During last week’s half-term, we took a short road trip around the Wiltshire/Gloucestershire borders. Our first stop was the Westonbirt Arboretum, near Tetbury. The Arboretum was established in 1829 and is now home to some 18,000 trees and shrubs spread over 600 acres.
At this time of year, even when the weather isn’t ideal (it was wet and miserable during our visit), it’s beautiful.
From there, it was a short drive to the postcard-perfect village of Castle Combe. The gorgeous Cotswold stone cottages wouldn’t look out of place on a jigsaw or the lid of a fancy biscuit tin.Although there were a number of tourists wandering the quiet streets, there didn’t appear to be any ‘locals’. The young ladies working in the coffee shop told us, when we asked, it was because roughly 60% of all the village properties were either second homes or used as Airbnb properties. Which seemed a shame. The Hollywood director Steven Spielberg took over the whole village for around ten days in September 2010 in order to shoot the film War Horse.With no shops evident in the village, it was obvious that several home owners had taken matters into their own hands and produced ‘pop-up’ shops. Operation seemed to be on an honesty basis. Buying a slice of cake or two? Just pop your money through the letter-box.