Over 50 stalls will line the High Street, selling a great selection of Christmas gifts and food. Charity and local organisation stalls can also be found within the Redesdale Hall, with local singers and carol singing onstage throughout the day. A Carol Service in the afternoon will be followed by the arrival of Father Christmas and the Lights Switch-On. (Children can visit Father Christmas in the Redesdale Hall).

1 December 2017

From 2 December 2017 Take the family for a festive train ride, where Santa himself will visit your carriage! This extraordinarily popular event has limited spaces available - we strongly encourage you to view details and book online at www.gwsr.com




Cotswold Events: WINTER CALENDAR

Burford Singers – Winter Concert 3 December 2017 7.30pm, Church of St John the Baptist Featuring the Burford Singers with Cotswold Chamber Orchestra. John Rutter’s tuneful Requiem is among his most popular works and provides a suitable contrast to the rhythmic excitement of Haydn’s Mass. The Burford Singers have been an important feature of the West Oxfordshire choral music scene since the 1960s. For booking and more information, visit www.burfordsingers.org.uk

Winchcombe Christmas Festival Sleeping Beauty, The Roses Theatre, Tewkesbury 2 - 31 December 2017 The Roses’ 2017 blockbuster, family-friendly pantomime is the magical tale of Sleeping Beauty. With Ben Crocker once again at the helm, you can be sure of another truly spectacular experience this Christmas. Tickets are priced from £9.50 - £25. Book online at www.rosestheatre.org - but hurry, seats are filling fast!



6 December 2017 5.00pm-8.00pm Organised and partially funded by the Winchcombe Forum, the festival will see shopkeepers, restaurateurs, business people and publicans alike joining forces to celebrate the festive season in style, laying on Christmas offers, events and entertainment for shoppers and visitors who visit the Cotswold town throughout December. Shops open late every Tuesday in December! For more information, visit www.winchcombe.co.uk


Spectacle of Light, Sudeley Castle, Winchcombe

The International, Cheltenham Racecourse

8 - 30 December 2017

15 - 16 December 2017

Follow an illuminated trail around the breathtaking grounds of Sudeley, soaking in the atmospheric ruins while enjoying a warming sip of mulled wine (or two). For event and ticket information, please visit www.sudeleycastle.co.uk

Even on a cold, crisp day in December, the magic remains with two days of the hottest Jump racing around. It's always a festive Friday at The International as racegoers enjoy the finale of the Crystal Cup. The race concludes a series of unique races across Europe which encaptures and celebrates the rich heritage of the sport.

Chocolate Making in Gloucestershire 9 December 2017 Chocolate Genie, Evesham

The Stow on the Wold Christmas Tree Festival 7 – 10 December 2017 A true showcase of local creativity, the Christmas Tree Festival sees community groups decorate Norwegian Spruces donated by the Fosseway Garden Centre. The event is open from 10am - 5pm, on Thursday 7th - Saturday 9th December, and from 12.30pm - 5pm, on Sunday 10th at St. Edward’s Church. Grand Opening is at 6pm on 6th December.

Come and indulge in the world of chocolate-making in a 2 - 2.5 hour workshop! Feed your passion by working with Belgian chocolate and learning some basic techniques - and try some samples, too. Working in pairs, you will learn how to flavour truffle fillings and develop skills in mixing, piping and coating. Finish with some gift-wrapping before taking your delicious creations home. These workshops are set in a relaxed atmosphere and are suitable for all age groups and levels of experience. For booking and more information, visit www.chocolategenie.co.uk

The feature race of the Saturday fixture is the StanJames.com International Hurdle, won last year by crowd favourite and threetimes winner The New One - partnered by Champion Jockey Richard Johnson. For more information, visit www.cheltenham.thejockeyclub.co.uk

New Year’s Day, Cheltenham Racecourse 1 January 2018 Celebrate the New Year in style! Whether it be with friends, family or colleagues, Cheltenham is the place to be on New Year’s Day. This hugely popular meeting takes place on a Bank Holiday – another perfect reason to come racing and round off the Festive season!

Point-to-Point at Cocklebarrow Races 28 January 2018

Don’t miss out on a fantastic day’s jump racing at the Heythrop Hunt Point-to-Point at Cocklebarrow Racecourse just south of Northleach. The purpose-built racecourse is one of the finest courses in the country and a great annual country sports event. Alongside the racing this year there’ll also be children’s entertainment, a bucking bronco, terrier racing, Tough Mudder and lots lots more! The six-race card starts at 12 noon. Gates open at 10am. Viewing for spectators is excellent, and a wide variety of hot food and drink will be on sale.




Daytripper: Death in the Ice What happened to HMS Terror and HMS Erebus? The 170-year mystery of Franklin’s fatal expedition to the Arctic is soon to set sail from the National Maritime Museum in London. Don’t miss it.

Few things capture the imagination like a doomed voyage - particularly one which leaves the fates of both vessel and crew enshrouded in darkness. When HMS Terror and HMS Erebus disappeared during their pioneering 1845 expedition to find the North-West Passage, it triggered a thirty-year period of investigation and speculation. Jane Franklin, widow of the missing Captain Franklin, restlessly petitioned the government to find out what had happened. Expeditions were launched, and Inuit reports of starving men and cannibalised bodies filtered back to England. The Inuits had salvaged and used precious materials from HMS Terror and HMS Erebus. They claimed to have found the ships abandoned, locked in ice. For around three hundred years, accounts of European voyages had been carefully preserved by the Inuit oral storytelling tradition. But tales of their encounters with Franklin’s expedition were casually disregarded by many British as, at best, untrustworthy - and at worst, the guilty lies of murdering savages. Physical clues were few. Finally, a note found on King William Island and the well-preserved graves of three sailors, indicated that the crew had indeed abandoned their ships. Years later, in 2014, a remarkable discovery was made. The wreck of the Erebus was located on the seabed, the vessel in astonishingly good condition. Two years later, HMS Terror was also discovered. Since July 2017, Death in the Ice at Greenwich’s National Maritime Museum has told the story of the doomed expedition, enthralling visitors with its assembly of surviving artefacts, Inuit testimony and underwater footage. As winter sets in, now is perhaps the more seasonally appropriate time to visit, though there’s little to be had in the way of festive cheer. Sounds of creaking, groaning wood and howling winds evoke the dread and



Image: Old illustration of Sir John Franklin North Arctic exploration. Created by Grandsire and Laly, published on Le Tour du Monde, Paris, 1860 (Shutterstock).

desperation Franklin’s men would have felt, as they contemplated leaving their ice-locked ship for the bitter wastes. Inescapably, much of the exhibition has a morbid flavour: visitors are encouraged to speculate over the fates of pioneers. (Was it tuberculosis that did it? Hypothermia? Scurvy? Cannibalism? Some mortifying mixture of all of the above?) That’s not to say it is irreverent. Carefully displaying personal artefacts and photography, the exhibition works hard to present both the doomed men and their bereaved kin as known, named people, not faceless casualties. The heartbreak and faithful obsession of Jane Franklin is evidenced in her handwritten pleas, and a pair of sailor’s mittens have two delicate hearts embroidered

into the palms. 170-year old pain can still sting. There’s much to be learned, too, about Inuit culture. Furs and clothes are on display, as well as fascinating ‘3D’ maps - sections of troublesome coastline represented as wooden carvings. Recordings of vocal testimony speak of centuries of wary relations between Inuit and European communities. Beneath the surface, this is also an exhibition exploring tensions and exchanges between two very different peoples. Death in the Ice: The Shocking Story of Franklin’s Final Expedition at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich (until 7 Jan 2018, 10am-5pm daily). For more information, visit www.rmg.co.uk




If You Skoda-own to the Woods Today

There’s more than enough room for all your bear cubs – and their friends – in the new Skoda Kodiaq. Alexandra Tilley Loughrey gets behind the wheel… The Skoda Kodiaq is named after an Alaskan brown bear - and for all mummy and daddy bears who want to protect their cubs when they go ‘down to the woods’ (or perhaps the shops) today, this is a fabulous find. It’s Skoda’s first ever large SUV (sports utility vehicle) and seven-seater, winning numerous awards already; which isn’t surprising, as it’s on a par with the Audi Q2, Kia Sorrento and Land Rover Discovery Sport. (But at a wildly more competitive price – we’re talking a difference of £10,000 in some cases!)

My first trip was with a bunch of excitable Year 6s on a school outing to Hailes Fruit Farm. I never worry about ferrying my kids from A to B, but I do feel a certain sense of responsibility when they’re other people’s, so the seven airbags, top-notch ABS brakes and slick seatbelts gave added peace of mind. There was a scramble for the rear (third) set of seats, which provide room for the 6th and 7th passengers, but can be folded down if you need more luggage space, or if the dogs have got particularly muddy on a walk. As

I love the detail. I love the “virtual pedal”. So useful when clutching armfuls of bags, gym kit and keys and can’t find the right one to open the boot (#mummyissues)



you have to squeeze in behind the middle seats, they’re not really the choice for leggy teenagers and adults, but there’s plenty of room for them in the middle and front of the car. Of course, on the way back from fruit-picking (as is their wont) all the kids changed seats, just so they could discuss at high volume - which were best. And luckily for me even the stickiest of paw prints were easy to wipe off, as the car has a robust and practical (but still luxurious-enoughlooking) interior.


This is a sleek, uber snuggly car, that doesn’t roll or wallow like some huge 4x4. It was a dream to bomb down the M4 for a shopping trip to Westfield. I love the laziness of the DSG (automatic) 7-speed gearbox and despite being long, it’s as easy to park as a Mini. My car was fitted with the optional, absolutely amazing, park assist (the cameras show you the whole car from above, making it a dream to reverse into the tightest of spaces), with blind-spot detection (watching out for those pesky lorries that bear down on you) and lane assist, which gets you back in lane if you go over a bump at speed, or if there are high winds on the motorway. And as a practical family car, it’s also great fun whizzing around the Cotswold country lanes - and splashing through mud and fords.

That Bling Thing – Think I’d rather spend the extra £100 on lattes, but you can get aluminium pedals

I love the detail. I love the “virtual pedal”. So useful when clutching armfuls of bags, gym kit and keys and can’t find the right one to open the boot (#mummyissues) – all you do is waggle your leg near the rear of the car – and ping, it opens! Yay! Another joy is the easily stowed parcel shelf – rather than having to take it out and lose it (where it gets covered in bird poo in the garage), it just folds in on itself. And the double glove compartment is frankly fab for separating all kinds of useful detritus, from an array of phone chargers, to tubes of sweets, gum shields etc (it’s the little things…) Do me a favour - just don’t grizzle on with ‘but it’s a Skoda!’ Get with the programme: if you don’t already know, Skoda is part of the Audi / Volkswagen / Seat Group. If you’re on the lookout for a new bear of a car and don’t test-drive this, you’ve only got yourself to blame.

Follow Alexandra on Twitter @MissDashboardUK for a refreshing take on cars.

Fast facts Fuel consumption – An average of 50mpg Road tax - £130-£190 per year, depending on model Safety – 7 air-bags as standard and a variety of extras for the ultimate in safety – from ‘crew protection assist’, which tightens seats belts if the car detects an impending crash, to a ‘driver alert system’ alerting the driver to take a break if the car detects a tired driving style Media - Intuitive, easy-to-use touch screen media unit that can be easily linked to your phone or any of the family’s devices, keeping everyone happy on long journeys That Bling Thing – Think I’d rather spend the extra £100 on lattes, but you can get aluminium pedals This season’s colours – 10 colours covering a fairly neutral ‘Farrow and Ball-esque’ palette, but no exciting names. I would have opted for Grandpa Bear, but they call it grey metallic… The drive – An absolute joy to drive, especially with the DSG (automatic 7-speed) gearbox. Light as a feather and no vomit-inducing wallowing for those in the very back Trim (coat) – Five, with alloy wheels as standard – S, SE, SE Technology, SE L and Edition – for all budgets and requirements Automatic or manual – A choice of both (with up to 7-speed gearbox) across a huge array of engine choice, with rear or 4-wheel drive Diesel, unleaded, electric or hybrid – Only petrol or diesel available at the moment Optional extras – Where to start? – Lumbar support, folding towbar, heated steering wheel, panoramic sunroof, you name it… Warranty 3 year or 60,000 mileage, plus 12 year body protection Price from £22,000 (for 5 seats) and £24,000 (for seven seats)




Jobs to do in the Garden this Autumn and Winter Autumn and early winter months bring a wonderful richness of colour to the garden. The clear sunny days and night frosts that we often get at this time of year lead to a wonderful intensity of colour in leaves and shrubs. For Sheena Marsh there’s always something to do in the garden, whatever the time of the year, so here are her top tips for maintaining your outdoor space this season… If left, climbing roses can become a tangled mess of branches with very few flowers. First remove dead, diseased or dying branches, then tie in any new shoots that are needed to fill supports (all climbing roses need a support to grow on). Prune any flowered side shoots back by two thirds of their length If the plant is heavily congested, and cut out any really old branches from the base to promote new growth next year.

This is a very industrious time in the garden, as it’s now that we put in the work that will give us payback next year. It’s worth thinking ahead to the spring by planting bulbs… lots of them. Bulbs offer incredible value for money, giving instant impact. If possible, buy fewer varieties but larger numbers of each. And don’t forget to enjoy the harvest from your garden. Homegrown apples and pears can be gathered and stored for enjoying in the winter months ahead. Rake up fallen leaves and pile them up to make leaf mould. If leaves are left in a thick layer on the lawn they will kill off the grass,



and fallen leaves left lying around plants can encourage slugs and snails. If you have a large garden with lots of leaves to deal with, make a container with four stakes and chicken wire in a corner somewhere to contain the leaves. If you have limited space, rake the leaves into plastic bags; left over compost bags are ideal. Punch holes in the bags and leave in an out of the way space to rot down. In eighteen months or so you will be rewarded with good leaf mould, which makes excellent mulch, for free. Prune climbing roses to ensure that plants grow vigorously and flower well each year.

Plant bulbs in abundance but wait until November to put in tulips as the temperature becomes cool enough to discourage fungal diseases. Check for blue mould on your bulbs and do not plant them if you discover it. The end that tapers is the top of the bulb and the flatter end is where the roots emerge - it should be planted this way up. If you are ever in doubt about which way up to plant a bulb then plant it sideways and it will find its own way up in the spring. With bulbs, the rule of thumb is to plant with twice as much cover as the height of the bulb so for example, if your bulb is 3cm, then you want 6cm of earth above it. Allow two bulb widths between bulbs. Go on, plant your bulbs this weekend, and come next spring you will be glad you did! Cut back herbaceous perennials (plants


that die back in the winter and re-appear in the spring) that have finished flowering. This makes the garden look tidier and discourages diseases attacking old growth. If on some plants the flowers have finished, but the foliage is still green and attractive, leave it until it is really blackened by frosts. Cutting everything down can leave unsightly gaps in the borders and should be avoided until as late in the autumn as possible. Any soft growth that has been cut down, such as geraniums for example can be consigned to the compost heap or ‘green bin’ if you have a collection in your area. Lift and divide established perennial plants. These are the plants which are not trees, shrubs or bulbs - they tend to make up the flower garden. The name basically means plants that survive for many years. Dividing perennials regularly will ensure healthy, vigorous plants that will continue to perform year after year. It also offers the opportunity to multiply your plants. If you’re not sure, older clumps are easily spotted, as all the young, vigorous growth is towards the outside of the clump and the centre is bare. Dividing can be done from now until spring, so long as soil conditions allow. My rule of thumb is if the soil is so wet it sticks to your boots, keep off it. Late flowering perennials like Asters (Michaelmas Daisies) are best left until spring before being divided. Lift plants gently with a garden fork, working outwards from the crown’s centre to limit root damage. Shake off excess soil so that roots are clearly visible. Divide by pulling apart by hand or by separating with a garden fork or spade. Bare root trees and shrubs become available in garden centres towards the

middle of November and should be planted immediately, provided the ground is frost free. They offer better value for money than pot-grown plants, being easier to handle, transport and store. You can go for longer root lengths as you do not need to carry the accompanying soil. Also, you can visually inspect the root systems to see if there are any problems and make sure they have been looked after and have not dried up. The roots should have been stored in a cool, damp place and so before you transport your tree or shrub, wrap the roots up and plant as soon as possible to prevent drying. The other great advantage is that they need less fuss and the roots do not need to adjust to a change in soil. It’s the equivalent of carrying a sleeping child from the car and off to bed! Lawn care. Moss in the grass is an ongoing battle for many people. It’s important to understand that moss is a symptom of a problem. If you kill moss without addressing the cause it will return. Compaction is a

major cause of moss growth, and fortunately relatively simple to overcome. Moss requires very damp conditions and if you have not treated the lawn to allow drainage, when it rains the water will remain at the surface providing the ideal conditions for moss to thrive. Compacted areas of lawn, such as paths or places that children play should be aerated. This involves driving spikes quite deeply into the lawn and can be done with a garden fork for smaller lawns or for bigger ones you can buy or hire specialist tools. Aerating will allow the water to drain and deprive the moss of the conditions it needs to thrive. It looks a bit of a mess straight after you’ve finished because the plugs stay on the surface, but for the long-term health of the grass it’s well worth the time and effort. Over the winter, try to avoid walking on the lawn whilst it is wet as this will compact the soil. Whatever the season, there’s always something to see and do in the garden – and you can warm yourself up by getting on with some essential tasks!

Sheena Marsh is the founder and a director of Oxford Garden Design. For over fifteen years she has worked closely with hundreds of individual garden owners to produce practical landscape plans that result in gorgeous gardens.

For more information on gardens Sheena and her team have designed in and around the Cotswolds - and to get in touch - just visit www.oxfordgardendesign.co.uk




The wishes of children show us what Christmas is really about, writes Rev’d Canon Katrina Scott - and the power to make their wishes a reality is within us all.

A number of years ago, one of our national newspapers carried out a survey around Christmas time. They asked over 400 children from differing backgrounds what their biggest wish for the world would be at Christmas. By far the largest number replied, ‘For everyone to be happy.’ Close behind it were ‘Fighting and war to stop’, ‘Everyone to have enough food’, and ‘No more accidents or disasters’. One boy suggested ‘For people to give their balls back when they land in their garden’. I really sympathise with the last boy - I used to hate going round to the neighbours’ and having to ask for my ball back, again! All of the answers - except, perhaps, for that last one - were exceptionally generous and unselfish. They really connect with what Christmas is all about. This season, leading up to Christmas Day, will be for many of us a busy, but hopefully happy time. December is often full of parties, good food, shopping, wrapping, receiving cards and meeting with friends.



... we can help others to be happy, we can act more peacefully, we can find ways to share food, and we can make a difference when life goes wrong for others. This can all be great fun, but it can be pointless if we forget why we are doing it all. The children’s answers above are a reminder of the real, deep meaning of our Christmas celebrations. This is a time for unselfish care, to look to the world around us and to share love. God came into the world as a baby. In Jesus and throughout his life, God shows us how much he loves us. Jesus lived to help us follow God and change the world. When we recognise God’s amazing love, we can help to transform the world around us. Just like the children wanted – we can help others to be happy, we can act more peacefully, we can find ways to share food, and we can make a difference when life goes wrong for others. Celebrations will be happening in churches all around the Cotswolds, and in our services we try to hold together all of these

different themes – the birth of Jesus, the people we care for, the communities we live in and the world around us. Do come and join us! This Christmas, I pray that however or wherever you are celebrating, you may be blessed with a deep sense of God’s love for you. Happy Advent and Christmas time! Katrina Rev'd Canon Katrina Scott is Rector of 7 Churches at the heart of the Cotswolds (including Cutsdean, Farmcote, Temple Guiting, Guiting Power, Naunton, Upper Slaughter and Lower Slaughter) and also Area Dean of the North Cotswold Deanery. She has been here since 2015, having previously served in churches in Coventry for 15 years. Katrina loves being a Vicar, and loves being a wife and a mother too.


Bringing Children Back to Nature Emma Lawrence explains how Seasonal Yoga takes inspiration from nature to promote healthier, stress-free living Children live in a very fast-paced world; one with an ever-rising dependency on technology. Fortunately, the more negative aspects of modern living can be countered with education. By giving our children the tools for physical, mental and emotional awareness, we can help them to lead happier lives.

Childhood is a vibrant time, full of energy and creativity. Young eyes and minds are open to the world and learning can be fun. However, the tendency of our fast-paced society is to rush children into adulthood. In our desire for them to succeed, we pack their schedules and leave little time for family and play.

Yoga affords younger practioners many benefits, including the chance to exercise, play, and connect more deeply with the inner self. It enhances flexibility, strength, coordination, and body awareness. But the psychological perks are just as valuable. Yoga helps concentration, calmness and relaxation improve, making it a useful tool when dealing with stressful situations. The skills it teaches are especially valuable when children move into their teenage years and, later, adulthood.

Teachers and parents can feel inadequate or under stress in this social climate and its demands. Energy that is suppressed or repressed in a child will always find an alternative way to express itself, and if blocked or misunderstood, can often take the form of a negative or inappropriate action or behaviour.

I teach yoga for all ages and abilities in the Cotswolds (including parents with their six week old babies, and the older generation, who benefit from chair yoga). When I teach the Club Morgan curriculum to primary-age children, we often focus on the seasons and the lessons we can learn from them. Nature gives us a toolbox of integrated health and exercise systems for body, mind and spirit to share with children and young people. By introducing these concepts as fun activities for children, it means that we are giving them a strong personal foundation and the best possible start in life. The accredited Club Morgan programme introduces these concepts as fun seasonal activities for children, giving them a strong personal foundation and the best possible start in life. Children attending our sessions also engage in fun and inspiring activities, which extend their understanding of healthy bodies, seasonal food, emotional awareness, exercise and relaxation. These themes are brought to life through a specialist form of exercise and movement called Yo-Chi, which is practised alongside drama, our special camp-fire stories and other seasonal activities. The programme is currently being taught in schools and nurseries across England as part of weekly activities, as bespoke workshops and after-schools clubs. Many schools are now accessing funding to have the programme delivered as part of their curriculum combining it with sports and PSHE. Emma Lawrence from The Yoga Tree runs the Club Morgan Programme in the Cotswolds area and is a trained Seasonal Yoga Teacher. www.the-yoga-tree.com // www.club-morgan.com

Exploring nature’s cycles gives children constructive ways to address all areas of life - from exercise to food, from social interaction to self-awareness. Spring Energy: A time when children

need to stretch muscles, move, grow, be motivated and creative. Spring embodies the insistence of new life, the ability to have vision and make plans. It is time to build strong foundations, keep focused, flexible and grounded.

Summer brings sun and energy into our lives. Watch out for

children becoming aloof or cut-off, or being happy to spend hours alone on the computer without any social interaction. Use the energy we associate with summer to melt away reclusive tendencies.

Autumn is the ideal time for re-evaluating what we see as worthy and meaningful in our lives. Children can be guided to letting

go of negative ways of thinking, feeling and of behaving. By working on the importance of the breath and clarity of mind, a pathway to inner peace opens. Synchronised breath and movement and open and closing postures can help to clear cluttered and overloaded young minds.

Winter is a time to restore, rest and re-charge. Help children learn to be

still by using the power of imagination - so easily lost in these media-saturated days. Include mindfulness and lots of visualisation in your meditations. Watch out for fearfulness, anxiousness, and scattered energy in your children. Build a strong sense of centre with yoga balances and games that build confidence.



What the Gamekeeper Saw Guiting-based gamekeeper Adam Tatlow takes his camera into the fields and woodlands to document encounters with Cotswold wildlife. Adam has no formal training, but his ability to get up close to a variety of Cotswold critters has seen his work published in national newspapers. Most of Adam’s pictures are taken in the stunning countryside near to Guiting Power, in the heart of the Cotswolds - all the animals you see on his website, www.cotswoldkeeperphotography.com, are wild and free. Christmas cards and photographs can be purchased from his website, and at selected locations around the Cotswolds.




Down on the farm - watts happening with battery storage? I am very interested in using renewable energy sources at my farm having seen how much can now be achieved. I need some help to decide what’s best - I am considering lithium-ion battery storage but I am worried about energy gap and tariffs – what do you think?

think you are very sensible. Alternative sources of renewable energy for farms and rural areas have been fairly turbulent in the past few years. Solar photovoltaic (PV) panels, wind turbines and biomass and anaerobic digestion plants have both benefited from and been curbed by government initiatives and planning policy. New take up of commercial PV schemes has decreased since the feed-in tariff rates have been cut, however this could all be set to change. Recent developments in battery storage technology could radically transform the way we create and use energy. The improvements in lithium-ion battery technology means that energy from renewable sources can now be captured and used when needed.  Sally McFadden is an Associate Solicitor in the Business Services Team at Thomson & Bancks LLP dealing with all commercial property matters for a mix of business, agricultural and notfor-profit clients. She also has niche specialist experience on agricultural matters and energy and renewables. To speak to Sally call 01684 299633 or visit www.tbsolicitors.co.uk

Adding battery storage to existing renewables systems gives you flexibility on how and when you use the energy. It allows you to increase your own consumption and reduce your reliance on the grid. Energy can be stored and either used on-site when it is needed or if produced on a sufficiently larger scale, stored and sold back to the National Grid at peak times when it is most profitable for you. Either way there is no longer the same reliance on the feed-in tariffs to make use of renewables economically viable.

Three things to look for when choosing a battery storage system • Cycles: A cycle is one complete discharge and one complete charge, however in practice a full cycle rarely happens, if you only discharge and recharge 50% this will be a half cycle. You should check the number of cycles the battery is warranted for.   • Capacity: Batteries should never be allowed to be drained completely, check the description carefully as some manufacturers refer to ‘total’ capacity, however what you need to know is the ‘useable capacity’. Also check the output is high enough for you to draw off what you need. • Kilowatts: Check the price per kilowatt hour against the grid price as some systems offer discounted and fixed rates which can mean you pay less than the current grid rate.  Advances with battery storage could see an increase in ‘Energy Barns’. Electricity has historically been sent through the grid from large scale power stations located close to major urban centres, which means grid capacity in rural areas is naturally lower, as it’s further removed from the power source. Energy barns are well suited to agricultural areas. These steel framed structures look like conventional agricultural buildings but are racked out with lithium-ion batteries, inverters and transformers. The energy barn is connected to the grid via a small substation enabling the batteries to store electricity charging from the grid, feeding it back again when it is needed in the area. The development of energy barns could transform the availability of power in rural areas. For example, energy from solar photovoltaic panels could be captured, stored in an energy barn and used as required to supply farms, commercial units or even rural housing. The removal of the reliance on feed-in tariffs brings much greater potential and flexibility with localised generation and use of energy enabling rural areas to become more self-sufficient. Whilst there are still obstacles with planning for some renewable technologies, the increasing demand for energy especially with the push for electric vehicles etc and the emerging energy gap means could result in more flexible planning policy for some renewable schemes. The impact of lithium-ion battery storage is likely to be a real game-changer, revolutionising the way we look at renewable energy productionand use, particularly in rural areas.




Ellie Russell Young Shepherd Superstar

Ellie tells us what it takes to be a top shepherd There are very few sixteen year olds who have already found their vocation in life, but local farmer’s daughter Ellie Russell has done just that, taking the Reserve Senior Champion Rosette at the Young Shepherd of the Year competition at Newbury’s Royal County of Berkshire Show.


The prize joins a raft of trophies over the last seven years, won mostly from classes of between ten and twenty competitors, many of whom are significantly older and more experienced.

Over time, these achievements win you prestige and respect. I am just about to take a place at Hartpury College where I will be studying towards an extended Diploma in agriculture, a three year course with work experience in the middle. There’s no doubt it gives you a lift up in the world as I have already been offered work at a farm in Whitchurch where they have a dairy herd and Herefords, so it brings lots of opportunities for later life, too.

The competition saw Ellie enter her prizewinning Shropshire sheep - two ewe lambs, a ram lamb and her beloved Conway, a two shear - soon after exhibiting at the Moreton Show. Ellie's love affair with Shropshires began at the tender age of nine, when her father, Giles, who designs and installs slurry systems, bought two ewes as a present for Ellie from a customer, Marion Webb of Lutterworth. At the time, the breed was still very rare and Marion, as treasurer of the Shropshire Sheep Association, was the first to encourage Ellie’s passion. Just as important was Sue Farquar. Breeding champions for over thirty years, she sold Ellie a prize-winning ram and became an invaluable mentor, going on to help Ellie to select and build her flock of twenty pedigrees. Amongst them was Breed Champion at Minsterley Show in 2016 - her twin, a two shear homebred ram called Tushbrook Astronomy, was sold for the princely sum of 580 guineas at Shrewsbury their mum was May, Ellie’s first ever lamb. What does a show involve? The best handler has to show the sheep off to best advantage, ensuring they are alert



and standing properly by gently placing their feet, making them look at their best whilst answering the judges’ questions about background breeding, including how much preparation has been spent on trimming, washing and halter training, for example. The fleece has to have plenty of time to settle so it's not too fluffy, then it has to be trimmed a few times so it's regular and smooth.

What are the most important qualities in a shepherd? Patience, kindness, a real awareness of welfare. You only gain skills and knowledge by looking after your flock properly for a long time and being really hands on. I always stay in the caravan on the farm during lambing, do my own worming and fly spraying as well as trimming and washing. You get a real emotional attachment to their individual personalities.

Why is it so important to compete? Being judged in the ring and getting good placing is really good for bringing out your confidence and ambition but equally gets your name out - you can sell your lambs for good money because people know your flock. It’s really important for the promotion of rare breeds, too. Shropshires have been so successful since I started that they have recently been re-categorised as their number is increasing, to Level 6 on the Rare Breeds Survival Trust list.

My favourite is Conway - he’s such a big character, really greedy and stubborn. Others I really love include my two first lambs May, who was first reserve champion at Moreton and mother of champions, and Delilah who was first at the Moreton Show in 2014. She contracted listeria so I don’t show her any more but still breeds really good lambs, too. Find out more about Shropshire Sheep at www.shropshire-sheep.co.uk


Now that all is safely gathered in, Anna McCurragh takes pause to reflect on the joys of the harvest season and multi-tasking on a tractor before getting on with a spot of Hygge Autumn is upon us again. The season of log fires and long nights. Personally, I love it but it does draw attention to areas that it is possible to ignore when we are all outside during the summer. There are walls that need painting and rooms that need tidying, and as my husband casually (but alarmingly) mentioned that we could do with ‘a few candles and rugs’ I am obviously performing very badly in the Hygge stakes. I know I am not alone, though, in having a miliion other jobs to do on any given day and now that the shoot season is back in full swing I am back in the kitchen several days a week too. Who actually has time for candles and rugs?! Today was shaping up to be a prime example of what I call a Prevarication Day. Food shopping done I was pausing in the kitchen with a coffee, pondering my next move. This could legitimately have been going back to bed, seeing as we had been awoken at 3 AM this morning by what I thought was poachers when in burst Jimmy. Running out of time before the next shower of rain (the weather is wrong, again), could I possibly roll a field for him?

Still suffering from a guilty conscious over my failure to provide a delicious and daily packed lunch during the harvest, and now suffering further because of the lack of ‘Scandinavian coziness’ in the house, I leapt at the chance to get out of the house and lend a hand. Sparing not a thought for the fact I had never driven this tractor before we went around the field once together, him showing me what to do, before leaving with my words “It won’t be perfect, don’t shout at me when you get back!” ringing in his ears. Luckily, rolling must be just about the easiest of all the options. It really didn’t take long for me to recover from the initial blind panic, especially once I had successfully navigated the tree in the middle of the field without catastrophe. I knew things were going well when I managed to simultaneously do some internet shopping – the 4G signal out there is excellent! Today I feel like I am winning; I have genuinely been a helpful farmer’s wife, my five year old son thinks I am amazing because I drove a tractor all by myself, and by the time Jimmy got back it was too

dark for him to cast judgement over my efforts. He is hopeful that I’ll be cultivating next but before he gets any more ideas about interior design I’m going to make a hot chocolate, light the fire and dig out the bag of tea lights that I know is around here somewhere.

Find out more about Tagmoor Farm at www.lovemycow.com




Dentistry for the Older Patient

Dr Trevor Bigg of Milton Dental Practice advises on the problems the ageing process can cause for dental care. Everyone knows about the ‘demographic time bomb’ presented by our ageing population. While the government worries about pension provision, dentists are dealing with problems caused by the ageing mouth. What happens to our mouths as we age and how can we treat this?

as saliva has an important role in keeping our teeth and gums healthy.

• Dental hypersensitivity caused by gum recession

Increasing our water intake will help, but in more severe cases artificial saliva can be used to reduce discomfort. • Tooth decay at the gum margins

As we get older, many become ‘long-in-thetooth’. This is not an insulting phrase, but true! In the past, our diet was very abrasive and our teeth needed to keep growing to counteract this. That’s why more sensitive dentine is exposed and also why the gaps between our teeth become wider, causing annoying food traps. Hypersensitivity can be reduced by using desensitising toothpastes. There are three main types and research suggests that we should change regularly to make them more effective. At Milton Dental Practice, we sell a newer form of remineralising toothpaste, BioMin, that’s great for severe hypersensitivity. • A dry mouth caused by medication Literally hundreds of modern medicines cause a dry mouth. This can be a problem,



and not replace it; so much less damage is done to the tooth structure reducing the risk of fracture later. • Loss of dexterity caused by disease Diseases like arthritis affect our ability to hold and move cleaning aids properly.

Sometimes even our taste buds age and we find it difficult to enjoy eating as much as we used to, leading to a desire for the stronger tastes of sweet foods.

Changing to an electric toothbrush is very helpful. For cleaning between the teeth, dentists can advise on special aids with longer handles and adapted grips.

The best way to reduce tooth decay is to cut down on sugar consumption, particularly biscuits and cakes eaten between meals. Using Duraphat, a prescription only, high fluoride toothpaste will strengthen the enamel and help it resist the sugar attack. • Increased risk of fractured teeth and fillings

If you want more information about the contents of the article, go to the Oral Health Foundation website at www.dentalhealth.org (/tell me about/ dental care for older people).

As we age, some older fillings and teeth break, resulting in larger restorations and sometimes the loss of the tooth. Modern dentistry tries to repair a filling

Alternatively, contact Penny at Milton Dental Practice on 01993 831 396 or email reception@drbigg.com and come to see us for a consultation. To accompany this article, we are offering a New Patient Examination, plus x-rays, at the reduced fee of £66.00 (normally £99.00) and a free Denplan Examination.




Create a Blissful Home this Winter The autumn months are already upon us. What better time to create a warm and cosy home, just in time for the colder months? Our interior design expert Amanda Hanley shows us how to embrace the new season’s key interior trends. A new season is the best time to transform your home - whether you want to create the perfect hygge sanctuary, an elegant, distinctive space or require a complete renovation. Winter is all about rich colours, cosy furnishings and soft textures to snuggle up in – think luxurious faux furs and velvet, sheepskins and soft wools combined with atmospheric statement lighting and candles.

Hygge or Lagom?

Warm and inviting spaces

Whatever your lifestyle choice, the philosophy of wellness and relaxation - and opting for a more ‘self-care’ attitude - is perfect for winter.

Hygge, the Danish concept of living cosily, has been extremely popular in recent years and will become more relevant again as the season dictates our desire for a comfier home. Lagom, another Scandinavian way of living, is set to be the next big trend, inspiring us to create a more frugal, balanced and happy life. Whatever your lifestyle choice, the philosophy of wellness and relaxation – and opting for a more ‘self-care’ attitude – is perfect for winter. Feather your nest and make your home a haven to escape from the demands and stresses of everyday life; a place to switch off and unwind.





A very important part of Hygge and Lagom is spending time with friends and enjoying other people’s company, so try making your home as inviting and sociable as you can. A great way to make your living areas feel cosy and homely is by adding sumptuous sofas and chairs. Think about investing in a super comfy large sofa with luxurious hard wearing fabric, like much-loved velvet. Add plenty of cushions and throws and no one will be able to resist staying a little longer in the comfort of your home.



new level, with plants becoming the number one home accessory.

Colour me happy There are some truly exciting colour trends to have fun with this autumn - try incorporating the deeper, darker colours that are all the rage, along with natural and bright accents into your interior scheme.

Bring the outdoors in The Pantone Colour of the Year, Greenery, has been a big home decor trend in 2017 and will continue throughout the colder months. People have taken green to a whole

Consider incorporating big leaves, pretty fringed ferns and hanging planters into your home, or just opt for some interesting little succulents in the bathroom to start with. Perfect for winter and all year round, faux plants and flowers are a great way to give your space a refresh - and look amazingly life-like! Nature-inspired shades are fabulous this season and the deeper hues work brilliantly

for your winter home. Rich emerald and jade greens give an opulent feel and perfectly complement copper accessories, whites and pinks – blush pink being the most celebrated of the pinks this year. Break the look up by using contrasting prints and patterns to add interest. Wallpaper continues to be huge, particularly big prints in beautiful tones of pink, grey and green. With such a magnificent range of inspirational designs available, a statement wall is a dramatic way to transform your interior and make an impact.

Create the perfect cosy home - win a £75 voucher to spend at Amanda Hanley’s beautiful interior design showroom in Burford. See our competition pages for more details.

Find out more about Amanda and her projects at www.amandahanley.co.uk www.amandahanley.co.uk | T 01993 822 385 | M 07976 353 996 Amanda Hanley by Design, The Gallery, 69 High Street, Burford, OX18 4QA COTSWOLD-HOMES.COM



ÂŁ1,425,000 - SALE AGREED

Accessed via a private gated driveway and occupying a secluded position within the sought after North Cotswold village of Paxford is Mill House; a detached and substantial period barn conversion which has been tastefully restored by the current owners and now offers a refined blend of original character and modern contemporary styles. Bordered by open countryside the property sits within grounds extending to over 7 acres. Entrance Hall | Sitting Room | Kitchen/Breakfast/Family Room | Dining Room/Office | Utility | Cloakroom | Master Bedroom Suite with Dressing Room and En-Suite Shower Room | Three Further Double Bedrooms (one with en-suite) | Family Bathroom | Detached Double Carport with Studio/ Bedroom Five and Shower Room | Parking Area l Private Gardens | Grounds of Over 7 Acres | EPC Rating: F Fine and Country, Harrison James & Hardie, Moreton in Marsh 01608 653893


ÂŁ895,000 - SOLD

A single storey Cotswold stone barn conversion occupying a secluded position within the sought after North Cotswold village of Blockley. Accessed via its own driveway and sitting within a plot extending to just over an acre, the property enjoys stunning views across neighbouring countryside and benefits from current planning permission to extend (09/00561/FUL & 12/02108/FUL). Entrance Hall | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Sitting Room | Garden Room | Master Bedroom With En-Suite | Two Further Bedrooms One With An Ensuite | Bathroom | Office/Summer House | Office/Studio | Triple Bay Garage | Enclosed Courtyard To Rear | Manicured Garden And Orchard, Parking For Multiple Vehicles | Total Plot Extending To Approximately 1 Acre | EPC Rating: E Fine and Country, Harrison James & Hardie, Moreton in Marsh 01608 653893

Moreton in Marsh | Bourton on the Water | Stow on the Wold | Mayfair | Lettings


ÂŁ650,000 - SOLD

A unique opportunity to purchase an interesting period school house conversion with well-proportioned and characterful accommodation arranged over three floors. The Cotswold stone property is centrally located within this premier North Cotswold village and benefits from a substantial open plan living area, parking and distant countryside views from the courtyard garden. Entrance | Open Plan Living/Dining/Family Area | Split Level Reading/Snug Area | Kitchen | Utility | WC | Master Bedroom Suite With Dressing Area And En-Suite Bathroom | Two Further Double Bedrooms | Bathroom | Courtyard Garden And Off Road Parking | EPC Rating: Exempt Fine and Country, Harrison James & Hardie, Moreton in Marsh 01608 653893



A rare opportunity to acquire a detached barn conversation situated within the heart of this premium Cotswold village and just a short walk from the highly regarded village pub. This charming stone built period home boasts an abundance of character and offers further scope to improve and extend (subject to the necessary planning consents), whilst benefitting from a pretty walled garden and parking for several vehicles. Entrance | Sitting Room | Dining Room | Kitchen | Two Bedrooms on the Ground Floor | Master Bedroom | Bathroom | Outbuildings | Gardens | Off Road Parking | EPC Rating: F

Fine and Country, Harrison James & Hardie, Moreton in Marsh 01608 653893

Country Homes from harrison james & hardie


Lawrence Grigg and Lydia Robinson take a quick break as they prepare for Channel 4’s Best Laid Plans

At Home With The Architect The last two years have proved an exciting time for Cotswold architect Lydia Robinson and project manager Lawrence Grigg. First was their renovation of two miners’ cottages, a project that garnered professional acclaim and a host of accolades, winning two Daily Telegraph Homebuilding & Renovating awards and two more regional awards from the Royal Institute of British Architects. Next was the momentous purchase of their ‘forever home’ – a farmhouse called Mabel, damp-riddled and of unstable character but much beloved. The highlight, however, was the suggestion by Channel 4 that they might take like to part in a new flagship programme airing this autumn. “It all began with Somerset and two



eighteenth century cottages that had been turned into one home in the 1950s. All that remained was a dilapidated jumbled warren of dark rooms with a series of ugly lean-tos. Turning it back into two required some time to get a change of use. The benefit was in being able to work on one property and live in the other - the sale of the first provided funds to finish the second, and to keep costs down Lawrence project managed the build, aided by local labour and hiring in subcontractors for more specialist tasks such as plastering,” explains Lydia, who designed the build. Why did the project win so much applause? “Peeling back the layers was key to our

approach,” says Lawrence. “We treated the building as if it were listed, researched the history and evaluated every layer to assess whether it was worth keeping. Good architecture must be empathetic but transformative. We retained much of what was hidden, including an original staircase, beams and a massive inglenook fireplace, but we replaced and resized PVCu windows with wooden frames and introduced a completely innovative design to the rear elevation. Single-height, clad in timber with bi-fold doors and roof-lights, two matching kitchen-diners now look out over the gardens towards the Pensford viaduct – very appropriate to the industrial age of the cottages!”


Mabel’s Farmhouse

Mabel’s Farmhouse COTSWOLD-HOMES.COM



Lydia explains that their work is always driven by the same principles. “When we first met Mabel’s Farmhouse, again we both knew she was ‘the one’ — it sounds clichéd but it’s true. We were instantly drawn to her picturesque charm. She was what we had been looking for: a dilapidated, unspoilt listed building. She oozes charm and original character, and the location was also a real find: a pretty village in the far northern corner of the Cotswolds, within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Our desire is always to find projects with real character and interesting features, ones that inevitably come with a listing tag but that we can transform - what we hope to bring to each project is entirely dependent on age, location, construction and opportunity but we always work with the architectural language of the building and the surrounding context rather than impose a rigid set of ideas upon it.” As a mid-century home with Arts and Crafts roots, meanwhile their next development project is a detached Cotswold stone house in Grevel Lane, Chipping Campden and the subject of Channel 4’s Best Laid Plans airing on Saturday 18th November. Presenter Charlie Luxton follows in the tradition of Grand Designs and The Restoration Man but this time focuses as much on the fascination of the domestic relationship as the professional partnership behind each project. Whilst they negotiated through the usual pitfalls and delays did they ever worry about how they were portrayed? “Well it certainly helps that we don’t actually work together,” laughs Lydia. “I do the design and Lawrence does the project management so we are rarely in the same space day-today. I have other commissions, of course, and mainly work from the office. Perhaps the most stressful aspect has been the contractual deadline but at least we aren’t living next door to this one!” We meet up with the architects less than three weeks before the camera crews descend but everything seems under control. “Give us another couple of days and everything will be more or less done on the second fix - the floors will be laid, the paintwork completed, the staircase up, the kitchen and bathrooms installed, the lighting in and then we can start working on the finishing touches before the final furnishings,” says Lawrence. No doubt this is another inspired build. No twee cottage rooms, traditional country kitchen and magnolia paint to be seen now – instead a wholesale



Grevel Lane, Chipping Campden, Lydia and Lawrence’s development project and subject of Channel 4’s Best Laid Plans

We prefer retain original features where possible repairing and reinstating or re-interpreting as these reveal the true character of the building. renovation and extension with soaring openplan unified spaces, clean lines revelling in plays of light and shadow and a textural Scandinavian palette of blondes, metal greys and whites. “We prefer retain original features where possible – repairing and reinstating or reinterpreting as these reveal the true character of the building. We took out all the original crittal windows, shot-blasted and powdercoated the frames, replaced the single glazing with slim-line conservation double-glazed units and brass hardware. However, by the same token we couldn’t salvage the original red tiled floors and sills so we sourced new ones to match the originals. Again, on the exterior

wall of the new extension the vertically-hung tiles are handmade by Keymer, a company established in the 1600s, using a traditional brown clay base with a fired engobe grey finish. And then we re-imagined some typical elements such as the cork flooring upstairs – not the traditional tiles but moisture-resistant engineered planks with a contemporary and seamless finish. On the ground floor the same uninterrupted flow is achieved with Swedish three-strip engineered boards. Ash wood and gun-metal tones are used again and again: in the raw steel column radiators, in the joinery and hand-made shutters and in the beautiful open-riser staircase in the reception hall, its ash treads and steel balustrade being “light within the space” as Lawrence observes.


Then there is the delight of imaginative design in repeating triangles, Arts and Crafts made new, found both in the vaulted ceilings and the glazed dormers, casting strong bright reflections and deep shadows on the pale walls that move with the passage of the sun and bring in a constant flood of light. Re-orientated to make the most of the day’s warmth too, the house has escaped the previous darkness of the original north-facing garden and now makes the most of the more private suntrap of its rear south-facing edge. “There is deliberately no front-and-back to this house now,” says Lydia. “We tried to ensure there was consistency across the exterior materials and finishes so the join between old and new is subtle. The roofs and dormers are tiled with reclaimed ‘Cotswold grey’ tiles, designed by Redland to emulate traditional stone tile roofs, replaced the guttering with powder-coated steel and melded the whole seamlessly with closely matched and re-pointed exterior stonework, making a reference to the era with powerful

buttresses and vertically-hung tiles to reinterpret the original vernacular.” Substantially extended, one side now provides an open-bay integral double garage offering another potential five hundred feet of living space if so required, and meanwhile the extension to the other side offers something quite simply beautiful. Leading from the original sitting room and warmed by a steel wood-burning stove is an open-plan cooking / dining / entertaining bespoke space, designed with fixtures by the Italian firm Pedini, the whole focused around a magnificent central furniture piece and lit by floor-to-ceiling glass walls, a double-height vaulted ceiling complete with a deep moulded architrave of concealed LED up-lighting. “Whilst we didn’t want a traditional fitted kitchen we have retained all the essential elements of mid-century domesticity. A storage wall that runs the length of one end conceals the oven, fridge and fullheight crockery cupboards and to another is a slim-line pantry wall. This is a family home and needs to function as such, so it is supplemented

by a separate boot-room - plumbed as a laundry - that leads out onto the most private and sheltered part of the garden.” As William Morris, the most renowned practitioner of the Arts and Crafts movement, famously said: Have nothing in your home that you do not know to be practical or do not believe to be beautiful. There is no doubt that Lydia and Lawrence have amply interpreted his brief. This is a stunning renovation worthy of their stated determination to maintain faith to the period, architecturally empathetic yet transformative, and they have every right to be proud of the finished result. The official launch has been set for Saturday 25th November from 10am – 1pm. For more information and to arrange a viewing strictly by prior appointment, please contact Tom Burdett, Sales Director, at the offices of Harrison James & Hardie Fine & Country Moreton in Marsh on 01608 651000.








Situated opposite the village green in the heart of the pretty North Cotswold village of Mickleton, Myrtle House is an imposingly attractive, Grade II listed, double-fronted late Georgian property offered with a substantial converted Victorian two-storey coach house, the whole comprising just over 4,000 square feet of living space. It comes complete with a securely gated original inner courtyard that would once have accommodated several coaches beneath its arches plus a delightful traditional walled garden, spreading lawns populated with old fruit trees and a productive vegetable plot.

The village has such a warm and vibrant community feel - there’s a fantastic park for the children, lots of walks through open countryside (Heart of England Way), the Kings Arms and renowned Pudding Club of course ...

With parts of the property dating back to the late seventeenth century, there is a wealth of inherent character in the high-ceilinged rooms: flagstone floors in the hall and dining room, original fireplaces, sash windows and panelled doors throughout and, winding up to the third storey, an elegant balustrade staircase typical of the period, even a (covered) water-source well in the courtyard and a couple of archaic restrictions on use, should one be minded to convert to a haberdashers or ironmongers perhaps. Whilst offered in good decorative order, Myrtle House could be further enhanced by additional updating and comes with considerable potential (subject to the necessary planning consents). Each floor would make a substantial self- contained apartment but equally, having a business licence to operate as a Bed & Breakfast with six bedrooms in the main house (all but one en-suite) plus a sizeable twobedroomed cottage, the property could once again become a desirable boutique hotel/ successful holiday let business. Indeed, as such the present owners were able to generate a decent income for some years.




“We appreciated an obvious development opportunity when we came here. Simply by living very comfortably in the coach house, converted into an entirely separate annexe including a large laundry, we were able to provide accommodation for up to seventeen guests at a time. We enjoyed a really good return trade - many of our visitors came back several times to experience the rich culture of our local area. Being within a stone’s throw of Shakespeare’s Stratford upon Avon, the fabulous gardens at Hidcote Manor and the tourist mecca of Chipping Campden, our guests really loved the innate sense of history whilst staying in such an ancient property as this. “Latterly, we have moved into the main house and just enjoyed it as a proper family home, which has been a real joy. The village has such a warm and vibrant community feel - there’s a fantastic park for the children, lots of walks through open countryside (Heart of England Way), the Kings Arms and renowned Pudding Club of course, even a school bus that stops immediately outside and village convenience stores next door - we couldn’t have been happier here.”

“Currently, the house needs some updating but it’s a great proposition in principle. Providing an upgrade is finished to our prerequisite high standard, given that with six bathrooms it can easily accommodate between 16 - 20 guests, as a single large holiday let we estimate that the maximum potential gross annual income could well be something in the region of £80,000 to £85,000 gross rental income per annum.”

Myrtle House is offered to the market for £925,000 by the Moreton in Marsh branch of Fine & Country North Cotswolds; for further information or to book a viewing strictly by prior appointment, simply telephone 01608 651000.




The Best Of Both Worlds Consolidating on the High Street, Expanding Online “Online marketing alone is no substitute for traditional estate agency”, says Karen Harrison

Karen Harrison is co-founder and director of Harrison James & Hardie. The company has a policy of continuous re-investment into the training and retention of local staff, and is committed to the use of new technologies and innovative marketing methods.

t our heart is a strong team culture that has always deliberately challenged stereotypical industry norms. As such, the directors have always led from the front - showing not telling, giving help and support when needed. Each new employee in turn is given the right example so they understand how to help new staff to progress and to succeed. Growing the company this way has ensured many former apprentices now occupy some of the most senior roles. In itself, the fact that we have only lost one person to another local estate agency in nearly two decades speaks volumes. By instilling this sense of belonging and personal value we focus competitive energies into achieving the best results for all our clients whilst each person organically absorbs multiple layers of skill and knowledge. We work so well precisely because we are a consistent, highly skilled team with mutual goals. As such, since we opened in June 2000, we have enjoyed a deserved reputation for friendly caring professionalism and outstanding results. Still the leading agency for the North Cotswolds today, our success is demonstrable above all else in our outstanding service standards. For example, we offer accompanied viewings until 7 pm during the week. We have a senior director as a branch manager at each office. Another senior manager is employed solely on sales progression. Each member of our staff works towards ARLA or NAEA membership with specialist training providers Gold Standard. We know what we are doing. And it works. Generally estate agency is a very high turnover industry that regrettably now seems to be engaged increasingly in a race to the bottom. We still firmly believe, however, that proper agency cannot be reduced to a virtual window card and a For Sale Board. Without the benefit and commitment of longevity and consistency of staff, without the provision of ongoing training, without the luxury of superlative local knowledge, without the commitment to outstanding service standards every day, clients will be left to flounder in this brave new world of online-only agency and no doubt things will get worse before they get better. We know that without the provision of experienced senior sales services - the hallmark of great independent agencies – things go wrong. Vendors are already beginning to discover the pitfalls of an essentially DIY

proposition. The sluggish transaction time on national sales turnover is becoming an increasing problem throughout the housing market. Indeed, a backlash is on its way already. Some traditional agencies are now charging their clients additional fees to deal with issues that are routinely caused during sales progression when an online agency is involved somewhere in the chain. These online marketing reps are not estate agents in the true sense of the word. Generally self-employed, as such they aren’t providing effective sales services. They are paid only small sums to acquire new instructions with no resources beyond the seductive power of massive national marketing campaigns. They must concentrate upon volume listing and whilst they might earn from viewings, with such huge geographical patches that isn’t a realistic proposition. They have no offices and no staff, therefore no proper ability to manage their existing stock except remotely. With no help and support from experienced colleagues around them they are indeed lacking in all the things they once took for granted – the luxury of time, someone to pick up the phone when they are out on appointments, easy access to years of local knowledge and skills, the benefit of longevity and depth of industry knowledge behind them, the comfort of experienced advice, the reassurance that they are making the right call for their clients at every stage of process. “We fully appreciate the lure of cheap up-front marketing but in responding to the challenge of online disrupters we are mindful first and foremost of our clients’ best interests. We are currently consolidating our teams into two high street offices specifically to give us more resources to expand online, investing into Cotswold Homes and Fine & Country as unique USPs that offer hugely effective marketing resources. These enable us not only to reach the widest possible number of potential buyers but also to provide superior affordable solutions to the upper quartile sector. However, only by working closely together as a skilled team on every single transaction are we able to ensure the best possible outcome for every client. It is our belief that the pursuit of excellence has kept us at the top of our game and without compromising our renowned superlative service standards there is simply still no substitute for the cost of great people.”








Beyond the hall is a separate utility and a practical family / games room with French doors leading out onto a sheltered rear terrace. Beneath the house is an unconverted cellar, full of possibilities ...

North End House is a three storey detached stone property, late Georgian in design, with balanced proportions and elegant high ceilings, offering an abundance of attractive period features including sash windows and open fireplaces, stripped wooden floors, panelled doors and exposed stone work. With a date stone of 1865 above the front door, it retained the remains of a tiny fifteenth century cottage within when it was remodelled for use as a much grander Manse and as a regular meeting house for the village’s silk mill workers. Today, this magnificent family home has almost three thousand feet of beautiful balanced living space, having been the subject of a substantial refurbishment by the present owners. Approached by a delightful part-walled garden with a broad stone terrace facing south and shaded by mature trees and shrubs, the imposing frontage leads through a central hallway onto two original reception rooms, each with a grand fireplace. Behind lies the kitchen, luxuriously fitted with hand-crafted wooden units and a

range cooker set within an original fireplace with carved stone mantel. Beyond the hall is a separate utility and a practical family / games room with French doors leading out onto a sheltered rear terrace. Beneath the house is an unconverted cellar, full of possibilities; above on the two upper floors are five generous double bedrooms including a master complete with dressing room and ensuite shower room. As such, this is a wonderful opportunity for a family, situated very close to the primary school and in walking distance of the village centre.   “We have the best of all worlds here,” says the current vendor. “We fell in love with Blockley and moved down full-time from London a few years ago because it’s the perfect place to bring up a family. The community is friendly and warm, we’re surrounded by stunning countryside, we’re very well provided here including two pubs and a fantastic village shop but, with the mainline station at Moreton only ten minutes away, I can get back into the heart of London when I need to in just a couple of hours.”




For all those reasons there is no doubt it would also make a fabulous holiday let or second home, being situated in the heart of one of the most sought-after villages in the North Cotswolds. Andy Soye, of Character Cottages, is unsurprisingly impressed. “Blockley has many small holiday properties so it’s a competitive market at that level but the larger ones, sleeping six and above, are still very much in demand. Of course, five double bedroom cottages are excellent for multi-generational family and group holidays - we just launched one called Halfway House and it’s already flying whilst nearby Landgate House hit the VAT threshold ages ago. This is another exciting proposition sleeping ten, and immaculately finished, this cottage should generate around £65,000 - £75,000 gross rental annum with a chance, given how prettily it presents, it could get up to £80,000.”



North End House is currently under offer through the Moreton in Marsh branch of Fine & Country North Cotswolds. For details of similar properties please contact Tom Burdett, Sales Director, on 01608 651000.


Holiday letting out of season – the secret to success I would like to purchase a holiday let property as an investment but I’m really worried about the winter months – will there be enough bookings to cover my mortgage and other associated costs?

oliday home owners who consider letting their properties often assume that the Cotswolds is primarily a summer destination for visitors, which can leave them concerned about the prospect of being without bookings during the off-peak months in the winter. Excluding the Christmas and New Year weeks, which always generate prime bookings, the off-peak season runs from just after the half-term holiday in the last week of October, right through to the following March. To many owners these four months can seem like a long time, when they perceive that they will earn little or no income from their asset.

Andy Soye and Mat Faraday are the co-founders and owners of Character Cottages, an independent company specialising in the holiday letting of luxury properties in the Cotswolds. To find out more about their services visit www.character-cottages.co.uk, email letmycottage@charactercottages.co.uk or telephone 020 8935 5375.

It is easy to forget, however, that booking a holiday in the Cotswolds “out of season” is actually an extremely attractive idea. Holiday homes with open fires and cosy furnishings, welcoming country pubs, long walks in the clean crisp air and picturesque villages in beautiful rolling countryside all provide the most wonderful setting for perfect weekends away. Due to its location in the heart of England, The Cotswolds is also easily accessible from both the north and the south, and is less than two hours by train from London’s Paddington station. This accessibility, combined with the charm of the region, ensures that beautiful holiday cottages get a steady flow of bookings all year round. The key to maximising the number of bookings

out of season is to continue marketing your property effectively, no matter what time of year it is. At Character Cottages, we maintain our marketing expenditure consistently throughout the year, rather than just focusing on peak months, so that interest is constantly generated and bookings are taken all year round. We have also devised a dynamic pricing system, so that prices typically reduce the closer the date gets to an available booking slot. This has been a very successful strategy for our owners and has allowed them to generate profitable income in months when some people perceive it to be too quiet to be able to make any money. Another aspect of being successful out of season is making sure you are flexible to guests’ requirements. For example, at Character Cottages, wherever possible we will happily modify standard booking slots, offering prices for any start and end dates, therefore offering a high quality, tailored service to guests. If you are planning to let your holiday home, there is absolutely no need to wait until the spring or summer to get started. It can take less than four weeks to get a well presented property completely ready to let, so there is still plenty of time this year to start benefitting from the off peak market. You can rest assured that, even out of season, your Cotswold property will be very much in demand.




Spring Waters Bourton on the Hill WORDS: KAREN HARRISON

Driving up through this picturesque hill village you will miss Chantry Gardens entirely unless you are in the know. Tucked away at the end of a secluded and peaceful nothrough lane are four architect-designed Cotswold stone properties, sitting at the very top of the rise, tranquilly located within the splendid grounds of a former ancient Chantry House. First on the approach into the close, with pretty views to the lane and surrounding countryside, Spring Waters sits within a plot that used once to be the kitchen garden to the Chantry House. Given the natural privacy of its surroundings, this property is particularly suited to a professional couple or as a second home - ideal as a ‘lock up and leave’ but equally, given the generosity of its



accommodation, a sophisticated family home which is offered with no onward chain. An elegant hallway leads off to each of the principal rooms. The piece de resistance is undoubtedly a graciously proportioned formal sitting room complete with Cotswold stone fireplace. What catches the eye instantly here are the far-reaching views, elevated above the garden, looking over a surrounding copse of mature trees and traditional stone rooftops to frame a wide stretch of distant hills and countryside. A large dining room and generously fitted kitchen / breakfast room plus a separate utility and ground floor cloakroom are entirely sufficient for the needs of day-to-day family life but with


integral access to the double garage further living space could perhaps be achieved, subject to the necessary consents. Upstairs, four generous double bedrooms are served by a family shower room and bathroom. The master bedroom is particularly attractive and luxurious being split-level, furnished with a capacious run of fitted wardrobes and its own bathroom. This, and the adjacent guest room, enjoy the very best of the far-reaching views. “The sitting room and my bedroom are my favourite rooms in the house,” says the owner, who has lived here for almost twenty years. “There’s nothing to disturb, save for birdsong during the day and the continuous murmur of the stream below. I find the garden a very calming and healing space too, and love to spend as much time as possible outside.”  

Of many beautiful features in this inspired development perhaps one of the most charming is the capture of a spring-fed stream, cleverly landscaped to run through each garden in turn before continuing its natural descent (and hence the moniker of this classically modern home) eventually into the River Thames. As such, Spring Waters benefits from a particularly private and peaceful location situated within the walled boundary of the old Chantry. Initially laid to broad paved terraces purposely designed to catch the best of the sun, the rear garden is mainly laid to an immaculate elliptical lawn bordered by a profusion of mature plants and specimen trees, the whole gently sloping down to the stream positioned in the far corner of the garden - shaded and cool, a place of zenlike meditative calm.

There’s nothing to disturb, save for birdsong during the day and the continuous murmur of the stream below. I find the garden a very calming and healing space too, and love to spend as much time as possible outside.

“Somewhere simply to rest and relax, a rare commodity in a busy world, this wonderful property is perfect for anyone seeking a retreat from city life whilst being within a stone’s throw of the direct train line back into London. Whilst immaculately presented, given its archetypal stone construction and exquisite location, it could benefit from an imaginative interior re-design. To inject a more contemporary but rural feel throughout, this eminently desirable look could be achieved very simply by taking out all the sleek linear cupboards and fitted wardrobes, replacing instead with painted, traditional free-standing furniture including a farmhouse-style unfitted kitchen. No country home is truly complete without an Aga and a woodburning stove - these two items would cost to install, however the impact would be immediately rewarding not only in the quality of day-to-day life offered by such an inherently beautiful home but also in likely re-sale value.”

Spring Waters is offered to the market for £649,950 (subject to contract). To arrange a viewing, strictly by prior appointment, please contact the Moreton in Marsh offices of Harrison James & Hardie Fine & Country North Cotswolds on 01608 651000. COTSWOLD-HOMES.COM






The Baptist Manse is a fine, redbrick Cotswold villa built to an exacting standard during a time of Victorian industrial prosperity, situated on the northernmost edge of the popular ancient market town of Shipston on Stour. Double fronted, with a low-hedged front garden and a broad gravelled driveway providing ample parking, this impressive home presents a reassuring sense of innate solidity and symmetry. Two deep bay windows are separated by an imposing front door and glazed inner porch. Stepping in, there are a host of period details and traditional fine craftsmanship - feature fireplaces, panelled doors, carved architraves and deep skirting boards, a half-turn balustrade staircase winding up to the first floor, an original tiled reception hall opening onto two pairs of square, high-ceilinged rooms.   Two of these reception rooms have been opened out to create a single open-plan family living and dining room. On the other side of the hall is a formal drawing room, facing out


onto the street and elegantly proportioned, complete with a working fireplace and behind is the working heart of the house – a large fitted kitchen with walk-in pantry leading off to an inner rear hall with small service rooms including separate laundry, boiler room and WC. Outside a secluded courtyard garden laid to lawn, in view of the kitchen, it is ideal for toddlers as a safe play space – and then the main garden beyond, bordering onto just one more garden before open farmland and the Stour beyond. Upstairs are four double bedrooms, an ensuite and a family bathroom, all generously proportioned. The master bedroom enjoys the best position overlooking surrounding countryside; next to it is a bespoke fitted dressing room served by a magnificent newly fitted en-suite bathroom with walk-in shower and deep roll-top bath, the whole designed as a luxurious retreat.   Adjoining the main house is an impressive, substantial self-contained attached annexe, lovingly designed to replicate all the charm and period detail of the main house, including stained glass windows, sloping eaves and an open fireplace, even down to the pattern of bricks on the exterior. As such, there is no doubt that the house is full of potential even now and presents a hugely desirable proposition for the next owner.   The drawing room and kitchen could easily be opened out to mirror the pair of reception rooms, to create another huge and sociable living space generally favoured with modern living. The window overlooking the courtyard garden from the kitchen might be changed to French windows. A foray into the roof space might easily suggest a third storey. The annexe too, if not for a family, indicates a possible development project, perhaps with another extension into the garden and then division into luxury town apartments. Subject to planning permission, there are a host of opportunities.   However, as a home that has nurtured four generations of the same family over the last forty years, it is quite perfect as it stands. For many years Mrs Beaumont has been town clerk and her love of Shipston on Stour is palpable. “This town may not have been on the radar for those in London seeking a second home in the Cotswolds but nonetheless it has always been a fantastic little community, just something of a hidden gem obscured by more obviously glamorous towns on its doorstep,” she recalls.   As a holiday home, with Moreton in Marsh within a stone’s throw to the south, Stratford

upon Avon and Banbury to the north and Chipping Norton to the east, surrounded by a cluster of picturesque bucolic villages amongst them, Chipping Campden and Great Tew, now home to Soho Farmhouse.   “It’s really good for the town that the North Cotswolds’ best kept secret is finally out of the bag,” says Mrs Beaumont, “even though for those of us who have lived here for such a long time we now have to share! We are delighted in its new found prosperity, of course, but our true heritage is the richness of our settled and welcoming community – the spirit of the town is very inclusive, energetic, forwardlooking, most valuable of all its qualities and a priceless benefit.”   There is no doubt the town is garnering a well-deserved reputation as a property hotspot and as a magnet for families escaping city life. Still charmingly old-fashioned and independent in provision, the town boasts a restored, selfsufficient, thriving centre populated by great little coffee shops and restaurants - including a deli, renowned bakery and butcher shop, a complete range of day-to-day provisions. For so many city escapees it’s not only a pretty centre but the added lure of so much to do and places to visit within easy reach.   Settling between the ease of town living and the joys of country life, The Baptist Manse will be in everyone’s sightline as the perfect answer

“Increasingly renowned as a great festival town, with wonderful access to Stratford upon Avon and the North Cotswolds, Shipston on Stour is fast becoming a popular destination for holidaymakers. This is a beautifully balanced property with generous accommodation, sleeping four guests in the annexe and eight in the main house. As a large holiday let property I would therefore anticipate a gross annual income of around £70,000 per annum.”

to the requirements posed by the desire for a good life. “We have had a wonderful, full and contented life here. To leave is not a sadness, it’s a gift to the next incumbent - someone will treasure the house as we have done and enjoy everything it provides for a large happy family, all over again!”

The Baptist Manse is offered to the market by the Moreton in Marsh branch of Fine & Country North Cotswolds for £750,000 (subject to contract). For further information or to book a viewing simply telephone 01608 651000. COTSWOLD-HOMES.COM









The Granary and Stable Cottage


Nestled in the quiet heart of Nether Westcote are two small quaint Cotswold stone barns that once formed part of an old farm and which, having been comprehensively modernised by the present owner, are now offered separately for sale. Full of unique character, detached with courtyard gardens and off-road parking, these cottages are ideally suited either to a holiday let portfolio or as perfect second homes.   The Granary is perfectly designed to make the most of the beautiful views from its upper storey. Two double bedrooms (both with en-suite bathrooms) are arranged on the ground floor with stairs leading up to a light-filled open-plan sitting room and kitchen-breakfast room above, the whole situated within a private gravelled courtyard.   The Stables is a single storey barn complete with a full-height sitting room, kitchenbreakfast room and two double bedrooms beyond, the whole benefitting from a sheltered courtyard garden that enjoys far-reaching views over the surrounding countryside.

The Granary is perfectly designed to make the most of the beautiful views from its upper storey. The village of Nether Westcote sits on the eastern edge of the Cotswold escarpment, on the border between Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire. Blessed with sweeping panoramic views, it is renowned for good reason as home almost to as many horses as human residents and, more importantly, to the celebrated gastronomic delights of the Feathered Nest Inn.    Barely a ten-minute drive to nearby Kingham train station and the three North Cotswold centres of Burford, Stow on the Wold and Bourton on the Water, as such the village provides an ideal sanctuary for anyone seeking to escape the hectic pace of city life but with all the convenience of tourist attractions and day-to-day amenities within easy reach.

“These cottages occupy a delightfully rural location within a short walk of the famous Feathered Nest Inn. “The Granary is a lovely size with two bedrooms, two bathrooms and great openplan living space. As a luxury cottage sleeping four guests, I would aim for around £30,000 gross income per annum. “It goes without saying that Stable Cottage is very charming too, again sleeping four guests but with only one bathroom I would suggest targeting £25,000 as the gross income per annum.”

The Granary & Stable Cottage are offered to the market at £375,000 and £350,000 respectively by the Bourton on the Water offices of Harrison James & Hardie, Fine & Country North Cotswolds. For more information on these properties, please contact Karen Harrison on 01451 822977.





Pear Tree House is a delightful stone built cottage of considerable charm, situated within a little row of Georgian properties in one of the most picturesque villages in the North Cotswolds. Meticulously restored and beautifully presented, with a sympathetic extension on the ground floor to provide a kitchen overlooking a traditional terraced cottage garden, the property provides spacious, well-balanced living space, full of character. Offering two reception rooms, three double bedrooms and two bathrooms arranged over three floors, this is a highly desirable proposition large enough for a family or as a picturesque second home, which is what caught the imagination of the present owners, a couple from Texas who spend much of their time here in the UK. “From the moment we saw Pear Tree House,



we fell in love with it,” says Mrs Hilton. “It captured our vision of what a Cotswold cottage looks like - and that it had been a pub [Pear Tree Inn] until 1928 made it even more enchanting.” With pretty sash windows, burnished wood floors, exposed beams, original fireplaces and panelled doors, their care and attention to detail is matched by a luxurious standard of comfort. Every room has been both beautifully and imaginatively fitted out throughout using the best of materials. “We have really enjoyed carrying out our restoration, including the wood-burning fireplace in front of which we have spent many a cold, wintry evening, for which the late Ian Ashurst - an amazing stone carver from Chipping Campden - carved a front for us, typical of the period in which the property was built.” It is also an eminently practical home. “We have made the most


“What a wonderful cottage – full of character, in the most beautiful order with a luxurious layout and a sweet garden, being set within the heart of this eminently desirable village and sleeping six, as such I would estimate £35,000 to 40,000 gross rental income per annum.”

We have spent many hours enjoying the garden, where we sit and enjoy views from the top terrace out towards the surrounding hills.

of all available space, including the little vaulted cellar where they kept the beer and cider, now very useful and capacious storage for the kitchen.” Their love for the cottage clearly extends to every aspect of traditional village life. “We have spent many hours enjoying the garden, where we sit and enjoy views from the top terrace out towards the surrounding hills. It is only a short walk through the churchyard to the village shop, and on several occasions we have been surprised to almost walk into the filming of Father Brown. It is just such a friendly, welcoming community and we have delighted in coming to stay as often as possible. Indeed the only reason for sale is to move to another larger home within the same village. We have enjoyed every moment and simply hope that the next owner cherishes it as much as we have done.”

Pear Tree House is currently Sale Agreed. Marketed at £500,000 by the Moreton in Marsh offices of Harrison James & Hardie, Fine & Country North Cotswolds, for more information on similar properties, contact Tom Burdett, Sales Director, in Moreton in Marsh on 01608 651000.



2 Fairey Close, Upper Rissington

£525,000 SALE AGREED

Lilac Cottage, Ford

£499,950 SOLD

An immaculately presented detached family home situated in the desirable village of Upper Rissington.The property benefits from light and airy living accommodation, a southerly facing rear garden, double garage and off road parking for two cars.The house sits within close proximity of The Rissington Primary School and the newly established village centre.

A modern (1998) Cotswold stone property in the style of a barn conversion with many exposed beams, double glazing and LPG gas-fired central heating. To the rear all windows look down the Windrush Valley, and from the kitchen and the master bedroom the view is up the famous Jonjo O’Neill, Jackdaws Castle Gallops.

Entrance Hall | Sitting Room | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Utility Room | Study | WC | Master Bedroom | En-suite Shower Room | Second Double Bedroom | En-suite Shower Room | Three Further Bedrooms | Family Bathroom | Rear Garden | Double Garage | Parking | EPC Rating: B

Entrance Hall | Sitting Room | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Conservatory | WC | Master Bedroom | En-Suite | Two Further Double Bedrooms | Bathroom | Garden | Garage | Parking for Two Vehicles | EPC Rating: E

Harrison James & Hardie, Bourton on the Water 01451 822 977

Harrison James & Hardie, Bourton on the Water 01451 822 977

Beech Tree Cottage, Stow on the Wold

£495,000 SOLD

A stone built link-detached house situated on Stow Hill, bordering stunning countryside and The Cotswold Way. Entrance Hall | Sitting Room | Conservatory | Cloakroom | Kitchen/Dining Room | Three Bedrooms | Bathroom | Front and Rear Gardens | Off Road Parking | Garage | EPC Rating: F

Harrison James & Hardie, Bourton on the Water 01451 822 977


Hillcote, Stow on the Wold

£469,500 SOLD

A beautifully presented, bright and spacious 1920’s bungalow located within walking distance to the centre of Stow on the Wold.The property has been recently refurbished throughout and benefits solid oak flooring, exposed natural stone and landscaped rear garden. Entrance Porch | Hallway | Sitting Room | Kitchen | Three Double Bedrooms | Bath and Shower Room | Shower Room | Rear Garden | Front Garden | Off Road Parking | EPC Rating: D

Harrison James & Hardie, Bourton on the Water 01451 822 977

Bourton on the Water | Moreton in Marsh | Mayfair | Lettings

15 Letch Hill Drive, Bourton on the Water

£425,000 SALE AGREED

5 Landgate Yard, Stow on the Wold

£375,000 SALE AGREED

A spacious detached four bedroom chalet bungalow located on the southerly edge of the popular Cotswold village of Bourton the Water. The property boasts southerly facing rear garden and flexible living accommodation.

A beautifully presented three bedroom mid-terraced Cotswold stone property, situated within walking distance of the town centre.The property is currently used as a holiday let but would be equally suitable as a second or main home.

Entrance Hall | Dining Room | Sitting Room | Conservatory | Kitchen | Utility Room | Two Ground Floor Bedrooms | Bathroom | Two Further Bedrooms | Bathroom | Garage | Off Road Parking | Gardens | EPC Rating: D

Entrance Hall | Open Plan Sitting Room/Dining Room | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Cloakroom | Master Bedroom | En-Suite Shower Room | Two Further Bedrooms | Bathroom | Garden to Rear | Off Road Parking | Garage | EPC Rating: D

Harrison James & Hardie, Bourton on the Water 01451 822 977

Harrison James & Hardie, Bourton on the Water 01451 822 977

The Coach House, Stow on the Wold

15 Park Farm, Bourton on the Water

£319,950 SALE AGREED

Ideally situated in a quiet yet central position, this attractive detached Cotswold stone cottage has undergone a full renovation by the current owners. No Onward Chain. Sitting Room | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Two Double Bedrooms (each with en-suite wet room) | Courtyard | EPC Rating: D

Harrison James & Hardie, Bourton on the Water 01451 822 977

£279,950 SOLD

A well-presented semi-detached two (converted from three) bedroom home, with garden, driveway and garage. Entrance Hall | Kitchen | Sitting Room | Dining Room | WC | Two Bedrooms | Bathroom | Garden | Parking | Garage with Work Space Area | EPC Rating: D

Harrison James & Hardie, Bourton on the Water 01451 822 977

view all our properties at harrisonjameshardie.co.uk

Little Court, Bourton on the Water


Offering exceptional value for money this substantial detached home comprises flexible accommodation arranged over two floors, which is suitable for families and couples alike.The property, which is situated just a short walk from the highly acclaimed Cotswold School, boasts well-proportioned garden and scope to improve and extend (subject to the necessary planning consents). Entrance Hall | Sitting Room | Kitchen/Dining/Living Room | Office | Cloakroom | Family Room | Guest Bedroom | En-Suite Bath and Shower Room | First Floor Master Bedroom | En-Suite Bathroom | Dressing Area | Bedroom Three | Dressing Area | Shower Room | Access to Loft Space | EPC Rating: D

5 Delfin Way, Upper Rissington

A brand new (privately owned) four bedroom detached house situated near the edge of the development being within walking distance of The Rissington School and local shops.The property is available for immediate occupation. Entrance Hall | Cloakroom | Study | Sitting Room | Kitchen/Dining/Living Room | Master Bedroom | En-Suite | Three Further Bedrooms | Family Bathroom | Rear Garden | Driveway Providing Parking | Double Garage | EPC Rating: B

Harrison James & Hardie, Bourton on the Water 01451 822 977

Harrison James & Hardie, Bourton on the Water 01451 822 977

2 Foxes Close, Bourton on the Water

Newgale, Stow on the Wold

OIEO £450,000

A four bedroom detached house situated within a short walk of the High Street. Entrance Hall | Sitting Room | Dining Room | Study | Kitchen with Breakfast Area | Utility Area | Master Bedroom with En-Suite | Three Further Bedrooms | Bathroom | Garden | Off Road Parking | Garage | EPC Rating: E

Harrison James & Hardie, Bourton on the Water 01451 822 977




An immaculate three bedroom detached property having recently undergone much improvement by the current owner to create a stylishly presented and well-proportioned family home. Entrance Hall | Sitting Room | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Utility | WC | Three Bedrooms | Bathroom | Garden | Garage | Parking EPC Rating: D

Harrison James & Hardie, Bourton on the Water 01451 822 977

Bourton on the Water | Moreton in Marsh | Mayfair | Lettings

Heath Cottage, Stow on the Wold


A charming Grade II Listed double fronted period cottage boasting an abundance of character features including exposed stone work, original timber beams and impressive inglenook fireplaces in both the sitting room and dining room.The property benefits from rear off road parking and is situated just a short walk from the towns many amenities. Entrance | Sitting Room | Dining Hall | Kitchen | Master Bedroom | Bathroom | Two Further (Double) Attic Bedrooms | Garden | Rear Off Road Parking | EPC Rating: exempt

Harrison James & Hardie, Bourton on the Water 01451 822 977

29 Barnes Wallis Way, Upper Rissington

50 Mitchell Way, Upper Rissington


A four bedroom detached house situated within walking distance of both The Rissington School and the local shops. Entrance Hall | Sitting Room | Kitchen/Family/Dining Room | Downstairs WC | Master Bedroom | En-Suite Shower Room | Three Further Bedrooms | Family Bathroom | Enclosed Rear Garden | Garage | Driveway | EPC Rating: B

Harrison James & Hardie, Bourton on the Water 01451 822 977


Stable Cottage, Ford


A four bedroom detached house situated in a cul-de-sac, being within walking distance of both The Rissington School and the local shops.

An exquisite Grade II listed cottage situated in a very accessible and popular location.

Entrance Hall | Sitting Room | Kitchen/Family/Dining Room | Downstairs WC | Master Bedroom | En-Site | Three Further Bedrooms | Family Bathroom | Enclosed Rear Garden | En-Bloc Garage | Off Road Parking | EPC Rating: B

Sitting Room/Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Bedroom 2/Dining Room | Master Bedroom | Bathroom | Enclosed Patio Garden | Off Road Parking | EPC Rating: exempt

Harrison James & Hardie, Bourton on the Water 01451 822 977

Harrison James & Hardie, Bourton on the Water 01451 822 977

view all our properties at harrisonjameshardie.co.uk









Situated on one of the most ancient streets in Stow on the Wold on Wraggs Row is the delightful and picturesque Heath Cottage, offered for sale at £400,000. This Grade II Listed double-fronted period property has an abundance of original features that would make it a tempting proposition for the luxury cottage marketplace including exposed stone work, timber beams and impressive inglenook fireplaces in both the sitting room and dining room. Benefiting from off-road parking and situated just a short walk from the town’s many amenities, this is currently a wonderful family home but equally offers great potential for a thriving holiday let proposition.




... this is currently a wonderful family home but equally offers great potential for a thriving holiday let proposition.

Meanwhile the gorgeous Beech Tree Cottage, offered for sale at £495,000*, occupies an elevated plot on the slopes of Stow Hill with direct access onto the popular walking route of the Cotswold Way and some of England’s finest countryside. With plenty of integral character and great living space including a formal sitting room, conservatory and a fantastic kitchen/dining room plus three bedrooms, a large enclosed lawned garden, off-road parking and garage, as a holiday let proposition it would be a wonderful addition to your portfolio, particularly suited to walkers and families.

Both of these delightful properties are set within a few minutes’ walk of the ancient market square of Stow on the Wold. As such, with Heath Cottage sleeping six we should be looking at £35,000 - £37,000 gross rental income per annum. Meanwhile as Beech Tree Cottage sleeps five comfortably I would estimate £30,000 - £35,000 gross rental income per annum.”

James von Speyr is a Principal Director and co-owner of Harrison James & Hardie, Fine & Country North Cotswolds. To speak to James about your property requirements, or to arrange a marketing consultation, please telephone 01451 822977. *At the time of going to press, after a launch that generated competing bids, a sale was agreed in excess of the asking price on Beech Tree Cottage. Heath Cottage similarly is Sale Agreed. COTSWOLD-HOMES.COM




2 Roel Cottages is offered to the market at ÂŁ625,000 by the Bourton on the Water offices of Harrison James & Hardie, Fine & Country North Cotswolds. For more information on this property, please contact James von Speyr on 01451 822977.



Guiting Power is without a doubt one of the most stunning of all the villages in the North Cotswolds. Around fifty per cent of the land and houses are owned by the Guiting Manor estate, after concerted efforts were made in the early part of the twentieth century to purchase and restore a dilapidated housing stock, and thereafter maintained for rent by local people. The Guiting Manor Amenity Trust - founded in the 1970s to ensure the future of the environment, character and community - has won various awards over the years for good sustainable farming with the conservation of wildlife. The community has an active social calendar, much of it centred around country sports, especially the jump racing calendar. Indeed, dotted around the fields and in early morning along the lanes leading to the village from the top


road into Naunton, the fine horses of local trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies yard provide a backdrop of beautiful equine scenes to delight the most ardent of racegoers.

A spacious ‘L’ shaped kitchen breakfast room enjoys an abundance of natural light, leading off to a sitting room with feature Cotswold stone fireplace and a conservatory overlooking the garden, the whole creating an ideal entertaining space.

Nearby, in the tiny hamlet of Roel, 2 Roel Cottages is set in a hollow of fields and woodland, enjoying a secluded position and fantastic views in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. This Victorian property has undergone extensive renovation and extension with a modern aesthetic. A spacious ‘L’ shaped kitchen breakfast room enjoys an abundance of natural light, leading off to a sitting room with feature Cotswold stone fireplace and a conservatory overlooking the garden, the whole creating an ideal entertaining space. All three bedrooms are en-suite, enjoying views over the adjoining countryside. Around half an acre of garden has separate levels of terracing provided with extensive lighting, thereby perfectly functional until late into the evening. This is a tranquil rural existence but, situated within half an hour of the cosmopolitan centre of Cheltenham, nonetheless the cottage is well placed for day-to-day needs.

“Wow, I really like it! Occupying such a delightful position and presented to a really high standard, being within a good country walk of Guiting Power’s famous Hollow Bottom pub this is a winner, especially for Cheltenham Race Week in March! I would estimate £35,000 £45,000 gross rental income per annum.”



19 Halifax Way, Moreton in Marsh

£440,000 SALE AGREED

A well-presented detached family home offering stylish and generously proportioned accommodation.The property occupies a prime position within the popular Moreton Park development and benefits from beautifully maintained gardens, garage and off road parking. Entrance Hall | Sitting Room | Kitchen/Dining Room | Utility Room | WC | Master Bedroom with En-Suite | Guest Bedroom with En-Suite | Two Further Bedrooms | Bathroom | Garden | Integral Garage | Off Road Parking | EPC Rating: B

Harrison James & Hardie, Moreton in Marsh 01608 651 000

Old Corner Cottage, Lower Oddington

£375,000 SALE AGREED

Entrance | Sitting Room | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Cellar | Three Bedrooms | Bathroom | Courtyard Garden | EPC Rating: F


£380,000 SALE AGREED

A charming single storey detached Cotswold stone property occupying a beautiful and tranquil position alongside the mill pond. Entrance Hall | Sitting Room with Open Fireplace | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Two Bedrooms | Bathroom | Courtyard Garden alongside Mill Pond | Off Road Parking | EPC Rating: E

Harrison James & Hardie, Moreton in Marsh 01608 651 000

A charming period cottage situated within the heart of this sought after North Cotswold village, within walking distance of the esteemed village pub and a short drive from Kingham and Daylesford.

Harrison James & Hardie, Moreton in Marsh 01608 651 000

6 Mill Close, Blockley

Brook Cottage, Blockley

£349,950 SALE AGREED

A delightful period cottage situated in perhaps one of the most picturesque positions within the quintessential Cotswold village of Blockley, currently operating as a successful holiday let but equally well suited to both main home and second home buyers. Entrance | Sitting Room/Dining Room | Kitchen | Master Bedroom with En-Suite Bathroom | Second Floor Double Bedroom with WC | Garden | EPC Rating: D

Harrison James & Hardie, Moreton in Marsh 01608 651 000

Moreton in Marsh | Bourton on the Water | Mayfair | Lettings

Northview Cottage, Moreton in Marsh

£349,950 SALE AGREED

Chacott, Little Compton

£325,000 SALE AGREED

A charming three bedroom Cotswold Stone Cottage located just a short walk from the town centre and benefitting from off road parking.

A well-presented three bedroom character cottage situated in the desirable North Cotswold village of Little Compton.

Sitting Room | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | WC | Master Bedroom with Shower and WC | Two Further Bedrooms | Garden | Parking | EPC Rating: C

Entrance Porch | Sitting/Dining Room with Log Burning Stove | Kitchen | Three Bedrooms (One En-Suite Bathroom) | Family Bathroom | Rear Private Decked Garden | Pretty Front Garden | EPC Rating: E

Harrison James & Hardie, Moreton in Marsh 01608 651 000

Harrison James & Hardie, Moreton in Marsh 01608 651 000

44 Park Road, Blockley

£310,000 SALE AGREED

An attractive Cotswold stone period property situated in an elevated position and enjoying stunning views to the rear.This property boasts a wealth of character features and has been lovingly restored to an exceptional standard by its current owner. Sitting Room with Log Burning Stove | Kitchen opening to Dining Room with Cotswold Stone Fireplace | Two Double Bedrooms | Bathroom | Garden | EPC Rating: D

Harrison James & Hardie, Moreton in Marsh 01608 651 000

1 East Street, Moreton in Marsh

£289,950 SALE AGREED

A charming three bedroom period cottage located in the heart of this popular North Cotswold market town.The property currently operates as a successful holiday let but is equally suited to the main or second home market. Entrance | Sitting Room | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Three Bedrooms | Bathroom | Roof Terrace | EPC Rating: D

Harrison James & Hardie, Moreton in Marsh 01608 651 000

view all our properties at harrisonjameshardie.co.uk

33 Mitchell Way, Upper Rissington


A four bedroom detached house within walking distance of the Rissington School. Entrance Hall | Cloakroom/Utility Room | Study | Sitting Room | Kitchen/Dining Room | Master Bedroom | En-Suite | Three Further Bedrooms | Family Bathroom | Enclosed Rear Garden | Driveway Providing Parking | Garage | EPC Rating: B

Harrison James & Hardie, Bourton on the Water 01451 822 977

The Laurels, Moreton in Marsh


Entrance Hall | Sitting Room | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Three Bedrooms | Bathroom | Garden | Parking | EPC Rating: B



A detached bungalow occupying an elevated position with distant countryside views and a plot approaching ¼ of an acre.The property offers scope to extend and improve with a large attic space suitable for conversion (subject to the necessary planning consents). Entrance Hall | Sitting Room | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Utility Room | Two Double Bedrooms | Bathroom | WC | Garage | Large Attic Space | EPC Rating: E

Harrison James & Hardie, Moreton in Marsh 01608 651 000

A recently constructed detached home presented to an exceptionally high standard and benefitting from a generous plot and off road parking.

Harrison James & Hardie, Moreton in Marsh 01608 651 000

Melbank, Blockley

39 University Farm, Moreton in Marsh


A well-proportioned Cotswold Stone retirement property occupying a picturesque position overlooking the duck pond.This two double bedroom home benefits from off road parking and a garage. Entrance Hall | Sitting Room | Dining Room | Kitchen | Conservatory | WC | Two Double Bedrooms | Bathroom | Garage | Gardens | Use of Communal Grounds | Swimming Pool | EPC Rating: F

Harrison James & Hardie, Moreton in Marsh 01608 651 000

Moreton in Marsh | Bourton on the Water | Mayfair | Lettings

1 Evenlode Road, Moreton in Marsh


1 Bowling Green Court, Moreton in Marsh


A beautifully presented semi-detached home with an open outlook to the front and offering further scope to extend (subject to the necessary planning consents).The property boasts well maintained gardens to the front and rear and also benefits from a garage and ample off road parking.

Recently refurbished to a high standard, this favourably positioned two bedroom retirement bungalow is situated just a short walk from the town centre and benefits from use of the communal gardens, off road parking and an onsite wardens office.

Entrance | Sitting Room | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Bathroom | Rear Hall | Three Bedrooms | Gardens | Garage | Off Road Parking | EPC Rating: E

Entrance Hall | Sitting Room | Kitchen | Conservatory | Two Bedrooms | Bathroom | Communal Gardens | Allocated Parking | EPC Rating: E

Harrison James & Hardie, Moreton in Marsh 01608 651 000

Harrison James & Hardie, Moreton in Marsh 01608 651 000

36 Coachmans Court, Moreton in Marsh


A well-presented two bedroom apartment located on the second floor of this popular complex, which is situated just a short walk from the mainline train station to London Paddington.The property is ideal for investment or first time buyers and is offered with no onward chain. Entrance Hall | Open Plan Kitchen/Sitting/Dining Room | Master Bedroom with En-Suite | Second Double Bedroom | Bathroom | Use of Communal Gardens | Garage | EPC Rating: C

Harrison James & Hardie, Moreton in Marsh 01608 651 000

1 Old School House, Shipston on Stour


A two bedroom freehold conversion forming an integral part of this attractive former Victorian school house.The property occupies a convenient position close to the town centre and benefits from off road parking for two cars. Entrance | Sitting Room | Kitchen | Two Bedrooms | Bathroom | Parking | Communal Garden to Front | EPC Rating: E

Harrison James & Hardie, Moreton in Marsh 01608 651 000

view all our properties at harrisonjameshardie.co.uk




Investing in Property I have been thinking about buying a holiday cottage to let out or perhaps something with an annexe that I can let out separately. How do I go about this and what are the advantages and pitfalls?

f you are considering building a lettings portfolio, it does make sense to consider purchasing a holiday cottage or apartment here in the Cotswolds as we are perfectly situated with a wealth of many beautiful properties in superb locations. This could be a straightforward holiday cottage purchase, an Airbnb or a more bespoke boutique-style rental.

Ellen Roome runs a team of very experienced advisers at The Finance Roome Ltd. They have a wealth of knowledge in dealing with complex financial situations with regards to mortgages and all types of insurance. Call 0203 588 3353 or visit www.thefinanceroome.co.uk

To start with, the tax situation is different to the standard rental proposition, particularly with tax changes recently coming into effect for landlords. For example, there are added advantages if you operate under the “Furnished Holiday Letting” rules. Compared with the scaling back of tax relief on standard buy-to-let from 2017, all expenses including full mortgage interest can be offset against holiday rental income. To illustrate: if your holiday let makes you £12,000 in a given year and the interest payable on the mortgage is £9,000 you are only liable to pay tax on £3,000, subject to your personal tax rate*. The taxation situation is one of the reasons that short term holiday lets are becoming more and more popular as alternative investments for landlords. However, “normal” buy-to-let mortgages are offered on the condition that you let the property out on an assured shorthold tenancy basis, hence these are simply not suitable options. Holiday let mortgages are designed specifically for properties that will be let out for short periods of time. As well as the more straightforward single property lets, we can help to arrange finance on a wider variety of options including part-let annexes and Airbnb.

Whether you wish to finance your purchase separately or re-mortgage an existing property, most holiday let lenders will only allow you to borrow 75% of the value of the property and they will of course look at both past and potential rental income. This needs to be independently verified by the Bank or Building Society’s valuer/surveyor and a suitable letting agent will also need to estimate rental income if this information isn’t already known. Some lenders will also consider personal income and your asset/liability position too, so you can see that these cases all need to be looked at differently. If you are considering entering the world of holiday letting, we strongly advise you to consult an experienced financial adviser who can help you negotiate your way through the possible pitfalls. Unlike the main marketplace, where shopping for a mortgage online can be a feasible option, expert advice is essential. I would be delighted to help as I really enjoy a challenge. I have something of a reputation for placing quirky mortgage cases - there is no doubt that this marketplace can be considered quirky!   *Tax information is based on our understanding of the proposed tax legislation as at 15 May 2017 and may be subject to change and is not tax advice, for which you should consult with an independent tax adviser.




Unregistered titles - ensure you are ready for sale! I have power of attorney and need to put my grandfather's property on the market, but as he had lived there for 45 years, I am worried that there might be a problem with registered title. How do I go about making sure it is ready for sale?

efore discussing the issues around registered and unregistered title, it might be worth you checking with a specialist lawyer before the property goes onto the market that the power of attorney that you have is not limited in any way, and that this is sufficient for you to sign the necessary documentation to allow the sale to progress.

Simon David is Managing Director at Thomas Legal Group. He was previously a Partner at a large regional firm based in the South West where he headed up a sizeable conveyancing department. Simon’s remit is to ensure that Thomas Legal remain the first and best choice for consumers by exploring cutting edge IT technology and ensuring we deliver the highest standards of service. He is a member of the Law Society Property Section Committee. www.thomaslegalgroup.co.uk



Assuming that all is in order, you then need to instruct a specialist conveyancing lawyer to have a look at the deeds for your grandfather’s property. If this is “registered title” it simply means that the Land Registry have an electronic copy of your grandfather’s deeds and these can be downloaded by your chosen lawyer within seconds. Assuming that the electronic copy shows your grandfather to be the owner, then this, together with a proper copy of the power of attorney, should be enough to allow the sale to proceed in the normal way. It is possible, however, that as your grandfather has owned the property for a considerable length of time that the property is not registered with the land registry (known as “unregistered title”) but this isn’t necessarily a problem. If this is the case, then you will need to track down the physical deeds for the property and I would hope that your grandfather may be able to assist you with this.

Assuming that the deeds can be located, you will need to take these into your lawyer and again they will check these to make sure they are correct. The key document that they will be looking for is probably a Conveyance showing the change of ownership into your grandfather’s name. If all is in order, then again the sale can proceed in the normal way with the power of attorney, and once the sale completes, the buyer’s solicitor will send the deeds into the Land Registry who will then register it and produce an electronic copy. In the rare scenario that the deeds cannot be located, then your chosen lawyer will have to make an application to the Land Registry for your grandfather to be registered as the owner. Whether the Land Registry will agree this will be based on evidence supplied to them and there is no guarantee that they will do that. The best advice I can give you is to check the deeds position now rather than wait for a buyer before acting. If there are problems, then sorting out the issue can take months to resolve and may involve a considerable amount of money to correct the position.


Applying for a mortgage – be prepared! I am just about to start looking for a property to buy. What am I likely to be asked to provide when applying for a mortgage?

his is a very good question and you are very wise to be thinking already about what you may need to provide to a mortgage adviser/lender in due course! Like many things in life, preparation is key. When I initially speak to clients, to make a recommendation on products that are really right for both for their needs and circumstances, I ask for the following information:

Sue Ellis works alongside Johnny Magee as a Mortgage Broker at JEM Financial Planning. The team has over 50 years’ experience in investment, retirement and inheritance planning, mortgages, protection and general insurance. To speak to Sue or Johnny, telephone 01386 840777 or visit www.jemfinancial.com.

Firstly, full name, address and date of birth, and an accurate three-year address history. Some clients have moved multiple times and it’s important to be able to provide all addresses / status whilst living there - ie: tenant/ living with family/ owner, etc. - as I find quite often that clients can’t remember where they’ve lived. So think about that one and do also ensure that you’re registered on the electorl roll at your current address - lenders like to see you have a clear link with those addresses where you have lived. Next, your credit history. You will need details of any other credit – eg: mortgages/loans/credit cards/HP agreements/maintenance payments etc - including up-to-date information on how much is owed, how long for, to whom, the monthly payment amount and whether this will be repaid following the borrowing application. When the initial check is carried out (usually referred to as a ‘Decision in Principle’) the lender will use a Credit Reference Agency to check your address history and the level, types and conduct of all credit held against you. By doing this a ‘footprint’ will be left to show that credit in the form of a mortgage has been applied for much in the same way as applying for any other

form of credit. If you are unsure about your credit history then I recommend going online to obtain a copy of your credit report using either Noddle or Callcredit - it’s free and the results only take minutes to obtain. It will not only ensure that accurate and correct information is given to the lender but lack of disclosure can also result in a decline or an unexpectedly low borrowing capacity. Income, of course, is obviously a major part of the assessment. I ask for a minimum of the latest 3 months’ worth of payslips - if you’re paid weekly, bring enough wage slips to cover this period - and your latest P60. It’s amazing how many people don’t keep their payslips. Always keep them safe or at the very least know who to ask at your workplace if you need a copy. If you’re self-employed, I will need accounts for a minimum of a year (but up to three years if trading for longer) or Tax Computations and corresponding Tax Year Overview, obtained from your accountant or HMRC.    Bank statements are another ‘must have’. Three months’ worth is usually sufficient for the lender to see what is paid out each month - eg: food/utility bills/vehicle running costs etc - to paint a reasonable picture of your income and outgoings. Statements also show any other forms of income - eg: tax credits/pensions/ maintenance payments, etc - useful, as they can sometimes be used to assess potential borrowing.    Proof of deposit is required. Whether in the form of savings/a gift from a relative or borrowing on another asset, in order to satisfy money laundering guidelines all advisers/ solicitors have to ensure that the deposit being provided is from legal means.  Lastly, I will need address ID and name ID. The first can be supplied as a recent utility bill (within the last three months), bank/credit card statements or your latest council tax bill. For name ID the most usual are passports or driving licences. A word of warning here – make sure your driving licence shows the correct current address. It’s amazing how many people don’t update and it comes with a potential fine of £1000. I’ve also had expired passports and driving licences with incorrect names and even the wrong date of birth in some cases, so please check! Advance preparation will not only ensure you aren’t shopping with champagne tastes and beer pockets, it will then prevent that last-minute scrabble around for documents that could lose the house of your dreams!  




Lofty Aspirations? Beware the pitfalls of extending into the attic!

Even if you are in a Conservation Area or Listed this is not to say that a contemporary style is vetoed - just look at the new Gloucester Services on the M5, which has been recognised as the best of modern eco-friendly design by gaining awards from the RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) and the CPRE (Campaign to Protect Rural England) amongst a host of others.

My friend’s builder says he can make me a room up in the loft space with no need for planning permission because it is Permitted Development. Is that true?

However, with a small project it is sensible to keep your expectations similarly small or you can set up a whole host of problems that render that simple little idea a massive burden. And if you think you can ‘get off’ with a fine or even ‘get away with it’, don’t even contemplate doing so. Should you wish to sell the house you will find your illegal work will cause a big problem for the potential purchaser…who may rapidly become an ex-purchaser!   Then there are Building Regulations and Fire Regulations - compulsory technical requirements that all building works must meet. All alterations fall into this category, with or without separate planning permission.

ermitted development is becoming something of a thorny topic. All too frequently I survey a property where the proud owner has extended up into the roof space and happily says ‘well, it is Permitted Development’ and I have to break some bad news. Whilst you have a nice big attic and think it would be really useful to make another bedroom up there, perhaps with an en-suite and a couple of Velux windows, just steady on there!

Central Surveying has offices in the Cotswolds and Knightsbridge, specialising in independent professional surveying and property consultancy services for commercial and residential clients in the Cotswolds, South West and London. Robert Hamilton works from Naunton in the heart of the North Cotswolds. To contact Robert, telephone 01285 640 840 or visit www.centralsurveying.co.uk



Unfortunately, often this term just isn’t correctly understood. Yes, you can create up to an additional 50m³ of space (40m³ in a terrace) and whilst there are various restrictions about size and position most small projects are permissible. However, and this is a big however, whatever you do must still comply with other regulations. Your first consideration is to check whether you are in a Conservation Area and / or whether your property is Listed. There are now about 10,000 Conservation Areas in the UK. ‘Their purpose is to protect and enhance areas of special architectural or historic interest and place additional development control on new works, as well as seeking to minimise the loss of the existing built and natural environment’. Cotswold District has the highest number - 144 - of any district council in the UK.

Before you start work you must establish whether the floor joists or roof trusses support what you intend to do. Many modern (and not so modern) constructions have quite lightweight timbers in the attic that are not load-bearing. It is quite upsetting to create a lovely room only to find half the furniture trying to exit through the floor! You must also check whether you can create the minimum headroom of two metres in the centre of a flight of stairs, with an opening window of at least 0.33m² to allow for escape in the event of fire. All electrical installations must be carried out by a qualified, certified electrician and of course minimum standards apply for thermal insulation of walls, floors and roof (although with modern materials this is much less onerous than it would once have been). Under Fire Regulations you must also have minimum 30 minutes’ fire resistance for all floors, doors and stairs to the attic conversion. So remember the golden rules! Even if you fall outside the Conservation Area and your property is not listed you must not make other fabrics, services and fittings less compliant than they were before or worse, dangerous. Sadly, most problems that I see are simply not making sure the structure can bear extra weight or paying inadequate attention to fireproofing. The first is plain stupid and the latter, well… unforgiveable.

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