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Author Rosie Price on Her Debut Novel Artist Rosalind Lyons Art and the Bard Competitions Panto Tickets, Racing and More Events Our Pick of Winter Entertainment Hot Property Beautiful Homes, Expert Advice


Turn the Page Strange to think that, at the time of writing, we’re only a couple of months away from being back in the Twenties. Except it’s the Twenty Twenties this time. It should feel like the end of an era; the beginning of something bold and new. And yet it isn’t. We’re all still bogged down in Brexit and Boris, trade deals and Trump. Things will change, though. They always do. Well, 2019 has been a rather cultural year here in the Cotswolds; The Times and Sunday Times Cheltenham Festival of Literature recently celebrated its 70th birthday. We can thank Cheltenham, the great beardy grandfather of all literary festivals, for all the brilliant imitators that have followed; as per Wikipedia, it’s the ‘longest running festival of its kind in the world’. (See — there are still some things that can be counted upon to deliver in a timely fashion!) On the subject of literature, our star interviewee this time is none other than brilliant new author Rosie Price, whose debut What Red Was sparked a bidding war. Rosie now lives in London, but she grew up in Stroud; readers will find that the Cotswolds has a role to play in her sensational first novel. We can’t wait to see what she comes up with next. One of the best things about spending winter in the Cotswolds is the festive entertainment. There are some world-class pantomimes and Christmas fairs on offer in this part of the world — and we’re offering tickets to some of the best shows, including The RSC’s The Boy in the Dress, a musical adaptation of David Walliams’ beloved book. But that’s not all — we’ve got tickets to Puss in Boots at The Theatre, Chipping Norton; Beauty and the Beast at The Oxford Playhouse… and so much more, including New Year’s Day racing at Cheltenham Racecourse. Even if you don’t happen to win a prize, dear reader, you should definitely take a look at our Events section — there’s so much going on at this time of year, we promise you won’t want for distractions. It wouldn’t be Cotswold Homes without property and, as usual, we’ll be closing our last issue of the year with the latest expert advice and a good look at some gorgeous country homes. So put your feet up in front of the fire (or your preferred eco-friendly heating alternative) and treat yourself to this brand new issue.

Contents 08 Interview with Author

A new novelist on her acclaimed breakthrough

12 Artist Rosalind Lyons

The Bard is at the heart of this upcoming show

18 The Boy in the Dress

Get the skinny on The Royal Shakespeare Company’s festive musical

24 Literary Cotswolds

The great authors who gallivanted in Gloucestershire

30 Your Winter Racing Calendar

Your guide to the top events before The Festival

42 How to Throw the Perfect

Winter Party

Be the host they love the most

59 Events

Our pick of things to do

68 Hot Property


Rosie Price

The best of the North Cotswolds market

The Cotswold Homes Team Cover Artist Cover image: After a night of Snow by artist Lucy Pratt cropped (Oil on Canvas - 20 x 22 inches). Lucy is represented by Stow-on-the-Wold’s Fosse Gallery. See more of Lucy’s work at www.lucypratt.com

Cotswold Homes Magazine Our next edition, Spring 2020 will bring you more upcoming events, competitions and articles showcasing the local area helping you get more out of life in this beautiful part of the world. To speak to a member of the team, please call 01451 822977 or email: Editor’s Desk: matt@cotswold-homes.com Property: karen@harrisonjameshardie.co.uk Marketing & Sales: keelin@cotswold-homes.com Website & Admin: admin@cotswold-homes.com





WIN! A FAMILY TICKET TO THE RSC’S BRAND NEW MUSICAL THE BOY IN THE DRESS We’ve teamed up with the Royal Shakespeare Company to give one lucky winner the chance to see the brand new musical The Boy in the Dress, in Stratford-upon-Avon. From the heart-warming story by David Walliams, adapted by Mark Ravenhill and with songs and lyrics by Robbie Williams and Guy Chambers, the Company that brought you Matilda The Musical bring the story of Dennis and the joy of being different to the Royal Shakespeare Theatre. The Boy in the Dress runs from 8 November 2019 to 8 March 2020, at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon.



www.rsc.org.uk/theboyinthedress Terms and conditions apply. Subject to availability. Prize includes four tickets to a performance of The Boy in the Dress, chosen by the winner. Does not include transport. Tickets cannot be exchanged or refunded. To enter this competition, visit www.cotswold-homes.com/ competitions-and-offers This competition closes 29 November 2019.


THE GREAT COTSWOLD HOMES WINTER COMPETITION GIVEAWAY WIN! FOUR TICKETS TO OXFORD PLAYHOUSE’S CHRISTMAS PANTO, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST Meet Beauty – smart as a whip, bold as brass, with a heart of pure gold. She’s the opposite of the Beast – gruff, rough and in need of a shave. But when Beauty finds herself trapped in a magical castle with the Beast, the two of them have to learn to get along. Will they meet a beastly end? Or have a beautiful ‘happily ever after’? One thing’s for sure, our mismatched pair will need a hand from you to make their dreams come true. These four tickets are for the performance to be held on Saturday 7 December 2019 at 4pm. Please see the website for production information. www.oxfordplayhouse.com This competition closes 22 November 2019

WIN! FOUR TICKETS TO THE THEATRE, CHIPPING NORTON’S CHRISTMAS PANTO, PUSS IN BOOTS King Rat is lording it over London, and his gang of rodent gangsters are wreaking havoc on the old market in Albert Square. Only one highly fashionable feline can save the day. But he needs a sidekick, and some stylish footwear! Chippy’s panto twist on this classic tale, set in 1950s London, is stuffed full of daring escapes, ruthless robberies and frankly spectacular car chases. It will be a fast and furr-ious adventure! Family friendly from start to finish, and with all the sumptuous costumes, great original music and daft theatricality that only comes from the national home of traditional pantomime. Puss in Boots runs from 13 November 2019 to 12 January 2020, at The Theatre, Chipping Norton. These four tickets are for any band D/C performance of the panto (subject to availability). Please see the website for production information. To enter this competition, visit www.cotswold-homes.com/competitions-and-offers This competition closes on 29 November 2019.





WIN! FOUR TICKETS TO NEW YEAR’S DAY RACING AT CHELTENHAM RACECOURSE! The New Year’s Day racing at Cheltenham is a real treat; it’s the perfect way to see in 2020. Read more about the races in our feature this issue, and find out more about the fixtures at Cheltenham and Warwick Racecourses at www.thejockeyclub.co.uk To enter this competition, visit www.cotswold-homes.com/ competitions-and-offers This competition closes on 10 December 2019.

WIN! FOUR TICKETS TO CROCODILES OF THE WORLD, near Burford! Come face-to-face with some of the world’s most feared predators in a fun, safe and stimulating environment. With underwater viewing, talks, animal encounters and feeds throughout the day, there’s plenty to keep the family happy at the UK’s only crocodile zoo! From critically endangered Siamese crocodiles from Cambodia, to Chinese alligators, Nile crocodiles and American alligators, a visit to Crocodiles of the World in Oxfordshire will take you on a journey of discovery around the world, meeting different species of crocodiles, caiman and alligators, as well as meerkats, otters, tortoises and kookaburras. To enter this competition, visit www.cotswold-homes.com/ competitions-and-offers This competition closes on 10 December 2019.






Deck your home in seasonal style with this lovely prize, courtesy of The Cotswold Florist Studio! A festive centrepiece could be yours to collect from The Hangar at Upper Rissington on 21 December; don’t miss this opportunity to bring your Christmas to life!

WIN! Passes for one family entrance into the PLAY BARN* at FOSSEWAY GARDEN CENTRE Time to run, jump, and slide… there’s endless amounts of fun to be had running, jumping, sliding, and burning off lots of energy at the Fosseway Garden Centre’s Play Barn! The Fosseway Play Barn is proud to be a part of Fosseway Garden Centre, which was established in 1990 by Tim and Gill Godwin and has been providing for the local community ever since.

To enter this competition, visit www.cotswold-homes.com/ competitions-and-offers See more from the Cotswold Florist Studio at www.facebook. com/thecotswoldflorist This competition closes 10 December 2019.

WIN! PRIVATE PILATES SESSION with BCORE Pilates in Upper Rissington If you are completely new to Pilates, this is a great way to try it for the first time. In the hour session you can experience some Matwork and Reformer Pilates, with plenty of individual attention at a pace suitable to you. BCORE Pilates is based in Upper Rissington and is run by STOTT Pilates Certified Instructor Charlotte Barnes.

To enter this competition, visit www.cotswold-homes.com/ competitions-and-offers

To enter this competition, visit www.cotswold-homes.com/ competitions-and-offers

See more information at www.fossewayplaybarn.co.uk

See more from BCORE Pilates at www.bcorepilates.co.uk

This competition closes 10 December 2019

This competition closes 10 December 2019.

* Admission for 2 adults and up to 3 children








ROSIE PRICE Rosie Price grew up in Gloucestershire and then read English at Cambridge. She worked for three years as an assistant at a literary agency before leaving to focus on her own writing. She lives in London.

Rosie’s first novel, What Red Was, explores the friendship of young adult, Kate Quaile, and her charming best friend Max, who meet in university but share roots in Gloucestershire. Kate is equally drawn to Max’s privileged family, the Rippons, feeling they possess qualities she lacks. But when she becomes the victim of an unexpected attack, it changes her life – and her friendship with Max – forever. Hannah Beckerman of the Guardian praised the book as ‘a brilliantly told tale of class, abuse and familial dysfunction’ which ‘marks the arrival of an exciting new voice in fiction.’ Matt Dicks interviewed Rosie shortly after her appearance at The Times and Sunday Times Cheltenham Festival of Literature. Rosie, I loved your novel, but it really made me think how often, in popular culture, we see sexual assault used simply as a plot device. It’s much rarer to see stories which, like yours, are actually concerned with the trauma of the victim, and the coping processes they come to develop. What was it like to write from this angle?

In many ways, narratives that contain the idea of a wrong being righted are comforting. But the reason I decided not to write from that angle is that it didn’t feel faithful to the true experience that most survivors of sexual assault have – especially when such a large number [of assaults] go unreported. It’s a difficult thing to write. It’s quite a painful thing to sit in that space of irresolution, partly from a narrative point of view; you want cause

and effect to be the main driver, and being in a place of unresolved trauma in really difficult. But the more I sat with it, the more it opened up – it became about Kate’s relationships, her daily life, getting a job, all the details that can get overlooked in a neater narrative. Kate’s relationship with her friend Max is central to the book. Did you find their friendship drove much of the story as you were writing, or had you mapped out most of the plot in advance?

I knew where it was going; I knew their relationship was going to be the thing that was compromised. The key question I kept coming back to was: what does a person have to sacrifice, in terms of identity, in order to deal with their trauma? For Kate, her relationship with Max isn’t just about their friendship; it’s about the world he opens her up to, the career she wants, his social ease and confidence, that comfortable entitlement which she’s never really experienced before… I was building up all these things, knowing that was what was going to be sacrificed in order for Kate to move on and retain her sense of identity. In the end, everything she loves about Max, and all those possibilities and the potential he represents, is no longer tenable if she’s to preserve her integrity. When I went back and edited the book, I felt really sad about having to take all this away from Kate after the rape, because it felt so hopeful to me. But I guess that’s the tragedy of it; she shouldn’t have had to sacrifice that.




Max and Kate meet in university. They soon discover that their families live in very close proximity in Gloucestershire, though it’s clear there’s a class divide between the two. Was class something you wanted to explore from the very beginning?

It became interesting to dig back and see how your conditions can affect your character – whether you want them to or not.

The kernel of the novel, actually, was a short story I’d written that contained a rape scene; from here I started to build relationships and social structures that would prevent this woman from speaking out. Why does this woman not say anything? Why does this man (who became the character of Lewis) feel entitled to do this thing?

Somebody I really love is Edward St Aubyn, author of the Patrick Melrose novels. They are incredible in terms of detailing the effect trauma has on a person. But what I really love about his writing is the way he mixes comedy with tragedy, and how he uses comedy to show the gaps of understanding between people, and to enhance this sense of tremendous isolation that Patrick Melrose experiences. That was something I took a lot of inspiration from; how lightness allows you to go to darker places that you might not have had the stamina to go to before.

Lewis is the main character in which this sense of entitlement manifests. He feels that he is entitled to more, which I don’t think many other characters in the Rippon family feel. It’s festered within him; he feels that he’s owed something, and also has a fear of that thing being taken away. University is a place where, in theory, there’s a lot of social mobility; where people are valued based on their contributions and merits, their efforts and their intelligence. It’s supposed to be a leveller. But I do still feel there’s a certain conditioning that can create these really interesting imbalances. Kate has a hunger to have more – not necessarily in a financial sense, but in cultural capital. She’s grown up feeling embarrassed of her mother, the way she dresses, her house. She sees an opportunity and that makes her vulnerable to wanting things that she hasn’t previously had – things that aren’t necessarily as valuable as she thinks they are. Having grown up in Gloucestershire, I was always really struck by the beautiful countryside, the limestone houses and the aspirational feel. But there are a lot of places and postcodes where there isn’t a lot of money, or employment, and where people are really struggling. My school had a wonderful mix of people connecting in this fairly level place. But, as I got older, I started thinking about the advantages and disadvantages that people had, and that was even more pronounced when I went to university.



Are there any books or authors that are in the DNA of What Red Was?

the other side of it, as I have been for the last year and a half. There was a five-way auction as publishers scrambled for the book. What did that feel like?

It felt amazing, actually. I felt really proud of what I’d done… just having somebody else believe in your story is amazing. Probably the best thing was finding an agent, because that’s the first person who is really committing to your story and is getting people to read it. Then you see the book jacket design and it becomes more and more surreal until your book actually arrives in the post. I still don’t believe it. [Laughs].

I think I was also reading Elena Ferrante at the time. She creates these two characters whose relationship is under constant threat by the violence they face from the world; it’s the pressure cooker of this setting that drives them apart. Looking at the harm that power imbalances and violence can do to that sort of relationship was something I really wanted to explore, in the context of sexual violence. After leaving university, you worked as an assistant to a literary agent. What lessons did you learn about writing and publishing during that time?

I studied English Literature at university, where there’s a lot of focus on use of language and on images and meaning. But the thing they can neglect is how important story is. Reading lots of submissions as an assistant, and seeing lots of unedited manuscripts, it quickly became clear to me that it was the stories that had a propulsive plot, that had characters driving the plot, making decisions that had consequences, that really stand out. Reading hundreds of pages really makes clear the importance of structure, and how important good characterization is to keeping a reader’s interest. Obviously I learned a lot about the publishing industry, but it’s very different when you’re on

What Red Was is published by Harvill Secker. From 12.30pm - 13.30pm on 10th November 2019, Rosie will participate in the event Made in Stroud at the Stroud Book Festival, where she’ll be sharing the spotlight with novelists Melanie Golding and Mandy Robotham. Please visit www.stroudbookfestival.org.uk/ event/made-in-stroud to book tickets and to see more information. This interview has been edited for length.










Did you always want to be a painter? I think yes, I did always want to be an artist of some description from an early age. At school, as well as basics in drawing and painting, because of the interests of our art teacher, the curriculum was more about graphic design and lettering, which I have also always enjoyed. When I first went to university, I briefly studied graphics (before dropping out early!) and then went on to work in magazine publishing in London as a sub-editor and subsequently as an editorial designer and art editor. After a few years I increasingly felt I wanted to study painting, and returned to university in my late 20s, enrolling on a Fine Art degree course at Bretton Hall College in Yorkshire. When did you move towards figurative painting as your specialism? I did experiment briefly with abstraction as a student, but never to the extent of completely abandoning representation. I have always been attracted by stories and character, the suggestion of a narrative, and inventing people. And faces, I love faces!

Good Night, My Good Owl

Il Buffone

Which painters have directly or indirectly inspired your style? Indirectly there are many, but the most influential, I suppose, are the painters from the early Renaissance in Italy and the Netherlands, such as Piero della Francesca, Botticelli, Mantegna, Giotto, Holbein, Jan van Eyck and Hans Memling. While in my studio, these are the principal and most frequent references, and the often anonymous portraits of the Tudor and Jacobean period. When did you begin to show an interest in art and theatre? I have always loved the theatre, particularly for the strong visual aspects, but a more focussed investigation of the connections between painting and theatre developed from my first visit to Shakespeare’s Globe in 2003; this was a pivotal experience – for some time my references had mostly been reproductions of Renaissance and Early Modern paintings, but at the Globe, the remote themes and subjects which had been present in my work for some time were wonderfully brought to life and provided a very ‘real’, tangible context and focus for reference and research.

Two Lovely Berries




To Make a Puppet of Me

I felt a strong affinity with the Globe’s ethos: the theatre symbolises a bridge between the historical and the contemporary world, a liminal space where past and present coincide and co-exist – a contemporary creative response to the past, which is very much at the heart of what I do. The figures in my paintings are imagined as belonging to both now and then, flitting back and forth across the threshold between past and present. Can you tell us more about your time as Artist in Residence at Shakespeare’s Globe - and what you took away from the experience? After my first visit to the Globe, I managed to get limited access to the auditorium to make some drawings, and also to the Theatre’s library to research the history of the Theatre. I subsequently worked for a couple of years as Artist in Residence and was able to observe rehearsals and performances – and made drawings in the costume and prop stores and costume archives – this research was central to my PhD and culminated in an exhibition of paintings at the Globe Exhibition in 2012. What was really fascinating, and crucial to my images and research, was to observe, particularly in rehearsals, how the action and the actors would move between reality and performance or ‘illusion’, within the distinctive architectural space of the Globe auditorium. I spent much time exploring ideas of shifting between different states – between reality and artifice, shadows and light, male and female, and how this can be expressed in



I Will Unclasp a Secret Book


a painting. There are many parallels to be drawn between the painted image and theatre: in my images, like a playwright, I invent a story and characters and place them within a fixed space, but also consider ideas of past and present; magic, supernatural and the uncanny; ambiguity of identity; costume and disguise and the nature of silence.

I don’t always know, or at least can’t always articulate, the exact relationship between Shakespeare’s words and the images I create. The titles, at least those taken directly from Shakespeare, do indicate a sensory and lateral engagement with the text. Consciously ambiguous, they do, I think, suggest an association, but are equivocal.

The works of William Shakespeare have strongly influenced your art. What aspects or qualities of Shakespeare’s work resonate with you as an artist?

Apart from the Bard, are there any other literary figures who have informed your work?

I have loved Shakespeare since school and, as my work became more and more influenced by the 16th and 17th Century portraits, his work was a natural association. I am particularly interested in ambiguity and uncertainty in my images – you don’t quite know who or what they are, so each individual viewer may have a different response or perception – and there is much ambiguity in Shakespeare’s stories and characters, providing infinite possibilities for adaptation, re-invention, re-imagining, in whatever place, time or medium they are performed. Although, sometimes, my images depict a particular character, the figures in my paintings are anonymous – identity, time and place are uncertain – I don’t like to be constrained by specifics. In this exhibition for the Fosse Gallery, the images continue to be linked directly or indirectly with Shakespeare – the title of the show and several paintings are taken from the poetry or plays.

I love to read, and have some favourite authors, but none directly influence the images in the way that Shakespeare’s work does. When I work, I always listen to audiobooks – anything with a long, complex, ideally dark and thrilling narrative is ideal and helps me to concentrate. A particular favourite is Dickens – although the Victorian context is not directly relevant, his very vivid characterisation and compelling, labyrinthine plots do seem to subconsciously inspire. What sort of reference materials might you use during the development of a painting? As is probably obvious, I am very interested in costume. The history of costume, particularly the significance and aesthetic of the elaborate dress of the Elizabethans and Jacobeans, which is fascinating as well as visually sumptuous. So again, much reference to 16th and 17th century portraits, but also research into historical costumes and fashion by costume experts and historians such as Janet Arnold and Jenny Tiramani. For the figures, I often rope in my children Grace and Harry, and my nephews to model


I have always been attracted by stories and character, the suggestion of a narrative, and inventing people. And faces, I love faces!

Cover Thy Head

various poses or body parts! It is important to me that the figures and their costumes are credible, that they could exist either then or now, so accuracy and authenticity of dress is important. But influences for compositions can be from anywhere – the theatre, films, architecture, historical fiction, experience; a combination of associations and first-hand and secondary sources. You are also an illustrator of children’s books. Which projects/stories have been your favourites? I have illustrated quite a few books, and still do occasionally – originally for educational publishers, and more recently children’s fiction. Illustration is a very different process from my painting projects, usually working to a very specific brief, but I enjoy the creative challenges presented by this approach. In the past few years I have particularly enjoyed illustrating The Railway Children and, very appropriately, a children’s version of King Lear.

Rosalind Lyons – An Insubstantial Pageant is at the Fosse Gallery, Stow-on-the-Wold from Sunday 3 November 2019 - Saturday 23 November 2019

Being But Three

See more of Rosalind’s work at www.rosalindlyons.com




David Walliams with the young actors playing Dennis, Darvesh and Lisa James. Photo by Joe Bailey.

SAY YES to THE DRESS This winter’s hottest theatre ticket is surely going to be for The Boy in the Dress, a new musical for all the family, based on David Walliams’ best-selling debut novel. Premiering at Stratford-upon-Avon’s Royal Shakespeare Theatre from 8 November, the show also boasts a score by the chart-topping songwriting team of Robbie Williams and Guy Chambers. The heart-warming story involves 12-year-old Dennis, a star striker in his school’s football team, who also just happens to like dresses.

Photo by Elliot Ingham




“When I first came across The Boy in the Dress,” says Mark, “I remember thinking that it was such a gripping, entertaining and life-affirming story with all the ingredients of a great stage show.

“It’s now 10 years since The Boy in the Dress was first published,” says David, “And we’ve come a long way in that time. Ultimately, I wanted to write a story that encouraged people to recognise that difference can be celebrated, that it’s okay to be yourself.” The production will be directed by the RSC’s Artistic Director, Gregory Doran, and adapted for the stage by acclaimed playwright, Mark Ravenhill. It follows in the footsteps of other RSC musicals, including the worldwide hits, Les Misérables and Matilda The Musical. “When I first came across The Boy in the Dress,” says Mark, “I remember thinking that it was such a gripping, entertaining and life-affirming story with all the ingredients of a great stage show. The RSC has a fantastic track record of producing family shows, so when David suggested making his novel into a musical, I thought, let’s go for it!” Robbie Williams and Guy Chambers are, of course, one of the most successful and loved song-writing partnerships in British

pop history. Together they have sold millions of records around the world and are responsible for some of the biggest hit singles of the last 25 years, hits such as Angels, Let Me Entertain You and Rock DJ. Talking about writing the songs for The Boy in the Dress, they said, “We’re beyond excited to be working with the RSC on our first musical theatre collaboration. We’re both big fans of David’s books, so when he approached us about writing the soundtrack we were genuinely delighted. There’s a real freshness, cheekiness and heart to David’s writing which we’ve worked really hard to capture in the music.” Dennis’s dad will be played by Rufus Hound, whose recent RSC credits include The Provoked Wife and Don Quixote. RSC Associate Artist, Forbes Masson, returns to the RSC to play Mr Hawtrey, the strict headmaster from Dennis’s school. They will be joined by Irvine Iqbal as Raj, the shopkeeper, Natasha Lewis as the mum of Dennis’s best friend, Darvesh, and Charlotte Wakefield as French teacher, Miss Windsor.

The Boy in the Dress runs in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon between 8 November 2019 and 8 March 2020 More information and tickets: rsc.org.uk and 01789 331111




Illustration by Julien Pacaud. Original photos by Al Foote III and Richard Lakos


MUSEUM IN BAGHDAD Although it’s called the Royal Shakespeare Company, the world-renowned theatre company also regularly puts on new plays. Shows like Educating Rita, Privates on Parade and, more recently, this year’s hit production of Kunene and the King, all started life at the RSC - and that’s without mentioning the success of its musical adaptations of Les Misérables and Matilda.




Hannah Khalil

Emma Fielding

Rendah Heywood

Rehearsal shots by Ellie Kurttz

This autumn, the RSC has another world première on its hands when it presents A Museum in Baghdad in the intimate Swan Theatre. Penned by Hannah Khalil and directed by RSC Deputy Artistic Director, Erica Whyman, the play tells the story of Gertrude Bell, a pioneering writer, traveller and archaeologist, born in the mid-19th century. She loomed large over the politics of what is now the Middle East, but interestingly did not believe in the vote for women. Set across two time periods – 1926, when the Museum of Iraq in Baghdad was first opened by Gertrude, and 2006, when a

fictional team led by Museum Director Ghalia Hussein are attempting to reopen the museum after the American invasion and looting – the play asks important questions: Who is the museum for? Whose culture are we preserving? And why does it matter when people are dying? “Gertrude Bell is such an important historical figure, but when I came across a portrait of her in the National Portrait Gallery in 2010, I was amazed I’d never heard of her,” says the show’s writer, Hannah. “It seems she was overlooked by the feminist movement in the 1970s – when they were reclaiming female historical

figures – because of her anti-suffrage stance. I set about learning about her and was shocked that she wasn’t a household name – certainly, if she’d been a man, everyone would know who she was, as they do her contemporary TE Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia). So I absolutely wanted to bring her story to the fore in this play too.” Emma Fielding, whose work at the RSC includes A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Twelfth Night and Measure for Measure, plays Gertrude Bell, and Rendah Heywood makes her RSC debut as Ghalia Hussein.

A Museum in Baghdad runs in the Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon between 11 October 2019 and 25 January 2020 More information and tickets: rsc.org.uk and 01789 331111










Literary Cotswolds To mark the occasion of the 70th Cheltenham Literature Festival, we’ve listed the lauded writers who have links to the area. From J.R.R. Tolkien’s declaration of love, to a dying George Orwell’s sanitorium stay, here are the ways literary giants have spent time in the Cotswolds.

Jane Austen Jane Austen moved to Bath with her parents in 1801. Austen embraced the pleasures of city life; she visited the theatre, attended concerts and took long walks to nearby villages. But when it came to writing, Austen was rather less productive than she had been in the countryside. Some scholars believe she was miserable; others claim she just had more distractions on her doorstep.

After Austen’s father George suddenly died in 1805, her life in Bath came to an end. Bath remains a popular destination for fans of Austen’s fiction and, in September 2020, will host the 20th Jane Austen festival, a celebration of Regency fashion and pastimes (such as taking afternoon tea and dancing).

J.M. Barrie Peter Pan author J.M. Barrie often visited the Cotswolds. He regularly played at Broadway with his own celebrity cricket team, the Allahakbarries*, who included literary luminaries such as Arthur Conan Doyle, A.A. Milne and Jerome K. Jerome. He was also a guest at Stanway House, where his snoring could be heard throughout the night. Such was Barrie’s love for the Cotswolds - and for cricket - that he even gifted a cricket pavilion to the local team. You can visit it in Stanway. *Barrie (mistakenly) believed the words Allahu Akbar meant heaven help us.

Lewis Carroll The brilliant mathematician Charles Dodgson (better known by his pen name, Lewis Carroll) spent most of his adult life teaching at Oxford’s Christ Church College. Lewis was fond of visiting his friend Edward Litton, the rector of St Andrew’s Church in Naunton, but it was his friendship with the Liddell family of Oxford that led to the creation of his literary classic.



Carroll would often accompany the Liddells on outings and picnics. It was while they were rowing on the Isis that young Alice Liddell begged Carroll to write down the stories he entertained them with. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and its sequel, Alice Through the Looking Glass, became publishing sensations.


Winston Churchill

Arthur Conan Doyle

Churchill won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1953 ‘for his mastery of historical and biographical description as well as for brilliant oratory in defending exalted human values.’

The creator of Sherlock Holmes was one of the many writers drafted by J.M. Barrie to play in his celebrity cricket team, the Allahakbarries.

Aside from being a bestselling author, Churchill was also a voracious reader; books he loved included H.G. Wells’ sci-fi classic The Time Machine.

The Allahakbarries regularly played at the picturesque village of Broadway, where they would face off against a team of artists led by the beautiful American actress Mary de Navarro.

Churchill was born in Blenheim Palace, built in tribute to the military accomplishments of his ancestor, John Churchill, the first Duke of Marlborough.

Conan Doyle was far from the only famous writer to play for the Allahakbarries; other team members included A.A. Milne and Jerome K. Jerome.

Churchill found Marlborough an inspirational figure. He authored a multi-part biography that explored Marlborough’s strategic achievements and restored his reputation as a capable leader.

But Conan Doyle earns a spot on this list because he was rather good at cricket, unlike the hapless Barrie. The Allahakbarries’ fun and games came to an end with the outbreak of WWI.

Perhaps Churchill’s own triumphs in WWII owe something to the lessons he learned from his own family history.

T.S. Eliot Nobel-prize winning poet T.S. Eliot is best remembered for The Waste Land, regarded as one of the most significant poems of the 20th Century. Surprisingly, Eliot seemed to like country walks. But he despised Chipping Campden, home to his college friend Emily Hale, complaining that it had an ‘olde worlde atmosphere stinking of death.’ He also hated cows. His unpublished poem The Country Walk includes the lines: Of all the beasts that God allows In England’s green and pleasant land, I most of all dislike the Cows: Their ways I do not understand. It puzzles me why they should stare At me, who am so innocent; Their stupid gaze is hard to bear — It’s positively truculent. During one of these walks, Eliot stumbled into the gardens of the deserted Burnt Norton House. (The house had been burned in 1741 by its owner, Sir William Keyte, during a bout of madness). This visit formed the inspiration for the first poem of his Four Quartets.

“Such was Barrie’s love for the Cotswolds - and for cricket - that he even gifted a cricket pavilion to the local team. You can visit it in Stanway.”

Kenneth Grahame The author of the celebrated children’s book The Wind in the Willows is buried in Holywell Cemetery, Oxford. Willows orginated from the bedtime stories Grahame told his son Alistair (or Mouse, as Grahame called him). Alistair was a sickly child, born blind in one eye, but his wilful behaviour inspired the creation of the impulsive Mr. Toad. Grahame continued the adventures of Ratty and Toad in his letters to Alistair, who struggled at school and then failed to flourish as an undergraduate at Oxford University. Sadly, Alistair committed suicide only a few days before his 20th birthday.




Graham Greene In the early 1930s, Greene and his wife Vivian rented Little Orchard, a cottage in Chipping Campden. The couple were not affluent at the time and endured very rustic conditions during their stay in the town. “There was no electric light and the Aladdin lamps smoked if we left them for a few minutes alone,” remembers Greene, in his autobiography A Sort of Life. “We were a scared couple that first night, with no sound of accustomed traffic, only a hooting owl. After darkness fell, on the evening of our arrival, I was summoned by a knock to the back door and saw an unknown countrywoman standing outside, holding a dead rat by the tail.” “What do you want?” “I thought yu’d be interested,’ she said, swinging it to and fro.” Greene took a certain relish in recalling the eccentrics he encountered during his time at Chipping Campden – from ‘Campden madman’ Charley Sykes and ‘brawny landlord’ Rathbone to a man ‘like a ferret’ who neighbours suspected had ‘starved his wife to death.’ The Greenes did not stay in Campden for long, but their brief residence was a fruitful one – for it was in Chipping Campden that Graham wrote Stamboul Train, his first real success.

Laurie Lee Cider with Rosie, Laurie Lee’s account of his childhood in Slad, has sold over six million copies. It records the traditional way of life that even then was under threat (notably by the arrival of WWI and the development of the motor car). Lee’s recollections of characters like local bully Cabbage-Stump Charlie, deaf mute beggar Albert the Devil, and foul-tempered teacher Crabby B have entertained readers for decades. “The girls were to marry; the Squire was dead; buses ran and the towns were nearer,” Laurie writes, at the end of Rosie. “We began to shrug off the valley and look more to the world, where pleasures were more anonymous and tasty. They were coming fast, and we were ready for them.”




C.S. Lewis The writer, essayist and theologian C.S. Lewis is mostly remembered as the author of The Chronicles of Narnia. His vividlydrawn characters, including Aslan the lion, Mr. Tumnus the faun and the terrifying White Witch, have fascinated generations of children. Lewis’s contributions to the world of fiction were only matched by the likes of his friend J.R.R. Tolkien, a fellow Oxford academic. The two authors were part of a society of authors, the Inklings, who regularly met in Lewis’s rooms (and the pub) for literary discussion.

Nancy Mitford Nancy Mitford will always be remembered for being a razor-sharp satirist of the upper classes, thanks to novels like The Pursuit of Love and Love in a Cold Climate.

join the communists; Debo, who became the Duchess of Devonshire; Pamela, once the object of John Betjeman’s affections; and Thomas, who died in Asia during WWII.

But, as a Mitford sister, her story is inseperable from those of her siblings – Unity, who adored her friend Hitler; Diana, who married British fascist Oswald Mosley; Jessica, who ran away to

The Mitfords spent their early years first in Batsford House and later in Asthall Manor. Their childhood was the subject of Jessica Mitford’s memoir, Hons and Rebels.

Jessica Mitford While Nancy made her name in fiction, ‘Rebel Mitford’ Jessica threw herself into political activism. But instead of flirting with fascism, like sisters Diana and Unity, she fled to fight with the Loyalists in the Spanish Civil War. Jessica’s memoir of her eccentric Mitford childhood, Hons and Rebels, was turned down by a dozen publishers before finding success. (J.K. Rowling lists it as one of her favourite books). Her 1963 book, The American Way of Death, was an eviscerating examination of the American funeral industry.

William Morris William Morris – artist, designer, writer and founding member of the Arts and Crafts movement – is closely associated with two iconic Cotswold buildings. One is Broadway Tower, where Morris briefly lived and operated his own printing press. His visitors at the tower included the artists Edward Burne-Jones and Dante Gabriel Rossetti. The other is Kelmscott Manor, Morris’s country retreat, which shaped his attitudes

towards architectural conservation and appealed to his love of nature. Morris’s writings included the early fantasy novels The Wood Beyond the World and The Well at World’s End, as well as many influential essays and poems. His designs remain popular to this day. So does his motto: “If you want a golden rule that will fit everything, this is it: Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”




George Orwell Few people know that Orwell applied the finishing touches to his masterpiece, Nineteen Eighty-Four, while he was receiving treatment for tuberculosis at the Cotswold Sanatorium for Consumption, near Cranham, in 1949. Nineteen Eighty-Four met with great acclaim upon its publication in America. At the same time, Orwell was rapidly approaching the end of his life. Though friends were increasingly worried about Orwell’s worsening condition, the author seemed to find some aspects of his residence in one of the sanatorium’s ‘wooden chalets’ agreeable. “Everything is brought by hand – none of those abominable rattling trolleys, which one is never out of the sound of in a hospital,” he wrote. “Not much noise of radios either – all the patients have headphones.” Unfortunately, Orwell had a bad reaction to the antibiotic Streptomycin and was moved to London. He died six months afterwards, and was buried in All Saints’ parish churchyard, Sutton Courtenay, Oxfordshire. His tombstone bears his real name, Eric Blair.

Beatrix Potter Potter liked to visit her cousin, who lived between Gloucester and Stroud. During one such visit, Potter’s cousin relayed a tale about a poor Gloucester tailor named John Prichard, who had been commissioned to make a suit for the mayor. One morning, Prichard arrived at his shop

to discover his assistants had finished the suit overnight, save for the buttonhole, and attached a note reading “No more twist.” Delighted, the tailor spread a rumour that the mayor’s suit had been completed by fairies. This tale became the basis of Potter’s story The Tailor of Gloucester, which she later named her favourite of all her books.

William Shakespeare Alexander Pope


The great 18th Century poet, Alexander Pope, stayed in a tower at Stanton Harcourt Manor between 1717-1718. During this time he wrote an epitaph for a young couple killed by a lightning strike:

Were in one instant killed by lightning, The last day of July, 1718. Think not by rigorous judgment seized A pair so faithful could expire; Victims so pure, Heaven saw well pleased.”

“Near this place lie the bodies Of JOHN HEWIT and SARAH DREW An industrious young man And virtuous young maiden of this parish; Who, being at harvest work (with several others),

Pope was a frequent visitor to Cirencester House. He advised his friend Lord Bathurst on the design of the landscape garden and personally designed a folly known as Pope’s Seat.


The Bard was born in Stratford-upon-Avon, just a little north of the Cotswolds – and famously he died there, not long into his retirement. It is assumed from the date of his burial that he died on his birthday (23 April). He was 52 when he died, far from young in Elizabethan times. After returning from London in 1610, Shakespeare lived in Stratford’s largest house, New House. He was buried at Holy Trinity Church. Visitors to Stratford-upon-Avon can enjoy world-class theatre at The Royal Shakespeare Company, visit Anne Hathaway’s Cottage and Shakespeare’s Birthplace.


Edward Thomas “Yes, I remember Adlestrop—” So begins one of the nation’s favourite poems. Adlestrop’s railway station has long since vanished, but it has been immortalised in verse by Thomas’s Adlestrop. Thomas did not disembark at Adlestrop on that late June day in 1914. His express train was only passing through, but the station’s peaceful surroundings left a lasting impression. Thomas died in the Battle of Arras in 1917, but the material he produced in his three short years as a poet was enough to secure his legacy.

J.R.R. Tolkien The spa town of Cheltenham played a special role in the relationship between Tolkien and his lifelong muse, bootmaker’s daughter Edith Bratt. The couple first met in Birmingham and felt an immediate connection. But when Edith moved to Cheltenham, Tolkien was forbidden from pursuing her; his guardian had banned any romances until he reached the age of twenty-one, believing they would distract from his studies. Tolkien obeyed his guardian’s wishes, but wrote to Edith with a declaration of love on his twenty-first birthday. Upon learning she was engaged, he immediately travelled to Cheltenham to win her heart. Edith was already waiting on the train platform. She returned her engagement ring to her suitor the same day. As an Oxford academic, Tolkien lived and worked in the city for many years, where he socialized with the likes of C.S. Lewis and other scholars. Their chummy literary society was named ‘The Inklings’. The Bell Inn in Moreton-in-Marsh was visited by Tolkien on his way to brother Hilary’s fruit farm in Evesham. The J.R.R. Tolkien Society believes The Bell directly inspired The Lord of the Rings’ Prancing Pony (with the market town itself the basis for Bree). Tolkien was also known to have stayed in the Red Lion in Chipping Campden.




Synopsis ridden by Richard Johnson at Cheltenham, The International




THE INTERNATIONAL Friday 13 - Saturday 14

Wednesday 1 January 2020

December 2019

Out with the old, in with the new – trust us, there’s no better place to revel in the arrival of a new year than an outing to Cheltenham on New Year’s Day.

On Friday 13th December, Cheltenham Racecourse will celebrate Christmas Jumper Day and encourage all racegoers to don their festive jumper on day one of The International. There’s a very good reason for dressing up: you’ll have the chance to win on-the-spot prizes, including a pair of tickets to any of the forthcoming race meetings – including The Festival! Take in the finale of the Crystal Cup on Friday, before returning on Saturday for carol singing (courtesy of Midlife ChoirSis), the Unibet International Hurdle and the Caspian Caviar December Gold Cup.



Barry Geraghty, The International

Not only is it a relaxed, refreshing way to recover from the night’s festivities, it also features seven great races (including two Grade 2 races). There’s always a great atmosphere on New Year’s Day; if you’ve never been, it’s time to treat the family.

FESTIVAL TRIALS DAY Saturday 25 January 2020 The final meeting before four days of extraordinary racing action in March sees Cheltenham Festival contenders lay down their mark on a highly competitive Festival Trials Day. Get the measure of future champions here on this very special raceday.


WARWICK RACECOURSE Gentleman’s Raceday at Warwick Racecourse

THE CLASSIC CHASE RACEDAY Saturday 11 January 2020

NEW YEAR’S EVE Tuesday 31 December 2019 As the last raceday of the year, New Year’s Eve really is Warwick’s Big Day Out! With live music, fantastic racing and an all-round celebratory atmosphere, there’s no way you’ll regret seeing out 2019 in style at Warwick.

This is the classic — if there is one day to head to Warwick Racecourse, then this is it. Not only will you enjoy the most exhilarating race we stage all year, the Classic Chase, you can also experience free racing heritage talks with some of the star jockeys and trainers of yesteryear – and enjoy a special fashion parade of classic racing attire through the ages.

THE AGETUR KINGMAKER NOVICE CHASE Saturday 8 February 2020 The Agetur Kingmaker Novice Chase is one of the highlights of the season, targeted by horses as a stepping stone as they attempt to secure a place in history at the Cheltenham and Aintree Festivals. Another great raceday at Warwick to get you in the mood for The Festival in March.

Runners take the bend in the Citipost Handicap Hurdle, The International





There’s Something for Everybody with the Cotswold Riding Opportunities Project Bourton Vale Equestrian Centre is introducing the magic of horses (and the outdoors) to people of all ages

For years, Bourton Vale Equestrian Centre has been teaching local children and teenagers how to care for horses, providing a space away from school to socialise and learn new skills. Some come to experience the equestrian world and explore the prospect of a career with horses; others for learning; others just for fun. Now Bourton Vale are expanding their efforts with social enterprise the Cotswold Riding Opportunities Project (CROP), branching out to offer something for all age groups – and you don’t even need to be horsey to join in. We visited founder Leanne Launchbury at the Centre to find out more. Some of the biggest advantages of getting involved with a CROP club are the social and therapeutic benefits, Leanne tells us. “Competitive school sports can really exclude some teenagers, which prevents them from being active or able to enjoy being outside in the same way as others,” says Leanne. “Here we offer a confidence-building outlet



for those who don’t prefer team sports.” The team at Bourton Vale are only too aware what sort of pressures and demands modern society can inflict on youngsters (and grownups too, of course). They’ve seen many of their students begin to thrive after finding a place for themselves away from school and home. “Even we didn’t expect to see some of the benefits our Young Equestrians are experiencing,” she reflects. “We’ve had troubled teens who are now going to school; students who once self-harmed, who now have self-confidence…”

doing everything,” says Leanne. “There is a strict code of dress, for example, which must be observed.” “They soon learn to take the initiative. And it’s not just about being horsey, or about looking after horses. You can feed the pigs, collect the eggs, care for our other animals…There’s something here for everybody.” Parents of participating children have been delighted with the results.

The clubs also have a strong focus on building discipline and practical skills – a big plus in an age where technological comforts are often seen to inhibit children’s selfreliance.

"My daughter aged 12 has just completed the 6 week Young Equestrians course,” writes Lisa L from Bourton-on-the-Water. “She loved it, and so did her friends that attended. It was a fantastic opportunity to get to know and experience all aspects of caring for horses and riding in a safe and professional environment. Kids having fun and learning whilst outside in the fresh air – brilliant!”

“Children quickly come to develop what you’d call ‘common sense’ here because, in the world of ponies, there are proper ways of

“I can’t remember the last time she was that excited to go anywhere! Thank you to all involved. 100% recommended.”


What’s On with the Cotswold Riding Opportunities Project For children: Saddle Club

For teenagers: Young Equestrians

For Adults: Gee Gees for Grown Ups

A practical, non-riding club teaching the basics of pony care in a fun, safe outdoor environment. It’s the perfect opportunity for children aged 6-11 to make new friends and enjoy active games and learning in the fresh air. A confidence-building introduction to ponies with a team of other animals to enrich the experience.

The Young Equestrians Club provides further opportunities for teenagers to develop existing skills, or serves as a firsttime introduction to horses in an outdoor environment – away from technology! Sessions include: learning horse care, handling skills and lessons in animal behaviour; visits from equestrian experts and visits to specialist yards.

Maybe you are new to the area, at a loose end while the kids are at school, looking to meet new people, or maybe you just want time to relax. The kettle is on, there’s cake in the tin and there’s a horse in the stable who would love to meet you!

For children aged 6-11 Friday (term time) 4pm - 5pm at Bourton Vale Equestrian Centre £30 Membership for the year - no charge per session

The Young Equestrians Club is also a good place to test out a career in horses with lots of advice and guidance available. There’s no better place to experience the amazing therapy horses bring and the social benefits of learning together. Mondays 4pm - 5pm at Bourton Vale Equestrian Centre

This is a monthly meet-up for adults to experience the peace and magic horses can bring. Whether you have never touched a horse before or are seeking to rekindle a past interest, Bourton Vale Equestrian Centre invites you to spend time with their gentle animals. Meetings last Wednesday of every month 11am - 12.30pm at Bourton Vale Equestrian Centre.

Find out more at www.facebook.com/CotswoldRidingOpportunitiesProject www.bourtonvaleequestrian.co.uk 07910 138465 cropsocialenterprise@gmail.com




In Praise of CROP A Cotswold parent on what the Cotswold Riding Opportunities Project has done for their child Our daughter has been attending Young Equestrian sessions at Bourton Vale since July 2018. In that time we have seen a massive positive change in her. I believe that the opportunities offered at Bourton Vale (now coming under the CROP umbrella) are invaluable for teenagers, especially those struggling with anxiety, lack of confidence or other emotional problems. In recent years our daughter has not had an easy time. She has had periods of severe anxiety, had been self-harming and, at one stage, was referred to an eating disorders clinic. She had been referred to a counsellor at school but, like many teenagers, had found it difficult to open up and talk to a stranger sitting in a room at school. She had been interested in horses for a long time, but owning a horse was most definitely not something we could do. Not just because of the expense, but because not being ‘horsey’ people meant that we knew nothing at all about looking after them. When I saw an advert on Facebook for the Young Equestrians I immediately put her name down and was so pleased when she got a place. It was very affordable and, being after school, also offered an opportunity for fresh air and exercise as well as some social contact.

Moving forward just over a year, she is a totally different child. As well as taking part in the sessions themselves, she also regularly volunteers at the stable, and sometimes helps out with the younger children. We have also been able to take advantage of the reduced cost of riding lessons for CROP members to enable her to learn to ride which she absolutely loves. Through the stables she has made some great friends of all ages and backgrounds. Her body is strong, in fact she has developed muscles from all the hard work – and when she comes in from the stables she always has a great appetite. Although I try hard not to pry into her personal life, and with mental health I would never say someone is ‘fixed’, she certainly seems like a much happier child these days and I do attribute a lot of that to her time at the stables. She is engaged in school, has fun with her friends, is enjoying learning to ride, and much of her social media feed is about horses. I do believe that there is something magical about horses. It’s something which is impossible to put your finger on, but I think one of the things about them is the fact that they just accept you for who you are – it doesn’t matter what you look like, how tall or pretty or clever you are, if you are gay or straight, rich or poor. Being at the yard too is very freeing, there isn’t the social pressure of school, no

one cares what brand of trainers you are wearing or how cool you are, it’s all just about the horses.

When I see my daughter confidently leading a horse into the yard that is twice the size of her, it makes me feel very proud of what she has achieved. She now wants to go on and make a career in working with horses and I am sure she will do well. CROP is not just about horses and riding, it is also about giving children and young people a set of skills and confidence that will help them in life. Although we are lucky to live in a rural area, there are still a lot of families who are on low incomes and, despite being surrounded by farmland, it can be surprising how many kids actually don’t know very much about animals or nature. Being at the stables gives them an opportunity to see not only horses but also dogs, cats, donkeys, goats, sheep, pigs (and even an alpaca!). The after school programmes give them a chance to learn about working in a team, getting along with others, to take responsibility, and have a go at things they might not otherwise do. It is about mucking about in wellies, coming home tired (and probably a bit smelly) but with rosy cheeks and a smile on their face. I am so happy that Leanne and the crew at Bourton Vale are developing this programme, and so far without any outside funding or support at all, and I would definitely encourage other parents to talk to their children about taking part.

She has since been on several different versions of this programme, which has now been taken under the CROP umbrella. CROP is a non-profit making organisation which provides opportunities for younger children, teenagers, and even adults, to spend time with horses, and learn all about their care and management. It means that being with horses is now something that is accessible to everyone, not just those from wealthy backgrounds. However, sadly, CROP receives no funding or sponsorship of any kind.

Find out more at www.facebook.com/CotswoldRidingOpportunitiesProject www.bourtonvaleequestrian.co.uk 07910 138465 cropsocialenterprise@gmail.com




This season, Anna is inspired to get into game. It’s pheasant stroganoff time in the MacCurrach kitchen. I love autumn, it’s my second favourite season. I love shorter days with misty mornings, I love wearing jumpers and, most of all, I love autumn cooking. Dad and I have just got back from our first day out beating with a local shoot, which has got my mind whirring about pheasant. If the summer months are about eating fresh and vibrant vegetables from the garden (I’m nearly ready to release my first cookbook ‘100 Ways to Cook Courgette’), then autumn and winter are about meat – especially game. Whatever your views on the shooting industry, the bird or beast has been shot and therefore should be eaten. Cue my latest acquisition, a cookbook I stumbled across when googling recipes for mutton – Mike Robinson’s Countrywise Kitchen Cookbook, which features a number of recipes from ITV’s 2010 series Countrywise Kitchen. Needless to say, I quickly bought a copy. It has two recipes that I’ll be cooking for my husband’s birthday next week and – sound the



fanfare – a recipe for pheasant stroganoff. Not only did the Cookbook’s recipe sound delicious – I’m a big fan of smoked paprika – but it also only uses the breast meat, so there’s half an afternoon of plucking that you don’t need to do. I can’t believe I haven’t thought of it before. The original recipe had some additions that I haven’t ever seen in a stroganoff recipe (I’m not really sure about including capers and cornichons), so here is my adapted version:

Pheasant Stroganoff

Serves 4: 4 pheasant breasts (sliced) 1 onion (chopped) 2 cloves of garlic (chopped) 150ml white wine (or a mixture of white wine and stock, or just stock) 150ml sour cream 2 tsp smoked paprika ½ tsp cayenne pepper Flat leaf parsley, one handful chopped Sea salt and ground black pepper

Fry the pheasant in a splash of oil over a medium heat. Wait for a golden colour, then remove pheasant to a plate. Sauté onion and garlic until soft, then add the wine and reduce by half. Add the paprika and cayenne, the cream and the pheasant. Cook for a few minutes then serve with pasta or rice, garnished with the chopped parsley. Pheasant is in season from 1st October to 1st February; find your local gamekeeper and give it a go. I hope you will find it quick and delicious, and all the more enjoyable for knowing that good food has not gone to waste.

Anna’s pheasant stroganoff recipe has been adapted from a recipe featured in the Countrywise Kitchen Cookbook by Mike Robinson (Pavilion Books). Find out more about Tagmoor Farm at www.lovemycow.com


The Rev’d Canon Katrina Scott finds there’s lots to light our way through a colder, gloomier season

I am very much a summer lover and, as we head into the winter months, I am conscious of the dark nights that are on the way. I love the long summer evenings and the bright mornings, and slightly dread the drawing in of the darkness through the winter. I do love the pumpkins of October, the fireworks of November and the lights of December – as well as the evenings watching ‘Strictly’ in front of a warming fire. But I miss the sunshine and the light it brings. I suppose I find the darkness heavy and somehow exclusive. However, the thing that lifts this colder, darker season for me are the celebrations of Christmas. It can be a very busy and complex time for many of us, but I love the message of Christmas time. For me, that message is one that speaks of light – light that cuts through darkness, light that shines in all things and light that brings love and joy. That is what the birth of

baby Jesus brings to our world – light that overcomes any darkness we feel.

All of my churches will be holding carol services, and I love them – the communities gathering together for the retelling of stories and the singing of beautiful tunes, all topped off with (often) hundreds of candles lit to celebrate that light.

All of my churches will be holding carol services, and I love them – the communities gathering together for the retelling of stories and the singing of beautiful tunes, all topped off with (often) hundreds of candles lit to celebrate that light. Those candles express so much of the joy and light of God’s love for the world. As we head into the winter, I hope you find plenty of light amidst the darkness. Rev’d Canon Katrina Scott is a rector of seven churches at the heart of the Cotswolds (including Cutsdean, Farmcote, Temple Guiting, Guiting Power, Naunton, Upper and Lower Slaughter) and is also the Area Dean of the North Cotswold Deanery. She has lived in the Cotswolds since 2015, having previously served in Coventry for 15 years. Katrina loves being a vicar, and being a wife and a mother too.









Notgrove’s brilliant new addition is more than just a café; it’s a bar, an event space and a place to unwind after a countryside stroll, writes Charlotte Mellor A short drive away from the popular areas of Bourton-on-the-Water and Stow-on-the-Wold is The Nuttery: a brand new café, bar and event space that has recently opened within the beautiful village of Notgrove. Built this year to a very high spec, the building holds a commanding space within this picturesque classic Cotswold village, with its large glass doors and wooden cladding bringing something fresh and exciting to the area. Situated only twenty minutes from Cheltenham, it’s also proving to be a favourite rural escape for those looking for a café with beautiful walks and cycle routes on its doorstep. The Nuttery at the Notgrove Village Hub was born out of a collaboration between Notgrove village and The Nuttery business owners Charlotte and Emma, working in harmony with both the residents and the holidaymakers to provide a central social hub, enhancing life at Notgrove and the villages beyond. It’s a beautiful setting in

the Cotswolds, with marked out walking trails, perfect for those who enjoy a stroll with a coffee stop. The coffee alone is worth visiting The Nuttery for, let alone the sumptuous food, relaxed airy space and lovely staff.

Notgrove’s history The parish of Notgrove dates back to 740AD and, in the 1600s, was recorded as supporting 30 families. In the 18th century the village had a population of 214, with 100 farmworkers. Today, the Notgrove Estate owns around 1,500 acres of stunning land, but there are only three people working directly on the farm. As agriculture changes, traditional estates such as Notgrove have had to change too. The holiday business that now flourishes at Notgrove has been well served by the opening of The Nuttery, as guests now have a social place to

meet and enjoy delicious food and drinks. Riding the wave of enthusiasm for staycations in the UK, Notgrove will continue to diversify, with a new bushcraft enterprise already underway, and a quad bike cross country course planned for 2020. (Holiday pods, barns and safari tents can be booked at www.notgroveholidays.com) Harry Acland, who manages Notgrove Estate along with wife Diana, says: “Notgrove’s new village hub, The Nuttery, is supporting the local economy and buying locally. Emma and Charlotte, both local girls with a multitude of talents, offer not only amazing food and drink, but are opening the hall for the benefit of the local community with a large variety of classes from yoga to fitness, tap dancing and even singing for all abilities.”




The Café The Nuttery Café opened its doors on the August bank holiday weekend in 2019 and found its place in the Cotswolds instantly; the very first customers arrived on horseback! It is open six days a week (closed on Wednesdays) and the friendly team offers a warm welcome in a calm, light and stylish setting. The organic coffee, from The Welsh Coffee Company, is currently offered nowhere else in the Cotswolds and is proving very popular with even the fussiest of coffee drinkers for its strong and smooth taste. The ‘Tea Drop’ teas are also organic and have an incredibly fresh and clean taste to them. And all milk used at The Nuttery is organic, along with a wide choice for non-dairy such as oat, almond and coconut milks. The wonderfully simple brunch menu is based on seasonal, local, fresh produce and written on a chalkboard to be easily adapted to include produce grown on the Estate. A daily visit from Mike, the Estate gardener, ensures that the Café has fresh flowers and an abundance of salad or vegetables grown a stone’s throw from the Cafe’s kitchen, giving a superbly fresh and unique set up. Provenance is really important to The Nuttery and they support local suppliers for as much of the menu as possible, from the honey to the eggs. Seasonal menu changes see the winter menu include more hot dishes, such as heartwarming soups with freshly baked bread, grilled open sandwiches with a delicious variety of fillings, hot breakfasts and plenty more sweet and savoury goodies. There are children’s meals and drinks, catering options for those with allergens and vegan choices, making sure that everyone is made to feel welcome.

The Bar The bar is open three evenings a week on a Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 6pm. It has a lovely relaxed ambience with people popping in for a catch up and a drink, as well as holidaymakers and visitors from all surrounding areas coming along for something a bit different. There is something going on most nights – pétanque practice happens every other Thursday, and Friday nights see a different evening meal offered each week. Alternate Thursdays are the renowned Country Music Nights which have returned to Notgrove



from Stow Rugby Club, featuring live music from some of the UK’s best acts and hosted by local Notgrove resident, Ken. Fun quiz nights with food, film nights, supper clubs, book clubs, bridge nights and more are also all on the agenda. The recent Autumn Quiz Night was a huge success with a sumptuous feast and much fun had by all. These will be a regular feature. The bar is stocked with Cotswold ciders and beers. There are also fine wines, as well as an English wine on offer, and locally-produced juices and soft drinks.


The Hall The stunning new hall is available for hire and currently hosts no less than fifteen weekly classes. With underfloor heating and a vaulted ceiling holding beautiful wooden beams, it is perfect for parties, wedding receptions, suppers and special events. Workshops have also started and have so far included a mobility and breathwork workshop with Richie Norton, and a Sound Bath with Rachael Archer – and there are many more workshops to come, ranging from seasonal craft days to art workshops. The Nuttery offers a unique timetable of thoughtfully chosen classes, bringing something different to the area, ranging from adult ballet, contemporary dance, singing, yoga to stretch, core pilates and cardio dance. There is something for everyone and they are currently held five days a week to benefit as many people as possible. Live music events will also be a regular feature at the venue, with tickets available for these on www.eventbrite.com. There are some superb acts in the run up to Christmas!

With underfloor heating and a vaulted ceiling holding beautiful wooden beams, it is perfect for parties, wedding receptions, suppers and special events.

Charlotte and Emma

Our story

Charlotte moved to the area twenty years ago and lives locally with her husband Patrick, daughter Bea, and pet tortoise Ron! Charlotte started her career as a press officer, then fundraising and events coordinator. She then moved into the luxury specialist travel industry for fifteen years, where her specialist area was tailored safaris and wildlife holidays in Southern Africa, before then co-founding The Nuttery with Emma.

We met two years ago when we happened to be the only two families living in our village with our children at the same school, so we became friends rather quickly, sharing lifts to school.

Emma has lived in the Cotswolds for six years along with her husband Alastair, their two daughters, Ava and Matilda, and their two dogs. Since moving to this beautiful area, Emma has trained to be a yoga teacher and built up a successful business hosting classes, workshops and retreats; she has recently started running a teacher training course. Her yoga and seasonal workshops now continue at The Nuttery, bringing her passion to another area of the Cotswolds.

Our vision was to find a beautiful natural space where we could host yoga, nutrition and arts workshops for children and adults. When Notgrove popped into our lives we couldn’t believe it! We are working extremely hard to make our dreams, as well as those of the village, come to life, and we are enthusiastic and so excited for so much that The Nuttery has to offer in the future.

Still to come

on conservation, and the zero-waste pantry will be one part of this project where people can come and fill up their own containers or paper bags with dried food goods provided at The Nuttery. There will be children’s holiday clubs and workshop days in school holidays; adult day workshops; a small shop to support local holiday makers, and many more seasonal and party food menus to share. So keep your eye on their social media and go and visit them as soon as you can – you don’t want to miss being a part of this magical place!

Follow us at: Instagram: @the-nuttery-uk Facebook: The Nuttery at Notgrove

The Nuttery has exciting plans underway for a zero waste pantry. Minimizing plastic usage has been on the agenda from the start, reflecting Notgrove’s strong stance





WINTER PARTY Event Manager Julia Sibun has some top tips for creating your own seasonal extravaganza

Themes don’t have to be overcomplicated – try ‘A Ski Chalet Party’, ‘A Winter Wonderland’, or ‘Fire and Ice’. To make the party go with a swing, serve your guests themed, delicious and interesting food and drink. It is always stressful just wondering what to serve, and with so many dietary requirements these days, you want to ensure that everyone has some nibbles that they will genuinely enjoy.

The dawn of a new season always seems to trigger a new lease of life in our social calendars. Winter is no exception, with friends hosting cosy gatherings at their homes and plenty of glittering Christmas parties on the horizon. As the weather starts to close in, there’s no time like the present to compile a guest list and start sending out invitations to your own heartwarming shindig.

woodland, it can be fun to offset that with something like white or silver balloons for added visual interest. Don’t forget to create photo opportunities – we do live in a selfie world, after all! Making a beautiful photo opportunity for guests to take pictures in front of is a great ice-breaker and a way to share the party with family and friends online.

Allow time to consider the decorations and colour scheme for an exciting evening of ‘fizz and dazzle’! Metallics always work so well at this time of year, particularly gold, silver and copper tones. Gold goes with almost everything and adds instant glamour.

If the guests are to be seated for dining, it will all be about the table decorations. Guests will be spending lots of time at the dining tables, so it is important to ensure that the table styling is interesting, detailed, themed to the season and adds to the overall ambience and experience of the party.

Think about textures as well as the colour scheme – if you’re using lots of natural and organic floristry from the garden or local

It’s always fun to set a theme for your party, if you have the time; especially if you would like your guests to come in fancy dress.



Appetisers or canapés are a great way to kickstart any party. Popular choices during the cold winter months are shots of pumpkin soup or spiced parsnip soup, pancetta wrapped prunes with rosemary skewers, free range pork & chorizo ‘sausage rolls’, black pudding, quails scotch eggs, squash, blue cheese & pine nut arancini and the popular parmesan & sage wafers. For an informal party atmosphere, the easiest and most social way to serve food is by handing round bowl food on a tray to your guests. The bowls do not need to be too large so that your guests can have two or three options during the evening. Suggestions for delicious bowl food are Moroccan spiced lamb on couscous with tzatziki, slow cooked venison bourguignon with horseradish mash and minted peas, Thai chicken curry with basmati rice, home reared pork chipolatas with mustard grain mash & red onion gravy and squash & feta risotto with toasted pine nuts & sage. Afterwards, following the bowl food, an easy way to offer the puds is to set up a themed ‘mini pud table’ – guests can then graze throughout the evening, as and when theythey


A party is a celebration in its nature, so you really must enjoy both the planning and the execution of the event need that sugar rush! Keep the puds small so that they are easy to pick up and carry, such as warm chocolate & hazelnut brownies, coconut panna cotta with mango purée, lemon coconut snowballs, winter fruit salad, shots of rhubarb crumble. And why not include some themed frozen desserts – profiterole & salted caramel ice cream sandwiches, and vodka jellies dyed blue served in shot glasses with vanilla ice cream and edible glitter on top! When your guests arrive, serve a warming drink such as a mulled rosé wine, warm spiced cider or a cinnamon butter rum. Follow this with themed, colourful party drinks, such as a Classic Snowball, the ultimate retro cocktail, a Black Russian cocktail, made with vodka and coffee liqueur, or a Winter Pimms Punch. Don’t forget those guests who are driving at the end of the evening – provide a couple of

non-alcoholic options, such as a festive pear & rose punch and spiced apple juice with clementine & cloves. Above all, enjoy it! A party is a celebration in its nature, so you really must enjoy both the planning and the execution of the event. If the host is happy and relaxed, their guests will be too.

For more information about weddings, parties and events please contact Julia Sibun www.juliasibun.co.uk 07974 778 806.




Time for some Festive Biscuits! Kate Hunter of Cakes by Desire shares a recipe for spiced biscuits sure to delight your family and guests. Spiced Christmas Biscuits Ingredients 200g Butter (room temperature) 275g Light Soft Brown Sugar ½ tsp Vanilla Extract 1 Egg 400g Plain Flour 3 tsp Ground Mixed Spice ½ tsp Cream of Tartar Pinch of salt

Method Preheat oven to 170°C and line four baking trays with greaseproof paper. Cream the butter, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add the flour, salt and cream of tartar and mix well to a light soft dough. Dust a work surface with a little flour and roll out the dough and cut out your biscuits. Christmas is coming! As my partner always says, “The juggernaut rolls in straight after Bonfire Night and the panic begins.” So why not get ahead a little this year and make some simple, but delicious, spiced Christmas biscuits? You can make these biscuits well in advance and freeze them – then all you need to do is to pop them into bags and tie with a ribbon, or find a lovely box or tin to fill with your goodies for the perfect little Christmas gift! Having some home-made treats up your sleeve is a great way to impress with your domestic prowess and solve those little problems like an unexpected present or what to take to a festive function. How much decoration is up to you. Christmas biscuits can be simply finished with a dusting of caster sugar and mixed spice. They smell amazing and are very quick to do. If you have the time, or are looking for

an activity with the kids then, apart from the baking (which will fill your kitchen with the most wonderful Christmassy aroma), you could venture into the world of icing and sugarpaste, piping bags and sprinkles, or dip or drizzle with melted chocolate. You can even make a stained glass window look with boiled sweets melted into cut outs in your biscuits.

Arrange your biscuits on the baking trays and bake for 10-12 minutes until very light brown on the edges. They will still be a little soft when hot from the oven. Cool on cooling trays before decorating

These biscuits can also be used as decorations; if you poke a hole through the dough shape before baking and then, when cooled, thread with ribbon, decorate and hang on the tree or attach to a gift. The possibilities are simply endless and, with a million decorating ideas on the Internet, you can really go to town! So treat yourself to a cute cutter, grab yourself some spices and follow this simple recipe to get yourself into the festive spirit, knowing that you’re getting ahead with your Christmas preparations!

Cakes by Desire is based in Upper Rissington in the Cotswolds and in Wallingford, Oxfordshire. Please get in touch to see what Kate can do to make your special event that bit more memorable.

katedoescakesbydesire@gmail.com 07851 102770 www.cakesbydesire.co.uk




Kia e-Niro Miss Dashboard takes to the road in the sell-out Kia e-Niro and realises that you don’t need supermodel looks to have kerb appeal Rather like the Zara polka-dot maxi dress that was snapped up by all the fashion stylists this year (eventually gaining its own Instagram account), once word got out about the price and range of this season’s electric car, drivers were clamouring to join the waiting list. If you think that electric cars are still only available at catwalk prices, now’s the time to get with the programme, as the e-Niro is the driving equivalent of an off-the-peg high street fashion brand. It’s a veritable bargain, compared to its considerably more expensive rivals, the Jaguar I-PACE and Tesla Model 3, and still comes with a discounted sales tag, like all electric cars in the UK, courtesy of a government grant. This car can drive about 280 miles on a single charge. So yes, you could drive 280 miles without plugging it in, but that’s not really the point, like charging a mobile phone, you do it when you’re not using it, that way it’s always ready for action.



The e-Niro is more than on trend, it’s already earned its status as a timeless classic. And don’t you be going all old-fashioned and getting nervous about the techie bit – invest in a home charger (you’d be so last season not to) which will cost about £300, depending on the make and type – and you’re prêt à porter – good to go. A fast charger will take 10 hours to reach fully charged and a rapid charger only about an hour and a half. Depending on how much you pay for electricity at home and, of course, how many miles you clock up, you could get yourself a week’s driving for under a tenner! In traditional petrol and diesel cars we just get used to filling up and knowing ‘it’s gonna cost ya’. With a car like the e-Niro, your driving style can really affect your electricity consumption – from using the re-generative brakes (you can actually increase your driving range when braking) to really thinking about how you use all the car’s features. There’s an à la mode ‘Driver only’ button to reduce heat and air-con consumption and, as the long nights are

going out of fashion and the cold mornings are taking over, you’re able to pre-heat the car while it’s still charging – before you hit the road. Aerodynamic design, from the windscreen wipers to wing mirrors, helps maximise how far you can travel on a full battery. Also, clocking your driving style, the car speaks to you via the satnav and warns you to ease off the accelerator to conserve electricity. It illustrates how far your charge can take you and, after every journey, will give you the feel-good factor by showing you how much carbon dioxide you’ve saved. This is a very practical car. It’s not remotely chic – think more Sainsbury’s carrier bag, than a Birkin or Louis Vuitton Alma. It looks like a classic SUV hatchback. Its automatic gear switch is easy to use, and all buttons are placed exactly where you’d expect to find them. The boot is bigger than most electric cars of its size, as the battery is underneath, so there’s bags of room for a hardcore trip to


Cribb’s Causeway (even an overnighter). And there’s probably more rear legroom than the front row of London Fashion Week, so you can get three teens in the back easy peasy – do prepare for the mother of all teenage moans though as, although the car runs on pure electric, there are no charging points in the back. Electric cars can often feel heavier to drive due to the extra weight of the battery. The e-Niro is a cinch to drive (even in kitten heels), as being electric, it’s automatic. The initial acceleration is pretty nippy. It’s zippy on urban roads, and a bit heavy on country lanes. It’s not the most thrilling ride, but you don’t expect Dior detail when you’re in Topshop. Safety is definitely on trend in the e-Niro. Various features, with long-winded acronyms, will prevent the car crashing or drifting into another lane, as it can sense if the driver hasn’t reacted to a potential accident. It also emits a noise when driving, to alert pedestrians and counteract the so-called ‘silent killer’ concern. The Kia e-Niro isn’t going to set the world on fire in the style stakes – its look is more smart-casual than haute couture. But as we’re all needing to focus on how we can make this planet better for the next generation, and proactively reduce our CO2 emissions, driving an electric car no longer makes you a fashion victim; it makes a wholehearted positive statement – and is a definite drive in the right direction.

Fast facts Fuel consumption – no more trips to petrol stations – ever – and the range is so good you won’t even have to worry if you forget to plug it in every now and again. The battery gives you up to 282 miles on a full charge Road tax – £0 – it’s a zero-emissions car Safety – Seven airbags, including one to protect the driver’s knees, plus numerous options on height adjustable headrests, automatic tightening seatbelts and doors that unlock automatically in the event of an accident Media – An easy to use touch screen system which accesses radio, TomTom satnav and on-trend Apple CarPlay and Android Auto The drive – normal, eco and sport modes allow a range of driving styles – and define how quickly you chew up your electric range. Slow and steady wins the race! This year’s model – There’s only one trim level, but it’s a pretty high spec with heated leather seats and matching steering wheel This season’s colours – A palette of five paint options, including the rather uninspiring sounding ‘Pluto brown’ Optional extras – Everything comes as standard Warranty – Kia offer a staggeringly impressive 7 year or 100,000 mile warranty Price – £32,000 full on the road price (after the £3,500 government grant)

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




A Conversation with


Crocodile conservationist and reptile enthusiast Shaun Foggett of Witney made his dream come true when he opened Crocodiles of the World, the UK’s only zoo for crocodilians. Getting there wasn’t easy, but after a near-fatal brush with blood disease in his early twenties, Shaun threw his all into his crocodilian quest. We caught up with Shaun to find out how he did it - and what sort of challenges our scaly friends are facing in the modern world.




The council put me in touch with a guy in the area who kept caimans. He had one Cuvier’s dwarf caiman who was living in an enclosure with four other caimans; it was being bullied out of food and getting picked on, so he separated it out and gave it to me when I got my licence.

Shaun, when did you become interested in crocodiles? I fell in love with animals when I was really young. My first memory of crocs is probably seeing one attacking a wildebeest on a David Attenborough documentary. I was probably terrified, but I think that ignited a passion in me to want to know more about them. How and when did you acquire your very first croc? When I was nineteen, I saw a caiman for sale in a pet store, believe it or not. It had ‘DANGEROUS WILD ANIMAL: LICENCE HOLDERS ONLY’ written across the enclosure. I did my homework and found out what you needed to do to keep one of these animals.

And that was it - I was hooked! I used to sit and watch the caiman rather than watching telly. I would sit observing its behaviour for hours and hours, reading lots of books, networking with experts… I soon realised that I wanted to work with crocodiles. You fell seriously ill in your early twenties, but you came away from the experience with an increased passion for wildlife…

What sort of support did you have when it came to setting up your zoo? The financial support came from selling my house and putting all the proceeds into setting the place up. Obviously that meant that I then had nowhere to live, so my brother generously allowed us to live with him. Family and friends chipped in in all sorts of ways, like carrying concrete blocks about… And the whole time you were confident that it would work out? [Laughs] Do you know what, everybody used to say to me “This is crazy”; “I can’t believe you’re doing it” and I used to think “Why not? I don’t see what the issue is.” But now, looking back, I realise that with what I did and the risks that I took, it’s probably thanks to the fact I was so headstrong and so determined to succeed that I actually did it.

When I was 24, I developed a rare blood disease called aplastic anaemia, which nearly killed me. After about ten months of treatment, my blood cells started to hold their own levels and over the next few years I started to make a recovery. It just opened my eyes to the fact that we’re not here very long. After that, I really wanted to do something that I truly loved.




How did your Channel 5 television show Croc Man come about? I was raising awareness of what I was trying to do in setting up Crocodiles of the World, so I went to the press. It failed in one respect, because the story turned into ‘this guy keeping crocodiles in his garden’ without mentioning anything else. But off the back of a feature in the Daily Mail, I had maybe eight television production companies get in touch with me, wanting to follow my story and film it. I had meetings with a couple and went with a company which had produced a lot of crocodile documentaries. Tell us about the crocs currently living at Crocodiles of the World. We have 18 species at the moment – which is more than most people know exist. We want to try and inspire and educate the next generation of human beings to want to save and look after these animals. Crocodiles are some of the animals who can get ‘left on the shelf’ and out of the public’s eye on the conservation world. Some are far more endangered than the giant panda, and yet nobody knows about them. We do have other reptiles and a collection of critically endangered mammals who are a part of European programmes. And do you have a favourite animal from your collection? I used to have favourites; I would walk around and see a couple of crocs and think ‘Oh, you are special…’ Crocodilians have been around since the days of the dinosaurs. Now the world is experiencing a major extinction crisis, thanks to factors such as rapid climate change and habitat loss, what are some of the ways crocs are being impacted? Crocodiles are cold-blooded; they rely on the temperature around them to be able to live. But they can’t survive in very hot climates – by which I mean climates hotter than the tropics. They also lay eggs that have to incubate and be kept at a certain temperature to develop properly and to hatch. With the temperature picking up, all reptiles – not just crocs – will experience some serious problems.



But crocodiles’ problems go back a long way. In the last century, we were hunting them to the point where, in the 1950s and 1960s, most of the species were facing a real problem. By the late 1970s, they became protected and were [declared] endangered. As assessments followed for certain species, we then realised how bad their situation really was. The most endangered crocodilian living on the planet would be the Chinese alligator. Surveys done in 2017 estimate there are between 68 - 86 adult animals left in the wild. That’s just nothing; they could be wiped out overnight, and then the wild population becomes extinct. That’s a species I would encourage people to be aware of. Finally, what advice would you give to a young person dreaming of working with exotic or endangered animals? If it’s your real passion, then make connections with wildlife parks and zoos. Don’t be put off; it’s a very difficult industry to get into. Obviously, the way I did it was quite unique. But keep going – people in the industry are very nice and have shared goals and passions.

Zoo History Crocodiles of the World was founded in 2011 by crocodile conservationist, Shaun Foggett. The first zoo was located at Crawley Mill, Witney. However, with increasing visitor numbers and a growing population of crocodiles, the zoo needed to move and opened new premises in Brize Norton (the former Foxbury Farm site) in February 2014. Crocodiles of the World is the UK’s only crocodile zoo and is currently home to more than 150 crocodiles representing 18 different species including crocodiles, alligators and caimans, as well as other reptiles. Find out more at www.crocodilesoftheworld.co.uk


by Oli Aylen

Dracula, the devil, and demons: the Western world has a mysterious relationship with bats. In contrast, the relationship in the Eastern world is based in the marketplace.

Many people have never encountered a bat up close; often, they’re merely a sudden silhouette against the night sky. These encounters have driven bats into myth and legend and, more recently, pop-culture and Hollywood. Historically, early Christians gave the bat wing to demons to contrast the wings of an angel, and Aesop’s Fables tell of the Bat not joining either the birds or the beasts in a great conflict. In the end, he is ostracised by both and comes to a rather solemn realisation – “Ah,” said the Bat, “I see now, he that is neither one thing nor the other has no friends.” Bats make up a fifth of all mammals, being the most diverse group second to rodents. However bats are more closely related to canines, ungulates, and whales than rodents, and can be dated back to the time of the dinosaurs. Their ability to echolocate, which wasn’t discovered until 1938, has increased our interest in these amazing flying mammals. Some species of bats (Megachiroptera – fruit bats) can have 2m wing-spans and weigh several kilograms, which is impressive considering they fly with skin spread out by their fingers. So, what is this plight I speak of? Starring in a B-grade horror movie can be disastrous for many, but for the bats it is the least of their problems. Global deforestation, pollution, human expansion and the use of pesticides has caused many bat populations to decline. These environmental issues are not new, and neither do they only affect bats, of course, but alongside these issues there is a plethora of problems for this



unique group of animals. From the local markets of Vietnam to Indonesia, and the international markets of eBay, bats have become a tradeable item. Of the around 1406 species of bats, a quarter are globally threatened. One of the earliest scientific reports on the trade of bats was published in the late 1980s. The study highlights how the trade of bats in Guam and the Pacific started as a result of overhunting earlier in the century. The native fruit bats were nearly wiped out, so the people of Guam began importing individuals to supply the market, peaking at 24,000 being brought in annually over 1979-1980. The main drivers of harvesting bats are for bush meat, traditional medicine and, recently, as tourist souvenirs. The meat is boiled in curries (minus the head and wings), fried with chilli, or even eaten raw. The blood is mixed with whisky or used alone to ‘cure’ a variety of problems. The latest use for bats as souvenirs has led to some more colourful species such as Kerivoula picta (the painted bat), a definite favourite for its orange colouring, being sold in markets in Asia (Vietnam mostly) and even on eBay. These souvenirs can be purchased hung in a coffin or stretched on canvas, fetching anything from 14 - 156 US Dollars per bat. Although this activity is illegal in Vietnam, there is almost no enforcement and many of the eBay sellers are listed in the US or Russia. The issue of use as bush meat is of

particular concern in Indonesia where bats are served as a delicacy for special occasions such as weddings, and the holiday season sees a sharp increase in availability. The Indonesian government also does not classify bats as threatened and offers them no protection; despite being listed on Appendix I & II by CITES you can still hunt and trade them with a legal permit. Luckily in Thailand, the government has introduced new laws banning the hunting of bats, with fines ranging from 15 - 50,000 Thailand Baht (0.46 - 1,543 US Dollars) depending on the province if you are caught doing so. Though you can still eat them if they die ‘naturally’ from colliding with power lines! It’s not all bad news for the bats, though. Recently, they have been gaining attention due to new findings surrounding the important role they play in the ecosystem, particularly for pest control, which is estimated at being worth over $1bn in the USA alone, and as pollinators of important crop species, such as bananas and agave (used to make Tequila). The European Union now protects all bat species, with many populations recovering rapidly. Hopefully the role of these flying mammals will continue to be understood and valued. The harvest of bats has been a common subsistence food source for a long time, but large scale trade networks and online availability are a new threat for the species. Around Halloween, online purchases for bats increase, as bats are sought for use


as Halloween decorations. This trade is unsustainable and, despite claims, these bats do not die naturally. This issue has low visibility, with few research papers on the more recent effects, and methods of detecting bat trade are often ineffective, relying mainly on interviews and surveys with local vendors and hunters. In the Americas, the outbreak of white-nose syndrome, a Paleotropical disease which has spread to Neotropical areas, is also wiping out colonies across the Continent, but that’s a whole different story. In short, we are at risk of losing many of these mysterious mammals before we even fully understand them.

Oli Aylen is an MSc student focusing on bat bioacoustics and sampling methods. He spent his early childhood in the Cotswolds and now lives in New Zealand. If you are interested in learning more, see www.batcon.org @oli_aylen / oliaylen@gmail.com

In short, we are at risk of losing many of these mysterious mammals before we even fully understand them.

Pictured: The bright colouration of Kerivoula picta - also known as the painted bat - has seen it prized for use as a tourist souvenir





O N T H E WA L L 2019 Cheltenham Paint Festival Celebrates Cotswold Town’s Love of Literature

Neon Dickensian script from David AndAtWhatCost

A tribute to J.K. Rowling by Sam



Thought provoking stuff from i bee w


Marta Zubieta’s satirical take on a chilling children’s series

The Cheltenham Paint Festival recently celebrated the 70th anniversary of the Cheltenham Literature Festival with the theme ‘Hurrah for Books’. Artists were invited to interpret this theme in their work. Between 5-8 September, new artworks appeared all over town, enlivening car parks, pubs, buildings and The Brewery Quarter. The Festival has only been running since 2017, but its many contributions from leading and emerging street artists have already left a big impression.

rj77stencils’ tribute to Nadiya Hussain

Cheltenham made the news in 2014, when Banksy artwork depicting GCHQ spies eavesdropping on a telephone box appeared on the corner of Fairview Road. The work, entitled Spy Booth, has since been destroyed, but Banksy was rumoured to have appeared in Cheltenham for this year’s secret Paint Festival event.

A map of the new artworks is available from


Hamlet-inspired mural by Zabou




Healthy mouth –healthy body We all know how important a healthy mouth is to looking good, but research is now showing a definite link between a healthy mouth and a healthy body. Dr. Trevor Bigg

Why is the mouth so special? The mouth is unique. Elsewhere, the body is sealed from infection by a layer of skin or mucous membrane, only in the mouth is this layer broken by the teeth passing through a mucous membrane (in this case called the gums). So how is infection prevented? A shallow channel, called the sulcus, surrounds each tooth. This is kept moist by a flow of fluid from the blood vessels of the gum. The fluid contains the defence mechanisms that the body has to combat infections. However, 80% of us have some form of gum disease and this can affect the delicate balance in the sulcus and lead to some of the germs entering the blood supply. What happens when germs enter our blood? Our blood contains special cells that eat up foreign bodies such as bacteria, but if gum disease is present, the number of germs can be too great and they travel round the body



through the blood system. So far research has shown that gum disease may be linked with:

Diabetes – this is a two-way process, people with diabetes are more likely to have gum disease and people with gum disease are more likely to have diabetes

Heart disease – gum disease may increase the risk of heart disease. The bacteria in the blood may attach themselves to the thickened heart arteries increasing plaque or atheroma and to the heart valves causing infective endocarditis

Premature births and low birth weight for babies

Lung disease – gum disease increases the risk of bacteria from the mouth entering the lungs, which can lead to aspiration pneumonia

Certain types of cancer, rheumatoid arthritis and dementia

Gum disease affects more than 50% of the adult population and this increases to 60% in those older than 65. It’s the 6th most common disease of mankind! So, good oral hygiene and regular visits to the dentist don’t just give us a nice smile, they will help us to live a longer, healthier life. If you want more information about the contents of the article, go to the British Dental Health Foundation web site at Tell Me About/Topics, or contact Penny at Milton Dental Practice: 01993 831 396 or email penny@drbigg.com and come to see us for a consultation.

To accompany this article, we are offering a New Patient Examination at the fee of £99 (including x-rays if necessary) and a free Denplan Examination.


Your Cotswold Calendar: Winter Events 2019/2020 As the year draws to a close, our schedules start filling up again. There’s festive fun aplenty to be had in the Cotswolds - so here are some of our top suggestions for a grand old time. Bonfire Night in Stow 1 Nov 2019 www.stowinfo.co.uk

It’s that special time of year when the sky fills with fireworks and the scent of delicious treats fills the air. Gather on the playing field for a night of spectacular lights!

Cheltenham Design Festival 1 - 3 Nov 2019 www.cheltdesignfestival.org

It’s time to show the world what design can do! The Cheltenham Design Festival is back at the Parabola Arts Centre with unmissable talks, events and workshops. Hear from amazing speakers from leading organisations such as Monotype, The Royal College of Art, UK Government, Aardman Animations and more; understand how new ideas can be born out of a mix of unlikely collaborations. Please see the website for dates, times and bookings.

Stroud Book Festival

6 - 10 Nov 2019 www.stroudbookfestival.org.uk A five-day feast for book lovers of all ages! Families, fiction, forgiveness, Faber’s 90th, food, future, fabrics, film, fitness and fun are all on the menu, as Stroud Book Festival presents over 50 events.

The Boy in The Dress, The Royal Shakespeare Company, Stratford-upon-Avon 8 Nov 2019 - 8 Mar 2020 www.rsc.org.uk/the-boy-in-the-dress-musical

Dennis is 12 years old and his school football team’s star striker. But when Mum leaves home, life is tough. The only reminder Dennis has of Mum is a photo of her in a beautiful yellow dress; a dress rather like the one on the cover of Vogue on sale at Raj’s newsagents - and also a bit like the one that Lisa James, the coolest girl in the school, is sketching in her notebook. What do you do if you like both football and dresses? And what will Mr Hawtrey, the headteacher, do when he discovers that his strict uniform code has been broken by a boy in a dress? David Walliams’s heart-warming comedy is brought to the stage for the first time in a musical with all new songs from Robbie Williams and Guy Chambers, script by former RSC playwright in residence Mark Ravenhill and in a production for all the family directed by RSC Artistic Director Gregory Doran. Visit the website for dates, times and bookings.

Puss in Boots, The Theatre, Chipping Norton 13 Nov 2019 - 12 Jan 2020 www.chippingnortontheatre.com

King Rat is lording it over London, and his gang of rodent gangsters are wreaking havoc on the old market in Albert Square. Only one highly fashionable feline can save the day. But he needs a sidekick… and some stylish footwear!

Incoming speakers include Ian McEwan, Julia Donaldson, Nell Gifford, Max Porter and Aardman Animations. Do book fast to avoid disappointment!

Chippy’s panto twist on this classic tale, set in 1950s London, is stuffed full of daring escapes, ruthless robberies and frankly spectacular car chases. It will be a fast and ‘furrious’ adventure! Family friendly from start to finish, and with all the sumptuous costumes, great original music and daft theatricality that only comes from the national home of traditional pantomime.

Please see the website for dates, times and bookings.

Visit the website for dates, times and bookings.




Gloucester Quays Christmas Market 14 - 24 Nov 2019 www.gloucesterquays.co.uk

Roll up, roll up - the Victorian Christmas Market returns for 2019! Half a million people visited Gloucester Quays during the 11-day event in 2018 and this event aims to be just as popular. This year there will be a whole host of stalls selling food, drink and bespoke gifts (not available on the high street), alongside a line-up of entertainment full of cheeky Victorian Characters. The open-air ice rink will also make its long-awaited return. Food and drink, including hot food and street food to go, will be available from the surrounding regions, including all your seasonal favourite tipples and tastes.

The November Meeting, Cheltenham Racecourse 15 - 17 Nov 2019 www.thejockeyclub.co.uk

The November Meeting is the first major meeting of the jump racing season. It’s true that all roads lead to The Festival, but the magic starts at The November Meeting. Countryside Day launches The November Meeting in true Cheltenham style. There’s a host of countryside interests to keep you entertained, including hound parades. The Wurzels will be performing in The Centaur after racing, free for Club/Tattersalls racegoers. The BetVictor Gold Cup on Saturday is a real autumnal treat and is the biggest raceday at Cheltenham outside of The Cheltenham Festival. Sunday also brings another fantastic day of racing, and Cheltenham’s only Sunday raceday. The day will also include a Family Fun Zone, where under 18s can attend racing for free and are kept entertained with complimentary activities. Featuring live music, shopping and must-see horseracing, The November Meeting is unmissable. Visit the website for dates, times and bookings.

Cheltenham Racecourse



Alice in the Palace

Alice in the Palace, Blenheim Palace

22 Nov 2019 - 5 Jan 2020 www.blenheimpalace.com/whats-on/events/alice-in-the-palace The magic of Alice in Wonderland will be exquisitely captured in an enchanting experience at Blenheim Palace. The beautiful surrounds of the Palace will be transformed into a whimsical topsy-turvy wonderland. Step between the pages of a larger than life book, down the rabbit-hole and along corridors filled with hidden surprises. From mirrored hallways, illusions, and Mad Hatter’s tea party to a world of make-believe, this festive indoor trail will leave you with a grin like the Cheshire cat. Visit the website for dates, times and bookings.


Illumintaed Light Trail, Blenheim Palace

The Christmas Market, Blenheim Palace

22 Nov - 15 Dec 2019 www.blenheimpalace.com/whats-on/events/christmasmarket

Burford Singers Winter Concert 2019: Verdi’s Requiem 24 Nov 2019 www.burfordsingers.org.uk

Escape the bustle of the high street and soak up the festive atmosphere of this Christmas market, set against the magnificent backdrop of Blenheim Palace. Within wooden chalets, the market is filled with a variety of hand-picked, irresistible gifts, unique works by a range of designers and tempting treats for foodies.

Featuring Linda Richardson (Soprano), Marta Fontanals-Simmons (Mezzo), Ben Thapa (tenor), Freddie Long (Bass). Conductor Brian Kay with the Cotswold Chamber Orchestra. See the website for bookings and for further information.

With ceramics, textiles, homewares, leather goods, jewellery, toys, stationery, bags, hats and so much more, it is the perfect place to begin your Christmas shopping.

The Suffolks Christmas Market, Cheltenham

Visit the website for dates, times and bookings.

A charming Christmas market will run from Great Norwood Street to Montpellier Terrace via Suffolk Parade. There’s sure to be lots of edible festive treats and gifts for all the family, plus a fun fair, carol singing and other seasonal entertainments.

Illuminated Light Trail, Blenheim Palace

22 Nov 2019 - 1 Jan 2020 www.blenheimpalace.com/whats-on/events/illuminatedchristmas-trail An unmissable Christmas event! Blenheim’s towering Tunnel of Light will once again twinkle with over 100,000 pea-lights, while the woodland Laser Garden and the scented Fire Garden all return. The Water Terrace light finale dances across the historic facade to much-loved Christmas classics. Complete your walk under the stars with mulled cider, mulled wine or a hot chocolate. Gather around the fire-pit with family and friends to toast marshmallows and end the evening browsing the well-stocked gift shop in the East Courtyard. For the young ones in all of us there’s a Victorian carousel, helterskelter and other family rides – and don’t forget to look out for Father Christmas and his elves along the way.

24 Nov 2019 www.thesuffolks.co.uk

Tewkesbury Festival of Christmas Lights 24 Nov 2019 www.tewkesburymedievaltown.uk

The Christmas Lights Festival is one of Tewkesbury’s outstanding events and ranks amongst the best in the UK. An all day event for the whole family, with Christmas Lights switch on by Santa Claus at 5pm. Free parking all day. Tewkesbury’s Christmas Lights Festival is put on and run by volunteer members of the town, including the Christmas Lights group, Tewkesbury Rotary Club, traders and members of the public.

Visit the website for dates, times and bookings.




Enchanted Christmas, Westonbirt Arboretum

29 Nov - 25 Dec 2019 www.forestryengland.uk/westonbirt/enchanted-christmas Put the sparkle in your family Christmas and set out on the all new Enchanted Woodland illuminated trail at Westonbirt Arboretum. The fairies have been up to mischief at Westonbirt Arboretum this winter, casting spells over the trees to transform it into an enchanted wood. Wind your way through the trees to discover a wonderland of light and magic, meeting woodland characters along the way.

Bath Christmas Market

Bath Christmas Market

28 Nov - 15 Dec 2019 www.bathchristmasmarket.co.uk The award-winning Bath Christmas Market is back for 18 days of magical merriment! With around 150 twinkling chalets spread out across Bath’s picturesque Georgian streets, it’s the perfect place to do a spot of Christmas shopping. From unique homeware to personalised presents, Christmas decorations, handcrafted jewellery and more, you’re guaranteed to find something special for your loved ones. With so many local makers and designers showcasing their artisan gifts, you can tick off everything on your Christmas list all in one place and feel reassured that you’re supporting Bath’s small businesses. Throughout the Market, you’ll find tasty food to satisfy any appetite; grab a delicious burger or hog roast, caramelised nuts and aromatic mulled wine to keep you toasty while you browse.

Rob Beckett at Cheltenham Racecourse

28 Nov 2019 www.thejockeyclub.co.uk/cheltenham/events-tickets/robbeckett-wallop-tour ‘Mouth from the South’ Rob Beckett brings his show Wallop to the Cotswolds in November. Join the TV comedian and podcaster for a chucklesome evening in Cheltenham. Visit the website for times and bookings.

The popular Christmas village is back ready for you to soak up the seasonal cheer. Create some Christmas arts and crafts with the family, explore the Christmas market stalls and warm up with a cup of hot chocolate or mulled wine. Voted Britain’s Favourite Christmas Light Display last year, Enchanted Christmas will be the highlight of your Christmas celebrations this year. Visit the website for dates, times and bookings.

Late Night Christmas Shopping in Broadway

29 Nov & 6 Dec 2019 www.broadway-cotswolds.co.uk/christmas-shopping-nights The Late Night Christmas Shopping evenings will be held on Friday 29 November and Friday 6 December from 5.30pm to 8.30pm. A lovely festive atmosphere with beautiful Christmas lights, music, mulled wine, festive food plus great shops and eateries. It’s the perfect opportunity to enjoy the beginning of the Season of Goodwill and stock up on gifts. The local fire service will also be fund raising.

Cinderella, The Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham 29 Nov 2019 - 12 Jan 2020 www.everymantheatre.org.uk

Polish your pumpkins, dust off your gowns and grab your glass slippers to join a host of crazy characters at the Everyman Theatre. Our annual, family-friendly pantomime is back! Cinderella features the hilarious return of Tweedy as Buttons, Cinderella’s best friend in this rags to riches tale. The production also features a fantastic cast of West End regulars including Courtney-Brogan Smalley (Club Tropicana), Sam Murphy (42nd Street, Funny Girl), Kevin Brewis (Benidorm Live!), Steven Roberts (Hollyoaks, The History Boys). Visit the website for dates, times and bookings.




Santa Specials on the GWSR 30 Nov - 24 Dec 2019 www.gwsr.com

Enjoy the fun and spirit of the festive season with a Santa Special on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway.

Santa Steam Special Travel from Cheltenham Racecourse Station by steam train all the way to Winchcombe (or the North Pole!) through the long tunnel to visit Santa and his elves in his grotto. When you arrive at Winchcombe the elves will meet you off the train. Make sure you have plenty of time to visit Santa and receive your presents (specially selected for each age group) before your train returns to Cheltenham.

Santa Railcar Special Travel from Toddington station by an early 1960s diesel rail car with Santa and his elves. The number of tickets sold on these trains will be limited, so there’ll be plenty of space for your family - plus the added excitement of seeing Santa giving out presents.

Beauty and The Beast, Oxford Playhouse 29 Nov 2019 - 12 Jan 2020 www.oxfordplayhouse.com

Meet Beauty – smart as a whip, bold as brass, with a heart of pure gold. She’s the opposite of the Beast – gruff, rough and in need of a shave. But when Beauty finds herself trapped in a magical castle with the Beast, the two of them have to learn to get along. Will they meet a beastly end or have a beautiful ‘happily ever after’? One thing’s for sure, our mismatched pair will need a hand from you to make their dreams come true. Full of super singing, dazzling dancing and lashings of slapstick silliness, this year’s panto is brought to you by the team behind Dick Whittington and His Cat and Jack and the Beanstalk. So get ready to boo and cheer – another smashing panto is here! Visit the website for dates, times and bookings.

Visit the website for dates, times and bookings.

Cirencester Advent Festival 30 Nov (Opening); 1 - 8 Dec 2019 www.cirencester.gov.uk

The town’s famous kick-start to Christmas, with Christmas markets, festive community entertainment, celebrity light switch-on and fireworks bonanza. This year, lights will be switched on by Nell Gifford at 7pm on November 30th, while fireworks will be launched from the Parish Church. Festivities to include an advent market, arts and crafts fair, street food and drink, Santa appearances, fair rides and live stage performances.

Moreton-in-Marsh Christmas Lights and Market 30 Nov 2019

All your festive favourites will be there for Moreton’s own Christmas festival - street market stalls, Father Christmas, carol singing, refreshments and thousands of heart-warming lights.




Spectacle of Light, Sudeley Castle

Spectacle of Light, Sudeley Castle

30 Nov - 30 Dec 2019 www.sudeleycastle.co.uk/events/spectacle-of-light Explore the beautiful new illuminated trail around Sudeley Castle’s stunning grounds. Enjoy the wonderful music as you discover each new secret of this magical environment. See the majestic castle, the glorious gardens and romantic ruins all lit under the stars. Experience the dazzling new illuminations as you stroll around these beautiful grounds. New for 2019! Follow Peter Pan and Wendy and discover some of the amazing characters from J. M. Barrie’s timeless classic. Make a wish and support the brave children at Great Ormond Street Hospital. Visit the website for dates, timings and bookings.

Christmas Fantasy Adventure, Clearwell Caves Spectacle of Light, Sudeley Castle

30 Nov - 24 Dec 2019 www.clearwellcaves.com

Have an underground adventure in these magical caves. In Clearwell’s ever popular Christmas Spectacular, you and the kids can follow a seasonal story through exciting displays, meet Father Christmas in his grotto, choose a present and discover Christmas stalls selling gifts, decorations, stocking fillers and seasonal treats. An underground café will be open for you to enjoy a welcome hot chocolate and cake before you continue on your journey. Visit the website for dates, timings and bookings.




Aladdin, The Roses Theatre, Tewkesbury 30 Nov 2019 - 4 Jan 2020 www.rosestheatre.org

Get ready to journey to the exotic Far East for an adventure like no other! The Roses’ renowned family pantomime is brought to life by a supremely talented cast and creative team, including writer and director Ben Crocker. Complete with all of the magic and sparkle you’ve come to expect from The Roses’ pantomime, you’ll be transported to a magical world of music, mayhem and fun.

Winchcombe Christmas Festival and Late Night Shopping

3 Dec 2019 www.winchcombe.co.uk/winchcombe-christmas-festival The Christmas trees will be sparkling as Winchcombe’s shopkeepers, pubs, café-owners, stallholders and local people get into the festive spirit of Christmas as part of the amazing Winchcombe Christmas Festival. Christmas time in the Cotswolds starts early in Winchcombe, with a festival for all the family with lots to see and do. There are over 50 market stalls laden with gifts, festive food, shops open late, carol singing and live music to get you in the Christmas spirit.

The Nutcracker, Royal Opera House Live Ballet at the Corinium Museum 17 Dec 2019 www.coriniummuseum.org/event/the-nutcracker

The Nutcracker, created by Peter Wright in 1984, is the production par excellence of an all-time ballet favourite. It is Christmas Eve and Herr Drosselmeyer sweeps young Clara away on a fantasy adventure in which time is suspended. The living-room becomes a battlefield as they take a magical journey through the Land of Snow to the Kingdom of Sweets. Tchaikovsky’s glittering score, gorgeous festive stage designs, and The Royal Ballet’s captivating dancing make this Nutcracker the quintessential Christmas experience. Visit the website for dates, times and bookings.

Christmas Tree Festival and Light Switch On, Stow-on-the-Wold 5 - 8 Dec 2019 www.stowinfo.co.uk

You’ll love this year’s cheery display of Christmas trees, handdecorated by the town’s children, residents and organisations. The best tree in each category will be decided by a public vote. And don’t miss the switching-on of the town’s electric lights, scheduled to take place 5.30pm on Friday 6 December.

The Annual Boxing Day Duck Race, Bibury 26 Dec 2019 www.biburyvillage.uk

Have some post-Christmas fun at the traditional yellow plastic duck race on the River Coln. Buy a plastic duck and support a charity!

Chipping Campden Christmas Market 7 - 8 Dec 2019 www.campdenmarket.co.uk

What better way to start the festive season than a visit to the Chipping Campden Christmas Market? The beautiful Town Hall and Market Square will be transformed into a magical wonderland full of enticing stalls offering a variety of arts and crafts, Christmas decorations, festive food, cards, toys and truly original Christmas gifts.

Christmas Walk at Greystones Farm, Bourton-on-the-Water 14 Dec 2019 www.gloucestershirewildlifetrust.co.uk

Submerge yourselves in nature with a guided tour of Greystones Farm, from 1pm-3pm. Visit the website for further information.

Cheltenham Racecourse

New Years Day at Cheltenham Racecourse 1 Jan 2020 www.thejockeyclub.co.uk

There is only one place to start your 2020, and that is a day at the races at Cheltenham Racecourse. New Year’s Day hosts seven quality races, including two Grade 2s with trainers, jockeys and racegoers all hoping to get their year off to a flyer.




Make a Statement with Upholstery Often our first thought when we consider decorating a room is the walls: which shade of paint, what type of wallpaper...? However, using fabric on upholstery as your starting point can often lead to some really fantastic results.

Strong foundations

Every room needs a starting point, a piece on which you can anchor the choices that bring your scheme together. Without a starting point or inspiration, it can be hard to find a direction and the finished look can become muddled. Find one thing you love and work from there. As upholstered furniture is often the main investment for a room, it makes sense to begin with that. In a living room, for example, start with sofas, chairs and footstools, and in a bedroom, a headboard and possibly a chair too.

Take a leap of faith

Using unique fabrics on furniture can bring heaps of personality, create a smile with the unexpected, or even soften the look of a busy room. Upholstery can be used in unexpected places too – even doors or walls; a padded wall covering behind a headboard can transform a bedroom into a luxurious sanctuary that is warm and cocooning. Try to be brave and get away from the safe options; a bit of bravery goes a long way – you will never achieve wow-factor with ‘predictable’.

Pattern power

Pattern is everywhere, but it is most intimate when it surrounds us in our homes, whether in wallpaper, fabric or accessories – it brings energy and depth to a scheme. There are so many fabulous patterns available to choose from these days, with new ones released every season – and being spoilt for wonderful choice is such a lovely position to be in! From geometrics and stripes, to toiles and florals, there is



GP&J Baker

something for everyone. It’s no surprise that floral and botanical prints remain a firm favourite for interiors – these designs give us a feeling of vitality and connect us to nature. To avoid a twee and old-fashioned look, go for larger scales and bolder colours. Pattern on your upholstery does not mean that you cannot have pattern elsewhere too. Go to town with a visual symphony, incorporating your curtains, cushions, throws, lampshades, rugs and wallpaper. Vary the scale and type of pattern for the best effect, making sure each choice has at least one colour in common. Don’t be afraid of combining different styles: graphics and florals, for example; if the colours and pattern scales work, the contrast will modernise and create definition. Contrast is the key when it comes to designing a successful room.



Colefax & Fowler

GP&J Baker

Take it to the next level

Fashions come and go. For a scheme that will stand the test of time, be true to your personal tastes, follow your instincts and go with what you love.

Create a moodboard with samples that are roughly proportionate to how they will be used in the room, to see how they work together.

• Last but not least, don’t be afraid. Love pattern and colour and enjoy experimenting with it!

For a striking, luxurious and coordinated look, try using trimmings. No longer just for traditional, period homes, trimmings can be bright and contemporary, or understated and stylish. The simplest form of trimming you can add to an upholstered piece is piping, whether self-piped (same colour) or a contrasting colour. Other examples of trimmings are tassels, borders, or upholstery pins, which are now available in a range of exciting colours. Perhaps the biggest comeback recently has been that of fringes. Whist fringes have always had their place in the quintessential traditional interiors of country and stately homes, we are now seeing a rise in more contemporary settings, and demand for fringe is rising fast. What better way to add texture and quirky personality to sofas, chairs and footstools? Used by the hottest interior designers to add a beautiful finishing touch, the return of fringes is a joy to behold and a world away from the stuffy, thick bullions of the past.

Trend focus

Gone are the days of sticking with safe ‘beige, our upholstery fabric choices have become bolder over the course of 2019 and this preference is set to develop further during 2020. Velvet has made a huge comeback and is still going strong. Durable and luxurious, this fabric adds instant warmth to a scheme. As well as looking beautiful, it has a meltingly soft, irresistible, tactile quality that draws you in. Deep,

dramatic blues and greens, lit up by rich, burnt oranges are particularly popular right now. Occasional chairs, once considered old fashioned, are also back in the spotlight. Now a more popular choice to mix up seating, it is no longer the norm to buy a matching sofa suite. Modern style has seen a shift to customers mixing patterns with a sofa, accent chairs and other upholstered items, such as pouffes and footstools. Moving away from ‘matchy-matchy’ has allowed us to become braver and more exciting.

Expert advice

When choosing a fabric for upholstery, always check the rub test – this is essentially how many times the fabric can be ‘rubbed’ before it starts to wear out. The very minimum for domestic upholstery is 20,000, although I’d recommend a minimum of 30,000-40,000. For commercial use, it should be higher. When making an investment in upholstery, you want to make sure it stands the test of time.

GP&J Baker

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



£699,000 – SOLD

A Grade II listed former cart barn of great character, with separate annexe/cinema room being within walking distance of the village pub and primary school. Entrance Hall | Master Bedroom with En-Suite | Three Bedrooms | Bathroom | Utility Room | Cloakroom | Sitting Room | Kitchen | Dining Room | Study | Double Garage | Annexe/Cinema Room | Shower Room | Garden | Parking | EPC Rating: Exempt

Fine and Country, Bourton on the Water 01451 824977


£695,000 – SOLD

An imposing double-fronted period property occupying an elevated position on the Lower High Street of this extremely sought after North Cotswold town. Entrance | Sitting Room | Study Area | Kitchen/Breakfast Room open to Dining Room | Master Bedroom with En-Suite | Two Further Double Bedrooms | Bathroom | Patio | Garden to Rear | EPC Rating: D

Fine and Country, Bourton on the Water 01608 653896

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


£525,000 – SOLD

A charming, semi-detached stone period Cotswold property dating back at least three hundred years, situated at the heart of a small rural hill village within easy reach of Bourton on the Water. Sitting Room | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Three Bedrooms | Bathroom | Workshop | Barns Consisting of Three Small Single Storey Pens, Double Height Bull Pen and Adjacent Store/Workshop | EPC Rating: G

Fine and Country, Bourton on the Water 01451 824977


£380,000 – SOLD

A charming two bedroom barn conversion nestled in the beautiful Cotswold village of Nether Westcote, with stunning views of the Oxfordshire countryside. Entrance Hall | Living Room | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Two Double Bedrooms | Bathroom | Garden | Parking | EPC Rating: G

Fine and Country, Bourton on the Water 01451 824977

Country Homes from harrison james & hardie



A well presented, one-off, detached four bedroom property with separate one bedroom guest house annexe, set in a desirable location backing on to fishing lakes with a beautiful lake view. Entrance Hall | Sitting Room | Garden Room | Dining Room | Kitchen | Laundry Room | WC | Office | First Floor Master Bedroom | En-Suite Shower Room | Three Further Bedrooms | Bathroom | Garage/Annexe - Kitchen | Bedroom | Shower Room | Driveway Parking | Garden to Rear | EPC Rating: D

Fine and Country, Bourton on the Water 01451 824977



Partridge Barn is a spacious, period stone barn converted in the 1990’s and situated in an exclusive development in the heart of the popular village of Great Rollright. Entrance Hall | Sitting Room | Snug | Study | Cloakroom | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Utility Room | Master Bedroom with En-Suite Shower Room | Bedroom/Dressing Room | Two Further Bedrooms one with En-Suite Shower Room | Family Bathroom | Double Garage | Private Courtyard | A further small courtyard accessed from the Kitchen/Breakfast | No onward chain | EPC Rating: D

Fine and Country, Bourton on the Water 01608 653896

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


The Future of the Cotswolds is Green, says Harrison James & Hardie Karen Harrison and James von Speyr of Harrison James & Hardie have worked in the local marketplace for over twenty-five years and their independent company has been the North Cotswolds’ leading estate agency since the turn of the new millennium. Known for their embrace of modern marketing methods and innovative technology, their business focus is now firmly set on going green.

e are increasingly conscious that our industry is carbon-heavy on emissions, especially in a rural area where instructions are typically spread across a circumference of ten miles from each base office,” says Karen. “We accompany every single viewing on behalf of our clients. In an average year that’s around 3,000 viewings between sales and lettings: 30,000 miles, about 3.2 metric tonnes of carbon emissions – three times what a single person in the EU usually generates per year. Karen Harrison is co-founder and director of Harrison James & Hardie. The company has a policy of continuous re-investment into the training and retention of local staff, and is committed to the use of new technologies and innovative marketing methods.

“Then there are marketing appraisals (around 500 a year between sales and lettings), with all the visits thereafter for the production of floorplans, EPCs and professional photography, accompanied move-ins, property inspections, mortgage valuations and surveys, etc. etc. etc. That’s at least another 30,000 - 40,000 miles per annum. “On top we have to add home-to-work mileage of sixteen employees which, whilst we’re all very local, is yet another 30,000 to 40,000 miles per annum. “The nett impact on our local environment is, therefore, 8 to 9 metric tonnes of carbon emissions per annum. With 17,000 estate agency companies in the UK, some having several multiples of offices, that’s a huge amount of carbon emissions as a whole that we should all be doing our best to offset and minimise.



“We’re not going to be able to change the way the industry works overnight, but we can make our own business more carbonneutral. Hence the company has invested in its first electric car. “Not only are electric cars less polluting, they’re less expensive to fund. Our new e-Golf does 130 miles per charge. I typically drive around 7,000 miles a year, so that’s just a single full charge per week, about £10 worth of electricity compared with £60 to fill up a tank of diesel. “We’re not in a position to preach when our other car is a Disco! Until there are great 4 x 4s available, it’s hard to go completely electric, especially in a rural part of the country where there aren’t enough charging points. Technology isn’t quite there yet. “But that time will come faster if we all just do something now. If every household in the North Cotswolds were to swap their second cars to electric, for example, that would make a huge difference, not just in terms of emissions but noise pollution, too. Just imagine those places currently blighted by a perpetual background din of passing traffic gradually returning to rural peace and quiet. What’s that going to do to the values of homes by the side of the Fosse Way and A40, next to traffic lights, crossroads and on steep hills through villages, for example?


“By far the most positive impact for anyone currently living by busy roads will be on their mental and physical health. A peaceful environment is known to reduce anxiety and stress; electric cars will also negate toxic emissions that cause chronic lung and heart diseases.”

Meanwhile, we will privately incentivise employees to swap their own gas-guzzlers for all-electric. It makes great sense for our business on mileage costs, let alone the benefit to the environment.”

So that’s the reasoning behind their decision, but how do they plan to incentivise their employees to go allelectric, too?

“Plug-in hybrid cars are included in the tax incentive scheme, but must be able to travel for at least 130 miles as pure electric; there aren’t any models out there that can do that, but the auto industry now seems extremely focused on improving all-electric technology instead,” says Karen.

“We haven’t had a company car fleet up to now, but emissions-free electric company fleet models will pay no benefit-in-kind for the year from April 2020, 1% tax from April 2021 and 2% from April 2022,” explains James. “A 20% tax-payer driving a mid-range petrol vehicle as a company car will typically pay £2,000 a year in benefit-inkind, twice that in the higher 40% bracket. That’s a great incentive to go electric, worth thousands of pounds over the next three years. “The e-Golf is our first company car and we have to trial out the practicalities before we get more of a company fleet.

Why not hybrid?

For many reasons, beyond financial, that has to be the best news for the future of the Cotswolds and the health of the whole country, given that business fleets contribute to almost 6 in 10 new car registrations in the UK.

“For many reasons, beyond financial, that has to be the best news for the future of the Cotswolds and the health of the whole country, given that business fleets contribute to almost 6 in 10 new car registrations in the UK.

“Devon County Council, for example, is already installing plentiful charging points, but when I approached Gloucestershire County Council, they said they were ‘considering a number of options for street charging’ that they hoped ‘to roll out in the near future’. Which isn’t really saying anything, actually, is it?

“But the small disadvantage to my all-electric car here right now is the risk of running out of power, especially when there’s still not much in the way of public charging points in the North Cotswolds. It’s not good enough to say that we’re rural and therefore it can’t be helped.

“Ultimately, I can fuel my car anywhere on a normal three-pin plug, although that does take sixteen hours for a full charge. We will be getting a wallbox unit to reduce that time considerably, but with my typical mileage it’s only going to need one full charge a week, anyway.”




Managing your Holiday Let I work full time. Is holiday letting hard work and how much involvement will I need to have?

hen comparing holiday letting with an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST), you might think that it will be a lot more work. If you employ a good holiday letting agent, however, this doesn’t have to be the case and the rewards can be far greater. Many holiday letting agents offer a tiered service, where you can be as involved or as absent as you wish. For example, at Character Cottages we offer three services: marketing and pricing, housekeeping and a full property management package.

Tom Burdett is Managing Director of Character Cottages, an independent company specialising in the holiday letting of luxury properties in the Cotswolds. To find out more about their services, visit www.character-cottages.co.uk, email letmycottage@charactercottages.co.uk or telephone 01451 600 844.

Marketing your property online can be a lot of work and, whilst it is easy to generate an income from a property, most owners operating their own marketing channels do not maximise their income or optimise the performance of the holiday let. Answering enquiries, responding to feedback, processing bookings and security deposit payments can all be time-consuming, whilst setting, adjusting and monitoring prices without the data from a large portfolio of similar properties is extremely difficult. Paying a commission to a holiday letting agent will, of course, increase your overheads, but an established company with a good reputation will almost certainly be able to generate a far greater level of income for you, and will handle every aspect of the enquiry, sales and booking process so you don’t have to. Managing housekeeping yourself can certainly help to keep costs down. However, before making this decision, you should always consider every aspect of the role and the associated costs. Having bedding and towels professionally laundered can be costly, whilst being available to clean and ready your property 7 days a week can be a bind. Holiday lettings agents, such as



Character Cottages, often charge a fixed fee for a changeover, where time, laundry and cleaning products have already been factored into the price. Property management, guest services and being on call 24 hours a day is a big commitment. Guests will, on occasion, require assistance at unsocial hours. They will sometimes require pacifying after an issue with a stay, want a forgotten belonging returned to them, or just need an acknowledgement to a lovely email of thanks following a wonderful experience. It is also highly recommended that maintenance tasks are kept on top of as, over time, small maintenance jobs can stack up and collectively become a bigger issue. Arranging tradesmen around guests’ stays can be tricky and time-consuming to say the least, whereas a well-structured property management service will take away all of this hassle. Different companies charge for this in various ways. At Character Cottages we charge a simple monthly fee and, in return, we deal with all of the work. It is sensible to assess your personal commitments, the costs and the value of your time before deciding whether holiday letting is for you and whether enlisting the services of a professional agency is sensible. It is also a good idea to talk to a reputable holiday letting agent before making a final decision to establish how their services are structured and whether there are any hidden costs. If you’re looking to generate a second income from a property, a holiday let could be the perfect investment. You can make a healthy profit and have somewhere for your family to escape to for weekends and holidays.


The Advantages of Short Letting Your Property I have a cottage in Bourton on the Water that I use only very occasionally as I am now abroad most of the year. Holiday letting involves too much expense and investment to be a truly workable compromise. It’s so hard to think about selling, but I just can’t afford to keep it.

ho wouldn’t want the opportunity to work abroad and still be able to come home to the quintessentially British village of Bourton on the Water for some rest and recuperation, before jetting off back to the sun for work! You should be feeling delighted with your good fortune rather than consumed with worry, but instead are extremely conscious of your home sitting empty, not earning its keep. Before you sell, consider short letting as an ideal compromise. Whilst you might be new to short letting as a concept, it could just be the right thing for your lifestyle and your property. If this sounds like a viable option, I will gladly come out to discuss in greater detail how we can make a short let work for you. Edward Slark MARLA is Senior Lettings Manager at Harrison James & Hardie. He has many years of lettings experience having worked in London and the Cotswolds. To speak to Edward, telephone 01451 822977 or e-mail edward@harrisonjameshardie.co.uk.

Short letting your home is a big market in London and, like all great things, is slowly working its way from the capital into the country. A short let is ideally a fully furnished home that can be let from a few weeks up to six months. As such, this is intended to be a ‘home away from home’ for tenants, so it is expected that all bills are included in the rental price Your tenant should be able to live comfortably having just arrived with a suitcase. Furniture, good crockery, cutlery, towels and linen should be plentiful with sufficient quality soft furnishings – mirrors, throws, cushions and lamps – to make your property feel more desirable. The better the finish, the more quickly it will rent and the higher revenue it will achieve. There are several main differences between a short let agreement and an assured shorthold tenancy agreement. Rules and regulations differ; the majority of these are aimed at providing more protection for landlords and, because this type of agreement runs for less than six months, the main one is that short letting does not fall under the Housing Act

Consequently, there is far more flexibility when arranging a short let contract, importantly that no statutory periodic tenancy arises at the end of the tenancy, which means you do not run the risk of accidentally entering into a longer term than initially anticipated. Landlords see many benefits in this type of let. The main one is, evidently, the opportunity to earn some additional income, but the second main driver is that the property is not left empty, so your home is being looked after while you’re away. There is a lot less hassle and less turnover than a holiday let, therefore reducing changeover costs and the amount of wear and tear on your property. Conversely, preparing your home for a short let is relatively easy, especially if you already live there and have it fully equipped for you to return to after months away. Who wants short let properties? Short letting is a great option for people who are renovating a property and looking for somewhere to stay in the meantime. Equally, short letting is ideal for families relocating from another area who want to try before they buy, rather than enter into a long rental contract. For vendors yet to find their onward purchase, a short let makes it possible to accept offers with a short deadline that otherwise they might not feel able to consider. And, as the tourist market is extremely buoyant, a short let appeals to many potential holidaymakers by offering a longer term let at a more competitive price. For you, short letting gives greater protection than a standard assured shorthold tenancy, less wear and tear and turnover than weekly holiday lets and the opportunity to hold a sizeable deposit for any potential dilapidations. It sounds like this could be the answer you’re looking for!







Investing in the North Cotswold Holiday Let Marketplace

… When it comes to beautiful towns and villages we’re spoilt for choice in the North Cotswolds…

Sophie Williams MNAEA, Senior Sales Negotiator for Harrison James & Hardie, has been working with the company for two years, during which time she has dealt with many investment buyers seeking to create a portfolio of Cotswold properties ideal for the holiday let marketplace.

Why buy an investment property?

What and where?

Purchasing a property to holiday let not only provides you with a great source of income, but also the opportunity to enjoy the property yourself. And, in the current market, with numerous tax benefits for those running a furnished holiday let (FHL), there hasn’t been a better time to invest.

On commencing your search, first and foremost it’s that old favourite: location, location, location. When it comes to beautiful towns and villages we’re spoilt for choice in the North Cotswolds, so settle on somewhere that’s best suited to your budget and what you’re looking to get out of it.

In order to qualify for FHL tax benefits, your property must be located in the European Economic Area, furnished for daily living and available for letting for at least 210 days per calendar year (January to December) and for at least 105 of those days it must be let on a commercial basis for a profit (rather than simply letting to friends and family for reduced or zero rent).

If you’re leaning toward a small rural hamlet, carefully consider how well the property will let. The majority of holidaymakers prefer to stay within walking distance of local amenities and points of interest, although a more rural setting will appeal to those attracted to the Cotswolds’ wealth of walks and hiking trails during the summer months.

The HMRC recognises that if you’re holiday letting a property, that’s a business; so you will pay business rates rather than council tax, which is generally cheaper. And holiday letting comes with the ability to offset your interest costs, with new tax legislation now assessed at £22,000 per annum rather than £8,000 previously.

Try to find a location that offers the best of both worlds. There is a reason why Bourton on the Water is the most successful place to holiday let, as larger villages and towns provide a great base from which to explore the Cotswolds without losing too many city comforts. This can help to avoid seasonal occupancy, thus providing a more consistent year-round income.




...Friends and family groups are more frequently going on holiday together…

Character or space?

Do your research

Once you’ve narrowed down the location, remember that property size and type will also influence the occupancy rate. A larger property, whilst only likely to let for long weekends / the occasional week or fortnight booking, will still generate far greater income than a small property that lets out consistently.

Speak to an estate agent about what kind of properties seem in most demand and consult a good local holiday let company to find out what’s letting particularly well – there may be a gap in the market you can use to your advantage.

Friends and family groups are more frequently going on holiday together, so there’s an increasing inclination towards properties sleeping up to eight or ten. Dependent on your budget and your own requirements, establish what you’re really looking for – perhaps a compromise with a larger modern home will ensure you’re making best use of it too?



Consider whether you plan on managing the holiday let yourself or would rather employ a company to deal with all, or parts, of the work. Holiday letting is not necessarily timeconsuming but, as with all things, if you don’t want to do the work yourself your net profit will be smaller. There are definitely more costs involved in holiday letting than a traditional buy to let – furnishing, household bills, wear and tear, promotion and marketing, management, cleaning and so forth – but the gross revenue per annum is usually far higher as well as being more tax efficient.


Think long term

...Dress and decorate the property to provide a luxurious, warm, welcoming atmosphere…

Having established the benefits of purchasing a property to holiday let in the Cotswolds, there’s one final key point to consider: the future resale value of your property – that is, underlying capital growth. A traditional period property set in an appealing location will hold, and more rapidly increase, its value over a significant length of time in comparison with a modern property; this is due to scarcity, aesthetic preference and fierce competition for period stone cottages in traditional villages – the

properties that everyone thinks of when they imagine a house in the Cotswolds. Of course, there are the vagaries – a world recession and Brexit, currently – but a cottage valued in 2009 will probably realise around 10% more than a modern estate property valued at the same time for a similar price, providing that the condition has remained consistent over that period. So, assuming you’re in this for the long haul, do work out your sums and base your purchase on that basis.

Looks are (almost) everything! To compete with other holiday lets in the same marketplace and to command the very best price, the property must be presented well – great photos can make all the difference to booking numbers. Dress and decorate the property to provide a luxurious, warm, welcoming atmosphere. Make sure it’s super clean, comfortable and well-equipped, to create a real home-fromhome experience. Great reviews are central to encouraging repeat custom, especially in a world where online opinions are given more and more credence.

Find your own Cotswold gem In the following pages, Sophie takes her pick of suitable properties for the holiday let market that are currently available via Harrison James & Hardie / Fine & Country North Cotswolds. Tom Burdett, MD of local holiday let company Character Cottages, previously Sales Director at Harrison James & Hardie, gives his expert opinion on potential gross annual income.




PINKNEY HOUSE Chipping Campden




…a highly desirable and luxurious long-term holiday let investment…




Sophie: Of properties most akin to the idealised imagination of the Cotswolds, Pinkney House in Chipping Campden is a wonderful example – a delightful Grade II Listed townhouse on the northern end of the High Street, renovated to an extremely high standard with exposed beams and stone walls, a stunning kitchen/ family room as its centrepiece, a separate dining room and a sitting room with feature fireplace, plus a charming courtyard garden ideal for al-fresco dining. With three bedrooms, all served by en-suite shower/bathrooms, and the significant benefit of off-road parking and a garage, this gorgeous home would make a highly desirable and luxurious long-term holiday let investment. Chipping Campden is an enduringly beautiful market town with a diverse collection of shops, galleries and restaurants, as well as newsagents, hairdressers and a host of other local businesses. No wonder that holiday letting is extremely popular here with people from London and the Midlands. The closest train station can be found at either Moreton in Marsh or Honeybourne, both providing main line access to Worcester and onto Birmingham New Street, Oxford and London Paddington.



Tom: This gorgeous property would make a great holiday let. Available to let all year round with no restrictions and sleeping six adults, it would gross around £50,000, but if you found a good place to put a sofa bed downstairs, as a 6+2 it could make £55,000 to £60,000 gross potential annual income.

Pinkney House, Chipping Campden is currently under offer through our Moreton in Marsh office. For further information visit www. cotswold-homes.com or contact Martin Frost at the offices of Harrison James & Hardie Fine & Country, Moreton in Marsh on 01608 651000






LANE Burmington




… ancillary accommodation and land which provides an additional income stream...




Sophie: Located in a tiny hamlet situated between Moreton in Marsh and Shipston on Stour, this totally charming, three storey Grade II Listed cottage comes with planning permission for a two-storey extension, but already has great ancillary accommodation and land which provides an additional income stream. The whole plot totals 1.25 acres, mostly given over to two paddocks: one an orchard and the other currently providing camping facilities. The three-storey cottage has a wealth of period features, including open fireplaces, exposed timbers and beams. Complete with garage and workshop, a separate timber garden office and parking for several vehicles, the accommodation provides two reception rooms and a kitchen, three bedrooms arranged over two floors, with a further landing study/bedroom plus an external separate utility/shower room with toilet facilities for the campers. Another benefit is a substantial one-bedroom holiday cottage – ‘Burmington Barn’ – with another thousand square feet of space to offer. And, as if that weren’t enough, a ‘secret garden’ tucked away on the western boundary enjoys amazing views across open countryside.

Tom: This is a brilliant opportunity, full of potential! The main cottage would generate between £35,000 and £40,000 gross income per annum – to secure the higher figure it would benefit from the addition of a second bathroom on the upper storey. In addition, I would expect the annexe to generate between £20,000 and £25,000 – so that’s a total of around £55,000 to £65,000 gross annual income.

6, The Lanes, Burmington is offered to the market by Fine & Country North Cotswolds at £675,000. For further information visit www.cotswold-homes. com. To arrange a time to view, strictly by prior appointment, please contact Martin Frost MNAEA at the offices of Harrison James & Hardie Fine & Country, Moreton in Marsh on 01608 651000









Little Compton 88


Sophie: A period Cotswold stone cottage with characterful beams, cosy wood-burner and Rayburn range cooker, completed with a contemporary finish and all the home comforts you could ask for. This property provides great living space with a large conservatory leading on from a kitchen/diner, making it perfect for social occasions. Set in a pretty village with a quaint pub a short walk away, halfway between the larger market towns of Moretonin-Marsh and Chipping Norton, this is a great all-rounder, perfect for those enjoying time away with family or friends.


… a great allrounder perfect for those enjoying time away with family or friends…

Tom: With a maximum occupancy of five adults, and available to let all year round with no restrictions, I would expect this property to generate approximately £35,000 of gross rental income per annum.

Barn Cottage Little Compton is offered to the market at O.I.E.O £425,000. For further information visit www.cotswold-homes.com. To arrange a time to view, strictly by prior appointment, please contact Louisa Ryan MNAEA at the offices of Harrison James & Hardie Fine & Country, Moreton in Marsh on 01608 651000




Sophie: Famously masquerading as the Kembleford newsagents’ shop in a previous series of the much-loved Father Brown, Ashton House is a gorgeous Grade II Listed cottage on the corner of a small terrace leading to the church just off Blockley High Street. Once a thriving village café/deli with living quarters above, Ashton House is now a family home offering characterful and versatile accommodation over three floors. There’s a large sitting/dining room with wood burning stove, a cosy family/snug room with steps down to the kitchen/breakfast room, a good-sized utility area with plenty of storage and a cloakroom, with master bedroom and bathroom, two further bedrooms and a cloakroom on the floors above.






… a gorgeous Grade II Listed cottage…

Tom: With a maximum occupancy of six adults, I would expect this delightful property, albeit slightly restricted by lack of garden, to generate approximately £30,000 to £35,000 gross rental income per annum.

Ashton House, Blockley is offered to the market at £420,000. For further information visit www. cotswold-homes.com. To arrange a time to view, strictly by prior appointment, please contact Amy Nicholson MNAEA at the offices of Harrison James & Hardie Fine & Country, Moreton in Marsh on 01608 651000







…tailor-made for those looking to get away from the hustle and bustle…

Sophie: A former mill workers’ cottage offers your very own slice of Cotswold history in a slightly more rural setting, just outside the village of Blockley, where local amenities include a village store/coffee shop, two public houses and a hotel. It’s tailor-made for those looking to get away from the hustle and bustle. Enjoy the peace and quiet, take in the stunning surroundings and unwind with a wealth of gorgeous walks over Cotswold hills.

Tom: With a maximum occupancy of five adults, if made available to let all year round with no restrictions, I would expect this property to generate approximately £30,000 to 35,000 of gross rental income per annum. Jessica’s Cottage, Blockley is offered to the market at £349,950. For further information visit www. cotswold-homes.com. To arrange a time to view, strictly by prior appointment, please contact Louisa Ryan MNAEA at the offices of Harrison James & Hardie Fine & Country, Moreton in Marsh on 01608 651000





Bourton on the Hill




Sophie: Currently run as a successful holiday let, this delightful two-bedroom period Cotswold stone cottage boasts a beautiful garden and views toward the famous Batsford estate. Situated close to the stylish Horse and Groom gastro pub and, conveniently, just two miles from the market town of Moreton in Marsh, with a direct train line to London Paddington, it’s perfect for a quick and easy Cotswold getaway.

Tom: With a maximum occupancy of four adults, if made available to let all year round with no restrictions, I would expect this property to generate approximately £30,000 to 35,000 of gross rental income per annum.

…a beautiful garden and views toward the famous Batsford estate…

Angle Cottage, Bourton on the Hill is offered to the market at £300,000. For further information visit www.cotswold-homes.com. To arrange a time to view, strictly by prior appointment, please contact Louisa Ryan MNAEA at the offices of Harrison James & Hardie Fine & Country, Moreton in Marsh on 01608 651000



1 Suffolk Place, Bourton on the Water


A detached well-proportioned four bedroom house set in an exclusive development of just six houses on the outskirts of Bourton on the Water. Entrance Hall | Sitting Room | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Utility | Study | Cloakroom | Master Bedroom En-Suite | Three Bedrooms | Family Bathroom | Garden | Garage | Off Road Parking | EPC Rating: B

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

Rose Cottage, Fifield


Entrance Hall | Sitting Room | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Utility | Cloakroom | Three Bedrooms | Bathroom | Garden | Garage/Workshop | Parking | EPC Rating: G



A red brick, well-presented semi-detached family house set in a village location with westerly views over to the Windrush Valley. The property has a mature garden to three sides with ample off road parking leading to the single detached garage. Entrance Hall | Sitting Room | Dining Room | Inner Hall | Kitchen/Diner | Utility Room | Rear Porch | Cloakroom | Master Bedroom with En-Suite Shower Room | Two Further Bedrooms | Bathroom | Gardens | Off Road Parking | Garage | EPC Rating: D

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

An opportunity to purchase a three bedroom character cottage with exposed stone, open inglenook fireplace and a Victorian bread oven. The cottage offers a courtyard garden with a further detached garden, garage/ workshop and two parking spaces situated in the picturesque village of Fifield.

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

4 Valley View, Little Rissington

1 Woodpecker Close, Bourton on the Water


A well-presented detached house situated within walking distance of the schools and High Street. Entrance Hall l Sitting Room | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Cloakroom | Utility Room | Master Bedroom with En-Suite Shower Room | Three Further Bedrooms | Family Bathroom | Garden | Garage | Off Road Parking | EPC Rating: B

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

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

4 Trenchard Close, Upper Rissington


1 Fosse Row, Bourton on the Water


A detached modern property set in the popular village of Upper Rissington within walking distance of the village amenities.

A well-presented three bedroom modern cottage with garage situated in a corner plot on the edge of the village of Bourton on the Water.

Entrance Hall | Sitting Room | Kitchen/Dining Room | Cloakroom/Utility Room | Master Bedroom with En-Suite Shower Room | Two Further Bedrooms | Family Bathroom | Garden | Single Garage | Off Road Parking | EPC Rating: B

Sitting Room | Dining Room | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Conservatory | Garden Room | Utility Room | Cloakroom | Three Bedrooms | Bathroom | Garden | Parking | EPC Rating: D

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

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

17 Broadlands Court, Bourton on the Water


An immaculately presented two bedroom retirement cottage with garage, situated within close proximity to the village centre. Entrance Hall | Sitting Room | Dining Room | Kitchen | Conservatory | Wet Room | Two Double Bedrooms | Shower Room | Gardens | Garage | EPC Rating: C

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

5 Hercules Close, Upper Rissington


A semi-detached stone built property, set in a cul de sac location with a garage and driveway for several vehicles, within the popular village of Upper Rissington. The property would ideally suit a family or an investment purchaser. Entrance Hall | Living Room | Kitchen/Dining Room | Cloakroom | Master Bedroom with En Suite Shower Room | Two Further Bedrooms | Family Bathroom | Bathroom | Garden | Off Road Parking | Single Garage | EPC Rating: B

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

view all our properties at harrisonjameshardie.co.uk

Plot 2, Chadwick Court, Moreton in Marsh 5 plots remaining


A prestigious development of eight exclusive 1 & 2 bedroom apartments with prices now ranging from £215,000 to £225,000, situated less than half a mile from the popular market town of Moreton in Marsh. The apartments have been designed to embody Cotswold living combined with contemporary comfort and meticulously designed in honey coloured Cotswold stone to meet your every need.

19 Wolds End Close, Chipping Campden


A well-presented duplex maisonette situated in the sought after Wolds End development and located within walking distance of Chipping Campden’s historic High Street, with its plentiful array of boutique shops, restaurants, pubs and hotels. The accommodation, which is arranged on the first and second floors, briefly comprises: Sitting Room | Kitchen | Bedroom | Bathroom | Courtyard | Single Garage | EPC Rating: C

Open Plan Kitchen/Sitting Room | Cloakroom | Two Double Bedrooms | Bathroom | Parking | EPC Rating: B

Harrison James & Hardie, Moreton in Marsh 01608 651000

Harrison James & Hardie, Moreton in Marsh 01608 651000

10 Orchard Rise, Longborough

Barn Cottage, Longborough

Guide Price £550,000

A spacious Cotswold stone four bedroom semi-detached family home, benefitting from a detached double garage and located in this highly sought after Cotswold village at the end of a cul-de-sac in an elevated position. The well-presented accommodation briefly comprises:


A charming stone barn conversion situated in the heart of this popular Cotswold village.The versatile and flexible accommodation which retains many period features briefly comprises:

Entrance Hall | Sitting Room with wood-burning stove | Kitchen/Diner | Study | Cloakroom | Master Bedroom with En-suite Bathroom | Three Further Bedrooms | Family Bathroom | Front and Rear Gardens | Double Garage | Driveway providing Off Road Parking | Viewing is highly recommended | EPC Rating: C

Entrance Hall | Sitting Room with Open Fireplace | Kitchen/Diner | Utility Room | Conservatory | Ground Floor Bedroom | Ground Floor Shower Room | Master Bedroom with En-Suite Bathroom | Three Further Bedrooms | Gravelled Driveway to the front providing Off Road Parking for several vehicles | Enclosed Rear Garden | En-Bloc Open Fronted Garage to the front | EPC Rating: D

Harrison James & Hardie, Moreton in Marsh 01608 651000

Harrison James & Hardie, Moreton in Marsh 01608 651000


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

Badgers Den, Blockley


This three bedroom barn conversion forms part of the picturesque and sought after Lower Farm Cottages complex in the popular village of Blockley. The characterful and charming property benefits from its own private garden and off road parking, as well as having the use of the communal grounds bordered by Blockley brook. The accommodation briefly comprises:

12 Trubshaw Way, Moreton in Marsh


A well-presented five bedroom detached family house built by Cala Homes on the popular Moreton Park development within walking distance of town centre amenities and mainline train station.The accommodation briefly comprises:

Entrance Hall | Sitting/Dining Room | Kitchen | Ground Floor Bathroom | Three Bedrooms | First Floor Bathroom | Garden | Parking | EPC Rating: E

Entrance Hall | Sitting Room | Dining Room | Kitchen/Breakfast Room with a range of Integrated Appliances | Utility Room | Ground Floor Shower Room | Four Double Bedrooms including a Master Bedroom with En-Suite Shower Room | Family Bathroom | Fifth Bedroom that would be ideal as a Study or Dressing Room | Driveway providing Off Road Parking and access to the Double Garage | Gardens Front and Rear | Rear Garden | Internal inspection is highly recommended | EPC Rating: B

Harrison James & Hardie, Moreton in Marsh 01608 651000

Harrison James & Hardie, Moreton in Marsh 01608 651000

14 Pear Tree Close, Guide Price £485,000 Chipping Campden

10 The Retreat, Broadway

A 1960’s detached house built from reconstituted stone and situated in an excellent position just behind the High Street in Chipping Campden, with the benefit of wonderful views at the rear across the High Street to open countryside. The accommodation, which offers scope for improvement, briefly comprises:

A light and airy second floor apartment in a former monastic retreat, with a private roof terrace enjoying views over the village, situated a short walk from the historic High Street of Broadway. The accommodation briefly comprises:

Entrance Hall | Sitting Room | Conservatory | Dining Room | Kitchen | Cloakroom | Two/Three Bedrooms | Family Bathroom | Gravelled Driveway providing Off Road Parking and access to the Garage | Rear Garden | EPC Rating: D

Harrison James & Hardie, Moreton in Marsh 01608 651000


Entrance Hall | Sitting Room | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Two Bedrooms | Bathroom | Single Garage | Communal Gardens | No onward chain | EPC Rating: D

Harrison James & Hardie, Moreton in Marsh 01608 651000

view all our properties at harrisonjameshardie.co.uk


The perfect compromise


Upper Rissington 100



Like many people who yearn for a classic period village property as their ideal home, at first Carina had her heart set on an idealised, traditional North Cotswold home. “I dreamed of a big farmhouse kitchen warmed by an Aga, a pretty garden, beds stocked with old cottage flowers, my friends sitting around the kitchen table at weekends, a woodburning stove in a cosy parlour for evenings, a proper muddy boot room for the dog, a separate playroom for the children, bedrooms decorated in pretty papers, lovely views over the village towards rolling hills.” And like many people who move to the Cotswolds from a town, Carina soon realised that there were some compromises to be made in order to have all that space her family needed. “There were just so few cottages on the market and those available in our price range were either terraced or semi-detached, had no garden or no off-street parking, or were in need of substantial work, or perfectly formed but just way too small to accommodate a family. “Then, by chance, we read an article written by Karen Harrison about Upper Rissington where she listed ten of the best things about

the village… the abundance of stars in huge night skies, glorious sunsets, the trees and wildlife, the primary school… It sounded a perfect place to bring up our family. We just decided to compromise and use money put aside for renovation work to make our modern home as close to an old country cottage as possible.” That is exactly what they did. At the heart of the home is a family kitchen / dining room, warmed by a glorious plum-coloured Aga with lots of space for everyone to eat together and socialise, French doors open out onto a beautiful traditional English garden that has been professionally designed and landscaped. They even divided a huge full-length living room to create a playroom and a separate sitting room, so Carina could have her longed-for open fireplace. “Funnily enough, I’ve discovered there are many benefits with a newbuild. It’s a lot less costly to run than an old house. With four large bedrooms and two en-suite shower rooms it’s far easier to have friends to stay than a cottage would have been. That’s the thing – it’s not about the age of the property you live in, it’s about the home you make and all the brilliant things that village life is really about.

how everyone in the village gets together for bonfire night and fêtes, that the streets are quiet and safe enough for our children to ride their bikes, that there’s a great little corner shop where I will always bump into a neighbour, a coffee shop to have a catch-up with my mummy-friends after school and even yoga classes in the village hall. What more could anyone want?” 8 Sparrows Way Upper Rissington is offered to the market at £575,000. For further information visit www.cotswold-homes.com. To arrange a time to view, strictly by prior appointment, please contact James von Speyr, Principal Director, at the offices of Harrison James & Hardie Fine & Country, Bourton on the Water on 01451 822977

“I love my dog walks through open fields,




Coriander Cottage, Icomb

£1800 pcm

5 White Hart Mews, Chipping Norton

£900 pcm



Beautifully presented four bedroom family home located in the prestigious village of Icomb.

A beautifully presented two bedroom ground floor mews flat, located within secure gated development close to Chipping Norton town centre with cafés, restaurants, shops and Chipping Norton Theatre. The flat offers spacious accommodation and is beautifully presented.

Entrance Hall | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Dining Room | Sitting Room | Utility | WC leading to Master Bedroom with En-Suite | Further Two Double Bedrooms | Fourth Bedroom/Office | Rear Garden with exceptional views | Off Road Parking | EPC Rating: D

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

1 Roundhouse Mews, Moreton in Marsh

Harrison James & Hardie, Bourton on the Water 01608 651000

£1195 pcm

A very well presented three bedroom end of terrace house located on the stylish Blenheim Park development in Moreton in Marsh. Entrance Hall | Cloakroom | Sitting/Dining Room | Kitchen with integrated appliances | Three Bedrooms | Three Bath/Shower Rooms | Single Garage | Off Road Parking | Front and Rear Garden | EPC Rating: C


Camrose, Blockley

£1250 pcm



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

Entrance Lobby | Sitting Room/Dining Room | Kitchen with appliances | Two Double Bedrooms with wardrobes and One En-Suite | Family Bathroom | Carport parking for one car within gated development | Outdoor space to the front of the property suitable for bistro table and chairs | EPC Rating: B

Camrose is a charming listed property comprising accommodation over three floors and offering views over the village. The property is ideal for a professional couple or family looking for a property set in an idyllic position close to the Church, the village and its facilities. Entrance Lobby | Sitting Room | Kitchen | Living/Dining Room | Downstairs WC | Three Double Bedrooms over Two Floors | Large Bathroom | Top floor WC | Courtyard Garden | EPC Rating: D

Harrison James & Hardie, Bourton on the Water 01608 651000

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


Manor Lodge, Bourton on the Water

£1395 pcm

A delightful detached Grade II listed property within close walking distance of the centre of the delightful village of Bourton on the Water.

13 Harmans Court, Milton Under Wychwood

£615 pcm

LET AGREED A well presented one bedroom first floor apartment enjoying a quiet village location.

Entrance Hall | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Sitting Room | WC | Master Bedroom with En-Suite | Further Double Bedroom | Fourth Bedroom/ Study | Family Bathroom | Further Bedroom | Bathroom | Dressing area on the top floor | EPC Rating: Exempt

Hallway | Landing Area | Double Bedroom | Shower Room | Sitting Room with fireplace | Kitchen with integrated fridge and washing machine | Off Road Parking | EPC Rating: C

The exterior provides front and rear gardens, car port and garage/ workshop area with electricity supply.

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

Farncombe Cottage, Clapton-on-the-Hill

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

£775 pcm

A spacious village maisonette ‘cottage style’ property arranged over two floors located on the outskirts of the village with views over gardens and the neighbouring countryside.

1 Suffolk Place, Bourton on the Water

£1695 pcm


Entrance Hall | Double Bedroom | En-Suite Bathroom | Sitting/Dining Room | Double Bedroom with Shower | Dining Room | Kitchen | Cloakroom | Storage | Use of Utility Room | Off Road Parking for two cars | Garden surrounding the property shared with the landlords | EPC Rating: TBC

A detached well-presented four bedroom, well-proportioned house set in an exclusive development of just six houses on the outskirts of Bourton on the Water. Kitchen/Diner with separate Utility | Cloakroom | Living Room | Study | Four Bedrooms – Three Doubles and One Single | Family Bathroom with a separate shower and bath | Two of the bedrooms have generous built-in wardrobes and the master also has an En-Suite | Landscaped Garden | Driveway Parking | Single Garage | EPC Rating: B

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

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

view all our properties at harrisonjameshardie.co.uk


Septic tanks I have a septic tank (or possibly a cesspit?) and have been told there are new regulations coming in… help!

urveys, like buses, have a habit of coming along in threes. The last three properties I have surveyed have all had ‘private drainage systems’, that is they are not connected to the main drainage system. The private system fitted must comply with the British Standard which will be fully in force in 2020. Cesspits are now rarely used as they consist of a vented, sealed collecting tank which does not (or should not) discharge any effluent. They must be pumped out by a licensed contractor and, depending on how many people are in the house, may need to be emptied as often as every six weeks or so. If at all possible, one would advise the owner of a cesspit to convert to a septic tank system.

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



A septic tank system is a basic form of sewage plant. It has a settling tank where the solids deposit as sludge; floating solids, dead bacteria etc. form a crust on top and the septic liquid in between gradually is discharged. In older systems this was sometimes directly into a ditch or stream, which is no longer allowed. Where this has happened, the system must be revised so the effluent goes into a drainage field, a purpose built subsurface system where organic materials in the liquid are broken down by soil bacteria and natural percolation through the soil removes the water. If this is not possible, then it must be completely replaced with a ‘sewage treatment plant’. Probably the best known of these are disc systems, such as Klargester, but other plants are available ranging in capacity to up to over 1000 people such as can be used for hotels, holiday camps etc.

Some very rare cases may be able to receive a permit from the Environment Agency to allow them to continue their old system if, for example, there was a soakaway for the effluent. Septic tanks still need the sludge pumping out, but much less frequently than the cesspit. Depending on how many people it serves, this is best done annually or possibly every two years for small households. Regular emptying keeps it running efficiently and the bacteria vital for tank function in good health. Modern tanks are fitted with alarms that will operate if the water level in the tank gets too high, or when the sludge gets to a certain depth in the tank. An esoteric bit of information is that drainage systems are predicated on every person being responsible for 180 litres (nearly 50 gallons!) of discharge per day. This includes washing machines, showers, baths, dishwashers etc. as well as flushing the loo. Rainwater should discharge into a soakaway or can be piped directly into a watercourse or stream, but a better system if you have a large roof area is to collect rainwater to use for flushing loos. Even better are systems that collect ‘grey water’, which is the discharge from baths etc. and use it for loos, watering the garden etc. British Water www.britishwater.co.uk/ Accreditation-Certification has a mass of information about systems that comply with the regulations.


Rent Charges – storm in a teacup? Estate rentcharges, fixed rentcharges… I’m confused. What does it all mean?

Stacey Ballinger is an Associate at Thomas Legal Group, where she runs one of the residential property teams. She has over 20 years’ experience in property work, specialising in all aspects of conveyancing. Stacey has been working in this area since she qualified and has dealt with many thousands of property transactions. Stacey qualified as a Chartered Legal Executive in 2011 having worked in property law since 1997, working for two major law firms in the local area, before joining Thomas Legal in 2010. Stacey regularly undertakes professional development courses in residential property and other related areas of law. To contact Stacey, email stacey.ballinger@thomas.legal or call 01452 657973 Visit Thomas Legal Group at www. thomaslegalgroup.co.uk

here has been a lot of negativity recently in the press regarding freehold estate rentcharges post 1977. They are very common on newer developments where there are communal areas and are usually for a nominal amount of, say, £10.00 per annum. The reason for this is that, traditionally, when developments have been completed and all the plots occupied, the roads were put up for adoption, so there was nothing left within the ownership of the developer. Nowadays, usually when all of the plots are sold, the remaining land is transferred into the name of a management company who privately maintain the communal areas themselves, committed to this by the creation of an estate rentcharge. It is true to say that, in some circumstances, there can be some resistance from homebuyers, but it is not all bad news. There was a recent case of Roberts & Ors v Lawton & Ors 2016 where estate rentcharges existed on the properties. The rentcharges were not demanded or paid and then, as a result, the owner of the rentcharge, Morgoed Estates, granted leases over the properties for 99 years and then tried to register these at the Land Registry. The result of the case was that the lease was a permanent arrangement and, effectively, restricted the property owner, who was then at the mercy of Morgoed, who of course wanted cash to remove (surrender) their lease from the deeds to the various properties, which ran into a few hundred pounds. As a result of this case, lenders have now tightened up their lending criteria and, therefore, if a property has a fixed rentcharge on it, they will need to look into this further before they can lend. Of course, these are not to be confused with the ground rent and service charges which are

collected under leases for flats. Tenants under leasehold properties have separate protection and are to be consulted on major expenditure and can dispute these. These days, developers have realised the legal loophole that fixed estate rentcharges have caused and have, therefore, varied the wording of their paperwork to exclude certain sections of the Law of Property Act 1925 (which, in our legal world, we consider to be ‘when the world began’) so that the likes of Morgoed couldn’t do that sort of thing anymore. If we come across any deeds now that have the fixed rentcharge on them, as I have mentioned above, a remedy would be to arrange for the wording of the deeds to be varied by way of a deed of variation. The good thing, of course, about estate rentcharges (when the wording in the deeds is correct) is that they ensure that all residents ‘pay their share’ towards any works to communal areas etc. Prior to 1977, the Rent Charges Act 1977 allowed a land owner to sell their land off to builders, often for development, sometimes free of charge. In return, these owners could put a rent charge on the deeds, so they could collect their monies from the homeowners. This was very common in places like Bristol, Manchester, Leeds etc. and are usually deeds for the old style ‘Coronation Street’ houses. These rent charges, if uncollected, are not so much of an issue, but it is a good idea if you have one of these old style rentcharges on a property to try and get these redeemed, which can happen in certain circumstances. A good source of guidance on this is held centrally on the www.gov.uk website.






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