Experience the Cotswolds

There are a lot of ways to explore the Cotswolds and lots of different ways to experience it. Here are a few ideas, whether you are new to the Cotswolds, want to explore the Cotswolds in more detail or want to have a new experience. Experiences also make the perfect gift, to give enjoyment to a loved one or as a way of spending time together.

Guided walksGuitingPowerWalk01

To experience the Cotswolds closer to hand, one way is a guided walk. Wardens from the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty lead guided walks on a regular basis throughout the year. The walks range from short (5 miles or less) to longer ones and are marked Easy, Moderate or Strenuous. Or if you are just looking for a good route for a walk, there are self-guided walks as well!

Who wants to drive a Steam Train?

5886769_e64a8758_original
copyright Brian Robert Marshall

The Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway (GWSR) has been steaming into Broadway for over a year now. For a different perspective of the railway, how about an Experience Day? The GWSR run Diesel Driver Experience days and Steam Footplate Experience days. Do you know someone having a birthday but you don’t know what to buy them? An experience rather than another ‘thing’ may be just the ticket.

Photography workshops

ImageSeen-Batsford
copyright Andy Page

An alternative way of seeing the Cotswolds is through the lens of a camera but if you could do with a little help to improve your photography, this could be the workshop for you.  Image Seen Photography specialise in landscape photography and they run Workshops including one at Batsford Arboretum which is only about 7 miles from us.

Clay Pigeon ShootingCotswoldShootingGround

If you are looking for something different to try, how about Clay Pigeon Shooting in the beautiful countryside in the Cotswolds? Cotswold Shooting Ground offer one-on-one tuition or tuition for small groups for a fun new experience. The Cotswold Shooting Ground is just outside Broadway and this could be the ideal experience for you.

A new string to your bow

CotswoldArcherycopyright
copyright Cotswold Archery

If you would like to add a new string to your bow, how about Archery? Cotswold Archery could help you hit the target with their qualified and experienced archer. For novices or the more experienced, you can have a fun few hours. If you have a small group, you could have a bit of a competition too! Based next door to Batsford Arboretum, Cotswold Archery are about 7 miles from us.

Please check all information and details before travelling.

Apple Tree Bed and Breakfast
Broadway, Cotswolds
For more information or to book online, visit: www.appletreebroadway.co.uk

Steaming into the future in Broadway

Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway

There’s nothing more emotive than seeing a steam train puffing its way through the countryside and soon we will be seeing the trains pull into Broadway.

Broadway station is re-opening on 30th March 2018 – Good Friday – and the station is coming together fast.

Broadway station was opened in 1904 with the line running from Honeybourne to Broadway. The line was gradually extended and reached Cheltenham in 1906. The railway flourished until the 1950s when passenger numbers started to decline and Broadway station was closed to passengers in March 1960. The station buildings were

Broadway Station under construction
Broadway Station under construction

demolished by British Rail in 1963 with the goods yard closing in 1964. The railway line was occasionally used up to 1976 when a coal train derailed near Winchcombe causing significant damage to the track and in 1979 the track itself was removed.

 

Even before the track had been lifted, the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway (GWR) was formed to try to protect the line and by 1981 – only 2 years after it was lifted – the GWR started relaying the track!

Broadway Station under construction
Broadway Station under construction

Volunteers from the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway (GWR) have been painstakingly rebuilding Broadway station and restoring it to its former glory. The work has included rebuilding the station’s two platforms and signal box together with the footbridge over the railway and a ticket office. Laying of the track is continuing with the track now within sight of Broadway station to join the station up with the existing line which runs through Toddington and Winchcombe down to Cheltenham Racecourse. The railway line is 13 miles long running through the spectacular Cotswolds English countryside.

 

The GWR have been very busy and it is all volunteer run with a dedicated team working two days a week at the site on Station Road, Broadway.

Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway

The railway currently runs both steam and diesel trains. In addition to enjoying the ride on the train, there are ‘driver experience days’ where you can learn how to drive a steam locomotive or diesel – a great idea for a special birthday maybe! There are also regular events such as diesel weekends, ‘Wartime in the Cotswolds’ and of course special events for Halloween and Christmas. Various events are also held in their car park at Toddington including Bus Rallies and Classic Vehicles, together with Food & Drink Fayres. The yard buildings at Toddington can also be visited to see the locomotives under restoration.

So start planning to take a ride on the train from Broadway station in Spring 2018. Or if you can’t wait that long, you can pop down to Toddington to join the railway there and enjoy the ride back up towards Broadway before journeying down to Cheltenham Racecourse.

Apple Tree Bed and Breakfast is located in the village of Broadway in the Cotswolds. Contact us on 01386 853681 or visit www.appletreebroadway.co.uk for details and availability.

Courses in the Cotswolds

There are some wonderful training courses available in this area of the Cotswolds so I thought I would pull together a few as a sample of what is available.

Little Soap School

The Little Soap School runs day courses in the art of making soap. There are a few different courses including soap making and an introduction to making natural creams and balms. We have had a couple of guests attending the soap making course and they came back with a box of all the gorgeously scented soaps they had made during the day and full of enthusiasm for what they could do with their newly learned skill. Based in Broadway.

School of Millinery

MillinerySchool
School of Millinery student’s work

 

Ever fancied trying hat making? Courses are for all levels from beginners and the experienced in the art of Traditional Couture Millinery. There are a selection of 2 and 3 day courses available throughout the year whether you want to try making a fascinator, tiara, beret, pillbox or tiny top hats, there is lots of choice. Based in Badsey, about 4 miles from Broadway.

Honeybourne Pottery

Honeybourne Pottery have a range of ceramics for sale but more importantly you can have a go yourself. You can try working with clay either on the potters’ wheel, model your own masterpiece at the table or ceramic painting. There are 75 minute potters’ wheel taster sessions which could be just the thing to see whether you have a hidden talent. Based in Honeybourne, about 2 miles from Broadway.

Drive a Steam Train

GWR March 2016

Every little boy’s dream used to be to drive a steam train. Now everyone who used to be a little boy (or girl) can live that dream at the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway. You can choose to drive and fire a steam train or drive a diesel train, so for an experience you will remember this could be the one for you! How about as a gift for that special someone whilst you relax in the Brake Coach.

Apple Tree Bed and Breakfast is located in the village of Broadway in the Cotswolds. Contact us on 01386 853681 or visit www.appletreebroadway.co.uk for details and availability.

Batsford Arboretum – not just trees

Batsford Arboretum - Hellebores
Batsford Arboretum – Hellebores

Thought it was about time we visited Batsford Arboretum. An arboretum is all about the trees; it is a little early for the trees to look at their best but when the trees are leafless, you can see the beautiful silhouette of the trees and there is the promise of lots to come with buds fattening up.

Even in the car park, there was a hint of what was to come with a selection of dogwoods with their different coloured stems and just inside the entrance there was a beautiful border full of snowdrops, hellebores and other Spring flowering plants.

Batsford Church
Batsford Church

The route around the Arboretum starts with a good path, with interesting diversions. The first diversion we took headed off through the woods to a small waterfall you can walk under. The track rejoined the main path which takes you past the mansion house. The house isn’t open to the public but makes a good focal point for the gardens. In the field at the back of the mansion we saw a herd of deer. We then headed towards the church; there is a small village which presumably housed the estate workers and a typically quaint church.

The remains of the old ice house are still present and it is slowly turning itself into a fernery.

Batsford Arboretum - Deer
Batsford Arboretum – Deer

Heading up the Arboretum, there is a japanese style house which contains a history of the site and the Japanese connection. There is a collection of japanese plants in this area including quite a few bamboos and acers.

There is a little stream running down the hill which should look delightful later in the year.  There are a number of statues around the site including Daphne (the greek nymph associated with streams), Buddha, a dragon and deer.

Visiting so early in the year, the magnolias and other flowering trees will have to wait for another visit, but the hellebores were abundant together with other

Batsford Arboretum - Hellebores and Cyclamen
Batsford Arboretum – Hellebores and Cyclamen

spring flowers such as cyclamen, snowdrops and daffodils.

Batsford Arboretum is about 9 miles from Apple Tree House so makes only a short journey away. The Cotswold Falconry Centre is on the same site so you could visit that as well for something completely different.

Further information about Apple Tree Bed and Breakfast and details on availability can be found at www.appletreebroadway.co.uk

 

A stroll before lunch, and back again …

Broadway Golf course Tree stump
Broadway Golf course Tree stump

There are lots of good walks from Broadway and this time we decided to head towards Saintbury and Willersey. We wanted to walk along the old railway track which is the route back.

From Broadway, we headed down the High Street, beyond the little roundabout into Upper High Street and there is a footpath on the left signposted for Saintbury Church. There is a gravel road first of all and then across a couple of fields uphill towards Broadway Golf Course. The footpath skirts around the outside of the golf course with wonderful views of Willersey and the Vale of Evesham.

Footpath from Saintbury to Willersey
Footpath from Saintbury to Willersey

The footpath leads across another couple of fields before bringing you out by Saintbury Church. The Church was locked on the day we went past but you can contact the local key holder if you would like a look inside. Saintbury Church has a magnificent position on the crest of the hill with the village immediately below it. The walk goes back into the field and skirts around Saintbury village; you can see Willersey church from this point which is your next landmark.

The Bell Inn, Willersey
The Bell Inn, Willersey

Walking down the hill, you go across several fields and through several kissing gates before coming out by the church in the village of Willersey. The church was one of those intimate country churches which are always a delight to have a peak inside. From the church, follow the lane into the village centre.

There are at least 2 places for lunch here and we choose The Bell Inn on this occasion. The Bell had a good selection of beers and we were happy with our choice for food; we both had Mussels to start followed by belly pork and a crab pasta dish.

Footpath from Willersey to Broadway
Footpath from Willersey to Broadway

It is from Willersey that you can join the old railway track to walk back into Broadway. The lady in The Bell kindly gave us directions as to where to join the railway track and off we went. The old railway track makes a nice flat walk back and made a very quick and easy walk.

A lovely day out with a lovely lunch in the middle.

Textiles, beauty and colour

Beckford Silk

The wool trade is a well-known factor of English life and English history and most people will have visited a woollen mill at some point to find out how the wool goes from the sheep to a jumper on our backs.

A lesser known old cottage industry was silk. The Chinese managed to keep the mystery of silk to themselves for many centuries; the secret eventually got out and silk mills popped up all over the Cotswolds. The one in Broadway has disappeared but just down the road is Beckford Silk.

Beckford Silk has an impressive gallery and shop. There is a display of printing blocks together with samples of the different types of silk with an invitation to touch them – they are wonderfully tactile and I didn’t realise how many materials came from silk. You can learn about the history of silk both worldwide and locally in the Cotswolds.

Beckford Silk

There are also guided tours so you can see how the printing and dyeing of the silk is done. The scarves are still finished by hand by local craftspeople before returning to the shop to add to their colourful display of scarves, ties and clothing. For those brave enough to be able to handle silk, the haberdashery has a wonderful selection of fabrics to choose from.

And after browsing the shop, how about a welcome cup of tea at their Coffee Shop!

 

Beckford Silk is about 8 miles from Broadway. Apple Tree B&B makes an excellent base to visit Beckford Silk and the many other attractions of the Cotswolds.

Apple Tree Bed and Breakfast is located in the village of Broadway in the Cotswolds. Contact us on 01386 853681 or visit www.appletreebroadway.co.uk for details and availability.

A Christmas wish

It’s that time of year … oh no it’s not! – well, actually it is. From next weekend Broadway is going Christmas-y. There are 2 Christmas weekends in Broadway every year; this year it is the weekend of the 28th/29th November and 5th/6th December. The lights must be going up in the village this week so you don’t need to come on a weekend in order to enjoy the lights and explore all the independent shops in Broadway for that special gift. Why not come mid-week when it will be quieter and you can visit the shops without the crowds? Hope to see you soon.

Apple Tree Bed and Breakfast is located in the village of Broadway in the Cotswolds. Contact us on 01386 853681 or visit www.appletreebroadway.co.uk for details and availability.

Jack and the Beanstalk
Jack and the Beanstalk – Lifford Hall, Broadway – 28 / 29 November 2014