Country Delights: Castle Combe
When thinking of the Cotswolds, Castle Combe is what one might imagine to be a quintessential English village to be and has often been considered as one of the prettiest in the country. Despite being nestled away from modern affairs in the rural Wiltshire countryside, this quaint village holds a rich history and has been used regularly as a film location for the silver screen; it’s easy to see why.
Sat within the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the village is comprised of honey coloured stone houses, distinctive to the area, with each of them dating back to at least 1600 Take a leisurely stroll up to the medieval Market Cross, or take a pew in St Andrew’s Church, dating back to the 13th century. Occasionally, you may be lucky enough to stumble across a fayre at the village hall, otherwise you can simply meander round this enchanting hamlet and soak-up the views.
From the Market Place you can follow the trail to the right and ascend into the surrounding hills via luscious woodland. The country path is 5.5 miles in total and offers splendid views across the valley. On arrival back in the village, you may want to treat yourself to a pre-arranged afternoon tea at The Old Rectory Tearoom, otherwise you could enjoy a hearty brunch by the log-burner at The Old Stables. As the night’s draw in, you may prefer to cosy up with a pint of bitter by the roaring fire at The White Hart, or indulge in a good hearty meal at the The Castle Inn.
The attractive centrepiece of the village is perhaps found by the river that passes beneath the stone bridge. Here you’ll find a row of weavers’ cottages that back onto the surrounding woodland, painting a chocolate-box image of the Cotswolds if ever there was one. Oh, and a trip to Castle Combe wouldn’t be complete without divulging in the sweet delights of the local honesty boxes.
Settled on the outskirts of the village, is an alternative country experience. The Castle Combe Circuit offers drivers the opportunity to test out different vehicles, including their own, around the Rally course, with a variety of events are held throughout the year for both cars and motorbikes. Both the village and circuit are easily reached from the neighbouring towns of Chippenham or Corsham, but is an equally pleasant drive from the M4. There are a number of tours that run directly from Bath to the picturesque village, as part of a wider offering; check out Mad Max Tours and Around and About Bath for sample dates and itineraries.