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Discover the hidden delights of Wiltshire. 

Our members represent a rich community of independent local businesses providing quality and unique products and experiences.

Find local artisan food & drink, original products, art, local shops, events, local accommodation & experiences.

  • Red Lion Freehouse

    In 2013, the Red Lion at East Chisenbury was awarded a Michelin star for the second year running. ...»

  • Wagon Yard Artists

    Wagon Yard Studio, just a few minutes walk from Marlborough’s busy high street, is quite unique. Six skilled and talented artists work there; ...»

  • Fairfax Antiques and Reclamation & Gifts

    Fairfax Antiques and Reclamation is set in the lovely garden of Langley Green, a beautiful house dating back to the 12th century, ...»

  • The Merchant's House

    In 1653 the Great Fire of Marlborough almost destroyed the whole town. Over the next 40 years a house was built ...»

  • Overtown Manor

    Overtown Manor is a unique Bed and Breakfast. Situated just minutes from the M4 at Swindon it couldn’t be easier to reach. ...»

  • Clementine's Shop

    “My mother ran Compton Marbling for over 35 years and organized gift fairs in the courtyard of our family home. When I moved back, I realised it was the perfect opportunity to create exactly the shop I’d always wanted.”...»

  • Marlborough College Summer School

    In 1978, thanks to an air traffic controller’s strike, the presenters from the BBC “Holiday” programme had to cancel their planned trip to Spain...»

Natural Paint: the better choice

Sam Bertram

4 August 2015

When we brought our first born home from hospital the decorators were painting to finish off our extension. I remember wondering if it was good for a baby to be surrounded by so much paint. Well since I’ve met Strong Natural Paints it seems my gut feel was right. Most paints contain a number of chemicals and VOCs (Volatile Organic Compound) which disperse as vapours into the air we breathe.  If you’re sleeping or working in a room you’re constantly exposed to these chemicals and it can lead to asthma, skin allergies and more. Exposure to these toxins not only affects those living there but the decorator too.   Barnaby Strong has had a successful decorating business and has decorated houses in South-West London, & more recently Wiltshire, for the last 10 years and saw a real opportunity to offer his clients a more natural alternative in the materials they were using. In January of this year Barn and his wife Mel launched their own brand, Strong Natural Paints, from their home in Shalbourne to great response. Most paint brands have some traces of VOC but Strong Natural Paint contains 0% and is 100% natural.  Although some of the bigger brands are changing true eco-paints are fairly new, and there are only a handful of small players offering completely natural paint. Not only does it have a beautiful range of 26 colours inspired by Barn’s years of decorating, but it is excellent quality and has extremely good coverage (or opacity in paint talk!)  The other great thing is they are competitively priced making them a great (and healthier) alternative to some of the other leading brands. They can also colour match for you and offer a number of finishes such as interior emulsion, eggshell, gloss and exterior masonry paint.   After a number of years working in the travel industry where he met his lovely wife Mel, Barny had a change of career after helping a friend with his decorating business. He loved being able to transform clients’ homes and working environments with colour and different materials and it was from this that Strong Decorating was borne in 2006.  His extensive decorating experience has really helped mould the perfect product and he now sells his paints online as well as to his decorating clients. Barn and Mel married in 2011 and moved to Wiltshire two years later.  Barn grew up in Gloucestershire  and Mel had a sunny childhood in Saudi Arabia. After a long time searching for the right place to move to they found Shalbourne quite by accident and couldn’t be happier.  They love the fact Shalbourne is a quiet, little village yet incredibly sociable and only an hour away from the hustle & bustle of London.   We worry about the chemicals we put in our body through our diet, those we put on our skin so it makes sense we should place as much important on those we put in our home.  The place we spend most of our life. People are aware of asbestos in their houses and the impact of that but paint, which adorns every room, seems to have been overlooked. Now’s the time to create a healthier home, so get one of Strong Natural paints hand-painted colour cards and you’ll be on your way… www.strongnaturalpaints.co.uk        

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Cycling with kids

Sam Bertram

9 August 2015

It’s the holidays and often the best fun is discovering the countryside on foot or by bike. A family cycle ride gives lasting memories. We’ve asked around and here are some top tips on places to cycle with the kids this holiday. 1. The Learners Some trails are just too bumpy for beginners so an easy cycle path is what you’re after. Lydiard Park in Swindon gives plenty of space to practice with the added bonus of an ice cream at the end.  If ice cream is a good incentive there’s another easy trail from Devizes along the canal to the café at Caen Hill locks. Cycling around Coate Water Park in Swindon is also easy fun. 2. Fun but not too challenging Cycling along the Kennet & Avon Canal is easy, peaceful and beautiful. Start at All Cannings bridge car park and cycle towards Pewsey. Salisbury plain has lots of trails as does Savernake Forest and can provide endless fun for all the family. There are lots of off road quieter paths in the Cotswold Water Park, and being flat it’s a breeze. National cycle route 24 and 25 go through the Longleat Estate so pick it up there for a family bike ride. Brinkworth, near Malmesbury has a market with coffee shop every Wednesday morning so a reward awaits after a cycle on one of the many surrounding rural paths. The Ridgeway is great for cycling with sweeping views but can be bumpy in parts. Pick up the trail at Hackpen hill and cycle towards Avebury or from Bishopstone to the Uffington White Horse. 3. Keen to stretch your legs a little more? There’s a great cycle trail from Salisbury Cathedral to Stonehenge. Mostly off road along the river and bridleways it skirts around Old Sarum castle remains with the grand finale being the approach to Stonehenge as you cycle up the hill. The North Wiltshire Rivers route is part of National Cycle Route 4 and links Melksham, Lacock, Chippenham, Calne, Cherhill and Avebury. The route is mostly traffic free part of which goes along the River Avon and Wilts & Berks canal as well as taking in lots of sites of historic interest. 4. The experienced who want to take it up a level Mountain biking on the Stourhead Estate – an annual permit will let you cycle at any time of the year. Tidworth free ride bike park has lots of jump and stunts.  It’s got 6 downhill tracks a progressive jump area and BMX dirt trails. No Bikes? Head to the Cotswold Water Park where you can hire bikes for all the family. Pick up a bike in Bradford on Avon and head along the Kennet and Avon Canal towards Bath or Devizes.      

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Offer of the month

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Sign up for our newsletter and review the things you love and you could qualify for the offer of the month. Love Food is giving away a £10 voucher to be used on one of their nutritional cookery courses in the autumn.   

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