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/
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.
Just a mile down the road from the Lower Mill Estate is Lower Moor Farm Nature Reserve. It forms the gateway to three more reserves: Clattinger Farm, Oaksey Moor Farm Meadow and Sandpool Farm.
Lower Moor Farm is made up of three lakes, two brooks, ponds and wetland scrapes which are joined by ancient hedges, woodland and meadows. Mallard Lake is a site of special scientific interest as a marl lake which is rich in stoneworts.
There are two bird hides which give fantastic view of the birdlife…and the otters too!
At the visitors centre you can pick up a Children’s discovery trail to keep children engaged as you walk around. There is also a replica Iron Age hut which children enjoy exploring.
Spring really has arrived on the Lower Mill Estate now – lots of daffodils around still and as well as pussy willow and blossom. It’s lovely to explore the estate and discover fresh green leaves emerging!
The Cotswolds is a fabulous base for cycling. As guests arrive at Daisy Chain their cars are often loaded with bikes. The Lower Mill Estate itself has very safe roads where some of our guests have learnt to ride their bikes for the first time. Cycling is a brilliant family friendly activity which children can enjoy from a very young age. The 550 acre nature reserve has lots of paths and tracks that can be explored by bike, and then when you venture off the estate a whole world of cycle paths opens up to you. National Route 45 of the National Cycling Network passes through Cotswold Water Park, linking Chester with Salisbury. The full route travels 270 miles.
The Sustrans website is a fabulous resource for researching safe cycling routes. Have a look at http://www.sustrans.org.uk/ncn/map to find out about routes in your part of the country.
Cotswold Falconry Centre, based at Batsford Park, near Moreton-in-Marsh, is home to about 150 birds of prey. Through education and fun, the centre aims to promote the greater understanding of birds of prey. Each year Cotswold Falconry welcomes over 20,000 visitors who enjoy daily demonstrations of free flying birds of prey. The Falconry has a history of successful breeding and has bred over 30 different species.
Cotswold Falconry Centre also offers the opportunity to have flying experiences with their birds of prey, with a range of options available, from starter experiences to owl evenings and eagle days.
A recent Trip Advisor reviewer wrote of their visit, “A fantastic day out! The flying displays were really good. You get close to owls, vultures and eagles and the knowledgeable staff explain all about the birds and how they exercise them. You can have an owl fly to your arm and the vultures swoop over your head. Brilliant! Great for adults and children alike.”
This week is Twitter’s International Museum Week which celebrates the many museums and galleries across the world that make valuable contributions to the arts, history and culture of so many countries. Corinium Museum is a fantastic multi-award winning museum in Cirencester. (It won the Cotswolds Tourism Award Small Visitor Attraction of the Year in 2015) The Roman Town of Corinium (which we know today as Cirencester) was the second largest town in Roman Britain and contained a rich collection of Roman antiquities. Many of these treasures are on show in the museum today.
Corinium Museum offers inspiring glimpses into Roman Life. This is combined with a range of interactive hands on activities which bring history to life. Visitors can experience life as a Roman, admire stunning mosaics up close and peek through the window of a Roman House. Corinium Museum also have an award winning app which includes a museum tour, town tour and learning zone. It is a perfect way for visitors to Cirencester to learn more about Roman History. For more details
Corinium Museum lay on a range of Children’s workshops – in April you can choose from mini-mosaics, incredible insects, and a hare on a bag. Booking is essential for these workshops so do ring ahead!
A visit to Corinium Museum is a perfect activity for a day when the weather might not be as sunny as you would like! The museum is open from 10am – 4pm Monday – Saturday and 2pm – 4pm on Sundays.
March is Daffodil Month at Batsford Arboretum and with lots of varieties of daffodils in flower it is a great place to visit over the next few weeks. There are also lots of primroses, scilla and early flowering cherries are also putting in an appearance. Early magnolias are another treat at this time of year, and always look their best set against a clear blue sky.
A recent reviewer on Trip Advisor wrote: “We wanted to see snowdrops but were impressed by so much more about Batsford. It’s hard to pinpoint which part of the arboretum is the most impressive. It was a wonderfully atmospheric visit – the wintery sun lighting up the snowdrops and aconites and it was lovely to see a herd of deer in the field. A magical place, can’t wait to go again – our visit was rounded off by a delicious bowl of spicy parsnip soup in the very welcoming and well run cafe (very nice staff!). A total success all round.”
For more information visit http://www.batsarb.co.uk/