The hugely popular Tall Ships Festival returns to Gloucester Docks this weekend, running from Saturday 23rd – Monday 25th May. This biennial festival will see Gloucester’s Docks transformed, enabling visitors to have a taste of the sights and sounds of the historic docks as it was 100 years ago.
Visitors will be able to board the tall shops, enjoy live entertainment including swashbuckling Captain Jack and his Pirate Crew, listen to live music, and explore a food and craft market. There will also be a Stone Carving Festival taking place.
Here is an insight into the 2013 Gloucester Tall Ships Festival.
Admission to the Tall Ships is £2 for adults with Under 16’s free. Admission is charged on entrance to the Docks.
Perhaps one of the strangest sports to take place in England is the Woolsack Race, with it’s origins dating back to the 17th Century. Competitors are tasked with running up a ridiculously steep hill (1 in 4) carrying a large sack of wool on their back. This spectacle takes place next Monday, 30th May.
In the middle ages Tetbury thrived as a wool town and by the 16th Century it was home to one of the country’s best known wool and yarn markets. The races are thought to have originated in the 17th Century when young drovers chose to show off their strength by running up the hill with a woolsack.
The course is 240 yards with the woolsacks weighing in at 60lbs for men and 35lbs for ladies. A variety of races take place for teams and individuals.
The whole of Tetbury joins in with the event with a street fair, entertainers, local stalls and amusement rides.
We had the hard job of test driving the new barbecue at Daisy Chain over the weekend – it was tough, but somebody had to do it! It did a great job, happily feeding 11 hungry mouths, and producing the best chicken and vegetable kebabs ever! While waiting for the food to cook you can sit on the lakeside, or go for a quick paddle in the Canadian Canoe…you just need to remember to come back before the food all disappears! We’ve also fitted an additional fridge, so there’s plenty of space for your meat, salad…and a few drinks too…
Two weeks ago when we visited Clattinger Farm, a fabulous lowland meadow of international importance for its hay meadow wildflowers, it was filled with cowslips and snakeshead fritillaries. We looked for orchids and there were just a small handful – in the sort of numbers that you would expect to find in usual places where orchids grow. We returned to the field this weekend and it is now overflowing with orchids in spectacular numbers – such a rare and beautiful sight. They will continue to flower during May and into June.
Clattinger Farm is the next farm to the Lower Mill Estate and well worth a visit during your Cotswold Family Holiday.
The Cotswold Cheese Company have shops in Moreton-in Marsh, Stow-on-the-Wold and Burford. At the centre of each shop is a fabulous cheese counter stocking more than 80 different farmhouse varieties, including a number of excellent local cheeses. These include St. Eadburgha, a gold-medal winner at the British Cheese Awards, Cerney Ash and Burford. Whether you prefer a slice of tangy cheddar, a wedge of stilton or something milder and creamier, The Cotswold Cheese Company is bound to have something to suit you.
Visiting on a Saturday (the best day for tastings!) gives you opportunity to stock up for the weekend. As well as stocking amazing cheeses the shelves are also full of local artisan produce including local ales and pies.
Sunday 28th May 2023sees the return of the Lechlade Duck Race. The event was only started last year and was a roaring success. Over 6000 ducks are waiting to be launched into the River Thames. There are a range of family friendly prizes for the top 20 ducks. Once you have watched the ducks bobbing their way down the river your family will be entertained by funfair rides, inflatables, children’s crafts, a go-kart track and a dog show which will include a dog agility course.
The whole event will be raising money for a range of charities.
The duck race starts at soon after 2pm. It is well worth checking the website for details of where to park. You can even pay for your duck online to save queuing on the day. http://lechladeduckrace.co.uk/
Nightingales are secretive birds which often hide in the middle of thick hedgerows. They arrive in April and sing until late May / early June. Once they have bred they return to north Africa between July and September.
We had a fantastic day yesterday exploring 3 amazing places to see spectacular wild flowers in the Cotswolds. We started off at Barnsley Warren SSI where the Pasqueflowers are looking superb. They are on a beautiful Cotswold hillside – the setting is stunning.
Next, we moved on to North Meadow~ in Cricklade which is an amazing meadow overflowing with Snakeshead fritillaries I hadn’t realised just how large the meadow is…or quite how many Snakeshead fritillaries there would be.
In the afternoon we went to Clattinger Farm – an ancient meadow. It is a carpet of cowslips at the moment and the first Green Winged Orchids are making an appearance.
An amazing day – if you want to see the Pasqueflowers or the Snakeshead fritillaries you will have to move fast. They are at their best now!
Another hidden gem waiting to be discovered in the Cotswolds is the Pasqueflower This rare wildflower has been lost from many of the places where it used to grow, but on the Barnsley Warren Nature Reserve, just north of Cirencester it is thriving, with a population of approximately 20,000 plants.
Geoffrey Grigson, writing of the pasqueflower in ‘The Englishman’s Flora’ wrote that it has, “…a fair claim to being the most dramatically and exotically beautiful of all English plants.”
The Barnsley Warren Nature Reserve is also home to cowslips, early purple orchids and violets and has a good butterfly population. Rabbit and brown hare help to maintain the short grassland and common lizards can often be found on areas of bare scree.
It looks like being a good year for the Pasqueflower, so if you would like to see it plan to go soon…and remember to tread carefully!
We’ve been having such fabulous weather over the last couple of weeks it made us think of this brilliant photograph of the Lower Mill Estate in Cotswold Water Park where Daisy Chain is. Daisy Chain is set on the lakeside with perfect uninterrupted views across Somerford Lagoon, the largest lake on the Estate. Guests can enjoy using the Canadian Canoe to explore and enjoy a different view of the wildlife. There are lots of peaceful walks to enjoy as well as cycle rides and then there is the ArtSpa where you can take relaxation to the next level. Indoor and outdoor heated pools, a sauna, steam room and Spa treatments. Hmmm….holidays.