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Cotswold Homes Magazine Whether highlighting the successes of local entrepreneurs, broadcasting the work of local charities, cheering on our young sports stars, debating current affairs that impact upon our community or featuring an impressive list of events from arts projects to theatre productions and festivals, we celebrate all the historic, social and cultural influences of the North Cotswolds that make this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty such a wonderful place to live.To that end, our fabulous property section is provided by Harrison James & Hardie, the North Cotswolds’ leading independent estate agency, featuring some of the most gorgeous homes currently available to purchase or to let, whether as a family home or as an investment.

not to be found in the hard copy version of our magazine. Cotswold Homes also has a growing database of around 6,000 residents and frequent visitors to the local area who are registered with us to receive weekly e-mailers on property, events and news plus exciting competitions and offers from independent North Cotswold businesses and renowned tourist attractions such as the RSC, Giffords Circus, Cheltenham Racecourse and Adam Henson’s Cotswold Farm Park.

Our newly designed, beautiful and informative online magazine ( includes a back-catalogue of fascinating content, with exclusive interviews from influential local figures plus advice and opinion from expert professionals on topics as diverse as sport, health and garden design, as well as bonus features

Marketing with Cotswold Homes


Cotswold Homes was originally the name chosen to launch Harrison James & Hardie’s website at the turn of the new millennium, conceived at a time when property portals like Rightmove did not exist.Two years later, the bespoke property website was attracting a million hits a month. In the recession, recognising that many local businesses were struggling to fund expensive traditional advertising, Karen Harrison added an online business directory for fellow independents to benefit from all that traffic.The magazine, originally devised as an online page-turner, provided great editorial copy about local businesses – a hugely positive response from readers and clients alike ensured that a printed quarterly version was the logical next step.The rest is history!

the homogeneity of big brands threatens to overtake every high street.We understand that advertising creates a clear identity and the power of simple repetition reinforces brand awareness but we believe that a good story, well told, does far more to illuminate the abilities, intentions and values of independent businesses, encouraging trust and loyalty by focusing upon the experience, skills and knowledge of the people who make that business work and drive its success, rather than just their products and services.We provide a host of simple, effective marketing strategies to suit, combining the benefits of expertly written editorial with traditional advertising, the clever use of e-marketing and social media platforms such as Facebook,Twitter and Pinterest.

Our aim is to support local independent businesses as a significant part of the North Cotswolds’ unique identity, at a time when

Cotswold Homes reflects the ethics and values of great small business. Our local magazine is as glossy, gorgeous and high-end as you might

Cotswold Homes Magazine

find anywhere, full of interesting content with great production values, but we are a very small team and that allows us to offer excellent, affordable opportunities for local businesses compared with other publications of a similar quality and reach. Cotswold Homes produces 10,000 copies of our seasonal glossy magazine each quarter. Freely distributed so that every copy finds a reader, solely funded and supported by local independent businesses, the magazines are posted through the doors of the loveliest homes in around ninety villages and towns. Stands can also be found at Cotswold train stations including Kingham and Kemble en-route to Paddington, in the Members’ Enclosure at Cheltenham Racecourse and outside the High Street offices of Harrison James & Hardie in Bourton on the Water, Stow on the Wold and Moreton in Marsh.


Cotswold Homes Magazine

CONTENTS COMPETITIONS AND OFFERS Win a bewildering array of prizes – and make the most out of the Cotswolds with our special offers

EDITOR’S WELCOME Welcome to the Spring 2016 issue of cotswold Homes. It feels like a very large and diverse edition that we’ve assembled, perhaps because we’ve got more competitions than ever before – a whopping twelve in total (and a new selection of offers, too).

6-11 AT HOME WITH LUCY PRATT Cotswold-based Artist Lucy Pratt on her influences and inspiration



First up this issue, we take a trip to the home and studio of artist Lucy Pratt, who tells us all about the creation of her distinctive style - and introduces us to a rather inquisitive parrot named Cuthbert.Then it’s back to Blockley, where M.C. Beaton – author of the Agatha Raisin and Hamish Macbeth detective stories (and over 100 Regency novels) – reflects on a lifetime of writing. This year marks the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. We explore the RSC’s latest productions of Hamlet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream and find out why these stories remain so celebrated and pertinent today.Then, setting our sights on Cheltenham, we meet the people who make sure The Festival remains the thrilling pinnacle of the equestrian calendar. As usual, there’s our pick of top Cotswold events and incisive analysis of the property market from the local experts.

COVER STORY A closer look at the artist behind the picture on the front of this issue MIND, BODY, SOUL Grow your own veg, practise yoga and get a better smile with this issue’s featuress

There’s plenty to be getting on with, then. Don’t forget to visit to keep up with events and stories from the team.

Cover image: Uphill Battle by David ‘Mouse’ Cooper – for more information see p32-33


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58-68 Design team: Alias

0845 257 7475

Star Chamber Offices, Hollis House, The Square, Stow-on-the-Wold, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire GL54 1AF


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The bestselling author on what makes a good yarn – and a compelling investigator

We mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death with a look at the RSC’s coming productions of Hamlet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream


THE WILD RABBIT Our foodie Collette Fairweather investigates their kitchen philosophy

44-45 FOXHILL MANOR We take a peek inside The Sunday Times Hotel of the Year 2015/16

THE FESTIVAL We look behind the scenes at Cheltenham Racecourse and receive some hot tips for the races




Our pick of the best Cotswold events

Investigating the impact of new taxation on the investment marketplace in the North Cotswolds

70-75 cotswold Homes Magazine Our next edition, Summer 2016, 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 01451 833171 or email:

84-127 Editor’s Desk: property: Food & Drink/Equestrian: Marketing & Sales: Website & admin:






WIN! A PAIR OF TICKETS TO SEE THE RSC’S HAMLET AT THE ROYAL SHAKESPEARE THEATRE, STRATFORDUPON-AVON (ON A DATE OF YOUR CHOICE) In this most iconic of plays, young student Hamlet is tormented by his father’s death, confronting each of us with the mirror of our own mortality in an imperfect world. Hamlet is running at the RSC’S Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon from 12th March to 13th August. Cotswold Homes has a pair of tickets up for grabs to see this amazing new production on a date of your choice, subject to availability. To enter our draw, simply visit www. The competition closes on 3rd March.



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all new for 2016, the painted Wagon show from cotswold favourites, Giffords circus, is on tour calling at various venues around our region from 13th May through to 25th September. We’ve snapped up a family ticket to give away to a lucky winner for the 6pm performance at Sudeley Castle in Winchcombe on either 24th, 25th or 26th May 2016 – you choose your preferred date! To enter our draw, simply visit The competition closes on 12th May.


the regal cinema in Evesham is a lovingly restored art deco style cinema with a coffee shop and licenced bar that attracts moviegoers from across the region. It hosts a wide variety of events 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).

a quiet Irish village community is turned upside down with the arrival of a Hollywood film crew, looking for the ‘real’ Ireland for their latest schmaltzy blockbuster. a pair of extras, charlie and Jake, watch with amazement, envy and delight as cultures clash, divas strop, and everyone fights over the last portion of lemon meringue pie.

connection with audiences in over 30 countries.

Two actors play a vast array of eccentric and lovable characters in this universally loved, worldwide comic theatre sensation. Written with poignancy and sincerity, performed at breakneck pace, this play has made deep

Entry to our competitions is open to all except the colleagues (and their families) of Cotswold Homes. 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.

Entries must be made via the competition section of the Cotswold Homes website (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.

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.

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


To enter our draw, simply visit The competition closes on 14th april.

Stones In His Pockets runs at The Theatre Chipping Norton from 5th – 16th April. Performances: Tuesday 5 April - Saturday 9th April & Mon 11th April – Sat 16 April, 7.45pm (mat. 9 April, 2.30pm) To enter our draw to win two tickets to this fantastic new production at Chippy Theatre on a date of your choice, visit www. The competition closes on 31st March.

winner, drawn 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.






WIN! TWO TICKETS TO THE BRITISH & MIDLAND CHAMPIONSHIPS AT PRESCOTT HILL CLIMB ON SUNDAY 24TH APRIL The Bugatti Club at Prescott Hill Climb in Gotherington plays host to the annual British & Midland Championships over the weekend of 23rd & 24th April 2016. For some classic car speed hill climb racing, there’s no better place to be! We’ve got a pair of adult tickets to be won for Sunday 24th April. To enter our draw, simply visit The competition closes on 14th april.

We’ve secured tickets for two pairs of lucky winners to one of the most exciting events in the Jump season calendar. Ladies Day, the second day of The Festival, will provide you with plenty of heartpumping thrills, with a fantastic seven race card featuring the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase, won in 2015 by Dodging Bullets from the Paul Nicholls yard. To enter our draw, simply visit competitions-and-offers/. The competition closes on 3rd March.

WIN! A FREE INTERIOR DESIGN CONSULTATION WITH AMANDA HANLEY INCLUDING £200 TO SPEND ON COLE & SON WALLPAPERS AT HER BEAUTIFUL STORE ON BURFORD HIGH STREET Need a bit of design inspiration to brighten up your bedroom or lend some style to your sitting room? Well, now you could be in with a chance to win the expertise of Gloucestershirebased interior designer, Amanda Hanley – renowned for her classic style and friendly approach. Amanda’s also offering the lucky winner £200 to spend on stylish Cole & Son wallpapers available at her beautiful store at The Gallery at 69, High Street, Burford. To enter our draw to win this great prize, simply visit The competition closes on 31st March.


Is your garden in need of a bit of makeover as we turn the corner from the depths of winter into the fresh scents of spring? Now, you could be in with the chance of winning a coveted design consultation with awardwinning garden designer, Susan Dunstall. Alongside the consultation, Susan is also offering the lucky winner a free garden design sketch plan drawn up for either a front or rear garden. To enter our draw to win this great prize, simply visit The competition closes on 31st March.


Cotswold Homes Magazine




Longborough Festival Opera is a small but remarkable opera house in the Cotswolds, and a highlight of the summer’s country-house opera season. Located in the grounds of its founders Martin & Lizzie Graham, audiences enjoy the idyllic setting and splendid views. Renowned particularly for its exceptional Wagner productions, Longborough also presents a full


season of mainstream operas - Verdi, Mozart, Handel, Janáček and more.

ensure you can enjoy your picnics or dine in the restaurant or marquees in style.

Le nozze di Figaro is one of Mozart’s most enduringly popular operas – a sparkling comedy of manners and morals. Join us on Tuesday 28th June for an evening of music and social entertainment – the long dining intervals

To enter our draw to win one of two pairs of tickets, simply visit competitions-and-offers/. The competition closes on 12th May. Please note that the prize is for the performance date & time advertised only.


Last year the ever popular picnic concert saw record-breaking crowds attend both stately homes for an exceptional evening of sublime classical music, carefully choreographed Spitfire and cavalry displays, dramatic cannon fire and a stunning firework finale– all part of the Battle Proms experience!

At the age of 17, Martin won the BBC Young Musician Of The Year (2014) competition, following a performance with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. Martin is now much in demand as a recitalist and so in this concert on 24th March you’ll hear him play Beethoven’s Sonata in E-flat, Liszt’s Vallee d’Obermann and Schubert’s Impromptu No. 2 in E -flat major Op. 90, Impromptu No. 3 in G-flat major Op. 90 and Impromptu No. 4 in A-flat major Op. 90 To enter our draw, visit The competition closes on 17th March.

Cotswold residents are lucky to have 2 of the UK’s premier picnic concerts in handy driving distance this summer. World Heritage Site and birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill, Blenheim Palace will play host to the 2nd night of the Battle Proms on Saturday 16th July, while the stunning lakeside setting of Ragley Hall in Alcester, will play host to the final night of the Battle Proms on Saturday 13th August.

To enter our draw to win one of six pairs of tickets to the Blenheim Palace concert on 16th July, simply visit competition closes on 12th May. Please note that the prize is for the performance date & time advertised only.

WIN! A FAMILY DAY PASS TO ADAM HENSON’S COTSWOLD FARM PARK (2 X ADULTS, 2 X CHILDREN / 1 X ADULT, 3 X CHILDREN) An absolutely perfect prize for a fun family day out this Spring! Take the kids to Adam Henson’s Cotswold Farm Park and be enthralled by rare breeds, entertained by talks and demonstrations – and don’t forget to buy some feed for the animals

and take a tumble in the play area before you go! To enter our draw, simply visit competition closes on 14th april.





only with Cotswold Homes AMANDA HANLEY BY DESIGN


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Character Cottages was founded in 2011 to create a distinctive, high quality holiday lettings business with a focus on fabulous country homes in beautiful towns and villages throughout the Cotswolds.

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Receive £45 Off Anne Mcintyre’s Online Living Wisdom Course

Anne’s online course, Living Wisdom, is as a comprehensive introduction to Ayurveda from a Western perspective. Cotswold Homes readers can sign up for the course for the special price of £350, saving £45 on the usual price of £395. Just quote the code CHAMSP16. T 01451 810 096

Quote code: CHJEMSP16 Read Mat Faraday’s expert advice on the holiday let marketplace on page 118.

Read Sue Ellis’s financial advice column on page 113.

Read Anne McIntyre’s article on pages 60-61.


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It is a private practice dealing with all aspects of dental treatment but we specialise in cosmetic dentistry, including composite or plastic veneers, porcelain veneers, tooth whitening and the treatment of worn teeth and jaw joint disorders. Please contact Penny for details regarding this offer and all other treatments available at the practice. T 01993 831396

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Thomas Legal Group is a dedicated provider of conveyancing services in and around the Cotswolds. A home is without doubt the most important purchase anyone will make and the right conveyancer will ensure that you enjoy a good experience throughout the transaction. Speed is often of the essence along with an innovative approach to technology resulting in an excellent service for both buyers and sellers. T 01452 657 950

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lucy pratt

Lucy Pratt At Home with

Artist Lucy Pratt on her Asian odyssey, the pleasures of the Cotswold landscape, Zebra cake, passionate chefs and talking parrots

It’s a bright but brisk November day, and going by the denuded trees, autumn splendour is well on its way out.Yet happily I’m on my way to an oasis of colour in Hook Norton, where artist Lucy Pratt has taken up residence with her family. From the moment you cross over the threshold, it’s clear that this is an artist’s home. Lucy’s paintings are displayed everywhere, arranged alongside collected works from other artists. Their vivacious, thriving sense of colour and light – arranged with such confidence - is the bounty of her travels in places as exotic as India, Nepal, Sumatra and Thailand. Her work’s brightness and joy is deceptively sophisticated: it is Lucy’s masterful command of tone that infuses her scenes with such bold life. ‘I do have a fascination with colours,’ says Lucy as I marvel at the canvasses that encircle us. ‘I love to dig deep, find subtleties – seeing what they look like next to each other.’ After a visit to Lucy’s studio – where yet more works await the eye - we settle in the family kitchen, where a fabulous green parrot known as Cuthbert makes his presence known. From his perch on Lucy’s shoulder, he fixes me with a warily inquisitive eye. ‘Cuthbert likes girls best, so I wouldn’t stroke him,’ advises Lucy. ‘He bit my father – who loves animals


Cotswold Homes Magazine

and couldn’t resist giving him a stroke - when I went upstairs, and I heard this tremendous scream – I came back to see feed scattered everywhere and my father looking very sheepish.’ I have seldom seen an animal as colourful, and never one so clever: I am doubly astonished to learn that Cuthbert the parrot is over 40 years old (larger parrots can stay in the family for three generations), having passed from a friend’s stepmother to Lucy’s mother - and now he’s with Lucy. Does he talk? ‘Oh yes. He says: “What are you doing?” when you get wine. He says: “I love you.” And when the kids were young he was always shouting “Mummy!”…But now he’s followed them into saying: “Get off! Get off!”’ This startlingly intelligent creature clearly functions as something of a muse: Cuthbert and his splendid plumage appear in several of Lucy’s paintings. But it is little wonder that Lucy – with her keen eye for colour – should be drawn to him. Many of the objets d’art found here happen to be gifts from her variously artistic family. Her German grandmother was a potter who taught at Banbury, her great-uncle was a surrealist painter, and so too was Lucy’s father, who began to paint while Lucy was in her late teens and is now a very successful painter in his own right.

lucy pratt


lucy pratt

‘For us, creativity is about big spirits, generosity.’

‘[Art] was always there as a way of living,’ says Lucy. ‘We all just did it – making each other laugh by drawing breasts on something…My mother was very, very creative, and we all gave handmade cards and presents.The value was in what other people made for you. ‘For us, creativity is about big spirits, generosity.’ Happily school life, too, proved as stimulating as home. ‘I had a very eccentric and varied education. I went to a little school in Bloxham until I was 11.There were only 18 people in the school.The reward for getting the work done early was that you’d be able to spend the rest of the day working with materials. ‘Later, when I went to secondary school, they really supported my passion. I was just given the keys to all the art rooms and the pottery studio so I could work there as long as I wanted, so long as I gave back the keys.’

Pictures shown: (Top right) Gondola to San Giorgio,Venice (18x24”) (Bottom right) Sweet tooth (40”sq) (Next Page) Paternal love (40”sq) 16

Cotswold Homes Magazine

Art school followed, but true artistic flourishing came later. Lucy secured board with an artist and a job at Oxford’s Museum of Modern Art ‘by cycling there each day and leaving post-it notes with my contact details on the desk’ – this she balanced with another job where she sold calculators and microscopes.

‘It kept me going, but then my friend turned up and said to me: you’re fat, you’re boring and you have to get a life. Come with me to India and paint there.’ Securing a commission to produce three paintings inspired by her journey, Lucy left on a travel odyssey that began in Rome and went on to India. ‘It took two months to get used to that wonderful, brilliant light.’ After a six-month trek through India, Lucy separated from her friend on a trip to see ‘where the Dalai Llama lived - Dharamsala.’There, she spent a whole month painting the views. It was at this time that she devised a novel solution to her artwork transportation needs – commissioning another backpacker to carry her work home to send on to her mother. ‘Once back in England, I took the paintings around the galleries in a black bin bag. Nobody was interested – “Asia never sells.” But when I took them to John Davies he offered me a show. And that, really, was the start of everything. Since then, I’ve been with Sharon Wheaton at the Fosse Gallery in Stow-on-the-Wold. I’ve had 4 or 5 one-man shows there.They’ve been a large part of my history.’ Lucy’s travels are evidently an abundant wellspring

lucy pratt

of inspiration. When I visit, her studio is bustling with sensuous depictions of Venice which she has produced over two years of travelling and research, going out to paint every day on the same spot, down by the water’s edge. These will be exhibited in Clarendon Fine Art gallery in a show entitled The Italian Job. Besides her affection for the city’s canals and colours, she takes equal pleasure from the Cotswold landscape. ‘I just feel so, so lucky [to be here] – not only do I live here, but it really is my source of inspiration. My heart is in the country. I get such joy just from dropping the kids at school each day.’ She describes painting in the wild as ‘like hunting, or gathering mushrooms – you come back with a booty.’ ‘Equally, you’ve got to be prepared to come back empty-handed. But I often get this real sense of serendipity and luck…Cows will wander into just the right place, for instance.’ Does painting satisfy a need, an urge? ‘It’s an inner drive – you can’t be content until it’s settled, until things are put down. Without painting I get very grumpy. Even if it’s just a weekend when I’m not painting, I can’t wait for Monday.’



What else inspires Lucy? Several of her paintings that I can see are kitchen scenes. What appeals to her about the hustle and bustle of the catering world? ‘I like chefs. I like the tension of the timing, the pressure, and I recognise their intensity and passion. Except their creations end up eaten – gone!’ Many of Lucy’s paintings are based on observation, sketchbook reproductions of witnessed scenes, drawn on location. But, in paintings like Sweet Tooth – where a shark cruises an aquarium tank set in the far wall of a kitchen – whimsical narratives and suggestive relationships begin to emerge. ‘The two waitresses look like they’re talking about the chef’s tight bottom – and he knows it. Another chef at the table is the sort who’ll let the others handle the work.’ An eye-catching striped cake turns out to be a real cake that Lucy discovered – the aptly named Zebra Cake. Lucy is full of admiration for her peers and heroes (she talks excitedly about encounters with Andrew Logan and Mick Rooney) but her vision is her own – it’s clear that a restless impulse to make, to create, to observe, to experience is the foundation of the uniquely vivid world that she unfurls before the rest of us. Lucy’s work will be exhibiting at Clarendon Fine Art Gallery in her show The Italian Job, from 25th February to 9th March 2016, with a private viewing on 24th February. View Lucy’s work at 18

Cotswold Homes Magazine


Lucy Pratt is represented in the Cotswolds by the Fosse Gallery, Stow-on-the-Wold

Molly, Barnie and Tom Sammons sheep 24 x 30”

Sharon Wheaton at the Fosse Gallery in Stow-on-the-Wold reflects on her long-lasting association with ar tist Lucy Pratt in the Cotswolds. When I first met Lucy, around 17 years ago, she was already conquering the art scene – both in the Cotswolds and in London. I on the other hand was only just beginning my apprenticeship in the art world, and was something of a Girl Friday here at the Fosse Gallery in Stow-in-the-Wold. Lucy’s early travels in India, Nepal and Thailand were her inspiration – but I feel that here in the UK is where she really began to refine her style and subject. The communities and landscapes of Devon and Cornwall (and her memories of times spent there) are as much to thank for her distinctive signature style as any exotic location. Her gregarious nature and life-affirming attitude shines through on canvas through her masterful brushstrokes - but this no mere seduction, or an attempt to lead the beholder down the garden path of fluffy confection. Instead her work expresses a rare,

vital and pertinent message, too often overlooked in troubled times: aren’t we lucky to be alive? Lucy’s passion, singular determination and appetite for life makes me very proud to be representing her here in the Cotswolds (of course, she’s often exhibited in London, including many selections at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition) but I am truly delighted to have such a close and long-lasting partnership with Lucy here, where she lives and works every day. I can only thank The Fosse for bringing us together, all those years ago. 01451 831319 Fosse Gallery Fine Art,The Manor House,The Square, Stow-on-the-Wold GL54 1AF

Blue Barrow, in the garden 20 x 20”



Inside The Mystery-Spinning Mind of



The Blockley-based bestselling author and creator of Agatha Raisin and Hamish Macbeth (and No 1 most borrowed UK adult author in libraries) on Star Wars, Scandi drama and her time as a crime reporter in Glasgow.

On Writing 160+ Books: ‘I think there’s more than that, but I forget how many. Now I’m pushing eighty, I really would like to write just one book a year. That would be a luxury…Or would it? Would I just fart around and do it at the last minute?’

On the Pleasures of Escapism: ‘There seems to be something that’s gone missing in entertainment. For example, in the latest adaptation of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None, there are scenes of sex and drugs… ‘Don’t they realise the charm of Christie is the escape to a safer world with the squire and the tennis courts and the afternoon tea? A golden world that only ever existed for the privileged few – and yet it brings the fascination of safety, and of justice being done. The minute you begin to let in modern themes, the escape goes out of the window. ‘You see in the latest Star Wars, they have gone back to the original themes – it’s just a marvellous escape. We lived in America when they were showing the very first one, and at the end they all stood up and started clapping.’


Cotswold Homes Magazine




I lived a lot in libraries. To me, they were palaces of dreams. I would look around the shelves and dream of one day being a published author.

Matt McCooey and Ashley Jensen. Matt plays police sergeant Bill Wong.

On Being a Writer: ‘I think of myself more of an escape artist than a writer. The moment people hear the word writer, they start thinking of the Booker Prize and the literary world and the Great Novel. Well, you can’t write beyond your capabilities… you can’t pretend at another kind of writing. A friend once said: “You’ve got a very good literary background – why don’t you try writing something different”…He meant better. And I said: “You don’t get it. This might be very light and frivolous and easy to read but I’m writing to my very best – really, my very best.” ‘Funnily enough, you can’t write in another genre just because it happens to be popular, or you become childish. I once tried to write a Scottish historical. It was dreadful. ‘I’m often damned as being cosy. I don’t mind so long as people still like [the books], but it’s a bit patronising. It reminds me of Terry Pratchett’s famous remark, when he was asked to speak at festivals, in the way I am, that there often seems to be a subtext that says “of course I don’t read your books but my gardener’s son simply adores them,” and you try not to spit on the stage!’

On Scottish Writers: ‘Of course, sex and drugs does have its place. The black humour of the sort that you get from 22

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Stuart McBride is very funny,Val McDermid – a frighteningly intelligent woman. And there’s Alexander McCall Smith, Ian Rankin…so many great writers from Scotland [laughs]. Of course, a lot of us started with our admiration for Robert Louis Stevenson’s Kidnapped. What a wonderful, exciting piece of writing.’

On Flawed Detectives: ‘The actress who plays Saga in The Bridge is brilliant – a sort of Aspergers James Bond, almost invulnerable…But it got soppy! You see her background! I don’t want to see her background – I loved Columbo because you never saw Mrs Columbo. And Cagney and Lacey died a bit over a drunken father and a stupid unemployed husband…You don’t want too much of their private lives. ‘The idiots who were filming my Hamish Macbeth – well, in my opinion they were idiots – they said “We must bring out his dark side.” To which I said: “He hasn’t got one.” They said: “He isn’t married.” I said: “You don’t get married until you’re about 40 in the Highlands.” And Robert Carlisle insisted that Hamish smoke pot – he said if the pot smoking was taken out then he would leave the series. ‘Agatha’s problems are human. She drinks a bit – well, socially, she drinks a lot - but she’s not an alcoholic!’

On the Agatha Raisin Television Series: ‘At first I didn’t care – I thought oh, here we go again. But they have been marvellous. Now, Ashley Jensen may not look like Agatha, but my God, she acts it. And Matt McCooey, who plays Bill Wong…he’s gorgeous. I’m very lucky with it. ‘The only thing is the manic depressive vicar.The minute scriptwriters see vicars they think of knickers, paedophilia…so this one’s manic depressive. But you see it’s very easy to write bad people – and much more difficult to write good ones. ‘Goodness is very attractive. People think the dark side can attract, well – so does the good, because it can make you feel very safe.’

On the Process of Writing: ‘Somebody asked me once: how do you target your readers? You can’t target them. If you start targeting them you’re dead. Sit down, begin at the beginning and go on to the end.


Ashley with the quiche of death.

‘You have to write what you enjoy. The brain is like a computer: you can only get out what you put in. The essence of storytelling is often forgotten…You’re talking to the reader. You’ve got to grab their attention. You don’t want them to get bored. ‘Readers have got to be amused, got to be taken out of themselves. I think for me a detective story is a bit of P.G. Wodehouse, a bit of romance and a bit of a crossword puzzle.’

On Her Background: ‘My mother was very Highlands. She used to put a saucer of milk out for the fairies – though the hedgehogs would drink it, she’d think it was the fairies. Very superstitious. She’d had a very hard life, as well. She would play piano for the silent movies. She worked in a music shop in Glasgow, and if you wanted to know the latest musical from London, a girl like my mother would sit down and play the whole thing for you. She was very talented in that way, but she was a difficult person.

‘I lived a lot in libraries. To me, they were palaces of dreams. I would look around the shelves and dream of one day being a published author. I dreamed I would have a publisher in Belgravia…when Constable & Robinson took me over they had a publishing house in Belgravia, and it was Georgian…!’

On Her Time as a Crime Reporter in Glasgow: ‘The only time I ever got punched was by a Daily Mail photographer, because I was keeping crime witnesses away from the papers. It was sordid, ghastly – the poverty, dear God. The lice, the smell, the razor gangs…the axemen even had their own pub to disassociate from the lower class, the razor gangs. When I got a transfer to London I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. There, the newspapers were all nice to one another.’

About M.C. Beaton M.C. Beaton’s books have sold over 15 million copies worldwide and she is the No 1 most borrowed UK adult author in libraries. Her work has been translated into 15 languages and published in 19 countries. Following Sky’s 2014 adaptation of Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death, a new series will return for 8 stand-alone stories based on the books and stories of M.C. Beaton this spring. ‘Death of a Nurse’, the latest in the Hamish Macbeth series, will be published by Constable in hardback and eBook on Tuesday 23rd February 2016, both priced £14.99.


siMOn GOdWin

With siMon godWin, direCtor oF HAMLET

siMon godWin (THE TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONa 2014) direCts H A M L E T at t h e r s C ’ s s u M M e r 2 0 1 6 s e a s o n . a s r e l e va n t t o d ay a s W h e n i t Wa s W r i t t e n , H A M L E T C o n F r o n t s e a C h o F u s W i t h t h e M i r r o r o F o u r M o r ta l i t y i n a n i M P e r F e C t W o r l d . Why did you want to cast such an unknown young actor in this iconic role? Hamlet is a student at Wittenberg University. He is young, passionate and impressionable. After the sudden death of his father, he is faced with a terrible call for revenge.This not a play about experience, security and order; this is a play about chaos, fear and the way a young man learns how to kill.To tell this story, we have to start from zero. Can you give us a short background on where and when you are setting the play? We are in a world of violent retribution. Each state demands the right to wield violence in the name of justice.This is also the world of Hamlet. At the same time I wanted to find a context where, as a character, Hamlet could feel dislocated, where he could feel conflicted by the demands of his ancestors against the pressure to find a new way of thinking. I also needed somewhere that reflected the Christianity inherent in the writing, as well as being a place of superstition, witchcraft and ghosts. Where do all these ideas, beliefs and different loyalties come together? Paapa Essiedu, who plays Hamlet, is British but has Ghanian heritage. I was curious about how he held all these diverse influences inside himself. It’s a very contemporary, global question. Where are our roots? What do they ask of us? I began dreaming about Hamlet studying in Europe before being called back suddenly to a country he had left behind. A country in the throes of change, a country where ghosts reside yet where Christianity still shapes every decision. I realised how radical it might be to see Denmark through the lens of a completely different culture. A culture Paapa himself had experienced. I began to imagine a Denmark re-conceived as a modern state influenced by the ritual, beauty and cosmology of West Africa.

What do you think this reading of the play will bring to the audiences coming to see it? As well as helping audiences to experience the play afresh, I want to re-vivify the play’s politics. When is revenge necessary? When is violence the right way to achieve justice? We have just voted to sanction air strikes against another country. We have decided to take revenge. Is this right, is this wrong? Through the experiences of one young man, Hamlet dramatises these questions. The play is also an existential thriller. It’s gripping, urgent, prescient. In editing the text, I have made one simple choice: to prioritise the story. Why do you think Hamlet is one of the best known and best loved Shakespeare plays? Polonius has a phrase ‘poem unlimited.’ This is what Hamlet is.The play transcends genre - it’s part ghost story, part family tragedy, part dark comedy. It’s the most versatile of all Shakespeare’s plays. It invites being remade as mirror to every age that produces it. Which is exactly how Hamlet defines the purpose of art. What are the challenges to approaching such a well known Shakespeare play? Courageous and detailed re-invention. We live specifically; in time, in space, in attachments. How can we, as a company, be as specific in the world we create for our story? How can we be as specific as Shakespeare? What do you aim to achieve when you direct Shakespeare plays? I have only one aim - to communicate the story in a way that can be heard. My search is for a language that is legible and transparent. A good production is a portal, through which we can feel the narrative on the greatest number of levels. Any sneaky peaks you can share with us about the show at this point? I’m excited that Sola Akingbola (from Jamiroquai) is composing the music!

H A M L E T P l ay s at t h e r o ya l s h a k e s P e a r e t h e at r e , s t r at F o r d - u P o n - av o n 1 2 M a r C h – 1 3 a u g u s t 2 0 1 6 . visit to Find out More about the ProduCtion and book tiCkets.


Cotswold Homes Magazine

siMOn GOdWin

this not a Play about eXPerienCe, seCurity and order; this is a play about chaos, fear and the Way a young man learns hoW to kill.



see Pag e6

Photo by simon annand Š rsC


a MidsuMMEr niGHt’s drEaM

a P l ay F o r t h e r s C b r i n g s t h e n at i o n a u n i Q u e t e l l i n g o F a M I D S U M M E R NIGHT’S DREAM, Cast FroM ProFessional rsC aCtors CoMbined W i t h a M at e u r t h e at r e g r o u P s F r o M a r o u n d t h e u k .

this is an arrangement developed between the rsC and Equity


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image by Paul stuart

a MidsuMMEr niGHt’s drEaM

this year, A Midsummer Night’s Dream: A Play for the Nation will see will see a professional cast integrate with amateur actors from around the uK, creating an ever-changing retelling of shakespeare’s enchanting and most popular of comedies. Performers from over 14 amateur theatre groups will make up Shakespeare’s Mechanicals – the labourers who put on a play within the play (from whose ranks emerges the boisterous Bottom, who famously falls afoul of fairy mischief and is made to look a right ass…) Local schoolchildren, too, have been recruited to make up the train of the Fairy Queen Titania, played by Ayesha Dharker, returning to the RSC following Othello 2015.

We have Cast PeoPle FroM all kinds oF baCkgrounds, With a WonderFul range oF voiCes, shaPes and siZes, but eVery single one of them has already demonstrated tremendous courage...

The casting process has been an interesting and exciting journey around the UK: the RSC’s creative team have travelled over 2,360 miles to audition 586 amateur theatre makers in 95 workshops, with every one of the groups cast representing a region or nation of the UK. Erica Whyman, RSC Deputy Artistic Director, and director of A Midsummer Night’s Dream: A Play for the Nation, said: ‘It has been a thrill and a privilege to meet so many talented and dedicated amateur actors from all over the United Kingdom. ‘We have cast people from all kinds of backgrounds, with a wonderful range of voices, shapes and sizes, but every single one of them has already demonstrated tremendous courage, skill and hard work to have survived the audition process and be selected to star in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. ‘And they have done all this whilst holding down a huge range of demanding jobs in the daytime.’ They’ll be joining a professional cast of 18, featuring the returning talents of Ayesha Dharker (Othello 2015, Arabian Nights 2009) as the Fairy Queen Titania alongside Chu Omambala (Hecuba 2015) as Oberon, King of the Fairies. Opening at The RSC in Stratford-upon-Avon in February, the play will embark on a nationwide tour before returning with the entire company in June.

on uk tour FroM 16 MarCh For More inFo and to book tiCkets, v i s i t W W W. d r e a m 2 0 1 6 . o r g . u k


COVEr stOry



during his career in racing, "Mouse", as he had become known, had a spell in the saddle himself and then went on to work for H. thompson Jones (trainer of tingle Creek), Mark tompkins and various other newmarket trainers. during this time he painted mainly commissions of stable favourites and classic horses in order to help develop his talent. “Mouse” graduated with a BA honours at APU, Cambridge in fine art and illustration, where he tailored his degree to help further his passion for equine art. Numerous horse racing owners and trainers have commissioned him to produce unique representations of their favourite races, horses or racing silks. His painting uphill Battle was first exhibited at The Open, Cheltenham Racecourse in November 2015. David Fish of Conversation Pieces, the artist’s publisher, says: “Uphill Battle was an immediate success from the moment it was first exhibited on our gallery at Cheltenham Races for the The Open meeting in November. The amount of attention that it generated is very pleasing but unsurprising - it is a wonderful piece of work that completely captures the sense of pace and determination in the midst of the battle to be first to the winning post, set against the beautiful backdrop of Cleeve Hill. After such a positive response we knew it would be a very popular as a Limited Edition Print on the gallery at Cheltenham.” For further information about David Mouse Cooper’s work, please contact



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COVEr stOry




Behind the Scenes at the Festival the triumphant £45 million makeover of Cheltenham racecourse is ready bang on time to welcome visitors to the highlight of the jump racing season. Putting up 10,000 visitors each night, figures for gloucestershire tourism estimate the value to the wider local economy of the Festival is well over £50 million pounds. something over half a billion pounds will be staked by almost 250,000 people who come not only to watch the races but to do business, to socialise, to shop, to eat three miles worth of fast food laid end to end and to booze - 220,000 pints of guinness and 310,000 bottles of champagne, wine and beer will be consumed by the end of the Festival. each day a stream of taxis, buses, trains, 2,000 coaches, 30,000 cars, stretch limos and hummers will make their way to the racecourse; helicopters, circling and dropping like dragonflies, land 650 flights on the busiest temporary airfield anywhere in the uk. Meanwhile, paddling furiously below the surface are those whose daily working lives revolve around this enormously successful event. here, four of the racecourse’s permanent staff explain more about their roles and what inspires them about the Festival itself.

lee moulson regional head of sales I look after all income streams apart from tickets, so no two days are the same for me - I could be working with my partnership manager on a sponsorship deal or securing an event like the darts on a non raceday. In 2014, we upped the hospitality budget from the previous year’s by £1 million and achieving that was a relief - it was a bold move but also hugely satisfying for the hospitality sales team. I was immensely proud of them. The Festival is the Pinnacle of National Hunt Racing, a bit like the Olympics, so you really start to see the excitement build from February and that is noticeable in our office - the whole team get right behind that. Other than the racing itself, the highlight for me is seeing our hospitality clients, sponsors, members and racegoers leave at the end of the day, beaming from ear to ear because they have loved the experience. I am particularly looking forward to seeing the reaction from the public to the new stand and layout! I do not sleep for about a week prior to the event - I will just play out various scenarios in my mind and how I would deal with them! Each day of the Festival, I usually start about five o’clock in the morning, and meet with our Regional Sales Co-ordination Manager Emma Allen. We walk through all of our hospitality areas to make sure they are ready for clients. I will then have a briefing with the Senior Management Team about the day ahead and before racing we do final checks on customer areas. In the afternoon I look after the sponsors with my partnership manager Carey Buckler, also seeing as many of our annual box-holders and Cheltenham Club guests as is feasibly possible.

carey buckler Partnership Manager I work with a wide catalogue of business brands to deliver their marketing objectives in effective and creative ways. I love the fact that year on year we build great relationships, making it a joy to work with so many interesting clients who become increasingly enthused by racing and the benefits it can bring to their 34

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“as time has gone on, the aspect i most enjoy is working closely with my great team and dealing with any challenges that come our way, combined with the satisfaction when everything comes together and we stage the best jump racing in the world.”

businesses. Each race of the Festival is the climax of so many hopes and dreams that have been built upon across the season and the sense of anticipation creates an electric atmosphere - it makes me excited just thinking about it! My standout memory of working here was with our Head of Sales, Lee Moulson. We left using the back entrance that overlooks The Guinness Village - it was packed and just buzzing with friends new and old, catching up over their first pint, swapping tips for day… time stood still and I just remember thinking how lucky I was to be working here. There really is something for everyone at the Festival, be it The Guinness Village, private hospitality or an exclusive shopping experience where you can spend your winnings! This year, I am particularly looking forward to the improvement in the racing experience that the redevelopment will undoubtedly deliver. Prior to racing on the day itself, I check that all arrangements are in place for the partners from branding allocations, promotional staff to hospitality requirements. The night before the Festival I will be running over and over a tick list of the finer details, to make sure our partners and sponsors’ experience is second to none. Hopefully if I go through it enough times it will be like counting sheep and I will eventually fall asleep! When racing starts, I meet each race’s sponsor and guests, take them to the Parade Ring to choose the Best Turned Out Horse and then up to the Royal Box to watch the race with a glass of champagne. Afterwards, we head down to the Winner’s Enclosure to do the trophy presentations to the winning horse’s connections.

phil coates head groundsman Becoming the Head Groundsman is something I’m very proud of and owe a lot to our clerk, Simon Claisse, and The Jockey Club. I have a very clear memory of having to brush snow off the course and covering both courses with frost sheets when I first started. As time has gone on, the aspect I most enjoy is working closely with my great team and dealing with any challenges that come our way, combined with the satisfaction when everything comes together and we stage the best Jump racing in the world.

At the Festival itself, I ensure the course is ready and looks the best it can, that the jockeys and horses have safe racing conditions and are well looked after during their time with us. With a world class event with top races, people travelling from far and wide to attend, the buzz on and around the course is just amazing - I will usually be unable to sleep the night before because of excitement for the day ahead and worrying about any change in weather conditions! I will be looking forward to some great racing as always and in particular, experiencing the atmosphere from the new grandstand, The Princess Royal Stand, and the viewing area around the parade ring.

phil roberts general Manager for jockey Club Catering at Cheltenham As general manager for catering at Cheltenham, I never get over how amazing the racecourse is and how much it means to every race goer. It’s a very special destination, a truly iconic venue loved by everyone, which in turn creates a wonderful atmosphere. The sights, the smells, the noise the atmosphere, the racegoers – the Festival really is jump racing at its very best - a very special place. I particularly enjoy being part of a great event team involved in the planning, focus and challenges of staging such a worldfamous event at such an historic venue - there is nothing that can compare with it! Most likely to keep me awake the night before is detail, detail, detail! We have a brilliant team but the volumes of what we do over the week are huge, using over two hundred and fifty chefs, so there are thousands of staff to train and get in place each day. My role is to support the management team by ensuring we deliver the food of the highest spec and up to the standard that we require but I cannot wait to see the response of the racegoers to the new areas contained within and around The Princess Royal Stand, and of cause to hear the noise from the Crescent walk way on the last day, when the winner comes into the Winner’s Enclosure having won the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup!

What is your top tip for anyone who hasn’t been to the races before? lee moulson: Book hospitality! carey buckler: Layer up and dress for the weather! Also make sure you get down to the rails as close to a fence as possible. There is a real thrill as the horses come past - it’s much faster and louder than you see on TV. phil coates: My top tip would be just give it a go. It’s an exciting sport with excellent venues that play host to rising and existing stars - both jockeys and horses! phil roberts: Plan your journey, remember your tickets, check the weather…..and enjoy!


EquEstrian Lady

a cotsWold race goer’s guide to the festiVal Why go to the races? The equestrian heart of the North Cotswolds beats to the Sport of Kings – a whole fraternity of prestigious names reside in the loveliest villages around here. Home to famous trainers, jockeys and owners, there’s a veritable industry going on in some of the sleepiest and most rural of outposts in this part of the world and no wonder, for down the road is Cheltenham, the centrifugal influence, where the famous racecourse hosts the most important of all events in the jump racing calendar - The Festival. If you have never been before you really should, there’s no excuse. Here is my (girl) guide to getting the most out of a wonderful week’s racing.

Where to stay? Everywhere will be booked up months in advance - the best fun is to be had right here in the Cotswolds, celebrating your winnings at the Hollow Bottom in Guiting Power (watch out for the film crew). Tree Tops House in nearby Temple Guiting is the ideal destination - a grand stone property enjoying fantastic rural views with a beautifully appointed cottage in the grounds sleeping up to sixteen in total, perfect for a group of friends hoping to taste the whole Cotswold experience. For more information visit

tree tops House

the Hollow Bottom in Guiting Power

tree tops House is the perfect country retreat – just book the Hollow Bottom minibus to get you home safely after celebrating your winnings!


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Equestrian Lady

To look classically elegant there is nothing better than a tweed skirt (just above the knee is the shortest you should go) teamed with a crisp ruffle shirt, a really feminine jacket and some gorgeous Belstaff boots.

When to go? All days have their own particular character. If you want to show off your glad rags then go on Ladies Day (although no self-respecting Cotswold girl will be doing wannabee-at-Ascot; see What to Wear) and if you’ve got any Irish blood in you, get down to the Guinness Village on Thursday to celebrate St Patrick’s Day. You can still experience the thrill of the crowd without the squeeze of Gold Cup on Tuesday stand by the finishing post for the first race of the day and the cheer as they set off will make the hair stand up on the back of your neck. Just make sure you leave plenty of time - latest by eleven o’clock from here, if you don’t want to miss the first race stuck in a queue of traffic!

What to wear? This isn’t Ascot, dear. It can sometimes be freezing and / or wet, so sensible country racing folk will be wearing the obligatory uniform of

tweeds, Barbours and posh boots. Think layers not legs out - if in doubt, pop in to see Bonnie at Mangan & Webb in Stow on the Wold for a proper racing coat and some sartorial advice. “Ladies should always make an effort with their appearance. To look classically elegant there is nothing better than a tweed skirt (just above the knee is the shortest you should go) teamed with a crisp ruffle shirt, a really feminine jacket and some gorgeous Belstaff boots.”

Where to eat? All good race days have to start with a great cooked breakfast, so stop off at the Plough Inn at Ford on the way there - or, if you don’t mind being gawped at, get yourself a Range Rover, a picnic basket and a folding table and host your horsey friends in the car park. Once inside, head for the Champagne Bar. Forget the diet, for this is food heaven. A carb overload is perfect for keeping out the cold and soaking up the alcohol and there is plenty on offer, whether you fancy

a burger and chips or you have booked a fine dining experience in the Panoramic - one thing is for sure, you won’t go home hungry.

How to bet? Racing’s so much more fun if you’ve got a stake on the outcome. Punters will make their way down to the bookies but stick with the Tote if you’re a novice. Buy a race card on the way in, bring a pen to make notes and take time to read up a bit before the start of every race. You will find all sorts of helpful information about likely odds, previous winners, probable favourites and racing colours - it doesn’t matter whether you go local and plump every time for Sam TwistonDavies or choose the prettiest silks, just don’t bet on half the field each time or you won’t cover your stake, even if you get lucky! Simply opt for a win on a favourite, or an each-way flutter on a horse with longer odds - and most importantly, only put in your purse what you are prepared to lose.


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The anonYMoUS TiPSTeR


things can happen that could change all of this but I don’t remember a year where I can look through the major races and not be able to see past a horse with W P Mullins next to its name.

“There is one trainer/jockey/owner combination that strikes fear into the hearts of bookmakers and rivals and that is Willie Mullins/Ruby Walsh/ R Ricci. Willie Mullins has at least one horse at the top of the betting for all the major Festival races and with only a couple of exceptions they are owned by Mr & Mrs Ricci and will be ridden by Ruby Walsh – look no further, the fire power of this combination is unbelievable and unprecedented in its quality. “Cast your mind back to the opening day of last year’s Festival for confirmation of this. Willie Mullins had the favourites for four of the first day’s big races - Douvan, Faugheen and Un De Sceaux (W P Mullins/E O’Connell) all obliged in some style and had Annie Power not fallen at the final hurdle then the bookmakers were facing Armageddon. Low sun and shadows were to blame for the fall and, like Annie Power herself, the bookies picked themselves up from potential ruin and are back again this year to face it all again. “The truth is, Willie Mullins will bring an even bigger army this year and looks set to dominate on a potentially unprecedented level – it’s no joke, the quality of his horses is just outstanding and they are very hard to pick holes in. Of course 40

Cotswold Homes Magazine

“The same can be said about Mr & Mrs Ricci. They own the current favourites for The Supreme Novices, The Arkle, The Champion Hurdle, The Mares Hurdle, The Ryanair and The Gold Cup – not to mention runners in some of the so called lesser races of the week - and, with decisions still to be made over which race some of their horses will run in, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see The World Hurdle added to the list as well. All of their horses are trained by Mr Mullins.

Ruby Walsh celebrates his victory on douvan in the Sky bet Supreme novices hurdle

“Given their current form, I really can’t see that by backing any horse owned by R Ricci and trained by W P Mullins will not do well.”

“At the time of speaking to you, the W P Mullins/R Ricci horses hold, or are vying for favourite spot, in The Supreme Novices - Min; The Arkle – Douvan; The Champion Hurdle – Faugheen; Ryanair Chase – Vautour; The Mares Hurdle – Vroum Vroum Mag/Annie Power (although one is likely to run in The World Hurdle as an alternative) and Djakadam in the Gold Cup. “Given their current form, I really can’t see that by backing any horse owned by R Ricci and trained by W P Mullins will not do well. Upsets can and do happen, we know, but surely

The anonYMoUS TiPSTeR

“The truth is, Willie Mullins will bring an even bigger army this year and looks set to dominate on a potentially unprecedented level – it’s no joke, the quality of his horses is just outstanding and they are very hard to pick holes in.”

Faugheen ridden by Ruby Walsh on their way to victory in the Stan James Champion hurdle Challenge Trophy

it would be unthinkable for none of them to win… There again, it was unthinkable that Annie Power wasn’t going to win coming to the last in the 2015 Mares Hurdle, so who knows what fate has in store but I, for one, will not betting against this combination.

Jockey Ruby Walsh (3rd left) with owner Susannah Ricci (centre) and trainer Willie Mullins (2nd right) celebrates winning the JlT novices’ Chase on Vautour, on St Patrick’s day during the Cheltenham Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse

“I will be placing bets on Min in The Supreme Novices, Douvan in The Arkle, Faugheen in The Champion Hurdle and Vautour in the Ryanair Chaise. Vautour holds an entry for The Gold Gup and may well go for that but, whilst being good, his performance in The King George over Christmas (where he was beaten a short neck by Cue Card) left me questioning whether he had anything left in the tank at the end. The Gold Cup is run over a longer distance and, being on a harder track than Kempton, I have my concerns over his participation in that, so he is my pick for the Ryanair.”


The lUCKY onion

no 131 The Promenade

no 131 The Promenade

New Layers of

Excellence added to The

Lucky Onion

boutIQue hotel and restaurant collectIve the lucky onIon has some very excItIng developments comIng to the cotswolds In 2016‌ 42

Cotswold Homes Magazine

The Wheatsheaf

The Chequers

The Tavern

The lUCKY onion

The Chequers

no 38 The Park

Are you an aficionado of fine dining and memorable hotel experiences? If so, there’s a strong chance that one of your favourite Cotswold spots might just be owned and operated by the award-winning lucky onion. If you’ve ever enjoyed a bite in the classy comfort of Northleach’s The Wheatsheaf, or savoured the Georgian splendour of Cheltenham’s no 38 The Park, you’ll already know the quality and atmosphere that distinguishes The Lucky Onion properties. For the uninitiated, The Lucky Onion is an affiliation of restaurateurs, artists, chefs and other creative types, all unified by a strong passion for design, food and drink, with properties owned and managed by Sam and Georgie Pearman. Already responsible for five well-loved venues (The Wheatsheaf in Northleach, The Chequers in Churchill and The Tavern, no 131 The Promenade and no 38 The Park in Cheltenham) the group has bold new plans for 2016 – including the acquisition of an exciting new property in a very lovely location. Cheltenham’s no. 131 The Promenade will be subject to expansions that will nearly double it in size, bringing the total number of available rooms to 22 from the previous 11. A bakery, coffee shop and a florist will be added to the front of the building. Inside, a large communal sitting area will be added, while fire pits, additional sofas and an expanded bar will

The Tavern

The Wheatsheaf

complement an extended seating area. In addition, The Lucky Onion has expanded its portfolio to include the 16th century inn, The Wild duck, in the picturesque Cotswold village of Ewen. The kitchen at The Wild Duck is open so do drop in for some delicious pub food from its modern British menu. Later in the spring, the inn will be closed for a short time as it undergoes refurbishment of its restaurant and bedrooms. There’s a revolution coming inside the kitchens, too, as two acclaimed chefs add their talents to The Lucky Onion’s Cheltenham properties. James de Jong will join The Tavern in Cheltenham after spending the last six years honing his skills in London as Head Chef of The Draper’s Arms and more recently at Mission Wine Bar and Kitchen, which has received several positive reviews under his direction. James brings his signature nose-to-tail ethos and seasonal cooking to The Tavern’s already critically acclaimed British menu. At no.131 The Promenade, Alan Gleeson joins as Head Chef from his previous position at Michelin Pub of the Year 2015, The Wild Rabbit, in nearby Kingham. With a commitment to sourcing the very best seasonal and local ingredients he is building on No.131’s modern British menu. Having already introduced a new Set Lunch and Early Bird Supper to No.131, look out for Alan’s new brunch menu in early February.

Join The Lucky Onion Club

at to hear about all the fantastic experiences laid on for members. Foodies should move fast – tickets to these Cotswold events won’t linger long.

25th february 2016 Valentine Warner cooks a three course supper at the Wheatsheaf inn, northleach With a focus on robust, flavoursome food, Valentine believes that understanding ingredients, producers and the history of food contributes as much to the plate as the cooking. Get ready to enjoy a seasonally focused menu with Valentine this February.

call 01451 860244 / £60 each (payment in advance) sign up to the lucky onion club at


The Wild Rabbit

“It’s such a clever mix, smart and sleek, but still inviting. We still want people to pitch up for a pint in your muddy boots with the kids and the dog – we’re a pub, at the end of the day.”


Cotswold Homes Magazine

The Wild Rabbit

STARS IN THEIR SIGHTS The Wild Rabbit in Kingham opened its doors in 2013, a long-awaited younger sibling to Lady Bamford’s widely acclaimed Daylesford Organic farm and shop, which arrived back in 2002. With the recent appointment of Tim Allen as head chef, Collette Fairweather heads over to talk Daylesford, Lady B and Michelin Stars.

But he joins us now in the glorious Wolds after heading up the kitchen of Launceston Place in South Kensington, where, in his three-and-a-half-year reign, he won four AA rosettes and a Michelin star in his own right (to name but a few of his accolades). His standards are the very reason he was sought out and lured back to the countryside, though part of the allure, I’m sure, was the opulent larder of Daylesford Organic - just minutes down the lane. ‘I love the Daylesford ethos. Lady Bamford has a great eye for detail - I feel we’re like-minded, in her words she does “the touchyfeely bits!” ‘It’s such a clever mix, smart and sleek, but still inviting. We still want people to pitch up for a pint in your muddy boots with the kids and the dog – we’re a pub, at the end of the day. We want to be accessible and approachable, that’s most important, and it’s how we drive that forward and ensure the highest level of quality.’ You still call it a pub?

We may be sat in the Wild Rabbit, but I’m getting more of a swan vibe – glacial grace and elegance above the water, whilst underneath, far from view, the legs are going like the clappers.Tim is most definitely the legs of the operation. The generous body of staff glide through the enviably serene setting of stripped woods, gravity-defying foliage arrangements and glinting silverware; even the napkins are of a deliciously lofty thread count.This is the epitome of Lady B’s achingly chic Daylesford ethos. The only thing missing from this scene is Tim. He’s nipped off again to take an emergency call. Eventually he sits, after ensuring his order of line-caught sea bass is en-route – it’s a new kind of emergency for me, but this is just the sort of thing you have to deal with in this business. Tim is a product of his training, beginning with the two Michelinstarred John Burton-Race in both Berkshire and London, before a seven-year stint for Martin Burge in his two Michelin-starred kitchen, Whately Manor, just over the border in Wiltshire.

‘I think it’s a pub with restaurant and rooms. It’s like saying the Hand and Flowers is a straightforward pub,’ he clarifies. ‘Yes, it’s got a bar and hand-pulled beers but its very defiantly two Michelin-starred food - in a pub shell.” Funny that Tim should make a direct comparison to the two Michelin-starred pub of Gloucester-born Tom Kerridge. ‘It’s the same here, you have the same quality product as in a Michelin-starred restaurant but the finish is very different. It’s not the same working and styling of a plate - less need for tweezers when you’re plating up.’ And what of Michelin Stars? Are they on the horizon for 2016? Arms crossed and leaning defensively back in his seat, out rolls his stock answer, thickening his Yorkshire accent for dramatic effect: ‘I don’t work for Michelin!’ He continues: ‘The menu evolves seasonally.The produce is of the highest quality from around the world. If it’s organic great, if it’s from Daylesford that’s even better – that’s what defines my menu. When you get the balance of consistent food, happy customers and great feedback…that’s when the accolades tend to materialise.” With an already established reputation for quality, and Tim’s intent to continue to raise standards, surely the only way up is into the stars? ‘I have worked for a two star the majority of my career, and I earned a star in my own right…my style reflects my training. But, you look at your plates - not the horizons! You have got to be completely guestfocused, but also my whole team needs to be proud to work here. ‘I’ve got an owner that is pushing me with her passion as much as I push myself and my team - she’s very supportive of everything I do and what I’m here to achieve.’


Foxhill Manor

Where Celebrities Relax

A P eek I nside

F ox h i l l Manor We t a k e a t r i p t o t h e S u n d a y T i m e s 2 0 1 5 H o t e l o f t h e Ye a r to see just what all the fuss is about. For an exclusive ‘private house hotel’ only open since March of last year, Foxhill Manor has had no problem in quickly attracting illustrious clientele – guests have included U2 and Gary Barlow. Even pop visionary Lady Gaga has stopped over for some much needed downtime. Located near Broadway, in the midst of the rolling 400-acre Farncombe Estate, Foxhill Manor is a Grade II-listed, Arts and Crafts country home, placed at serene remove, with its East-West facing body treating its guests to splendid views that reputedly reach as far as the Black Mountains on a clear day. Foxhill was constructed in 1909, the product of visionary Arts and Crafts domestic architect Joseph Lancaster Ball and local Cotswold craftsmen. The house was known in those early days as ‘Furzehill’ – presumably on account of the foxes that share the grounds with a variety of other British wildlife. During the Second World War, Foxhill served as the family home of one Squadron Leader Henry Maudslay DFC, known for his involvement in Operation Chastise – the Bouncing Bomb of The Dam Busters fame. Sadly the plane he was piloting was shot down on its return journey, and Maudslay was killed in action at the age of 21. Foxhill’s interior has been designed to suit the needs of guests, whilst faithfully adhering to the house’s original design principles. The result is a ‘cosy-classy’ aesthetic that pays homage to its roots without being overwhelmed by tradition.

With just eight bedrooms (each individually designed by Trevillion Interiors with the guidance of the Philip-Sorensen family, and bearing a touch of Scandi influence) it is presented as a boutique sanctuary, promising guests privacy, seclusion and relaxation.The family’s various treasures decorate the rooms, arranged with a curator’s careful eye. It puts one in mind of the worldly collections of the artist-craftsman Charles Paget Wade, kept at nearby Snowshill Manor. A variety of activities are available to guests. Quadbiking, Segway safari, archery and shooting are amongst the pastimes arranged by an on-site firm (with an expanded programme of activities set to be announced), with the estate’s trails open for exploration. A media room provides the opportunity to chill in front of a sizeable screen, while the kitchen will provide whatever you want, when you want it – using the very finest Cotswold produce. Accessible pantries allow guests to wander off for a quick nibble whenever the fancy strikes. Foxhill Manor’s sister hotels,The Fish and Dormy House, are just a short distance away – well situated for trips to Dormy House’s luxury spa with thermal suite, Finnish sauna, thalasso therapy room and 16m Infinity Pool. (Alternatively, a variety of treatments can be arranged for in-room pampering). When a hotel is more like the most sumptuous home that you can imagine, you won’t ever want to leave. No wonder we’ve gone Gaga.

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Cotswold Homes Magazine

Foxhill Manor

“ Fo x h i l l M a n o r h a s h a d n o p r o b l e m i n q u i c k l y a t t r a c t i n g i l l u s t r i o u s c l i e n t e l e – g u e s t s h a v e i n c l u d e d U 2 a n d G a r y B a r l o w. E v e n p o p v i s i o n a r y L a d y G a g a h a s stopped over for some much needed do wntime.”


a tale oF DreaMing SpireS

A TALE OF DREAMING SPIRES in A time where epic fAntAsy series such As gAme Of thrOnes hAve gripped viewers, the bbc is tAKing A punt On OxfOrd AuthOr phillip pullmAn’s lAuded his dArK mAteriAls trilOgy - previOusly AdApted As A cOntrOversiAl film thAt Angered the vAticAn. secOnd time lucKy?

With its complex of historic university buildings and bristling array of ‘dreaming spires’, majestic oxford is set to enthral on television again, with a newly announced bbc adaptation of author phillip pullman’s award-winning trilogy his Dark Materials in the works. Polly Hill, Controller BBC Drama Commissioning, reports: ‘It is an honour to be bringing Philip Pullman's extraordinary novels to BBC One. ‘His Dark Materials is a stunning trilogy, and a drama event for young and old - a real family treat that shows our commitment to original and ambitious storytelling.’ Pullman himself says: "In recent years we’ve seen the way that long stories on television, whether adaptations (Game Of Thrones) or original (The Sopranos, The wire), can reach depths of characterisation and heights of suspense by taking the time for events to make their proper impact and for consequences to unravel…I couldn’t be more pleased with the news.’ The trilogy has seen a number of adaptations across media, including radio, film and stage. Fantasy fans and literature lovers will doubtless rejoice at the news – but will also be all too aware that the road to adaptation is a treacherous one… A film version of the first book in the His Dark Materials trilogy – The Northern Lights, or The Golden Compass in the United States – was released in 2007. Starring Daniel Craig and Nicole Kidman, the film caused all manner of controversy due to its depiction of the ‘Magisterium’, a twisted, dogmatic, ruthless version of the Catholic Church. the oxford of another universe starred in author philip pullman’s bestselling His Dark Materials trilogy


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Even if the organisation was considerably watered down from its counterpart in Pullman’s books –

a tale oF DreaMing SpireS

“UPON THE FILM’S RELEASE IT WAS BECAME THE SUBJECT OF A BOYCOTT BY THE CATHOLIC LEAGUE, WHICH PUT A SIZEABLE DENT IN THE FILM’S OPENING. EVEN THE VATICAN NEWSPAPER, L’OSSERVATORE ROMANO, WEIGHED IN, DENOUNCING THE WORK AS ‘GODLESS’ ...” and intended to represent dogmatic organisations as a whole - it nonetheless ended up inflaming religious sensibilities. Upon the film’s release it was became the subject of a boycott by the Catholic League, which put a sizeable dent in the film’s opening. Even the Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, weighed in, denouncing the work as ‘godless’, while Nicole Kidman declared she would never participate in making a film if she ‘thought it were at all anti-Catholic’. The two planned sequels never materialised, despite the strong overseas performance. Here, then, might be a problem for the BBC. His Dark Materials is philosophical, subtle and thoughtful in a way that far outstrips, say, the Harry Potter or Narnia series. The 2007 film was perceived as somewhat gutless – efforts were made to neuter its more ‘provocative’ content (apparently unsuccessfully, going by the boycott) leaving it to be acclaimed for the razzle-dazzle of effects, rather than its heart.

audiences might eventually succumb to fantasy fatigue. Can a stalled franchise be successfully re-created in a new form, or will audiences tire of alternative Earths and outlandish happenings before the series hits its stride? It might be something more of a worry. The BBC’s recent adaptation of Susannah Clarke’s novel Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell failed to attract substantial ratings, and even stalwart Doctor who has slipped a few million viewers in 2015. But His Dark Materials is fantasy of the highest calibre: let’s hope this adaptation is as faithful and as successful as Pullman’s work deserves it to be.

THE ALTERNATE OXFORD OF HIS DARK MATERIALS Phillip Pullman’s trilogy begins in an Oxford that is much like our own – but startlingly different in several ways.

The challenge that the BBC faces will be producing a series consistent with Pullman’s tone and grand ideas.

Everybody in this different Oxford is accompanied by a being known as a ‘daemon’ – a living projection of a person’s soul. This usually takes the form of an animal that reflects a person’s character, beliefs and temperament. The form of a child’s daemon is not fixed until they reach puberty – and it is this stage of development that fascinates the Church, which controls much of the world.

There is, too, an argument to be made that

The first book follows the young Lyra Belacqua, a

ward of Jordan College, as she and her daemon Pantalaimon attempt to find her friend Roger, feared abducted by the mysterious ‘Gobblers’. Meanwhile, her powerful uncle, Lord Asriel, conducts dangerous experiments that threaten to reshape the universe. Lyra is guided by a rare instrument - the Aleithometer - which discloses the truth to those who can decipher its symbols. All paths converge in the North, where Lyra’s world is changed forever. The book’s Oxford bears many resemblances to our own. Jordan College has the same location as Exeter College, the author’s alma mater. ‘Bodley’s Library’ is a stand-in for the Bodleian Library. The adventurous Lyra is fond of exploring the crypts and catacombs beneath the college, and scrambles over its rooftops to spit pips at passing students. The Botanic Garden takes on a special significance later in the trilogy. In the second book, the wicked Charles Latrom approaches Lyra at the Pitt-Rivers Museum and tells her about trepanned skulls. 'Oxford is a city that is steeped in storytelling,' said Pullman when he received the Freedom of Oxford in 2007. 'It's a place where the past and the present jostle each other on the pavement and while of course that's true of many cities in Britain, Oxford does seem to have a few extra dimensions in some strange way.’




A new yeAr hAs brOught new chAnges tO the cOtswOld line And increAsed Access tO lOndOn. travelling to london paddington has just become easier with 2 additional direct services each weekday for most stations. every cotswold station now benefits from at least 1 direct train each weekday from london paddington, allowing you to enjoy a relaxing journey home. Now, the increased availability of a High Speed Train fleet means that GWR are able to increase capacity on some of their key afternoon services between London Paddington and the Cotswolds. To see the changes they’ve made, pick up an E5 timetable at your nearest staffed station, or visit to plan your journey. You can also download the app to view live running information; just search for ‘great Western railway’.


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HIGH-SPEED SERVICES 0514 oxford to Worcester Foregate Street departs Moreton-in-Marsh 3 minutes earlier than in 2015 and calls additionally at Honeybourne 0553

1528 and 2034 reading to gatwick airport no longer stops at Shalford

1550 Worcester Foregate Street to Didcot parkway serves Didcot Parkway and after Oxford merges with the 1701 Oxford to London Paddington service to provide a through service.

2330 evesham to Worcester Shrub hill is a new service (Saturdays)

1849 Worcester Foregate Street to london paddington starts from Great Malvern at 1836 stopping Malvern Link 1838 1552 london paddington to Worcester Shrub hill has additional coaches and terminates at Moreton-in-Marsh 1801 oxford to london paddington starts at Moreton-in-Marsh at 1732 and runs non-stop to Oxford 1622 london paddington to oxford is merged with the 1715 Didcot Parkway to Great Malvern service to provide a through service. This new train will not serve Didcot Parkway 0827 london paddington to cheltenham Spa runs earlier at 0958 and arrive in Cheltenham Spa at 1059 (Sundays) 1144 cheltenham Spa to paddington runs earlier at 11.18 and arrive in London Paddington at 1328 (Sundays)


2016 Are yOu up-tO-dAte with the timetAble chAnges And new services OperAted by gwr? see whAt new JOurneys yOu cAn mAKe (RIGHT):

0734 reading to london paddington now has 6 coaches instead of 5

1321 london paddington to Worcester Foregate Street is formed of a High Speed Train

1522 london paddington to oxford is extended to Great Malvern 1758 Stopping at Hanborough 1631, Charlbury 1639, Kingham 1648, Moretonin-Marsh 1656, Honeybourne 1706, Evesham 1717, Pershore 1724, Worcester Shrub Hill 1736, Worcester Foregate Street 1745 and Malvern Link 1753


0709 reading to london paddington now has 6 coaches instead of 5

henley-on-thames branch timings have been revised including the addition of an extra trip from 4th January to make better connections 2318 London Paddington to Oxford (Fridays only) is extended to Moreton-in-Marsh 0112. Stopping at Hanborough 0045, Charlbury 0053 and Kingham 0102

2218 london paddington to oxford no longer calls at Slough and Maidenhead 2221 london paddington to reading is an additional service stopping at Slough 2242, Maidenhead 2250 and Twyford 2258. Service merges with the 2303 Reading to Bedwyn to provide through late evening service to Newbury and connecting to Bedwyn henley-on-thames branch timings have been revised including the addition of an extra trip to make better connections

2309 reading to Didcot parkway is a new service stopping at Tilehurst, Pangbourne, Goring & Streatley and Cholsey (Saturdays)

LOCAL SERVICES IN THE WEST OF ENGLAND 1319 bristol temple Meads to exeter St Davids is a new service calling at Taunton and Exeter St Davids 0600 bristol temple Meads to bristol parkway is a new service calling at Lawrence Hill, Stapleton Road and Filton Abbey Wood 0700 barnstaple to St James’ park now terminates at Exeter Central 0832 St James’ park to paignton now starts at Exeter Central 1130 paignton to paddington no longer calls at Torre 1303 cheltenham Spa to Swindon is re-timed to run earlier at 1232 and arrive at Swindon 1332 (Sundays) 0941 bristol temple Meads to cheltenham Spa runs later at 0958 and arrive in Cheltenham Spa at 1059 (Sundays) 2118 cardiff central to bristol temple Meads is a new service calling at Newport, Severn Tunnel Junction and Filton Abbey Wood (Sundays) 2200 cardiff central to Warminster runs 10 minutes later from Cardiff Central and 5 minutes later from Bristol Temple Meads (Sundays) 1416 bristol temple Meads to cardiff central is a new service calling at Filton Abbey Wood, Severn Tunnel Junction and Newport (Sundays) 1612 bristol temple Meads to cardiff central is a new service calling at Filton Abbey Wood, Severn Tunnel Junction and Newport (Sundays) 1900 penzance to exeter St Davids calls additionally at Ivybridge at 2130 (Sundays) the Summer Sunday service has been extended between bristol and Weymouth and will now start on 27 March 2016 (Sundays) the Summer Sunday service has been extended between liskeard and looe and services will now start on 27 March 2016 (Sundays) the Summer Sunday service has been extended between St erth and St ives and will now start on 27 March 2016 (Sundays)


section header healthy living

Seven Reasons Why it’s Better to Live in the Country Our definitive list on why being a bumpkin trumps city dwelling


Cotswold Homes Magazine

healthy living

1. The air is cleaner

In 2015, some admittedly rather frightening research came to light that suggests that nearly 9,500 people die in London each year due to air pollution. Researchers at King’s College London compiled a report on the ‘mortality burden’ of NO2 and PM2.5 in London’ perhaps the first study to examine how many people exactly have suffered the deleterious effects of NO2, a lung-affecting gas created by diesel-powered vehicles. Of course, it’s not just premature death that’s the issue – the adverse effects of gases and particulates mean that others can end up taking time off work with sickness - or be made seriously ill. But it’s far from just a London problem – Birmingham and Leeds have also been in breach of EU safety limits for five years, leading to the supreme court ruling in April 2015 that pressed for a government clean-up plan before the end of the year. In our minds, the occasional whiff of manure is much more amenable.

2. Nature is good for your mental health

Studies have shown that your emotional state can have consequences for your health and overall wellbeing. An urban environment is fraught with stressors, from increased crime levels to inefficient transport and cramped conditions. Immersing oneself in nature, on the other hand, is a great idea. According to a study conducted by mental health charity Mind, 95% of people interviewed reported a change in mood after spending time outside, going from depressed and anxious to calm. And a change in mood can mean beneficial changes in blood pressure, heart rate and stress levels, too. There is an abundance of information on Mind’s website about the practice of ecotherapy and how it can be used to treat depression.

3. A great education – in school and out Not only are there some good private schools in the area, but superlative state education is available via The Cotswold School, named The Sunday Times Comprehensive School of the Year 2015-26 after four consecutive Ofsted ‘Outstanding’ inspections.

A local gym such as Blockley’s Freestyle 360 can help you with muscle strengthening exercises and also devise personal workout routines (and mud runs for the more adventurous). Exercise is a vital component of a healthy, lengthy life – and with such beautiful scenery there’s little reason not to get out and about.

5. Award-winning pubs and restaurants

Say what you like about city nightlife – when you’re in the mood for a comfortable catch-up with a spot of grub, only a good country pub will cut it – and some of the best are situated right here in the Cotswolds, with Bourton-on-theHill’s Horse and Groom having been named the Good Pub Guide Pub of the Year 2016 and the Good Pub Guide Gloucestershire Dining Pub of the Year 2016.

According to a study conducted by mental health charity Mind, 95% of people interviewed reported a change in mood after spending time outside, going from depressed and anxious to calm. 6. Creative, cultural communities

The old stereotype of the countryside having little to offer in the way of entertainment besides rolling vistas of sheep and cows is, in this day at least, something of a fallacy: the Cotswolds has become a place where you can find just about anything to suit your cultural appetites. From Chipping Norton’s own producing theatre to the RSC at Stratford and the lavish, community-restored art deco cinema at Evesham, there are plenty of venues where residents and visitors can explore the arts. Towns like Chipping Campden – which in bygone days was made the home of artisans and craftsmen escaping London – have benefitted from a creative legacy: a homegrown comedy club, Creative Cows, and a design museum are amongst the attractions.

There are all sorts of benefits for children raised in the countryside. Unspoilt night skies with visible constellations, an appreciation for the provenance of food and the farmers who produce it, green spaces in which to play and explore, less traffic, exposure to wildlife other than pigeons…and with excellent rail links to Oxford and London, it’s never been easier for families to top up on culture at the country’s best museums.

7. History on your Doorstep

4. It’s easier to keep healthy

There’s even the remains of a Roman Villa - replete with splendid mosaics - in Chedworth, and the Rollright Stones are the Cotswolds’ very own version of Stonehenge, inspiring their own myths and fables over the years. Let’s not forget the magnificent Sudeley Castle, either, with its many royal connections – not least to Henry VIII’s surviving wife Queen Katherine Parr, whose remains are still at the castle. Nearby, the beautifully ruined Hailes Abbey stands as a testament to the flurry of abbeysmashing under Henry’s reign.

NHS Choices’ guidelines set out the recommended level of weekly activity in order to stay healthy, and set out different ways in which to achieve this.You can achieve 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity (such as fast walking or cycling) easily enough in the countryside by taking brisk walks or riding your bike around the villages or further afield – without running into heavy traffic.

From the grandiose Blenheim Palace where Churchill spent his youth, to the curiosity-stuffed Snowshill Manor and the immaculately preserved Jacobean estate of Chastleton House, the Cotswolds is positively choc-a-bloc with historic houses and gorgeous gardens.


Anne McIntyre

Spring Green New Life, New Energy Reboot your energy with Anne McIntyre FNIMH MAPA

In winter, the cold weather causes our bodies to contract, and this slows down the flow of nutrients and wastes, making it hard for our bodies to release toxins. Winter is the time for hibernation and storing our vital energy and certainly we tend to feel more sluggish in the colder months and less motivated to do things. Toxins are substances that are potentially harmful to the body; they lower our defences, predispose us to ill health and speed up the ageing process. They are a product of our everyday lives and are very much related to the way we live; what we eat, how well we digest, the air we breathe, the water we drink, our stress levels, our family and working lives and our emotional patterns and tendencies. Once the world around us has started to warm up, spring has melted the ice and nature bursts into life again, it’s time for a spring cleanse. As the sap begins to flow through the trees, our bodies 60

Cotswold Homes Magazine

relax into the increasing warmth and our vital fluids start to flow more freely. Toxins that have been accumulating through the winter begin to surface so that we can clear them from our systems and lay the best foundation for health and wellbeing through the rest of the year; by detoxing at this time we will be in tune with the seasons. If you are feeling tired and sluggish, or suffering from low spirits or foggy-mindedness, skin problems, allergies, frequent infections, bags under the eyes or bloating, your body might be telling you it is ready for a detox. Time to change your

eating habits, live a healthier lifestyle and cleanse your body so you can reap the benefits of being healthier with increased energy, vitality and enthusiasm for life with which to greet the spring! In the Ayurvedic tradition, as well as here in the West, detoxification followed by rejuvenation is seen as the primary approach to maintaining health in mind and body. Detoxing involves reducing the amount of food you eat, eating light foods with plenty of fresh greens and avoiding more heavy and hard to digest foods such as bread, cheese, red meats and sugar as we give our digestive systems a rest.

Anne McIntyre

The Detox Plan So here is the plan to reboot your energy: • Exercise every day to improve your digestion and elimination of toxins through the skin •

Eat plenty of lightly cooked organically-grown fresh vegetables; they should make up at least 60-70% of your daily diet. Soups, stews and casseroles are all good. Beetroot, radishes, artichokes, cabbage, broccoli, spirulina, nettles, chlorella, coriander leaf and seaweed are all excellent detoxifying foods. Avoid heavy foods including red meats, gluten, nuts, dairy and sugar as well as all processed foodstuffs.

Add aromatic and antimicrobial herbs and spices such as thyme, sage, oregano, rosemary, ginger, long pepper, cinnamon, caraway, cumin, coriander and turmeric to your food to stimulate the flow of digestive enzymes and to combat unfriendly gut organisms.

Start the day with a cup of hot water and the juice of half a lemon or lime. Alternatively, a cup of ginger tea made with freshly grated ginger will help to stimulate the flow of digestive enzymes and clear toxins from the gut.

• Drink aromatic herbal teas such as fennel, peppermint, ginger and rosemary regularly through the day to improve digestion and circulation. • Practise relaxation or meditation every day to help reduce stress. Enjoy yourself! • Avoid smoking, the use of recreational drugs, coffee, alcohol and white sugar and over-work. • Avoid the use of antibiotics and other drugs unless absolutely necessary

Cleansing Herbs There are several herbs that could prove very useful in clearing toxins. Dandelion leaves, nettles and wild garlic leaves can be added to soups, eaten as greens and made into pestos.

Diuretic herbs such as fennel and coriander seed, dandelion leaf, corn silk and nettle will promote the elimination of toxins via the kidneys while hot infusions of diaphoretic herbs that bring blood flow to the surface of the body including lime flower, peppermint, yarrow and elderflower will help to clear toxins via sweating. Drink at least 2 litres of warm water daily to flush out toxins. It can be helpful to sweat in a steam room so your body can further eliminate wastes through perspiration. It is important to take time to rest, relax and de-stress. Life’s pressures trigger your body to release stress hormones including cortisol into the bloodstream and although they might give you the adrenaline rush to give you the energy, motivation and focus to get things done, over time or in large amounts they create toxins and decrease the liver’s ability to break them down. It’s also vital to get plenty of sleep, not to burn the candle at both ends and to avoid overstimulating your system with caffeine and alcohol. To reduce anxiety levels try taking simple herbs such as chamomile, lemon balm, California poppy, wild oats, skullcap, lime flower, ashwagandha or gotu kola regularly.Yoga and meditation are simple and effective ways to relax and help transform your attitude to life and its inevitable stresses. This simple detox programme can then be followed by replenishing the body with sweet and nourishing foods, including oats, root vegetables, nuts and seeds as well as nourishing and rejuvenating herbs such as ashwagandha and Siberian ginseng. So you see, detoxing is not complicated. It simply requires a little organisation and self-discipline, but you will be rewarded for your efforts with greater energy, vitality and joie de vivre. Good luck!

RECIPES Wild Garlic Pesto

Bitter herbs such as dandelion leaves, chicory, aloe vera juice, milk thistle, turmeric, chamomile, burdock, rosemary and sage will stimulate the flow of bile from the liver, the great detoxifying organ of the body, and help it in its detoxifying work.

1 large bunch of wild garlic, washed 1 small bunch of curly parsley, washed 60gms pine nuts, toasted 150mls olive oil squeeze of lemon juice salt and pepper

Mild laxatives such as dandelion root, aloe vera, burdock root and liquorice root will help to clear toxins via the bowels. Aloe vera juice (25ml twice daily) is soothing, immune enhancing and helps to clear unfriendly bacteria from the gut that can compromise our immunity.

Place all the ingredients into a food processor, apart from the olive oil, and blitz for a minute or two then slowly pour in the olive oil until blended. Use for pasta, mash, dipping, adding to soups and casseroles.

About Anne Herbalist, Ayurvedic practitioner, author of over twenty books, lecturer and gardener, Anne McIntyre has lived and worked in the Cotswolds for more than three decades, using her own blend of herbal medicine and Ayurveda to treat patients in her busy practice. Anne runs herbal medicine, Ayurveda and foraging courses in the UK, as well as residential courses abroad, and this year she will host three exclusive Ayurvedic Sanctuaries in a pristine nature reserve in the Majorcan mountains, with the first one being at Easter. Alongside her workshops she runs an online introduction to the increasingly popular study of Ayurveda - What is Ayurveda? Ayurveda can be thought of as the sister of yoga and is a lifestyle rather than a medical treatment and encompasses mind, body and spirit. Ayurveda identifies three primary life forces known as doshas, Vata, Pitta and Kapha, which are responsible for all functions in the body, physical and psychological. Each person has their own different combination of doshas which makes up their unique constitution. Imbalances of the doshas will lead to ill-health which an Ayurvedic approach to diet and lifestyle changes and/or specific herbal treatments aim to correct.

Nettle Pesto 2 cups stinging nettles leaves 1 cup basil leaves 3 tablespoons lemon juice 3 tablespoons olive oil 2 medium cloves garlic, coarsely chopped Place nettles leaves, basil, lemon juice, olive oil and garlic in a food processor . Blend the ingredients until almost smooth. Serve on cucumbers, carrot sticks, peppers or crackers.


nicola Menage

get A gOOd night’s sleep with


when wAs the lAst time yOu snAtched Just A few hOurs Of gOOd sleep? chAnces Are, yOu felt pretty rOugh the fOllOwing dAy. As A One-Off, it’s Just tOlerAble. but, night After night, dAy After dAy... According to the NHS, a staggering 1 in 3 people suffer from insomnia. in my work as a motivational hypnotherapist, i meet a lot of people who suffer from sleep problems, barely getting 4/5 hours of sleep a night.the recommended number of hours of sleep for the average adult is 7-7.5. Some people need more, some less. a good night’s sleep is food for the brain, repairing our bodies and restoring our minds.Who wouldn’t want that?

if yOu’re feeling irritAble, de-mOtivAted, hAving uncOntrOlled bursts Of TEMPER, YOUR WORK AND PERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS WILL BE SUFFERING, TOO.

Misguidedly, we think alcohol will help relax and induce sleep. In fact, alcohol contributes to night sweats, dehydration and getting up several times during the night to urinate, preventing deep sleep. Sleeping tablets in the long term only suppress the real reason that the person is staying awake and can make you feel tired and ‘out of it’ the following day.

Regularly denied sufficient sleep, you can lack energy, look unhealthy, find concentration difficult, risk increasing heart disease and depression. If you’re feeling irritable, de-motivated, having uncontrolled bursts of temper, your work and personal relationships will be suffering, too. Before seeking hypnotherapy 42 year old Harry, had suffered with insomnia for the past 15 years resorting to sleeping tablets, alcohol, and developed a number of complicated rituals that he believed would help him get that good night’s sleep he so desired. In the mornings he was fit for nothing. Making irrational decisions, lacking concentration and drive, which all compounded to his stress. Clients say their sleeplessness occurs for one or more reasons: stress, bereavement, illness, depression, and worry.You may recognise some of these symptoms yourself and have either difficulty getting to sleep or find you are wide awake during the night. Hypnotherapy is an excellent treatment for insomniacs, working on a number of different levels: • Lowering the heart rate, reducing stress, while instilling feelings of deep relaxation. • Letting the subconscious know that the old pattern is no longer wanted, replacing it with a new suggestion to sleep deeply and wake invigorated for the new day. • Looking at the cause of the insomnia, and reframing the problem.

GET YOUR SLEEP AND YOUR LIFE BACK IN CONTROL. give me A cAll tO see hOw i cAn help. 0845 833 9733 Claim your FREE relaxation download: just email Nicola at or visit Nicola works with her private clients in the Cotswold town of Chipping Norton, west Oxfordshire. Her therapeutic approach is to treat your deep-seated cause of pain and dis-ease. working at a deep emotional and physical level rather than just fixing a problem. When you work with Nicola you will discover more about yourself.This learning is guaranteed to help transform your life on many levels. Nicola guides you to come from a place of compassion, non-judgement and a deep self-awareness. Only then can rapid permanent beneficial changes take place, by using a variety of different techniques such as hypnosis, NLP and visualisation. Quickly altering your perception about yourself, you remove life-long fears, anxiety, pain and emotional blocks.


the yoga tree

Body and Senses! Yoga teacher and practitioner, Emma Lawrence of The Yoga Tree, on the benefits of seasonal yoga to your health and wellbeing With the first scent of spring comes the suggestion that you are about to emerge from the gloom, that the long dark grey days are about to end at last, replaced by fresh, dewy mornings that fill you with the anticipation of warmth and brighter skies. The smell of spring has a freshness unlike any other season, provided by the new oxygen that comes from the young shoots and leaves growing around us at this time of year.


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Officially, 21st March is the beginning of this much-anticipated season. In life and especially seasonal yoga, spring is also the time of year for new challenges and personal growth as we, like nature around us, stretch ourselves out of winter toward new beginnings. This is the time for new and rising energy, time to work on your foundation within the yoga postures, providing strong roots to grow out from, giving you both stability and strength. Spring is also time to be more energetic, flexible, spontaneous, creative, thoughtful, patient, sensitive and humorous. As the days get longer and there is more demand to get things started, so we need fresh approaches to our nutrition, lifestyle, exercise and outlook. Spring-cleaning is not only needed in our homes but is beneficial for our bodies, minds and souls. If you feel emotionally and physically balanced, you will have a healthy energy and will be able to choose things to motivate you, to set yourself challenges. See this season as the start of a new cycle, the beginning of a new year. This is the time for resolutions. Do something positive towards detoxing your life. You have a choice of five areas: food, thoughts, physical, home

and environment. Use my guide and inspiration to consider what things you can do to improve your sense of wellbeing and for more information about seasonal yoga and retreats visit:


Eat food as near to the way it was originally grown or as fresh as possible, trying to avoid processed, microwaved or re-heated food. In particular, take the plastic wrapping off foods as soon as you buy them – plastic wrap is a source of oestrogenic nonylphenols, considered to cause weight gain and male fertility issues. As the weather becomes warmer, start eating spring greens, small young vegetables, stir-frying or steaming them.


What you are trying to do is make your life journey more enjoyable and worthwhile. Organise and decide on a plan for the next few months, listing some of the events you would like to organise in the near future. Be positive and set your intentions clearly. Keep reminding yourself of these and put them into your daily routine.

the yoga tree

This is the time for resolutions. Do something positive towards detoxing your life. You have a choice of five areas: food, thoughts, physical, home and environment. Use this time to re-evaluate your life, to clear anger, make changes and re-dedicate yourself to a healthier way of life.


Lifestyle detoxification in the spring is necessary for the same reasons you take a shower: you will feel refreshed, clean, rejuvenated and healthier. Treat yourself to a weekly detoxification bath. Use half a cup of baking soda, Epsom salts or sea salt in a bath of water. Soak for 15-20 minutes and then gently scrub the skin with a natural fibre such as cotton. Within a few minutes the water will turn murky - this is caused by the heavy metals (aluminium and mercury) coming out of your skin. Cleansing poses prepare the body for the coming year with twists as a main focus, almost like wringing yourself out! During winter waists are often thicker because the body makes an extra

padding, protecting our kidneys from the cold, and twists will result in a trimmer waistline always a welcome feeling when the lighter, more revealing clothes of summer emerge, too!


Clear out any unused items, reducing clutter, creating a new invigorated atmosphere. Increase the number of house plants in your home - they filter out air pollutants - but avoid them in your bedroom.

The great outdoors

Do something daily outside if only for a short time. Take a brisk walk, tidy the garden or get off the bus one stop earlier and walk, walk, walk. Look up at the sky and relish the weather! Finally, when was the last time you had a good old chuckle? Increase the amount of joy and laughter in your life. Spend time with a friend or family member who makes you whole-heartedly laugh!


susan dunstall


a desig n c onsulta

see pagtion e8

Getting to Grow Your 5-a-Day Are you growing vegetables this year? Garden designer Susan Dunstall advises that Spring is the ideal time to plan something different… The first seed catalogues have already arrived – so take the opportunity to sit down and enjoy choosing your vegetable seeds; with so many varieties available it pays to think carefully. People often make the mistake of choosing to grow things they can buy cheaply at the supermarket – so this year, why not grow something different that’s either hard to find or too expensive to buy regularly? How much money do you spend on buying salad bags? It’s probably amounts to a small fortune over the summer but if you sow seed every few weeks you can have a continual supply of really tasty leaves well into autumn. It doesn’t matter how much space you have, you can use any container from an old dustbin for growing potatoes to olive oil cans for cultivating fresh herbs. Ideally you should have three growing beds to rotate your crops, as not growing them in the same place each year will result in the best yield. What to plant The choice is inspiring – especially if you love food like me. Gardening and cooking seem to go hand in hand, so I’m trying out the following this year: • •

Pea Serge – best for pea shoots Courgette ‘Trombomcine’ – a climbing version with long curved fruits, good grown over a pergola

• • • •

Kale ‘Cavalo Nero’ - the Italian chef’s favourite greens, fantastic cooked simply with olive oil and garlic Chili ‘Hungarian Hot Wax’ – not too hot; use what you need during summer then dry the remaining fruits, crumble into a Kilner jar and store Nasturtium ‘Black Velvet’ - some edible flowers for salads Borlotti beans – eat either the young pods or the beans cooked in winter stews

Choose your plants for flavour rather than large crop volume. The disappointment of picking a tomato, putting it in your mouth expecting an intense explosion of flavour, to be met by a watery pop, doesn’t encourage you to grow. James Wong, in conjunction with Suttons, has developed one of many ranges focused on taste. The Eden Project and Franchi Seeds meanwhile have teamed up to produce a new seed range inspired by plants in the Eden Project’s Mediterranean Biome. All have a 15-year track record of successful year-on-year growth in the UK. The Sarah Raven catalogue has a good choice of quick growing salad leaves for harvesting in autumn and early winter – varieties such as Rocket, Mizuna and Mustard ‘Red Giant’ are all ready for picking in around 6-8 weeks (

Laying out your plants Consider the layout of the beds – locate them in a position with as much sunlight as possible. If not full sun then it’s still not impossible - just choose to grow leafy vegetables as these need less sunlight than fruiting or root crops. If you decide to have raised beds then this certainly helps to contain the soil, improves the drainage and warms up earlier so crops get a better start. It’s also easier to protect the crops from slugs and to set up protection against birds. Divide the beds up so that you do not have to walk on to the soil and compact it. Several smaller beds with paths 500mm in between gives better access – if the beds are a maximum of 2 metres wide then you can reach into the middle of each. They do not have to be rectangular they can be any design, L-shaped or circular, but when you are designing their shape and numbers consider crop rotation. For more information, check out the RHS website for advice (http:// If you don’t have space for a full vegetable garden then use containers of any kind, from a quirky old tin bath to the effective new ‘bag’ containers designed specially for vegetables. Pots can be grouped together and moved around, giving each sun or shade when needed. Wooden planters can be built to fit any awkward corners or built over odd shapes to maximise planting space. They can be lined with black plastic to both protect the wood and retain water; and don’t forget to add a drainage layer across the base.

Susan Dunstall is a Garden Designer based in Charlbury, Oxfordshire, providing landscaping and garden design projects across Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire and the Cotswolds. Designs cover any size garden and style, from contemporary to traditional, cottage garden to urban, Japanese or tropical. Contact her on 07879 842934 or visit 66

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dental health

maTTers denTal erosion

Dr Trevor Bigg, Milton Dental Practice BDS, MGDS RCS(Eng), FDS RCS(Ed), FFGDP(UK)

Tooth wear has become a problem as people retain their teeth for longer. It is divided into three types: attrition, abrasion and erosion. Erosion appears to be increasing and may be associated more with modern lifestyles. What is Dental Erosion? Erosion comes from acid attacking the tooth surface. The saliva in the mouth is neither acid nor alkali, but has a neutral pH of 7. Teeth are covered by enamel, which is the hardest substance in the body, but if the saliva becomes acidic the enamel is dissolved and can be worn away. This is not always a problem as saliva contains mineral salts that can move back into the enamel and heal the affected areas. The healing mechanism only breaks down when there are repeated acid attacks. The acid can come from within the body, called intrinsic, or from the diet, which is called extrinsic. Intrinsic erosion This is mainly caused by gastric reflux of the stomach’s contents, or heartburn. It can be associated with medical conditions such as Bulimia Nervosa, an eating disorder, or a hiatus hernia, which tends to occur more commonly as people age. The stomach’s contents are very acidic and can cause rapid and extensive removal of tooth enamel and even the dentine that lies beneath. There is also a slightly increased risk of oesophageal or gullet cancer due to the irritation of the lining cells. The commonest cause of intrinsic erosion is gastric reflux and this can be controlled with medication from the doctor. Extrinsic erosion Erosion from the diet is caused by the consumption of acid foods and drinks. Acidic foods include fruit and pickles. Although fruit can be part of our ‘5-a-day’ diet, eating too many apples or citrus fruits will damage our teeth,

‘colas’ contain three different acids and these are present in both sugared and diet versions. particularly if eaten between meals. All fizzy drinks contain acids, and that includes sparkling or carbonated water. ‘Colas’ contain three different acids and these are present in both sugared and diet versions. So how do we prevent Dental Erosion? • Try not to have acidic foods and drinks except at mealtimes • Don’t ‘swish’ fizzy drinks around your mouth, use a straw if possible • Finish a meal with cheese or sugar-free gum • Brush your teeth twice a day with a toothpaste that contains fluoride

• Visit your dentist regularly for advice and repair where necessary, see for examples If you want more information about the contents of the article, visit the British Dental Health Foundation website at, or contact Penny at Milton Dental Practice: 01993 831396 or email and come to see us for a consultation. To accompany this article, we are offering a New Patient Examination at the reduced fee of £64.00 (normally £96.00) and a free Denplan Examination.



Why Get Married in Church? The Reverend Rachel Rosborough explains just why Church remains an exceptional place to make a lifelong commitment. One of the great joys of my role as a Church of England minister (and there are many!) is doing weddings. As rector of five Cotswold churches, several times a year I get to preside over one of the most special days in people’s lives, in some of our most beautiful and ancient Cotswold buildings. Weddings are times of joy and celebration, of love and hope – all things I believe to be important and very definitely of god. Church weddings have been on the decline in recent years and many people choose to get married in other lovely places, often at the same venue as their reception. Weddings are personal and the choices a couple make depend on all sorts of factors – cost, belief, taste, family etc. However, I still believe the church to be a great place to be married – whatever your background or belief. A few years ago, the Church of England made it easier than ever to get married in church. And although you may still have to demonstrate a connection to a particular church, most clergy would be delighted to talk to couples about getting married in church and there are many reasons why you may like to do this. Church buildings offer outstanding beauty for the setting of a wedding – old or new, intimate or grand, our churches are some of our most wonderful buildings. They hold within them centuries of prayer and worship and the memories of weddings having taken place over many years before. Obviously, a church wedding adds a spiritual dimension to your wedding.The ceremony includes prayers and a bible reading. It often, although not always, includes some of our great hymns. The couple will acknowledge that the vows they are to make will be done in the presence of God. And 68

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Church buildings offer outstanding beauty for the setting of a wedding – old or new, intimate or grand, our churches are some of our most wonderful buildings.

the vicar or minister will be asking God’s blessing on the wedding day and marriage to come. Many couples find this the most special thing in the service, whatever their beliefs. Many people who get married in church are not sure of their religious beliefs but have a strong sense of wanting to place themselves and their relationship into the bigger picture, looking beyond just themselves as they celebrate their love. In addition to the traditional service, a couple can include other readings or pieces of music to make the service personal. You will normally have plenty of time to get to know the minister who will be taking the service and so it can be a really personal day, often blending the traditional with the contemporary to reflect a couple’s personal preferences. The church is also so much more than just a wedding venue. It will still be there for couples

after the wedding day, perhaps for a quiet moment in the busy times of life, perhaps for support in tough times, perhaps on Sunday in a normal church service, perhaps for the christening of a baby. Some of the most moving and meaningful services I have done have been giving thanks for marriage on a couple’s special anniversary and many people have chosen to renew the vows they made 10, 25, 50 or even 60 years previously. Many of our Cotswold churches are open every day for people to pop in – to pause or to pray, or just to have a look round. Why not go along to your local church and see what it’s like, maybe for a wedding and maybe just because! For more information on church weddings, please go to or contact your local church and speak to the vicar.


D L O W COTS SPRING EVENTS ring With our events guide sp g in cit eX an of t ou st make the mo honouring the 400th ns tio ra leB ce ial ec sp e th ss – and don’t mi e’s death. anniversarY of shakespear

shakespeare steps – a free self-guided tour of stratford-upon-avon, running throughout the Year and the BirthdaY period The RSC has commissioned a brand new, fun self-guided tour to mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. Shakespeare Steps is devised by Birmingham-based theatre company Stan’s Cafe, and invites people to follow in the footsteps of the world’s most famous playwright. The free self-guided tour, which involves eight locations, will run alongside Stratford’s historic spine. At each stop visitors can follow footsteps and speech bubbles painted on pavements that work as instructions for acting out mini dramas. The self-guided tour is inspired by Shakespeare’s Seven Ages of Man speech from As You Like It, and brings to life aspects of Shakespeare’s plays, his life in Stratford and historical facts about the town. The tour launches on 30th January and a free map will also be available to guide visitors, giving them historical background and a treasure hunt challenge for children. Locations include Shakespeare’s New Place, Guildhall, and Holy Trinity Church, before finishing at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre.


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FEBRUARY 27Th February – 6Th march Bath literature festival The Festival’s 21st birthday theme is Forever Young, and while it promises that ‘debut novels and fresh talent will be at the top of the agenda,’ they’ll also be promoting the freshest offerings of the nation’s favourite authors: Sebastian Faulks, Pat Barker and Tracy Chevalier (and others) are joined by Joan Bakewell and Pub Landlord Al Murray to make this birthday bash one of the best yet.


MARCH 4Th march rorY mcgrath, the theatre chipping norton The star of BBC’s Three Men In A Boat and They Think It’s All Over looks back on his life and career. Join Rory as he remembers some bits and makes up the rest. Contains adult themes and traces of peanut oil. All tickets £15. 7.45pm

10Th march the BirthdaY partY, the theatre chipping norton In a shabby boarding house in a small English seaside town, an elderly couple take care of a solitary guest, who rarely ventures out. The arrival of two enigmatic strangers seems to offer a welcome distraction from their mundane existence, but when an impromptu, seemingly innocent birthday party abruptly turns in to a deadly game of cat and mouse, there are horrifying repercussions. By turns cryptic thriller and macabre comedy, The Birthday Party was Harold Pinter’s first major work and is among the most unusual and absorbing of his plays.

15Th - 18Th march the festival, cheltenham Thousands flock to The Festival to relish the extravagant fashion offerings of Ladies Day, and – of course – the thrills and spills of the Gold Cup itself. A new Grandstand and facilities will see 2016’s The Festival as being better than ever. Don’t dawdle: get your tickets now!

28Th march easter mondaY point-to-point at paXford

London Classic Theatre presents the first significant touring revival of the twenty-first century, promising to bring this ground-breaking classic to fresh and exhilarating life. 7.45pm. For prices and booking, please see the website.

After all the thrills and spills at Cheltenham, why not unwind with a post-Festival refresher with the popular Paxford Point-to-Point? Keep your eyes on the website to keep up to date with all the latest developments.



APRIL 8Th - 10Th april BanBurY song & ale Weekend The 9th Banbury Song & Ale Weekend promises inexpensive hearty fun – and ‘surprise invited guests’. The new campsite boasts modern showers and changing facilities, so it’s a good time to pitch up and rock out.

17Th april prescott Bike festival Petrolheads and biker boys and gals of all ages will rejoice at the range of beautiful machines on display. Why not try the Passenger Experiences - ‘choose from a fine line up of machinery and let the experts take you for the ride of your life.’ Featuring the On The Edge Trials Stunt Team and the Indian Riders Motorcycle club.

19Th – 24Th april rsc shakespeare on screen, stratfordupon-avon picturehouse Stratford-upon-Avon Picturehouse and the RSC present screenings of some of the Company’s most admired productions adapted or captured for television and the cinema. This is a chance to see iconic performances from many of the greatest actors associated with the Company, including Vanessa Redgrave, Paul Scofield, Ian McKellen, Judi Dench and David Tennant. These screen versions, some of which have been seen only rarely since they were produced, showcase the work of some of the RSC’s most significant directors, including Peter Brook, Trevor Nunn and Gregory Doran. Tuesday 19th April, 6pm as you like iT, bbc Tv, 1963 WiTh vanessa redgrave and ian bannen. £10.50.

Wednesday 20th April, 12noon The Wars oF The roses: richard iii, bbc Tv, 1965 WiTh ian holm, janeT suzman, peggy ashcroFT and david Warner. £9.50.

Thursday 21st April, 3pm king lear, 1971 WiTh paul scoField, £9.50.

Friday 22nd April, 12 noon macbeTh, Thames, 1979 WiTh ian mckellen and judi dench. £9.50.

Saturday 23rd April, 2.30pm rsc live From sTraTFord-upon-avon: richard ii, 2013 WiTh david TennanT, michael penningTon, jane lapoTaire and oliver Ford davies. £10.50.

Sunday 24th April, 2.30pm rsc live From sTraTFord-upon-avon: The TWo genTlemen oF verona, 2014 WiTh mark arends, michael marcus, pearl chanda, sarah macrae. £10.50.

Tickets now on sale from Picturehouse Box Office on 0871 902 5741 or


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21sT - 24Th april chipping norton literarY festival Hosting a range of events for readers, writers, children and young people, illustrators, poetry fans and school pupils, the Chipping Norton Literary Festival returns for four days of literary fun. Check the website for news and updates, as well as a line-up of appearing authors.

23rd april teWkesBurY vintage fair Come along from 11am-4.30pm and peruse a variety of vintage delights – entry is only £1. Featuring classic cars, live music, a red Routemaster and a celebration in honour of the Queen’s 90th Birthday Weekend – plus over 20 stalls ‘heaving with vintage goodies’.

23rd april familY-friendlY activities around the rsc’s stratford theatres 11.30am-4.15pm, including a special acroBatic shoW at 2pm and 4pm, and fireWorks at 10pm. free. As part of the Birthday Celebrations on Saturday 23rd April, the RSC will offer a range of free activities for the whole family, including live music, stage fighting workshops and the popular Blood, Guts and Gore demonstration, which shows how fake scars and bruises are created. There will also be workshops introducing some of Shakespeare’s most well-known characters, how to approach a script, and simple games and exercises actors use to warm up. RSC experts will also be on hand to help young people and adults find out more about a number of theatre skills, such as Stage Fighting and Voice work. All these free sessions last approximately 45-60 minutes and tickets are available on the day, 15 minutes before the start time on a first come, first served basis. More information and timetable will be available in March. At 2pm and 4pm in front of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre acrobatic theatre company, Mimbre presents Wondrous Strange. The speciallycommissioned 30-minute performances will see Shakespeare’s most iconic characters in unexpected encounters, celebrating the physical and visual imagery of some of the best known moments in his plays To round off the day, at around 10pm, there will be a free public fireworks display outside the Royal Shakespeare Theatre.

Spring Events 2016

23rd – 24th April Wartime in the Cotswolds at GWR Step back in time, pack up your troubles in your old kit bag, and smile, smile, smile. Travel this beautiful heritage line between Cheltenham Race Course Station and Toddington, stopping at Gotherington and Winchcombe on a steam hauled train. Visitors/members of the public are encouraged to attend the weekend in period dress - civilian or military, but please note that Nazi and SS uniforms, swastika insignia of any sort and any other representations of German uniforms are not allowed. The carrying of firearms - replica or de-activated - are not allowed unless authorised by the organisers in advance. Check the website for ticket prices and latest developments.

23rd April – 21st June British Asparagus Festival Now in its 8th year, the British Asparagus Festival has grown bigger and better than ever! Find out about the Vale’s distinctive ‘gras’ (that’s asparagus to the layperson) and attend a variety of workshops and cookery events. Find the full programme online.



24Th april – 1sT may stratford literarY festival Book lovers are truly spoiled with another local literature festival to attend. Come and visit Michael Rosen and Gruffalo author Julia Donaldson – and don’t forget the residential workshop taught by bestselling author Jill Dawson at the Three Ways House Hotel.

27Th april hunter chase evening, cheltenham racecourse This is the only evening fixture that takes place at Cheltenham, and it is hugely popular, invariably drawing a large local crowd. This is the final chance to see racing at Cheltenham for almost six months, with seven fiercely contested Hunter Chases, closing the season. Children under 18 receive free entry at every raceday except The Festival.

27Th april – 2nd may cheltenham JaZZ festival Guest-directed by Jamie Cullum, this year’s Jazz Festival continues with its traditional mix of international talent, home grown stars and up-and-coming new artists. Making his Cheltenham debut is the Grammy-nominated US trumpeter Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah, who brings a 9-piece band to the Festival to perform music from his ground-breaking new album Stretch Music.


MAY 8Th may dragon Boat regatta, gloucester docks

Also making the trip across the pond are Tim Berne’s Snakeoil, a dynamic, New York-based band led by influential saxophonist Tim Berne, and the Becca Stevens Band, a group led by the rising star singer-songwriter. For more acts and to book tickets, see the website.

The Dragon Boat Regatta returns to Gloucester Docks on Sunday 8th May 2016, with the 19th annual staging of this colourful and popular event in Gloucester Docks. Companies, societies and groups of friends will make up the 30 teams paddling against one another. A full day's entertainment for the whole family, so come join in for some fiery dragon fun.

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Spring Events 2016

8th – 21st May Chipping Campden Music Festival Making their festival debuts are Trevor Pinnock, Sophie Gent, Matthew Truscott & Jonathan Manson. The great Austrian mezzo soprano Angelika Kirchschlager also appears for the first time alongside festival regular Julius Drake, and Katherine Jenkinson & Martin Cousin make their debut here joining Ruth Rogers in the Aquinas trio Piano. For the full schedule, see the website.

27th – 29th May Lechlade Music Festival Join music fans at family-friendly Lechlade this summer and rock into the early hours. But it’s not all just about the music – previous workshops have included dancing, singing, drumming, hoola-hooping… so bring the little ones and get involved.

30th May Tetbury Woolsack Races These races have no greater aim than for individuals and teams to demonstrate their strength and fitness by racing whilst carrying a sack of wool – up and down a hill that reaches a gradient of 1 in 4. The town celebrates with a street fair that aims to please many with street entertainers, local stalls and amusement rides, while the many catering establishments in the town also join in to provide a very local fare for visitors.






(1932-2015) 76

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We celebrate the contributions of Cotswold Farm Park founder Joe Henson, who dedicated his life’s work to preserving rare breeds and educating the British public about farming.

In recent years, Cotswold Homes has regularly featured Adam Henson’s Cotswold Farm Park and commentary on farming matters from Adam. We would like to pay tribute to the life and work of its founder Joe Henson (Adam’s father), who died in 2015 at the age of 82. Joe was born in Chelsea in 1932 to a creative, theatrical family. His parents were actors (his father, Leslie, was the co-founder of ENSA, the armed forces’ Entertainments National Service Association) and while Joe’s brother Nicky followed their interests, Joe turned his talents to farming after spending school holidays assisting at a farm in Northwood, Middlesex where he encountered the animals that would shape his future endeavours as a conservationist. At the age of 19, Joe attended the Cirencester Agricultural College (since renamed the Royal Agricultural University). In 1962, Joe and his old school friend John Neave assumed the tenancy of Gloucestershire’s 400 acre Bemborough Farm, which has now expanded to 1600 acres.

Farming was undergoing big changes, and certain breeds of farm animal began to diminish as producers favoured livestock that could be farmed more intensively. Encouraged by his love for older-fashioned breeds, and his daughter Libby’s enthusiasm for livestock, Joe began to collect breeds threatened by the farming revolution, starting with a small flock of pedigree Cotswold Sheep, two Gloucester cows and two Gloucestershire Old

“Joe was also keen to share his wealth of experience and his passion with the team at the Farm Park. Such knowledge has made the Farm Park instrumental in educating the public ...” Spot Pigs. When the opportunity arose to take over much of Lord Zuckerman’s ‘gene bank’ of rare breeds from Whipsnade Zoo in 1970, Joe needed to finance the collection. He soon struck upon the idea of presenting them to the public as an attraction and in 1971 the Cotswold Farm Park opened to visitors. Two years later the Rare Breeds Survival Trust was formed, with Joe as founder Chairman. At the time of the Trust’s intervention, some of the breeds were perilously close to vanishing altogether. Thanks to the work of Joe and his colleagues such animals have endured to the present day and can still be admired at the Cotswold Farm Park. It is down to the Trust’s influence that not a single breed of British farm animal has become extinct since 1973. When conservation became the new buzz word the Farm Park received a lot of publicity, and Joe was invited to appear on Animal Magic with Johnny Morris. This led to more television appearances, with Joe becoming known to millions presenting farming programmes on the BBC along with household names such as Angela

Ripon and Phil Drabble. When Adam became a presenter for BBC Countryfile, Joe often appeared alongside him, sharing his knowledge and wisdom. Joe was also keen to share his wealth of experience and his passion with the team at the Farm Park. Such knowledge has made the Farm Park instrumental in educating the public not only about the importance of conserving rare breeds, but of sustainable farming practices in general. In 2011 Joe received an MBE at Windsor Castle for services to rare breed conservation, not least in recognising the importance of genetic diversity in livestock. The Cotswold Farm Park continues to be a thriving visitor attraction today, run by Adam and his business partner Duncan Andrews. The Cotswold Farm Park is dedicated to delivering the best of British farming through sustainable methods. Find out more about Adam Henson’s Cotswold Farm Park, its work and history at


WHAT THE GAMEKEEPER SAW Guiting-based gamekeeper Adam Tatlow uses his camera to record the wildlife he comes across every day of his working life, exposing the secret lives of the Cotswolds’ other residents. He came to national attention when his work was featured in The Daily Mail and The Telegraph in 2013. View a gallery of Adam’s work (and order gift cards and more) at – and he’s looking for more outlets for his cards and prints, so get in touch if you’d like to stock his pictures.


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Saying ‘no’ to fanciful New Year’s Resolutions, Anna MacCurrach shrugs off wild promises in favour of exploring what’s on her doorstep – starting with a first trip to The Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse.

SPRING When it comes to New Year Resolutions I am one for ‘over promise, under deliver’. So for 2016 I have decided to keep it simple. My resolution is to do…more. Sounds odd for someone who seems to already do a lot. What I mean is more in the way of trips to the theatre, the cinema, local events….when those email newsletters pop into the inbox I plan on actually opening them and having a look at what’s on. And then actually doing some of it. We are National Trust members and our children are surprisingly tolerant of being dragged around a stately home or castle, but otherwise we are rubbish at taking advantage of all the events on offer in the Cotswolds. Quite possibly this is because we live on a lovely farm but it is still a wrong that can be righted. Take the last Cheltenham Literature Festival as an example. The email arrived, I saw a photo of Boris Becker, I bought two tickets and I took my mother-in-law (a huge Wimbledon fan). However, because I didn’t actually open the email I missed seeing the Nigella Lawson event and, most regrettable of all, the last British Dambuster – my husband’s Great Uncle Henry was in 617 squadron and Jimmy would have LOVED to go to that. (I should add, at this point, that the Boris evening was great fun. We

heard lots of stories about Wimbledon and my mother-in-law taught me how to queue jump – “as long as you look purposeful no one will say anything”.) Spring outings have historically been off the agenda as Jimmy is usually up to his neck with calving but after making some changes to the beef herd we are now reclaiming February, March and April. I am almost giddy. So, in the spirit of my resolution, and Jimmy’s liberated diary, I have rounded up a group of

We are National Trust members and our children are surprisingly tolerant of being dragged around a stately home or castle, but otherwise we are rubbish at taking advantage of all the events on offer in the Cotswolds.

friends to go to The Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse in March. We know precious little about racing but we do know how to appreciate a Good Day Out.

The website promises just that and 230,000 people can’t be wrong either! The whole thing is a minefield of enclosures and dress codes, but the promise of the Guiness Village alone is enough to override pretty much all other anxieties. By the time we have coordinated a day that suits eleven people’s lives, worked out which tickets to buy, booked a mini bus and somewhere to eat afterwards, not to mention childcare and then the day itself, invading Poland might seem an easier task (and probably cheaper). Then again, what is that saying…“Go hard or go home”? You can keep up with the best events in the Cotswolds – and win tickets, too – by signing up to our newsletter at



The impact of wallpaper Renowned interior designer, Amanda Hanley, advises on how best to use wallpaper as a way of adding colour, texture and style to your home.

I am considering injecting some colour into my home but I have a very limited budget – should I experiment with wallpaper or stick to paint? Using wallpaper is a brilliant way to transform the presentation of your home and to provide personality. A bold, large scale print in your hallway will add a touch of excitement as guests are invited in – equally, a deep, vivid, unexpected colour on one wall of your living room against a uniform palette of grey or stone will change the mood entirely. Bespoke papers are fabulous but you do need to think carefully about your curtains, sofas and floor colours before you choose anything. Bespoke papers are often very expensive, so for an upgrade without breaking the bank, restrict to one feature wall. Whether used as a complement to existing fabrics with a subtle muted pattern or changing the energy completely with strong, contrasting designs, the background colour should always guide your choice for the other walls - the stronger the background colour, the more important to keep the effect going around the room. A plain wallpaper of a similar texture on the remaining walls has a wonderful cocooning effect that also cuts down on noise, providing a rich, luxurious quality particularly suited to bedrooms. 82

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Images kindly supplied by Cole & Son







Of course, painting the remaining walls can seem an easier option but there are a few pitfalls to negotiate. Firstly, you have to pay attention to the surface that is being painted. Sanding down, filling and smoothing uneven plaster can take more time than putting up lining paper. Paint colour can also be tricky to get right as it behaves in different ways in changing lights, appearing rather unlike the swatch on the test card you thought was perfect! Pairing paint with other tones (whether paper, furniture or woodwork) is also a skill - even finding a beautiful cream can be a minefield. You have to remember it’s not like a cushion – paint colour reflects on itself and magnifies, so to know how it’s really going to behave, paint the inside of a box first. The argument for paint versus wallpaper is similar to whether one should read novels on a tablet or a book – there is no right answer. Paint is cheaper and more practical but one-dimensional – wallpaper uses all the senses, not just sight, as it’s far more tactile and affects the feeling of warmth and scent in the room, therefore being more capable of entirely changing the dynamic and creating a lasting memory.

Unless you are an expert in hanging wallpaper don’t ruin the impact of a great bespoke product with a bit of DIY.

My rules for buying wallpaper: Always get a sample of the real thing rather than simply ordering online.The colour, size of pattern, luminosity and texture are impossible to gauge without seeing your choice against your sofas, curtains and carpets - I am always happy to loan out my books to clients to ensure that they can trial different papers in their own homes before they buy. When working out how much paper you will need, measure all walls and multiply the width by the height of each wall in feet, adding all the measurements together to calculate the total square footage before deducting windows, doors and other large openings. The difference in pattern repeat will affect the total volume so check the roll label and ensure the roll coverage you order is more than the total wall square footage of each roll, to be on the safe side. The general rule of thumb is to order one roll extra than you need.You can always return complete rolls that are still in their wrapping but if you discover the last roll in your batch number has been sold when you need an extra piece then you are in trouble!

It is best to get all the paper at the same time, to ensure the rolls are from the same product run and there is no variation in colour, and double-check all your rolls come from the same batch number before you buy. Unless you are an expert in hanging wallpaper don’t ruin the impact of a great bespoke product with a bit of DIY. Not only will you end up with an amateurish finish but the mistakes of an enthusiastic novice will be more costly than using an experienced professional in the first place. Don’t forget that re-decorating extends beyond the paper – woodwork and ceilings should be sanded down, cleaned and refreshed with a new coat of paint beforehand, too. Finally, it’s important that you don’t rush the process – taking your time will minimise the likelihood of expensive mistakes, so let things unfold as you envisage the whole impact and go with what you love rather than being influenced by fashionable schemes. Of-the-moment designs are highly likely to date and after all that effort and expense, you will not want to strip everything back again for a few years! | T 01993 822 385 | M 07976 353 996


tHe oLd CoUrt

ALL R IS E! T he Old Court, T he Hill, Burford


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the historic industrial wealth and importance of the north Cotswolds is illustrated perfectly by the unexpected grandeur of some of its architecture and churches, nowhere more so than in Burford where the jewel in its crown is listed by Simon Jenkins amongst his top twenty in England’s Thousand Best Churches. not only was the church a mirror to Burford’s material significance and the focus of artistic sensibilities - a lavish Victorian restoration inspired protesting architect william Morris to set up the Society for the preservation of ancient Buildings - it was once also the epicentre of great political turmoil. during the Civil war, Burford’s church became an overnight prison for more than three hundred rebel soldiers incarcerated by Cromwell and where, despite his promise to negotiate peacefully with the Burford Levellers, the three leaders were summarily shot at dawn against the church walls. By the Victorian era, justice was thankfully meted out in more formal surroundings. Designed by William Wilkinson, a prominent oxfordshire architect famed for the randolph hotel in oxford, a double-fronted building was erected at the upper end of Burford’s impressive high street, resplendent with mullioned windows and an arched central double doorway, serving as

… s e r v i n g a s m a g i s t r a t e ’s c o u r t , p o l i c e station and jail The Old Court was to keep to its purpose for one hundred years before finally becoming redundant in the 1970s…

magistrate’s court, police station and jail. Jostling amongst other fine buildings dating back from tudor times, the old court was to keep to its purpose for one hundred years before finally becoming redundant in the 1970s. now Grade ii listed, the current owners have comprehensively refurbished and sensitively modernised the interior to create a stunning four/ five bedroomed home arranged on three

levels. A central stone floored entrance hall leads on up to the original court room, today a luxurious drawing room some thirty foot long, lit by three picture windows that overlook the street scene below. retaining many original features throughout including shuttered sash windows, stripped floor boards and high ceilings, the restored courthouse is full of inherent character but works extremely well as an eminently comfortable, spacious family home.


tHe oLd CoUrt

Retaining many original features throughout including shuttered sash w i n d o w s, s t r i p p e d fl o o r b o a rd s a n d h i g h c e i l i n g s, t h e re s t o re d c o u r t h o u s e is full of inherent character but works extremely well as an eminently c o m fo r t a bl e, s p a c i o u s fa m i l y h o m e. the hub of day-to-day life is undoubtedly the large kitchen/breakfast room, enjoying views out onto a central paved courtyard and walled lawns, where patio doors lead out onto a private, sheltered dining terrace perfect for warm summer nights, and the interior is fitted with a beautiful, extensive cotteswood kitchen. For more elaborate dinner parties and social occasions, a substantial formal dining room complete with an open fireplace is also situated on the ground floor, along with an equally elegant bedroom and bathroom, whilst a separate staircase adjacent to the kitchen gives access to the first floor master bedroom and bathroom (and then on up to two more double bedrooms on the top floor). this masterful conversion is a true grand design; with the use of the best materials, working in a creative and sensitive way, the owners have lavished time, love and care to ensure the original history of one of the town’s most significant buildings has not been lost - the result is a triumph. to arrange a viewing, strictly by prior appointment only, contact James von Speyr, director of Fine & country north cotswolds (the international marketing department of Harrison James & Hardie) on 01451 822977. 86

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Springwood Cottage, Bourton on the Hill

ÂŁ1,200 pcm

A generous detached two bedroom character property benefiting from garden, off road parking and far reaching views. Entrance Porch | Dining Hall | Kitchen | Orangery | Sitting Room | Two Double Bedrooms | Bathroom | Off Road Parking | Generous Sized Garden EPC rating: D Fine and Country, Harrison James & Hardie, Stow-on-the-Wold 01451 833 170

8 Moore Road, Bourton on the Water

ÂŁ1,395 pcm

A well-presented Cotswold stone four bedroom property, situated in the central yet sought after location of Moore Road. The property benefits from off road parking, garage and generous rear garden. Entrance Hall | Sitting Room | Family Room/Dining Room | Kitchen | Bathroom | Three First Floor Bedrooms | Shower Room Loft Room /Bedroom Four | EPC rating: E Fine and Country, Harrison James & Hardie, Stow-on-the-Wold 01451 833 170

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Ask the experts

Ask The Experts Stamp Duty Bonanza What is the likely impact on the local property market of the new stamp duty changes?

George osborne’s stamp duty disincentive for investment buyers has been designed to make things fairer for first time buyers as well as those who work and live in the local area. as a result, if you are hoping to buy a property as a second home in the cotswolds, from April 2016 you will be charged an additional 3% on your stamp duty land tax transaction. Whether you intend to use your property simply as a second home, to generate income as a holiday let or to build a lettings portfolio, your purchase must complete on or before 31st march in order to avoid the levy. as part of an extended feature on the 88

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investment marketplace we provide a detailed insight into this lucrative sector and investigate what might happen after April 2016, when stamp duty changes come into force. there has been a scramble to beat the deadline so far, with investment sales dominating the local marketplace since the start of 2016 – indeed, 90% of harrison James & hardie’s sales in January were to this type of buyer. it is not hard to see that the additional tax is undeniably of enormous benefit to the government, adding a massive £9,000 to £12,000 per investment purchase to

stamp duty monies based on the current average price in the north cotswolds for typical investor properties. however, will the charges have the impact that George osborne intends and does it still make sense to invest in the holiday let or residential lettings sector after the deadline? We ask the directors of residential sales and lettings agency Harrison James & Hardie independent specialists in the North Cotswolds, each with over twenty years’ experience as leading agents in the local market place - to reflect on the rush to beat the deadline and to consider

Hot propertY - aSk tHe eXpertS

Ask the experts ….demand in this prime sector is driven far more by desire, lack of available stock and confidence than concerns about affordability. If wealthy investors want a place in the country they will buy one, come what may…

James von Speyr, Principal Director for Fine & Country North Cotswolds - the international upper quartile marketing platform for Harrison James & Hardie – does not think that marketing prices in the prime market place will be affected unduly.

whether the tax measures will create, as Osborne claims, a more level playing field for young people desperate to get onto the property ladder in the local area. Meanwhile, holiday let experts Andy Soye and Mat Faraday of Character Cottages offer a choice of properties currently for sale that would make great holiday lets / second homes for the long-term investor, Caroline Gee considers what works best for a professional landlord portfolio and our resident panel of property industry experts - Sue Ellis, Thomas Legal Group and Robert Hamilton - add their viewpoints, too.

“there might be a bit of a lull in applicant levels after april because the vast majority of our sales this year have been to investors – we are currently seeing a phenomenal level of demand but this is due to pressure to complete before the deadline and the numbers of investment purchases will inevitably adjust back to usual levels over the rest of the year. the new tax might therefore have a slowing effect on the prime second home market for a short while but demand in this sector is driven far more by desire, lack of available stock and confidence than concerns about affordability. if wealthy investors want a place in the country they will buy one, come what may. In 2009, just after the worst of the recession, we sold the vast majority of our prime properties to london-based

investment and second-home buyers and as a consequence values for period properties bounced back by the end of that year to precrash prices recorded in 2006. “Since then prime upper quartile homes have enjoyed strong underlying capital growth, having gone up in value by at least another fifteen to twenty per cent, so there is no reason to doubt that this part of the marketplace is inherently healthy. For a while after the deadline the new tax might become a matter of negotiation on the final deal perhaps, but marketing prices are unlikely to change as a result of the taxation for long, if at all, because there is such a high level of interest in period village properties and by definition, always a very limited supply.”


Yoicks, Guiting Power


Situated on the edge of this highly desirable village, bordered by rolling countryside and offering spectacular views,Yoicks is a handsome Cotswold stone property offering stylish accommodation over three floors.Yoicks and the adjoining property have been recently completed and have been architecturally designed to optimise the benefits of its fantastic setting. Entrance Hall | Bedroom | En-suite Shower Room | Bedroom | Bedroom | Bathroom | First Floor Sitting Room | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Balcony | Second Floor Bedroom | WC | Garden | Driveway Providing Parking | EPC Rating: C Fine and Country Harrison James & Hardie, Bourton on the Water 01451 824 977

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

Old Warden, Chipping Campden

ÂŁ850,000 - Sold Subject To Contract

A charming Cotswold stone detached house dating back to the early 1950s, occupying a sought-after location at the edge of this eminently desirable market town. This beautiful family home has recently undergone extensive redesign and improvement whilst the delightfully landscaped garden is bordered by mature woodland offering absolute privacy. Entrance Hall | Sitting Room | Kitchen/Family Room open to Dining Area | Utility Room | WC | Master Bedroom with En-Suite | Guest Bedroom with En-Suite | Two Further Bedrooms | Family Bathroom | Landscaped Gardens | Garage | Gated Driveway | EPC Rating: D Fine and Country Harrison James & Hardie, Moreton in Marsh 01608 653 893

Country Homes from harrison james & hardie

Hot propertY - aSk tHe eXpertS

Ask the experts George osborne’s new stamp duty tax for landlords is only part of wider measures designed to curtail the attractions of investment in the main residential marketplace. under the changes, landlords will not be able to deduct mortgage interest from their rental income before it is assessed for tax but will instead get a flat rate 20 per cent tax credit. This will affect those investors in the higher tax bracket particularly, who will lose up to half of their current relief. others currently on lower taxation will be moved up into this bracket and, as a result, will see their tax bill soar. Some pundits predict that this sounds the deathknell for the buy-to-let market but caroline Gee, director of harrison James & hardie’s highly successful lettings department, is unconvinced.

“We have a list of over a hundred managed properties on our books but we only have a few to offer to prospective tenants at any one time and these are snapped up within days. the north cotswolds rental market has been highly resilient since 2008 so not only is there the immediate return from income and the likelihood that the property will be permanently occupied, but also a steady underlying capital growth. a property suitable for residential lettings rather than a holiday let is generally less expensive to buy in the first place and needs less maintenance than a period home. therefore new-builds are perfect for letting out - Bovis homes also at upper rissington offer bespoke schemes for investment buyers - and because they tick all the right 92

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boxes we usually let these homes on the first or second viewing. “there is such a high level of demand because the main residential sales marketplace is frankly unaffordable for the majority of registered prospective tenants today. Without the means to buy, in the meantime tenants crave a sense of security, seeking a place where they feel at home and can settle down rather than just a temporary roof over their heads. they would far rather rent from a professional landlord with multiple properties, someone in it for the long game, than risk the vagaries of a speculative hobby landlord hoping to generate a little additional income but who might also sell at the drop of a hat.

Hot propertY - aSk tHe eXpertS

Ask the experts …the sharp uplift in rental values as a result of increasing competition over the last couple of years will continue, especially as landlords are highly likely to pass on these new costs to their tenants…

“even with new measures coming in to facilitate the entry-level marketplace and new-build sites offering up to 50% affordable housing, it will still take a very long time for most tenants we know to be able to move onto the property ladder. a 10% deposit for an average three bedroom modern family home is around £30,000, plus associated moving costs and stamp duty fees adding another £10,000, so today’s tenants need a far greater raft of supportive measures beyond the new iSa saving scheme and help to Buy if they are to get out of rented in the next few years. “When you consider that the average rental value for an entry level three bedroom family home is around £1,000 per month, with household

bills on top, it is hard to see how young local families can save enough to benefit from the iSa scheme, particularly after such a sustained period of recession. Young couples and families have already been forced into borrowing on essential purchases like cars and furniture, and when most local jobs are not highly paid the government’s new tax measures will not solve the issue of entry-level sales unless this sector gets far more help with deposits and moving costs. in the meantime, the sharp uplift in rental values as a result of steadily increasing competition will continue as landlords are highly likely to pass on these new costs to their tenants, and will only exacerbate the difficulties of saving upon those who cannot escape the rental market.”

…A 10% deposit for an average three bedroom modern family home is around £30,000, plus associated moving costs and stamp duty fees adding another £10,000, so today’s tenants need a far greater raft of supportive measures beyond the new ISA saving scheme and Help To Buy if they are to get out of rented in the next few years…



Holly Bank, Longborough

£1,350 pcm LET AGREED

The Old Stables, Bourton on the Water

£925 pcm


An attractive stone built cottage situated in an elevated position and benefitting from beautiful views of the picturesque High Street and surrounding countryside. Dining Hall | Sitting Room with Open Fireplace | Kitchen | Ground Floor Bedroom with En-Suite Shower Room | Two Further Double Bedrooms | Bathroom | Elevated Garden | EPC Rating: F

A detached Cotswold stone character cottage with courtyard garden, off road parking and within walking distance of Bourton on the Water. Porch | Sitting Room with woodburning stove | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Ground Floor Bedroom with En-Suite Shower Room | Two Further Double Bedrooms | Bathroom | Courtyard Garden | Off Road Parking | EPC Rating: E

Harrison James & Hardie, Stow-on-the-Wold 01451 833 170

Harrison James & Hardie, Stow-on-the-Wold 01451 833 170

The Coach House, £2,450 pcm PREVIOUSLY MARKETED BY another AGENT, LET AGREED BY US Upper Swell

11 Beceshore Close, Moreton in Marsh

A charming detached Cotswold stone former Coach House, positioned in a lovely village location with light, spacious and flexible accommodation set in landscaped gardens. Entrance Hall | Drawing Room with Open Fireplace | Garden Room, Kitchen/Breakfast Room with Walk in Larder | Rear Entrance Hall | Cloakroom | Library/Third Reception Room | Secondary Kitchen | Ground Floor Bedroom | Bathroom with Separate Shower | Utility Room | Master Bedroom with En-Suite Bathroom | Third Double Bedroom | Child’s Bedroom/Study/Second Dressing Room | Dressing Room | Gardens | Off Road and Undercover Parking | EPC Rating: E

A delightful well-presented modern detached family house, set on the outskirts of the Market Town of Moreton in Marsh. Entrance Hall | Sitting Room | Dining Room | Study | Kitchen/Diner | Utility Room | Cloakroom | Master Bedroom with Dressing Area and En-Suite Shower Soom | Guest Bedroom with Dressing Area and En Suite Shower room | Two Further Bedrooms | Family Bathroom | Off Road Parking | Double Garage | Garden | EPC Rating: C

Harrison James & Hardie, Stow-on-the-Wold 01451 833 170

Harrison James & Hardie, Stow-on-the-Wold 01451 833 170

£1,695 pcm LET AGREED

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


Spring Cottage, Blockley

£975 pcm LET AGREED

The Old Dairy, Longborough


A charming cottage that has been lovingly refurbished situated in a delightful, peaceful location yet conveniently located close to the heart of the village. Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Sitting Room with Woodburning Stove | Ground Floor bedroom with En Suite Shower Room | Master Bedroom with EnSuite Shower Room | Double Bedroom | Bathroom | Elevated Garden | EPC Rating: E

A delightful furnished two storey property located in the heart of the village of Longborough. Kitchen/Dining Room | Sitting Room | Double Bedroom | Bathroom with Separate Shower | EPC Rating: F

Harrison James & Hardie, Stow-on-the-Wold 01451 833 170

Harrison James & Hardie, Stow-on-the-Wold 01451 833 170

Clover Cottage, Stow on the Wold

£945pcm LET AGREED

12 Summers Way, Moreton in Marsh

£1,395 pcm LET AGREED

A detached stone built period cottage located close to the centre of Stow on the Wold with the benefit of a private rear garden, garage and driveway. Entrance Hall | Kitchen | Sitting/Dining Room | Conservatory | Cloakroom | Two Double Bedrooms | Third Bedroom/Study | Shower Room | Courtyard Garden | Off Road Parking | Garage | EPC Rating: F

A recently built four bedroom detached modern family house located in a good position within Moreton Park. Entrance Hall | Sitting Room | Kitchen/Diner | Utility | Cloakroom | Master Bedroom with En-Suite Shower Room | Two Further Double Bedrooms | Fourth Bedroom | Family Bathroom | Garden | Off Road Parking | Garage | EPC Rating: B

Harrison James & Hardie, Stow-on-the-Wold 01451 833 170

Harrison James & Hardie, Stow-on-the-Wold 01451 833 170

Country Homes from harrison james & hardie


Ask the experts

…Whilst it is true that portfolio investors have been buying up starter and small family homes more frequently over the last couple of years or so, with demand roughly equal to supply this has done more to protect values than escalating them thus far…

Karen Harrison, Principal Director for Residential Sales, is not convinced that the rationale behind the move to tax landlord investors is an aid to the main residential market place, either. “The main residential sales market hasn’t really moved upwards in price that much since the recession and many older residential estate properties have yet to recover values achieved back in 2006. A steadying influence on demand and prices has been the arrival of volume competition from large new-build developments in Moreton in Marsh, Bourton on the Water and Upper Rissington - plenty of choice and lack of affordability suppresses competition. “Unlike central London’s international investment market, the majority of the Cotswold residential market place has only just recovered properly after the prolonged impact of the recession. General 96

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prices may have moved up a bit in the last two years but certainly the local market hasn’t shown any worrying signs that it needs reigning back in. Whilst it is true that portfolio investors have been buying up starter and small family homes more frequently over the last couple of years or so, with demand roughly equal to supply this has done more to protect values than escalating them thus far. One can argue that the presence of investors in this part of the market has kept the perils of negative equity at bay for those already on the housing ladder, simply creating reasonably benign competition and facilitating greater movement for families wishing to move on to the next step who would otherwise be stuck, seemingly indefinitely, waiting for the local domestic entry-level market to recover. “What doesn’t seem fair is the huge disparity between the millions that will be taken locally by

Osborne as a result of this new taxation over the next few years and the cost of funding schemes designed for local first time buyers. If young people are not well off enough to save, as Caroline says, they can’t take steps to unlock the potential benefits of the new ISA nor utilise Help To Buy even if the money is there in principle, it can’t be accessed. If the government is really determined to change the landscape for those hoping to get onto the housing ladder then all the additional money raised by this tax on the North Cotswolds marketplace should be ring-fenced and re-invested back in this marketplace to solve the problem. “Instead, the property industry seems to be increasingly an open chequebook solution to Osborne’s wider financial woes and I confess to cynicism as well as doubt as to the effective impact. If there were guarantees that the new taxation would all be ploughed back into properly


Ask the experts subsidised, affordable homes here then fair enough, but as we have yet to see any clovenfooted animals engaging in aerial acrobatics over the Cotswold escarpment it seems, apart from re-filling government coffers, the true benefit to the local community is very limited. “Bearing in mind that another 500 new homes will be built locally in the next eighteen months or so, any competition from landlords that might drive prices upwards at an unsustainable rate will continue to be controlled by another

increase in availability of properties. Having worked in local agency since 1984, I know that affordability for first time buyers is not a new thing. It has always been really difficult in this affluent, rural, low volume marketplace to get on to the housing ladder – even with the considerable influx of new-build, average values are still prohibitive. “But nowadays, too, competition comes not just in the form of professional landlords. This is a far less insular part of the world than it was ten years

ago. Areas in and around London particularly, where prices have risen exponentially, have seen an exodus to more affordable but desirable areas of the UK. Those lucky enough to benefit from London-weighting salaries are prepared to commute long distances to buy a family home and settle in the Cotswolds. Incoming families are not going to be hampered by the new stamp duty tax so, even without competition from portfolio landlords, demand will remain high and prices in this sector are likely to stay on an even keel.”

Bovis Homes,The Henever, Upper Rissington



Ask the experts


London Market Changes in domestic stamp duty costs for properties above £1 million are already impacting on the London market, with evidence that the upper quartile market is now suffering from inertia and lack of motivation. What impact does the London market have on the North Cotswold marketplace?

James von Speyr observes: “Rather like high-risk borrowers who re-mortgaged their homes in the boom to fund their lifestyles, eventually there’s no equity left to raid. Osborne’s stamp duty measures have managed to stifle the affluent family market, even though the international investment market has been red-hot there.The market above £2 million is currently suffering a period of considerable stagnation and stamp duty costs must be seen as the main reason behind this. Many homes around the capital exceed the £2 million threshold so rather than penalising the super-rich, Osborne’s measures are now hitting middlemarket-middle-income buyers, who are somehow expected to find at least £153,000 in cash funds for stamp duty alone if they wish to move.This is clearly unsustainable when so many middle-income homeowners have seen their standard of life and savings eroded by the recession and when anxiety about future security is still a conscious anxiety. Even at £1 million, the stamp duty charge equates to £43,000 and over £1.5 million it’s almost £100,000 - unless there is a substantial household income to support a mortgage and bills at that level, families have to downsize and / or move to cheaper areas outside London. 98

Cotswold Homes Magazine

...Osborne’s measures are now hitting middlemarket-middle-income buyers, who are somehow expected to find at least £153,000 in cash funds for stamp duty alone if they wish to move. ”Since 2006, of course, even those who can afford to move think twice about doing so. Our mind-set has changed – we were once blissfully unaware of the impact of international stock markets, global politics and unstable foreign marketplaces upon our own domestic financial security but now the previously comfortably well off have become far more risk-averse. Battlescarred, changed by the impact of recession into sophisticated analysts worrying over every reported blip, with Osborne apparently determined to extricate every penny in uplift from lucrative property transactions, the desire to move has been severely tempered.”


Ask the experts

…Fortunately, of all the places that erstwhile Londoners can escape from the madness of their property market, the Cotswolds ticks all the right boxes… Karen Harrison is confident that the main residential market in the North Cotswolds, especially larger family homes priced between £400,000 and £1 million, will continue to benefit from rapidly rising values in London. “As evidenced by the lack of available stock and low levels of registered applicants compared with 2006, prices here might indicate a return to boom times but there is nothing like the number of applicants, energy or competition in the market that existed pre-crash. The Cotswold upper quartile marketplace, in particular, has always reflected levels of confidence and activity in the capital, because so many of our buyers come from what is loosely termed the London market – investors, second homers, and so on. Inevitably, the effects of this stagnation in the affluent middle-market will also ripple its way out to us but not necessarily, this time, in a bad way. “An underlying issue is just as much the diminishing quality of day-to-day life in the capital for ordinary families and young people as affordability. Central London’s massive influx of foreign investment also threatens the inherent character of places like Soho and East London, with rapidly rising

prices driving locals out. Absentee landlords and glitzy makeovers do little to generate a sense of community and the side effects of such exponential growth are causing real concern. Postcodes surrounding the Olympic stadium have pretty much doubled in value since 2005, for example, but with an ever-growing rental market, new occupants are increasingly peripatetic and feel no particular connection to the place they live. Inner London’s inherent differences of character, driven by the energy and vibrancy that young people contribute and the continual re-investment of established families into their local neighbourhoods, is truly under threat. A great quality of life requires a feeling of belonging, of community and tradition: intangible things that are intrinsically important to a positive city vibe are now being lost in the mix. “Fortunately, of all the places that erstwhile Londoners can escape from the madness of their property market, the Cotswolds ticks all the right boxes. We enjoy a wonderful country lifestyle, an excellent standard of living, a fantastic range of cultural and practical amenities, a great sense of community and of course, outstanding schools The Cotswold School was recently rated top state comprehensive school in the country according to the Times and that is as much a reflection on the positive, aspirational energy of the local community

as it is on the school itself. It is no wonder there has been such an influx of incomers here when one can buy a sizeable family home in a really lovely, accessible location with neighbours who are friends not strangers, all for considerably under £1 million, and still commute back to the city within two hours. “Since I started working in the North Cotswolds back in 1994 at the tail end of the previous housing recession, it has always been same –the inherent quality of life here has always generated consistent demand and maintained a high level of confidence in our marketplace. Once, this buoyancy was underpinned by the affluence of second-home buyers and the young retired: now the family market has been seduced, too. The benefits of improved transport links and the worldwide web upon working lives has meant more choice for affluent families – the Cotswolds are less insular but still blessed with an eminently healthy, beautiful, natural environment and an affluent, self-reliant community built upon the traditional values of neighbourhood. Our lifestyle is one that many people yearn to experience and that knowledge in itself should protect home owners from anxiety about the longer-term future, even if Osborne does manage to curtail investor activity for a short while.”


Bould House Shipton under Wychwood


Sold for full asking price in 2015: A substantial detached family home, offering generously proportioned and flexible living space situated in a mature plot with ample gardens. Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Sitting Room | Dining Room | Study | Utility Room | WC | Master Bedroom | En-suite | Guest Bedroom | En-suite | Three Further Bedrooms | Bathroom | Double Garage | Gardens to Side and Rear | Driveway Providing Parking | EPC Rating: C

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

4 Sadlers Edge, Bourton on the Water


Received multiple offers following extremely successful launch day, sold well in excess of asking price in 2015: A unique and superior property set in arguably the finest position within the much sought after Cotswold village of Blockley. Enjoying exceptionally stunning views over neighbouring roof tops to far reaching countryside, Prior Bank offers the rare opportunity to acquire a one off property in a central yet almost completely private spot. Entrance Hall | Sitting Room | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Utility Room | Shower Room | Master Bedroom with En-Suite Shower Room | Three Further Bedrooms | Family Bathroom | Detached Home Office and Shower Room | Garden | Off Road Parking | EPC Rating: D Harrison James & Hardie, Moreton in Marsh 01608 651 000


Previously marketed unsuccessfully by local agent, sold by us in 2015: A beautifully presented Cotswold Stone five bedroom property, situated in an exclusive development enjoying a quiet tucked away location, within walking distance of the centre of Bourton on the Water. Entrance Hall | Snug | Sitting Room | Dining Room | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Utility | Cloakroom | Master Bedroom | En-suite Shower Room | Guest Bedroom | En-suite Shower Room | Three Additional Bedrooms | Refitted Family Bath and Shower Room | Off Road Parking | Double Garage | Rear Garden | EPC Rating: C Harrison James & Hardie, Bourton on the Water 01451 822 977

Prior Bank Blockley

Hill House, Upper Brailes


Previously marketed unsuccessfully by a local agent, sold by us on the first viewing in 2015: A 1930’s detached double fronted family home, situated in an elevated position within the popular village of Upper Brailes, and benefitting from superb countryside views.The property enjoys a mature and sizeable plot, backing onto woodland and offering considerable scope for extension. Entrance Hall | Sitting Room | Dining Room | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Study | Conservatory | Utility | WC | Master Bedroom with En Suite Bathroom | Three Further Bedrooms | Family Bathroom | Large Attic Room | Mature Plot Extending to Approximately 0.672 Acres | Detached Garage | Workshop | EPC Rating: E Harrison James & Hardie, Moreton in Marsh 01608 651 000

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

St Mary’s House, Church Westcote


3&4 Manor Farm Cottages, Donnington

21 viewings held on a successful open day, sold over asking price in 2015 : This former rectory occupies a stunning spot overlooking the village church with distant countryside views to the rear, the pretty grounds wrap around the property providing ample parking and private lawned areas. St Marys House requires some modernisation and offers a rare opportunity to create a stunning family home in an exceptional Cotswold village. Entrance Hall | Sitting Room | Dining Room | Conservatory | Kitchen/ Breakfast Room | Utility Room | WC/Shower Room | Office | Three Bedrooms | Guest Bedroom with En-Suite | Bathroom | Study | Double Garage | Carport | Gardens | Parking | EPC Rating: E

Sold over asking price in 2015:

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

Harrison James & Hardie, Moreton in Marsh 01608 651 000

1 Brook Lane, Blockley



A traditional Grade ll listed Cotswold stone cottage located in a quiet backwater of this highly sought after and picturesque Cotswold village. The property offers scope to improve and extend (subject to the necessary consents) and benefits from a generously proportioned and secluded rear garden. Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Sitting Room | Family Room | Two Double Bedrooms | Mezzanine Bedroom | Bathroom | Garden To Rear | EPC Exempt

1 Windrush Court, Stow on the Wold


Sold for full asking price in 2015 following a successful launch day: A stunning example of a quintessential Grade ll listed Cotswold cottage, forming part of what is perhaps the most picturesque scene in the village. Sitting Room | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Two Bedrooms | Bathroom | Beautiful Gardens | EPC Rating: N/A

Sold at full asking price, sale completed within 6 weeks of coming to the market in 2015: A charming Grade II listed period property, situated in a private courtyard on Sheep Street.The property has allocated parking, a private courtyard garden and character features throughout. Ideal as a second home investment or peaceful retreat. Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Sitting/Dining Room | Master Bedroom | Second Bedroom | Bathroom | Courtyard Garden | Parking Space | EPC: exempt

Harrison James & Hardie, Moreton in Marsh 01608 651 000

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

view all our properties at


Investing IN THE

NORTH COTSWOLD HOLIDAY LET MARKETPLACE Orchard Cottage, Saintbury; one of the successful holiday let cottages currently on the books with Character Cottages

SO, IF YOU ARE A SECOND HOME SEEKER, A PORTFOLIO LANDLORD OR A CITY DWELLER HOPING TO MOVE YOUR FAMILY TO THE GLORIOUS COTSWOLD COUNTRYSIDE, THE GOOD NEWS IS THAT THE MARKET IS RELIABLY RESILIENT. What’s on offer that might tempt would-be investors in the holiday let marketplace? Mat Faraday and Andy Soye of Character Cottages are holiday letting specialists with a large portfolio of Cotswold properties on their books. Here, they consider a choice of lovely cottages currently marketed by Harrison James & Hardie that would be eminently suitable as a second home and / or a holiday let, all capable of generating between £25,000 to £35,000 gross income per annum.

Mat Faraday explains why investing in the holiday let market locally is such a viable proposition. “One might presume that the Cotswolds is primarily a summer destination for holidaymakers but, unlike coastal areas, this part of the world is actually extremely attractive all year round.The region is easily accessible from both the north and the south – less than two hours by train from London’s Paddington station – and most importantly, the area retains its charm and appeal whatever the weather, in or out of season. 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 – come snow, rain or sunshine. “In winter, Christmas and New Year are extremely popular and will always generate prime bookings, but the key to maximising the number of bookings out of season is simply to continue marketing effectively.

“Our company offers entirely flexible options that allow clients to capitalise on this constant demand, by offering their homes to holidaymakers when not in use.They can recoup the additional stamp duty tax over a year or two, safe in the knowledge that the underlying capital growth for properties in this sector is strong enough to make such an investment worthwhile in the longer term.” Andy Soye explains what type of property and location is most likely to let well to holidaymakers. “Our recommendation is to buy in villages and towns that are supported by a range of amenities within a couple of miles and especially a traditional pub within walking distance. Of all the gorgeous places you might choose, Bourton on the Water comes up very high on the list as a popular all-year-round destination. Known as the Venice of the Cotswolds, this iconic village is large enough to be provided with a wealth of attractions and amenities yet is surrounded on all sides by beautiful countryside - a wonderful place to live and the ideal base for a holiday,” advises Andy Soye. 103


Weaver’s Cottage

Weaver’s Cottage

Weaver’s Cottage

“Weaver’s Cottage in Bourton on the Water, for example, currently offered to the market at £299,950, is simply perfect for a weekend getaway, with loads of internal character including exposed beams and open fireplace plus the practicalities of a well-fitted kitchen and ground floor cloakroom. With two double bedrooms, it’s sure to generate plenty of bookings.

Gable Cottage

Gable Cottage

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“Alternatively, Stow on the Wold provides a tempting array of independent shops, delis, galleries and coffee shops, full of easy ways to idle away an afternoon and an equally fantastic base to access all the wonderful attractions of the local

area. Gable Cottage in Wragg’s Row, also priced at £364,950, is an ancient property situated within walking distance of the town centre and provides a wealth of traditional character that holidaymakers love about the Cotswold vernacular. With an inglenook fireplace in the generously sized, beamed sitting room, a feature fireplace in the dining room and two double bedrooms tucked into the eaves above, the cottage will comfortably accommodate up to four guests. And after shopping until you drop, a paved enclosed courtyard garden is just the spot for a restorative gin and tonic on a balmy summer’s evening!"


Dove Cottage

“However, some holidaymakers prefer the slower pace of the countryside to the hustle and bustle of Bourton on the Water and Stow. If so Dove Cottage, offered to the market at ÂŁ315,000 is a very pretty, Grade II listed cottage nestling in a picturesque valley of the River Windrush in Naunton. Famous for its association with the horseracing community, if you fancy meeting the friendly locals and a bite to eat, The Black Horse pub in the heart of the village makes an excellent stopping-off point after a stroll. Perfect for that romantic retreat with a loved one, Dove Cottage is a little gem that is certain to attract many bookings."

Dove Cottage

Dove Cottage 105


Bramble Cottage

“Great Rissington is another quintessential village, a stretch of Cotswold stone period homes tucked into the hillside well away from passing traffic, surrounded by glorious countryside yet situated within a few minutes’ drive of the A40. This place is a firm favourite. With the lovely Lamb Inn providing a toasty fireside meal after striding along the Cotswold Way, the position and charms of Great Rissington are beloved by second homers. Bramble Cottage, currently on the market at £475,000, enjoys far reaching views over the valley - with three bedrooms sleeping up to six and a host of traditional features including an Aga in the kitchen/breakfast room, it’s a very desirable property particularly for a family to enjoy the good life in an idyllic country setting. “Meanwhile, for those holiday makers intending to tour the whole area, Fosse Cottage, also offered to the market at £475,000, is situated in a great spot to take in the South as well as the North Cotswolds, being located half way between Northleach and Cirencester, at Fossebridge. This double fronted, detached nineteenth century property has plenty of kerb appeal, has a carefully restored interior that boasts many period features and is luxuriously fitted throughout. Accommodating up to six guests, the landscaped garden with upper terrace also makes a great place for dining outdoors in summer and would suit two or three couples holidaying together.”

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Bramble Cottage

Fosse Cottage

Fosse Cottage


Ask the experts

Philip Ryder

2015 Tax Changes for Private Landlords


A Review

I am currently considering whether to sell my tenanted properties - what is your view on the changes in taxation for landlords and how they are likely to affect the marketplace? 2015 saw the government continue making substantial changes to the way private clients are to be taxed in the UK. There have, in particular, been major amendments to the taxation treatment of non-domiciled and nonresident individuals. A new inheritance tax nil rate band for residential property owners is proposed. The desire to tackle off shore tax avoidance continues. And there was the well reported overhaul of stamp duty rates (SDLT).

of England has reported that the growth of the private rental sector could undermine the UK’s economic stability. Landlords are, therefore, being targeted with the extra 3% SDLT and reduction in available mortgage interest relief. The belief is that the measures will encourage some landlords to sell, creating more supply of property and taking some pressure off house price growth. The worry must be that rents will rise for those who do not want or cannot afford to buy. Because there is a high demand for rental property, landlords may be able to increase rents. For those wishing to purchase buy-to-let property, it makes obvious sense to do so now and complete purchases on or before 31 March 2016 to avoid the additional 3% charge.

For those wishing to purchase buy-to-let property, it makes obvious sense to do so now and complete purchases on or before 31 March 2016 to avoid the additional 3% charge. A number of new measures were introduced in 2015 which affect those buying and managing “buy to let” residential properties. In his post-election budget in July, the Chancellor announced a phased tightening, from 2017, on the amount of mortgage interest relief that higher rate taxpayers can claim against their taxable rental income. As well as this, the 10% “wear and tear” allowance for fully furnished rental properties, is to be substituted with tax relief for actual expenditure incurred on replacement furniture.The most recent announcement, in the Autumn statement, introduced a SDLT rate to be levied on people buying buy to let or “second” homes. A consultation is ongoing and there may be some reliefs when the final details are published, but the headline figure is an extra 3% of SDLT for any buy to let or second home purchases completed on or after 1 April this year. The government has been focused for many years on increasing home ownership rates in the UK. The Bank

The impact of the other changes will be assuaged somewhat due to the current low level of interest rates and the fact that the changes are to be phased in. Corporate landlords are currently unaffected by the changes. Since corporation tax is to reduce to 18% by 2020, buying or transferring rented proper ty to a company may be advantageous. But landlords will need to bear in mind a potential immediate capital gains tax charge on such transfers as well as the new annual tax on enveloped dwellings (ATED) and even higher SDLT purchase rates which are levied on proper ties owned and bought by “non-natural persons”. In each case, independent professional advice should be sought. Philip Ryder is a Partner with Thomas Legal Group. He is a property lawyer and was previously a partner with a large City firm. Contact Philip on 0207 1010 300. 107


Investing IN THE


THE ACCESSIBLE BEAUTY OF THE NORTH COTSWOLDS HAS ALWAYS LURED HOLIDAY HOME INVESTORS BUT NOW THE MODERN RESIDENTIAL LETTINGS MARKETPLACE IS AN EQUALLY ATTRACTIVE PROPOSITION, PARTICULARLY IF THE PRIORITY IS TO ENSURE OCCUPANCY ALL YEAR ROUND Caroline Gee provides some useful food for thought about what works well for those considering building a portfolio of properties in the main lettings market. “There are two different types of property in the lettings sector. At the moment, the young family market is flying - to cater for this, the most important considerations are practicality, accessibility and space, in addition to affordability. As such, the centres of Upper Rissington, Bourton on the Water and Moreton in Marsh are all particularly well suited to this part of the lettings market. “As I mentioned earlier, Upper Rissington’s new build development provides the perfect opportunity for an investment portfolio - there are incentives available with Bovis Homes that are specifically designed for professional landlords – but the original RAF homes are equally sought-after by young families, being blessed with large gardens and really spacious interiors. With a primary school and supermarket in walking distance, more amenities soon on offer, on the bus route for the Cotswold school, Kingham station and other local towns, this is an eminently practical village location for family life. Of the various house types to be found at the new

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Upper Rissington’s Victory Fields,The Westcote.


development in Upper Rissington’s Victory Fields, The Westcote, priced from £263,995, is an entrylevel three-bedroom property that would certainly suit a young couple with small children. Depending on layout and position, this property will fetch in the region of £900 to £925 per calendar month. “In Bourton on the Water a good entry-level property would be 138 Roman Way, fetching in the region of £800 to £825 per calendar month. This well presented property sits on the outskirts of the village amidst other family homes in a quiet residential area, just a short walk from the Cotswold School. Bourton on the Water has always been a very popular place for retiring couples but is equally desirable for the young, with a range of amenities and attractions that provide an endless variety of things to do at the weekend.

Bourton on the Water, 138 Roman Way

“If all the facilities of a town location are most important, No.7 Errington in Moreton in Marsh is a great choice. Marketed at £275,000 it will bring in a monthly rent of around £900 to £925 per month. Suited to a small family, given a level walk into the town centre and all the amenities on offer including the new hospital and health centre on the southern edge of Moreton, it would also work well for someone hoping to retire to the Cotswolds. “Alternatively 1 East Street, offered at £265,000, is ideal for a professional couple looking for both character and modern comforts. Situated close to local amenities, an easy walk into the centre and the train station with its regular service from Worcester to Paddington, this is perfect for commuters working in Oxford or London.This period property will fetch in the region of £925 to £950 per calendar month.”

Moreton in Marsh, 7 Errington.

Moreton in Marsh, 1 East Street. 109


Beeches, Snowshill

Investing IN THE


“This crossover market with the second home / holiday let investment sector is highly competitive and a more expensive initial investment - prime period properties offer lower annual returns on the initial investment and come with higher maintenance costs - but this has to be set against the fact that the underlying capital growth is very rewarding with a great long-term track record, with properties in this sector proven to be the most resilient to the vagaries of the marketplace in boom times or recession. 110 Cotswold Homes Magazine

“A good example of an investment eminently suitable for this marketplace would be High Beeches, Snowshill. A very smart detached Cotswold family home situated to enjoy views over the adjacent countryside, set within a generous plot with gardens to front and rear, double garage and parking for several cars, the main accommodation comprises four double bedrooms, two main reception rooms plus a large kitchen/ breakfast room. Currently let out to a family from abroad, this property would now command £2,300 - £2,400 per month."

Beeches, Snowshill

Beeches, Snowshill



Stonewalls, Long Compton

“The Old Bakery, Paxford is another property that commanded competing tenants and would now fetch around £1650 - £1700 per calendar month. A most charming historic, period Cotswold stone house standing in a prominent position in the centre of the village within walking distance of the popular Churchill Arms, the accommodation includes two reception rooms, a kitchen/ breakfast room, four bedrooms (two en-suite) plus a family bathroom, garden and off-street parking.”

Stonewalls, Long Compton

The Old Bakery, Paxford

“Meanwhile Stonewalls, Long Compton, a chocolate box thatched cottage with an annexe, was rented within days of coming to the market last spring and would now fetch around £1450 - £1500 a month. This fully refurbished property has a dining room, sitting room and kitchen/ breakfast room with two double bedrooms in the main house, enjoying a delightful garden and quiet position on the edge of the village, tucked away from the main road and looking onto open countryside."

The Old Bakery, Paxford



Ask the experts

Robert Hamilton

Owning a Listed property - the Do’s and Don’ts


I am moving up to the Cotswolds from the SouthEast to what seems to me a very ordinary cottage but is Listed. My solicitor thinks this is a minefield? Many properties here in the Cotswolds are Listed; the Cotswolds is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and many of the villages are also situated in Conservation Areas. This can scare off some solicitors who are not accustomed to this description but you shouldn’t be worried. Listing simply means the property is registered with Historic England. Being on The List ‘marks and celebrates a building’s special architectural and historic interest, and also brings it under the consideration of the planning system so that some thought will be taken about its future’. All buildings built before 1700 that survive in anything like their original condition will be Listed – in fact, over 70% built between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries will be Listed, too. It is a peculiarly British thing – in Europe they don’t seem half as concerned about their historic properties but just carry on living in them. Here in the UK, the reason for Listing is probably down to historic development permission post-WWII as much as anything. Issues have arisen where beautiful old properties have fallen prey to developers, been bulldozed or have had the heart ripped out of them, and whilst the very grandest houses like Blenheim and Chatsworth always will be protected, where ‘The List’ succeeds is in protecting houses that would have once been home to ordinary working people - on farms or in cottage industries such as silk mills, etc. These buildings give this part of the world its unique character. Think Bibury, Chipping Norton, Tetbury and Chipping Campden – wonderful, classic Cotswold towns and villages where innate character is dependent on preserving the local vernacular, and so Listing not only protects individual properties but also the whole village location.

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Listing does not mean the property must be preserved in aspic and in my experience tends to add value than otherwise. Your cottage will have grown organically over the centuries - drainage, piped water and electricity were science fiction when it was first constructed - so modernisation is fine, but Listing does compel you to preserve historic features such mullioned windows, preventing inappropriate materials like UPVC, for instance. Similarly any work must conform to the original construction, for example using stone slate on the roof or putting in dormer windows to reflect the tradition of dual pitched, steeply angled roof design. In the event that you wish to make alterations, planners are usually very cooperative, given to enabling enlargement or modernisation providing it is carried out in a sympathetic manner. Historic England says ‘Listed buildings are to be enjoyed and used, like any other building. Listed buildings can be altered, extended and sometimes even demolished within government planning guidance. The local authority uses listed building consent to make decisions that balance the site’s historic significance against other issues, such as its function, condition or viability’. For more information, consult www.historicengland. and but, in short, my advice is to buy and to enjoy your Listed property! 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


Ask the experts

Sue Ellis


Budget Shocker

We were thinking about investing in a property to provide an additional income but how will changes in the budget affect us? Recently George Osborne announced that he is intending to reduce the amount of tax relief that landlords can claim on any mortgage interest. The changes are being phased in from April 2017 and the rate will be set at a standard 20%. At present, tax relief can be claimed at up to 45% depending on the individual’s tax bracket, so this change will hit wealthier landlords in particular. Critics say that rents may increase to compensate for the loss of the relief, but the change has been conceived by Osborne as a direct response to the increasingly problematic situation in the UK of young people being forced to rent expensive properties, having been routinely priced out as first time buyers by investors. It is a fact that lower-end residential sales properties are being snapped up by potential landlords, artificially rising prices in both lettings and sales by reducing availability of suitable properties for young couples and families whose only wish is for a home they can call their own. Certainly, in the area that I work in, I have arranged an increasing number of mortgages on properties that fall into the £150,000-£200,000 price bracket for clients wishing to purchase either a first Buy to Let property or to add to their existing portfolio. There are numerous Buy to Let mortgages available from a host of lenders and, with interest rates remaining at a long time low, these types of loans are more attractive than in the past. Typical lending criteria is more relaxed in terms of affordability with interest-only borrowing still available on a regular basis, a perk not so readily available with a residential ‘owner occupied’ mortgage, ironically. However, this is something that the Government - via the Bank of England and Financial Conduct Authority - is also looking to address, especially given that in 2015 Buy to Let mortgages accounted for more than 15% of total lending. Potential landlords will also be assessed on affordability from April 2016, needing to

demonstrate that they have sufficient income on their own merit to cover the costs of owning a second property, rather than being allowed to make a speculative purchase simply on the basis of potential letting revenue. A further addition specifically intended to slow down the investment market was the shock announcement that stamp duty on properties other than the main home will increase in April this year, kicking in at another 3% on any purchase over £40,000. This will definitely have a major impact on the North Cotswold holiday let investment marketplace, too. However unpopular this might prove, the Government says it is being forced to address the present in-balance. George Osborne was quoted as saying that such major changes would ‘level the playing field for home-buyers and investors’ and are specifically intended to be fairer, to help those on the bottom end of the property ladder, especially in tandem with the new Help to Buy ISA scheme. Experts are expecting a surge in last minute investment purchases before the stamp duty change comes into effect. If you are hoping to buy a second property, you need to get your skates on in order to complete on the transaction before 31st March. More importantly, if all these schemes have the impact Osborne hopes, you need to consider the reality of owning a second property on a long-term basis without the guarantee of competing tenants hammering at your door. At the moment it is extremely lucrative, yes, but the question is whether you can afford to own a property without having a guaranteed income from letting it out? If not, becoming a hobby landlord maybe isn’t the right move for you, now. 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

Authorised & Regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority 113


Ask the experts

Stacey Ballinger

How to ensure a swift exchange of contracts


We have agreed a purchase through Harrison James & Hardie after competing bids, subject to exchange within four weeks of receipt of draft contracts - as there is a back-up buyer poised if we don’t comply, we would like to do it sooner!

to every request from us in good time, too. For example, if we discover issues arising on a particular element of your purchase, we might need your instructions before proceeding to the next step - be available by phone and / or email at all times.

Firstly, the benefits of having found through such an experienced local estate agency cannot be underestimated - to ensure there is every chance of keeping to deadline, Harrison James & Hardie will be communicating regularly with their clients and with you. Steven Buchanan heads their dedicated sales progression team and will help you with every step of the process to facilitate your purchase, being more than capable of anticipating and solving problems before they become issues, so do keep in regular contact and answer questions honestly - your transparency will reassure their clients that you are working as hard as you can to comply.

Most crucial of all is that you have the required finance in place and can show us clear evidence of your funding. Harrison James & Hardie will already have checked your position in their pre-sales questionnaire but we also need chapter and verse. For example, if you are using savings or investments then you must establish the drawdown time, to ensure that the funds are easily accessible for the deposit when required (normally 10% of the purchase price).

As equally experienced and professional lawyers we work closely with the agents, too - whether buying or selling, this has been proven to facilitate a speedy exchange of contracts. This is one situation where cheap and distant (online) will not be the best option for you - when speed is of the essence you certainly get what you pay for and, after all, this is likely to be your biggest financial investment yet. Whilst the industry average says that up to a third of transactions fall through between offer and exchange, bearing in mind you have an experienced team on all sides, there is every chance you will soon be the proud owners of your new home! To get things moving as fast as possible you will need to produce evidence of your identity to us, either in person or by way of a Facetime / Skype appointment on the day you instruct us. We will work efficiently thereafter on your behalf but you do need to respond

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If there is a mortgage, then don’t DIY but work closely with an experienced financial consultant too, who will have a good relationship with lenders and be able to push for a quick valuation, and turn around forms as fast as possible. Watch out for the small print and check all the information you provide, as a simple misspelling of a middle name on a mortgage offer can delay things if amendments are needed. Sometimes a lender will impose a condition, such as a requirement to carry out damp and timber treatment, before they will allow funds to be drawn down. Do instruct on your own survey immediately if you want one separately from the lenders’ valuation and for the same reason, that you need time on your side - if there are serious issues arising provide the full written report to the agent and re-negotiate early on in proceedings. To ensure that your competing buyer doesn’t get a chance to step in and so that you do not irritate your vendors keep a cool head and maintain a polite, receptive tone - this is not just a requirement for the initial negotiation but will do much to keep everyone on your side if problems surface. Just remember the agents are extremely


Ask the experts

skilled negotiators so don’t bury your head, raise concerns promptly and let them help - they will have worked through the solution to any given scenario many times before this and are equally very motivated to get the deal through, as they operate on a No Sale No Fee basis. However, it’s also very important that you don’t change the goalposts without good cause - any element of re-negotiation, especially attempted a day or two before deadline, will seem suspiciously strategic - and there is clearly a competitor waiting in the wings, too, for this purchase, able to pounce at the first sign of trouble. The Memorandum of Sale (issued to both solicitors, the vendor and you) will state not just the agreed sale price and timescales for exchange but also any fixtures and fittings and white goods included within the deal, so don’t try to be clever by adding other things at the last minute - transactions have fallen through before over an argument about a bathroom mirror, so it’s just not worth it!

are sent via email - hopefully, the vendor’s solicitors will also reply on the same day by e-mail to minimise delay. If a mortgage is involved, we will undertake various searches on your behalf - our comprehensive pack includes a local authority search, a drainage and water search, an environmental report, a planning review and finally an energy and infrastructure report. Most results will come back within 48 hours but we will generally ask a personal search company to carry out the local authority search on our behalf as some local authorities are taking over forty days, would you believe! So that you fully understand everything about this important investment, we will report to you on a stage-by-stage basis on each aspect - e.g. what the deeds say, what the searches have revealed, etc., giving you plenty of opportunity to ask any questions and to get the replies within any deadline. Most problems

Watch out for the small print and check all the information you provide, as a simple misspelling of a middle name on a mortgage offer can delay things if amendments are needed. Meanwhile we will review the contract pack from your seller’s solicitors, look at the property title deeds and explain their meaning to you in plain English, check the property information form and other paperwork (such as planning documentation) and make sure that everything is correct from a legal point of view. If there are any questions arising, we will get back to the seller’s solicitors immediately. We try to operate a paperless office at Thomas Legal Group, so all communications wherever possible

with deeds can be easily overcome with some sort of legal insurance, so don’t worry needlessly - for example, where extensions have been built without planning permission or building regulation approval, lack of rights to get to the property or even when there is a flying freehold (when part of your property overhangs property owned by a third party), such insurance policies are available instantly to us online and are usually only a few hundred pounds as a oneoff premium.

Stacey has worked in law since 1997, firstly in commercial property then transferring over to residential in 2000/2001. She is an Associate within the firm having qualified as a Chartered Legal Executive in 2009.You can contact her at the Gloucester office on 01452 657973 or visit 117


Ask the experts

Andy Soye

Mat Faraday

Dispelling Holiday Letting Myths: #2


I have been told by my holiday letting agent that to save on costs I should always take a security deposit – what are your thoughts? The question of whether or not to ask guests for a security deposit is commonly debated by holiday cottage owners. Some insist that it is essential, as holding a security deposit ensures that any breakages / additional cleaning costs are paid for by the guests. This is the rationale behind your agency’s advice, that it therefore saves you money. Whilst most owners accept that a security deposit helps to control costs, the more important question for you is: “will taking a security deposit increase my overall profits?” The truth is that there is no absolute right or wrong answer to this question so, at Character Cottages, we are not prescriptive about the use of security deposits; instead we try to ensure that owners are fully aware of both sides of the argument to enable them to make an informed choice. Although the benefits of taking a security deposit may appear obvious, there are also negative implications that are not always as easy to quantify. When the positive and negative factors are weighed up objectively, it is rarely clear-cut to say whether a security deposit will help to increase or decrease profits. The benefits of taking security deposits include the knowledge that you have cash under your control to cover the cost of any breakages or additional cleaning costs (up to the amount of the security deposit), and the ability to take that cash unilaterally in the event of a dispute. There is also a common belief that guests who have paid a security deposit will typically have a “heightened sense of awareness” that will make them more careful with the property. Weighing against these positive factors are some important risks, including the fact that some guests will simply not book a cottage if a security deposit is required, due to

118 Cotswold Homes Magazine

their fear that owners will unfairly exploit them (albeit a fear mostly borne from apocryphal stories of “buy-to-let” landlords notoriously abusing the security deposits they take) and, as a consequence, some guests will insist on a detailed check-in and check-out being undertaken. As well as the onerous cost of doing full inventory checks, these are not really practical for holiday cottages taking fifty to sixty bookings a year, with only a few hours in between bookings. Possibly the biggest risk, however, with security deposits is if owners unilaterally withhold money for something that guests claim they didn’t do, or don’t believe was their fault - for example if something broke as a result of general wear and tear, rather than guest misuse. In these instances, the most likely outcome nowadays is that the guests will use the power of social media, in particular TripAdvisor, to air their grievances. The impact is then the potential loss of several bookings each year, with a corresponding loss of revenue that can easily run into thousands of pounds, depending upon the size of the cottage. Although it is very difficult to quantify the potential loss of revenue, owners should consider the risk compared with the potential savings that might be achieved. In reality, for some owners the financial implications of taking security deposits are less important than the perceived peace of mind they feel, but whatever your personal view is, the key thing to bear in mind is that security deposits do come with risks as well as benefits - they are not cost free! Andrew Soye and Mat Faraday are both qualified Chartered Accountants and are the founders of Character Cottages, one of the leading luxury holiday letting businesses in the Cotswolds. Telephone: 020 8935 5375 Website: Email:

Maycroft House


2 Siskin Road


SALE AGREED AFTER FIRST OPEN DAY A rare opportunity to purchase an exclusive five bedroom detached new build house, situated in approximately 1/3 acre and offered for sale with a 10 year LABC certificate. EPC Rating:TBC

SALE AGREED AT JUST UNDER THE ASKING PRICE An immaculately presented four bedroom detached house beautifully arranged over three floors and enjoying lovely views over the neighbouring countryside. EPC Rating: E

15 De Haviland Road

27 Snipe Road



SALE AGREED WITHIN 5% OF THE ASKING PRICE A well established detached family home on the very edge of Upper Rissington, enjoying fabulous views over open farmland to the rear of the property.The property has a generous mature garden with an attractive mix of shrubs, herbaceous border and lawn. EPC Rating: E

SOLD AT FULL ASKING PRICE A well presented two double bedroom semi-detached house in Upper Rissington with flexible accommodation and room to extend (subject to the necessary consents), ideal for first time and investment buyers. EPC Rating: E

20 Hawker Square

4 Bleriot Road


SOLD WITHIN 3% OF THE ASKING PRICE A well-presented three bedroom mid terrace, extended property with off road parking and garden situated in the up and coming village of Upper Rissington. EPC Rating: D


SOLD AT FULL ASKING PRICE A beautifully presented semi-detached two double bedroom property with conservatory, generous rear garden, off road parking for several vehicles and potential to extend (subject to necessary consents). EPC Rating: D

view all our properties at


6 Smith Barry Circus


7 Hercules Close


LET AGREED AT FULL ASKING PRICE, MULTIPLE APPLICATIONS A detached, extended four bedroom property with off road parking and generous garden backing on to neighbouring countryside. EPC Rating: E

LET AGREED BEFORE LIVE MARKETING TENANTS MOVED IN TWO DAYS LATER A brand new four bedroom family home set in the popular location of Upper Rissington on the new Victory Fields development. EPC Rating: B

9 Hart Close

13 Hart Close



LET AGREED AT FULL ASKING PRICE ON FIRST VIEWING A newly built semi-detached property set in the popular location of Upper Rissington on the new Victory Fields development. EPC Rating: B


11 Sopwith Road

17 Southgate Court


LET AGREED AT FULL ASKING PRICE, MULTIPLE APPLICATIONS A semi-detached two double bedroom property offering spacious ground floor accommodation within a good sized garden. EPC Rating: G

A brand new semi-detached property set in the popular location of Upper Rissington on the new Victory Fields development. EPC Rating: B


LET AGREED AT FULL ASKING PRICE, MULTIPLE APPLICATIONS A well-presented one bedroom property with additional loft room currently used as a second bedroom, enjoying open aspect views to the rear over neighbouring countryside, situated in the popular village of Upper Rissington. EPC Rating: E

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

Upper Rissington

Living the High Life At Upper Rissington Karen Harrison explains why Upper Rissington has become the village of choice for family life in the North Cotswolds and a firm favourite for landlord investors The former RAF base at Upper Rissington, considered a ‘godforsaken outpost’ by many airmen and their families back in the day, has seen a huge reversal in fortunes after being abandoned by the American air force at the end of the cold war in the mid 90s. Left to decay for some three years before the MOD finally sold everything off for private development (except the airfield itself), the site then included various dilapidated, no longer fit-for-purpose administrative and light-industrial buildings, a number of gargantuan aircraft hangers and around three hundred mid-century, brickbuilt homes. Ranging from two and three bedroomed terraced homes arranged around wide greens to a genteel, exclusive crescent of splendid officers’ residences with huge gardens overlooking stunning views on the edge of the village (designed by renowned architect Sir Edwin Lutyens, no less), whether great or small, all these original properties were in need of considerable TLC. Even by the time we moved our young family here during 2004, the pioneers of the first few years still needed a generous dollop of good faith in the future. Perched almost a thousand feet above sea level on the Oxfordshire edge of the Cotswold escarpment, renowned for its micro-climate of extreme winters and hot windy summers, served by a clearly creaking infrastructure (including exorbitantly priced LPG for heating), in a state of advanced decay having been left for so long to the ravages of nature it was understandably a struggle in the early days for many resident, settled Cotswoldians to be persuaded of the advantages - indeed, most refused even to consider the prospect, continuing to refer disparagingly to ‘The Camp’ for some time to come. This generally adverse local opinion was echoed by all the established North Cotswold estate agencies but as a forward-looking business and as a family we chose to invest with good reason. Plenty of young couples and families, mostly then incomers from Oxfordshire (especially those who had previously served in the armed forces) had no trouble at all in recognising the huge inherent potential of these sturdily built, generous homes. Applicants had literally queued round the

block for the release of each refurbished phase, initially offered to the market at knockdown prices. Over the next five years or so, everyone who bought here was able to capitalise massively on the village’s good fortune, extending and updating to their hearts’ content. Prices rose exponentially, far outstripping the pace of the rest of the local market and by 2004, homes here were more or less equal to marketing prices found in Bourton on the Water’s main residential marketplace. Upper Rissington had turned out to be the North Cotswolds’ best kept secret and a savvy, entrepreneurial gem - a safe, quiet, neighbourly, happy and settled child-friendly community blessed by the particular advantages of its position, set within a golden triangle of Burford, Stow on the Wold and Bourton on the Water. Offering easy access to amenities, close to major road and rail networks as well as great local schools, surrounded by wide open skies in the heart of stunning open countryside, those who took the plunge early on were richly rewarded not only financially but by the quality of life here. As with all good stories, of course, there were still difficult obstacles to be overcome. Having exhausted the potential offered by re-sales and infill, threatened by the eye-watering costly repair of an overburdened drainage system and hotly pursued by Cotswold District Council for the proper upgrade and provision of promised local amenities, the original developers promptly abandoned ship. Buyers’ solicitors began to worry about sustainability of infrastructures and sales faltered. With the failure of investment and the looming impact of the recession it seemed Upper Rissington would suffer an ignominious, irreversible slide in values. Fortunately, however, help was on hand. Another sustained burst of energy and creativity was provided by hardwon planning permission in 2010, allowing for demolition of the old buildings on the original light industrial site, to be replaced by a carefully designed and spacious development of around three hundred new homes. Fortuitously landscaped by avenues of mature British trees, equipped with updated amenities including natural gas, a new village hall, upgraded supermarket and attractive market square at its

heart, the piece-de-resistance was undoubtedly a bespoke four-classroom building serving as a split site for the established Outstanding Great Rissington primary school (now re-named ‘The Rissington School’). This proved to be the star attraction. Today, almost a year later, there are no fears about sustainability, quite the reverse. The transformation of the original RAF base goes on apace and sales here have been exceptionally brisk, at twice the expected pace of new homes sites. Unlike other areas where the arrival of new-build has had a suppressing effect on prices for main residential properties (such as neighbouring Bourton on the Water and Moreton in Marsh where the market has remained simply stable over the last few years), values across the whole of Upper Rissington have gone up by 9% since planning permission was granted. Far from being the poor country cousin it was once considered, this village is now the place for North Cotswold families to enjoy a great country lifestyle. Nowhere is this more in evidence than in Smith Barry Crescent and Smith Barry Circus, where the old officers’ homes and a dozen or so more recent, substantial family properties are estimated by Zoopla to have gone up by an astonishing 20% in value since 2011. This reclusive part of the village sits between the old and the new, serendipitously enjoying a peaceful position surrounded by open farmland and enjoying fabulous views – unsurprisingly, very little comes onto the market and when it does, there is inevitably hot competition. Currently marketed by Harrison James & Hardie in Smith Barry Circus is Maycroft House, a one-off new build property situated in approximately one third of an acre. Offering a high-end specification and a complete tick-list for every aspirational family, Maycroft House was launched just before the New Year with an asking price of £635,000. No surprise, then, that this highly desirable home was snapped up on the first Open Viewing weekend but for those disappointed by a missed opportunity, fortunately all is not lost. As the new-build development extends towards the natural boundary provided by the airfield (a little used commodity, save for occasional visits from parachutists, the odd Chinook or B52 and a light aircraft / glider club that operates at weekends only), Bovis Homes will soon begin a phase of similarly luxurious family homes. Situated in culde-sacs designed to reflect the original vernacular of the original officers’ homes, these new builds will offer luxurious interiors, generous living space and great plots with spreading gardens and countryside views. Just as likely to be snapped up as Maycroft House, release dates are yet to be announced but the phase is likely to be ready for occupation in late autumn. In the meantime, to find out more about this wonderful village and to register your interest, simply contact Harrison James & Hardie, sole agents for the development, on 01451 822977. 123

Upper Rissington


good reasons why Upper Rissington is such a great place to live



Upper Rissington sits within a “golden triangle” between Burford, Stow on the Wold and Bourton on the Water - ten minutes to Kingham Station, Oxford in thirty minutes, London in an hour and a half, only five minutes to the Fosseway, five minutes to the A40 – peaceful isolation with great accessibility and amenities within a stone’s throw.



Perched high on a plain with stunning views and surrounded by beautiful countryside, it is a very rural place to inhabit – red kites and crows wheeling high in the sky during the day are replaced by barn owls and bats at twilight and meanwhile a host of indigenous wildlife invades the back gardens… hedgehogs, deer, foxes, rabbits, songbirds, woodpeckers, squirrels, butterflies… If you wish to engender a sense of connection to a natural environment in your children, this is the place to live.

124 Cotswold Homes Magazine

UppeR RiSSingTon

photos reproduced by kind permission of David Harrison



The Rissington Primary school.The split site school caters for children aged 4 - 11 at both Great Rissington and the new four-classrom building in Upper Rissington, where there is also a thriving pre-school provision. A minibus is on hand to ferry home-cooked school meals and children between the two sites - combining for church services, get-togethers, after-school care and sports, the school ensures many opportunities (both for parents and children) to socialise.


proper fAmiLy homes. the oLd…

The original houses are mostly on large plots - substantial, spacious, solid and traditionally built with fireplaces, big kitchens, roomy living spaces and great gardens. Many houses have already been refurbished and extended but there are still occasional ones with potential to do so and for a growing family they are a great choice, whether you have £250,000 or £1 million to spend.


And the new

Taking the original local vernacular as a blueprint but prettified, surrounded by open spaces and mature trees, offering spacious interiors and decent plots, this new development is a great success story. A host of amenities are provided within a minute or two, including the much-feted primary school - coming soon, the new market square and supermarket.


A simpLe chiLdhood

Upper Rissington is a place seemingly of a different, more innocent time where children can safely walk or cycle from one end of the village to another, go to the shop for a packet of sweets or an errand for mum, take a sledge out with friends in the snow, build dens, climb trees and play in fields all within sight and touching distance of home, with friendly neighbours who keep a benign eye on proceedings.


A greAt commUnity

In 1999, there were no preconceived notions about what to expect, just a commitment to forge a new place where everyone might live well.This settled community has remained forward-looking, fuelled by positive energy, still happy to make new friendships and welcoming to incomers. Modern life is often peripatetic and unconnected but residents here get together for walks and sport, village fetes and barbecues, the odd summer street party and fireworks – and when it snows, everyone comes out to play!


AnXiety-free Living

The North Cotswolds is generally a low crime area and Upper Rissington is no exception – another big upside of a connected, rural neighbourhood of settled, hard-working families, the village is imbued with a sense of optimism and wellbeing, safe by night and day.You will get a smile from an unfamiliar passer-by, you can throw open your

windows and doors in the summer, take the dog for a walk on a dark night and send your children out to play without worrying.


A sense of seAsons pAssing

A host of mature traditional British trees populate every avenue, providing shelter from the winter winds and a profusion of colour to herald in warmer weather. Bleak and glorious by turns, Upper Rissington has its own micro-climate, the coldest days and the hottest ones, too - snow by the bucket load in winter, late cherry blossom springs, balmy summer days on top of the hill and harvest fields in the distance, deep autumnal reds on grey wet afternoons shrouded in fog, hoar frosts that coat every twig, leaf and blade of grass ice-white against a clear blue sky – weather that simply takes your breath away.


stArs, pLAnets And sUnsets

High on a trig point and open to the elements it may be, but with that comes the greatest beauty of this place - the vastness of the sky. In winter, a frosty night will reveal thousands upon thousands of stars or gardens fully illuminated by the gleam of a huge low moon. In summer, ethereal mists rise from the fields at dawn and on hot nights, pink fish-scale clouds turn violet as the sun sets on the Windrush valley.To appreciate the calm and mindful stillness of country life, here one has to look no further than up. 125



Cotswold School

has been named The Sunday Times' Comprehensive School of the Year 2015/16

Bourton-on-the-Water’s The Cotswold School has been named The Sunday Times’ Comprehensive School of the Year. Superb results, the school's steady climb up the league tables over the last 4 years, a fourth consecutive ‘Outstanding’ Ofsted inspection which rated the school ‘outstanding’ across all categories, as well as the school's reputation for excellent extracurricular provision and facilities have all contributed to The Cotswold School achieving this accolade. In addition to the coveted 'School of the Year' title, The Cotswold School has climbed the ranks on The Sunday Times' league tables. Following its outstanding results at both GCSE and A Level, the school made it into the Sunday Times Top 20 Comprehensives last year (ranked 18th) and has, this year, climbed yet further to 12th amongst the country’s comprehensives. This follows The Daily Telegraph's ranking of The Cotswold School's Sixth Form as 14th in the country for A level results achieved in August 2015. For the second year running, the school's Sixth Form ranked 1st in Gloucestershire, according to The Daily Telegraph, and currently outranks comprehensive Sixth Forms in Oxfordshire, Warwickshire and Worcestershire. 130 Cotswold Homes Magazine

“There is a warm and welcoming ethos here and it’s a place where everyone, whatever their background or abilities can shine. Being a Welshman in The Cotswold School, I have seen this first hand!” The Department for Education has recently highlighted that statistically, there is no better performing school within 75 miles. What is the secret of the Bourton on the Water school’s success?
The school's Headteacher, Mr William Morgan, says: ‘Happy students and staff ... and a lot of hard work. The only way we can achieve what we do at The Cotswold School is through hard work – and that’s from all of us. ‘Teaching and non-teaching staff, students and Governors are all committed to our pupils excelling as individuals. And our parents and carers show that commitment too. We do not work hard in isolation. We work hard as a team.'
 Mr Morgan continues: ‘To receive such national

recognition by The Sunday Times is even more gratifying considering the ongoing changes to the national curriculum, the more robust exam requirements and the increasing need for schools like ours to produce more and more with decreasing funding.’ 
 ‘I have had the privilege of leading The Cotswold School since 2011 and I said at the time, it was like getting the opportunity to captain the sports team that you have backed all your life! This holds just as true today. I am extraordinarily lucky. ‘There is a warm and welcoming ethos here and it’s a place where everyone, whatever their background or abilities can shine. Being a Welshman in The Cotswold School, I have seen this first hand!’

Find out more about The Cotswold School at:

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