Wednesday, 11 April 2012


What a fascinating little Cotswold market town Northeach is. Its close proximity to the A40 makes it particularly accessible. Unfortunately many 'would be' visitors drive on towards Cheltenham without taking the slip road which would lead them to this delightful medieval town.

The river walk Pythius did not have this time
Uncle John and I had planned to take Pythius to Northleach on Bank Holiday Monday, and take him for a walk alongside the river Leach, but the weather got in the way. Rain and more rain and gale force winds had been predicted and that's exactly what we faced. A long walk therefore, was out of the question After a gallant attempt to face the elements we aborted our walk that would have circumnavigated the town and taken us alongside the River Leach .Instead we headed for the Sherborne Arms, a delightful dog-friendly pub in the middle of the market square. Here we warmed up and enjoyed a scrumptious lunch as we mingled with locals, tourists and fellow walkers.
Northleach's main street
A brisk walk to the top of town after lunch took us to the Old Prison which sits alongside the Fosse Way.

This unique 18th century building is a colourful piece of Cotswold History, where petty offenders (both men and women) were once locked up alongside hardened criminals. It has undergone several reincarnations since then.

The Old Prison was turned into a heritage centre in 1975, and still boasts a nationally significant collection of waggons, carts and farming equipment collected by the late Olive Lloyd-Baker, but sadly it is now awaiting a new owner and so stands half empty. The cafe is closed now and only one room devoted to the Cotswold Conservation Board remains open to the public. Friends of the Cotwolds are fighting to raise sufficient funds to buy this fascinating building. Even as I write they wait to hear if their bid has been successful.
Their intention is to turn it into a facility for both locals and visitors alike, which celebrates the very essence of the Cotswolds. They see it as a Cotswold treasure and do not want it to be converted into a hotel, block of flats or a supermarket. Nor do I.  It can offer so much more and act as a hub for training people in rural skills, encourage volunteer involvement in the countryside and spread understanding of the Cotswolds Area of Natural Beauty.
This is certainly a campaign worth supporting by us all.