Now you’re at Westley Farm, how are you going to fill your days?
We always say that the people who have the best holidays are the ones who do the least. Sit back, enjoy the views, take a little potter occasionally, listen to the birds and gaze at the clouds. Of course, there will be some of you that like to be busy, so here are some suggestions….
On the farm….
WALKS: We have mapped several walks that start and end on the farm – look in your Walks folder in your cottage. We are lucky to have a choice of pubs, cake shops and cafes within walking distance so you are never too far from emergency rations – or a loo! You can explore the canal that used to connect the rivers Severn and Thames, or discover the ruins of an abandoned mill. The path around the edge of Aston Down airfield is punctuated by pillboxes from World War 2 and you may also find evidence of road blocks and anti-tank emplacements from the war too. Minchinhampton common has Bronze Age field boundaries, an Iron Age enclosure and lots of small quarry pits in addition to the landscaping of the golf course. This is where you will also find the Winstone’s Ice Cream factory – a must for your itinerary! The common is one of the few that are still grazed by horses and cattle owned by ‘commoners’ – you will see them strolling through the village occasionally! (That’s the cattle, not the commoners)
Conservation work: We run several days of conservation work over the winter (November to March). Join the gang creating and improving habitats for butterflies or dormice. We provide a hot lunch in the farmhouse kitchen – and cake of course, lots of cake!
MAKE PIZZA OR BREAD: A few years ago, we made an earth oven. It is brilliant for baking bread or pizzas. Once the most intense heat has died down, you could cook a Kleftiko (slow cooked knuckle of meat with onion, potato and herbs all wrapped in foil to cook in its own juices for hours till the meat falls off the bone). The oven is at the end of the terrace by the veg garden – so help yourself to herbs or courgettes when they’re in season! This terrace is also the perfect spot for a G&T with friends as it basks in the sun from lunchtime to sundown.
READING or GAMES: You will find lots of books in the cottage – as well as DVDs and cookbooks. We also supply a few games and jigsaws.
WALK WITH DONKEYS: Teddy & Chester, the 2 donkeys living in the field behind Cockshutt cottage love a walk to the pub. These are not scheduled, but usually happen on sunny Sundays….
MAKE JUICE: Every Autumn, we gather the apples, hire a press and make litres and litres of golden apple juice. Some people like to make cider…I’m more into the juice. But we always need help and we pay you in apple juice to do as you like with!
DOWN IN THE WOODS: Our friend Piers runs occasional activities in the woods below Jackdaw – check his website for dates!
GLIDING: Across the main road at the end of the drive, Aston Down hosts the Cotswold Gliding club. You can book a trial flight and see the landscape from the air – stunning! If you really need an engine to feel safe in the air, why not have a go in a microlite? They fly from Cotswold Airport near Kemble, only 15 minutes drive away.
RIDING: Barton End Stables, just 15 minutes drive away, do riding lessons and hacks
WATERSPORTS: You can chose from waterskiing, windsurfing or jet skis at the Cotswold Water Park only 20 minutes drive away. They have also set one lake aside for swimming.
THE LIDO: In Cirencester, a heated outdoor pool is a rare survival from the 50s. Gloriously vintage – even with a little booth to buy your Choc Ice (and now also serving Pot Noodles…!)
EATING: Yes, well this is our favourite. We are so lucky to have so many really good places to eat and all within a 15 minute drive! You will find a list, with phone numbers, in the information folder in your cottage. The star rating is totally personal and you will no doubt rate them all differently! Most food pubs nearby are also dog friendly so you can pop in for sustenance in the middle of a walk.
CIRCUS: In August, the awesome Gifford’s Circus pitches up on Minchinhampton Common. This is a firm fixture in our calendar – preferably with a visit to the dinner tent after the evening show!
MUSEUMS: Cirencester and Stroud both have great museums – and they are quite different. Corinium Museum, in Cirencester understandably focuses more on the Roman archaeology of the area. Stroud museum is in Stratford Park and covers local geology and prehistoric finds from the area as well as more recent artefacts from the nineteenth century.
ARBORETUM: There is always something going on at Westonbirt Arboretum, 20 minutes away on the other side of Tetbury. They have mobility scooters so those of us that cannot walk very far can also enjoy the trees.
A little further away…
Have a look at our ‘Days Out’ pages to see suggestions a little further away. Our favourites include
Cheddar Gorge, Slimbridge Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust, Bath, Bristol, Berkeley Castle, Cotswold Wildlife Park, Adam Henson’s Cotswold Farm Park