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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.

Local uncovered is here to take you on a journey around Wiltshire and all the original things it has to offer.

  • Boyton Farm

    The Wheatley Hubbard family have been farming Tamworth pigs for five generations. Caroline began selling the famous Tamworth pork through farmer’s markets ...»

  • Sarah Sherrington

    Sarah Sherrington creates everything for the nursery, with stylish yet timeless designs that follow through from murals to furniture and onto fabrics....»

  • Colin Palmer

    Colin Palmer started his career as an apprentice draughtsman before returning to art school in London to study illustration....»

  • 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, ...»

  • Love Food

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

  • Rushall Manor

    Rushall Manor is a delightful Georgian house that dates back to the end of the 18th century. It is currently owned by Caroline Larken...»

  • Wiltshire Farmers Markets

    Wiltshire Farmers’ Markets Association runs ten monthly markets across the county where local people can buy local food and drink direct from producers....»

Smocked Frocks

Sam Bertram

15 September 2014

Do you often hear people (or yourself!) say children’s clothes aren’t what they used to be?  Well in answer to that question, they are – you just have to know where to look!  Shalbourne resident Jill Richard’s Smocked Frocks are gorgeous traditional hand smocked cotton clothes that any little girl or boy would love to have.  Unlike some of the new high-end brands that create dresses for little girls that are completely over the top, Jill’s smocked dresses are beautiful and understated where less is more.  As Jill says she likes to think they could be worn to a party one day but be worn while out jumping in puddles the next. Every piece is individual and made to order, a recent assignment of five bridesmaid dresses all had the same material but each with different smocking.  Her customers get to choose both the material and style although, a compliment to Jill,her return customers often leave it to her to decide on the detail. Jill does dresses, shirts, rompers and nightwear in pretty cotton checks, stripes and little prints – in fact anything that can be smocked! Her love of smocking is much like her love of jigsaw puzzles – she enjoys the symmetry of it and seeing the pattern emerge.  Her evenings are always spent smocking in front of the TV, while she does her machine work during the day.  Despite living in Wiltshire in the past, and kicking off her teaching career in Marlborough, Jill and her husband Rod haven’t always lived in Shalbourne.  After a stint in France they moved to Devon and it was while living there that Jill thought she would see where her love of sewing took her, and began to take her creations to a little weekly flea market in Chagford.  The response was great with her selling 4 dresses in the first week, spurring her on to attend further markets at National Trust venues and Exeter Festival week.  Jill has two sons, James and Will and all 4 grandchildren have modelled for the Smocked Frocks brand! They all live nearby and her latest model is her new 5 month old grandchild Hatty. Her biggest learning curve has been gauging tastes – understanding what people are looking for and the types of materials they like.  She says she has lovely customers all over the world who have been with her for years.  Many are grandmothers and mothers with babies who stay with her for 7 years or more.  Some just want to carry on traditions – one grandmother’s mother gave her smocked dresses to take her children out of hospital, and she wants to do the same for her children.  In this digital world she rarely meets her customers but through the process feels like she gets to know them.  Many remain on her mailing list even when their children are too big as they just love to see Jill’s designs. When Jill has spare time and left over material she makes little smocked gowns and sends them to the neo-natal department at John Radcliffe in Oxford. They are often given to babies too tiny to survive and Jill feels it’s really important that these little babies have something beautiful in those few moments of their lives. Having previously lived in the stunning yet harsh and elemental Dartmoor, Jill loves the undulating rolling hills and soft green of Wiltshire. She’s also really enjoying being in a less remote location and closer to people.  In Wiltshire you’re far enough out of London but not too far – it’s a good stepping off point for North, West and South.  She’s also enjoying being back with her old teaching friends and loving picking up from where they left off.  And with smocking having been developed in England in the Middle Ages, it’s rather apt that historic Wiltshire is where Smocked Frocks calls home. www.smockedfrocks.co.uk


A Treat of a Getaway

Sam Bertram

5 September 2014

It’s no coincidence that Brittany and Guy Manning’s Michelin Starred Red Lion Inn in East Chisenbury has just been named 3rd best pub in the country by the Good Food Guide.  Their high standards and desire to provide the best experience is unmistakable in both their pub and luxury guest house. Troutbeck Guest house is across the road from The Red Lion in East Chisenbury and a perfect place to relax while enjoying the great cuisine The Red Lion has to offer.  It’s the ideal getaway – you’re in complete tranquillity in a small Wiltshire village, while being only a short walk from a Michelin starred dining experience.  The attention to detail is phenomenal.  Every room has bi-fold doors that open to a private terrace looking out onto the river and the Salisbury Plain beyond. The rooms are equipped with high-end furnishings that anyone would love to have in their own home.  There are standing lamps by the bedside, exquisite linen and the ‘Benjamin’ has a Victorian slipper bath where you can relax and read while looking out over the beautiful view.  The paint colours are warm and inviting and there are lovely finishing touches – a selection of fine teas, natural beauty products from Wiltshire based Quintessentially English and slate signposting. I’m already dreaming of leaving the kids for the night (with care of course!) and spending some time there.  The 5 rooms are all named after people who have been part of the Red Lion.  Anglesea refers to their first sous chef Tom Anglesea who they met while both working at Per Se in New York, while Chamberlain is neighbour Carol & Barry’s surname (it’s said Carol was born in the pub & Barry is their life saver – helping them with anything that needs doing!).  Manser is in reference to John who owns the pub premises and stepped in 14 years ago to rescue the old village inn from closure.  To add to this there’s the personal touch of framed menus dotted about from places where Guy and Brittany have eaten & enjoyed the food. 2008 was the year of all things for Guy and Brittany – they started The Red Lion & married in Vegas.  Brittany says that even a wedding with 20 people was stressful!  You have to take your hat off to them; they have had two children Max, 3 ½ and Mini, 2 ½ while building two successful businesses. They both came to cooking through different ways.  Brittany grew up in New Jersey and was always baking as a little girl so the writing was on the wall.  She spent 4 years at culinary school on Rhode Island before being offered an internship at Thomas Kellar’s Per Se while competing in the Culinary Olympics in Germany.  Guy on the other hand came through a less traditional route, and it was only after some adventures sailing across the Atlantic and to Antarctica that he settled into the culinary world.  A born natural he spent some time as sous chef at Chez Bruce in London before taking a role at Per Se in New York and the rest as you’d say is history… The Mannings knew how to cook and were longing to cook what they wanted in a relaxed environment, so after stints in London and Spain they set about pub hunting.  With Guy having spent his childhood in Newbury the South West was a logical choice and, when they met John Manser and discovered they had much in common, The Red Lion soon became their business to build. So next time you’re looking for a spoiling place to stay with fantastic food on your doorstep then Troutbeck has to be it.  An afternoon of reading (preferably in the Victorian slipper bath) looking out across the plain, followed by a delicious meal in the Michelin starred Red Lion and finally sinking into one of their luxury beds for an uninterrupted sleep - tempted? I know I am. http://www.redlionfreehouse.com/


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