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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, unique gifts, art, local shops, events, places to stay & things to do in Wiltshire.

  • Love Food

    Lucinda Bevan is a nutritional therapist with a keen interest in the brain. She runs lively and informative nutritional cookery demonstrations...»

  • Strong Natural Paints

    Barnaby Strong has had a decorating company in London for over a decade and since moving out to Wiltshire with his wife Melissa, he has used this considerable experience...»

  • Clementine's Shop

    Clementine always dreamed of having her own shop, and when she returned from London to her family home in Tisbury in 2006, she realised she could make it a reality. ...»

  • 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 ...»

  • 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. ...»

  • 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 ...»

  • 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...»

A wild swim in Wiltshire?

Sam Bertram

11 June 2016

The Sun’s been out quite convincingly this week so, without tempting fate, it seemed an opportune time to ask around for people’s favourite wild swimming spots in Wiltshire. And here’s what we found…   1. Lots of people voted for Farleigh Hungerford near Trowbridge and it’s no wonder.  Founded in 1932 the Farleigh & District Swimming Club is believed to be the oldest river swimming club in the world. Many have memories of glorious summer days spent in this beautiful spot - a deep but narrow stretch of the River Frome above a weir. There are lawns and steps into the water, changing huts and even a portaloo. You can find them on Facebook – Farleigh and District Swimming Club   2. Slightly south of Farleigh Hungerford there’s a large weir pool set amongst the trees at Tellisford.  Park at the top of Vaggs Hill and access it from there.   3. Lake 32 in the Cotswold Water Park near Swindon is great for those who want to stretch out and have more than a paddle.  They also hold triathlons there for those up for a challenge.   4. Near the Oxfordshire border is Buscot Weir – a large deep pool with tree swings and lawns.    5. A little beyond the borders in Lechlade there’s a good swimming spot in the Thames, upstream from the town.   6. Just near the abbey in Lacock is Bide Brook Weir which is popular for a summer splash. There is a large deep pool and some rope swings. Park at the NT car park and walk down the road past the river before turning left into a field via a stile in the wall.   7. Closer to Warminster in the village of Heytesbury there’s a lovely spot to cool off in the River Wylye. Take the path at the back of Mill Street.   8. Another spot in the River Wylye can be found between Hanging Langford and Steeple Langford - perfect for families and kids. It’s a little on the cold side but you can always warm up on the grass verge which is also perfect for picnics. There’s a small car park off Duck Street directly opposite the swimming spot.   9. Dip into the River Avon in Fighledean near Amesbury. It’s extremely popular so try to go at non-peak times if you can. The water is fairly deep so you get a decent swim but brace yourself – it can be cold! Look out for the long stone wall of Figheldean House and turn down the cul-de-sac opposite.   10. Ten minutes’ walk from Salisbury centre is the Old Mill at Harnham. There’s a paddling part which is great for small kids and a deeper stream for swimming.   11. There’s also a swimming spot in the River Nadder in Teffont Evias. It’s a small secret pool but it is on a fishing beat so don’t swim if fishermen are there.   12. Near the Hampshire / Berkshire border in Great Bedwyn you can find the ‘Dog Hole’ pronounced ‘dogole’ which is a small pool fed by the river.  Only really deep enough for kids it’s much loved by children in the area. Just head down Frog Lane and past the village hall and you can find it after about 500 yards. The River Dun is also great for paddling – it’s cold so will definitely cool you down!   13. Heading back towards Marlborough someone mentioned enjoying swimming in the river by Axford.   14. Closer to Malmesbury swimming in the river at Little Somerford seems to be a favourite.   Got some more suggestions? Contact us on Twitter or Facebook or email us on hello@localuncovered.com and we’ll add them in. Looking for a useful resource? http://www.wild-swimming.com/  

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Marlborough's historical treasure

Sam Bertram

17 June 2016

We visited The Merchant’s House, Marlborough to find out a bit more the house and how it all started. So why should people visit The Merchant’s House, Marlborough? ‘It is a fabulous example of how a rich merchant might have lived in the 17th Century and is incredibly unique - there are no roped off areas and you can look at and touch everything. You can even get into the bed if you so wish! It’s also a work in progress so someone might be doing restorative work on the furniture or walls as you walk around. Feedback from the tours is always extremely positive. They are very personalised and interactive – if you’re interested in needlework you can ask more about Mr and Mrs Bayly’s costumes, and conversely if art is your subject then you can ask about that too. What people don’t realise is you learn more than just the history of the house.  You get to understand all about the history behind the Marlborough area and its role in the civil war too.’ Tell us a bit about the merchant who lived in the house ‘Thomas Bayly described himself as a silk merchant which suggests his customers were from the upper echelons of society. As well as serving the local gentry Thomas also benefitted from Marlborough’s strategic position, serving passing trade between London and Bristol. There’s no doubt that Thomas was a prominent character in the town, he served as Mayor twice. He was also living in the house when the fire of 1653 burned down most of the High Street.  Marlborough were supporters of Cromwell so following the fire Cromwell rewarded their loyalty with a national collection to help re-build Marlborough. The Merchant’s House was given the second largest amount and, after it was re-built, Thomas lived there with his wife Katherine and their nine children until his death in 1670.’ When did the house come into trust? We’ve just celebrated 25 years of the trust and when you come on a tour you’ll learn all about it. It was started in 1991 when the tenants, WHSmith, were moving on.  A group of locals went to the town council to ask for support in turning it into an attraction for Marlborough. Many thought it would be a five or six year project but the house is still being restored and visitors are still coming and many of the original group are still involved as trustees today.  When the Trust first started restoring and uncovering the wall paintings and panels they found it was a far greater treasure than they originally thought. There are now over 100 volunteers working weekly as well as some part time staff. This year we’re doing some restorative work on some wall paintings in the top bedroom. The space above Clarks has also become available so we are discussing restoring that and establishing a Marlborough museum. You’ve got lots of events coming up in the summer – tell us more We’ve got lots in store for the summer with a talk by historian Michael Gray on 17th and 18th Century Oak furniture on 28th June.  Our annual lunch at Marlborough College during Summer School promises lots of family fun with the history of Punch & Judy followed by a show. We have a harp recital in August and an evening with Mr and Mrs Bayly in September. How do you generate fund for the trust? The Trust receives some rental income to help with the costs of running the charity. All profits from events and the shop go towards restoration.  So when you shop with The Merchant’s House you know your money is going towards restoring and keeping this national treasure. In the shop we have some great brands and try and stock local products when we can. There are some Marlborough branded gifts and we’ve got lots of appealing gifts for dads for father’s day so pop in. http://www.themerchantshouse.co.uk/

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