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Our members favourite walks

Sam Bertram

12 May 2017

May is a great time to get out into the open countryside when temperatures are warmer but it’s not too hot. Our members all give their top tips on things to do in Wiltshire. Here are some of their favourite walks.   South Wiltshire   1. Well Natural - a fabulous independent health shop in Salisbury say a scenic walk at Old Sarum at sunset is the best.   ‘Salisbury residents will be familiar with the beautiful history of how the city came to be at its current location. The gothic Salisbury Cathedral was built in that location following the decision from the previous settlers of Old Sarum, a historic hill fort which was once a thriving village and visited by many famous Royals including William the Conqueror, to move the Cathedral and build a city around it. The Old Sarum hill fort was still lived in until more recently, but is now a place of historic significance and managed by English Heritage. In the evenings, when the weather is nice, you can walk up to the ruins of the old Cathedral and watch the sun set in the distance. You get a fantastic countryside view and can also see the ‘new’ Cathedral standing prominently in the view overlooking the city. Highly recommended, just make sure to wear suitable footwear as the terrain can be rough.’ Location   2. Great Wishford’s Simply Bluebell’s favourite is the Roman Road in Grovely Woods.    ‘What could be better than running, walking or cycling along the Roman road in Grovely. Far from the madding crowd with a tree lined walk that changes dramatically with every season, but is particularly spectacular in autumn. Fragrant with bluebells in spring, cool and refreshing in summer and mystical in the snow.’ Location   3. Clementine’s shop near Tisbury loves a walk around the lake.     ‘I have grown up near the Fonthill Lake and have always enjoyed talking a stroll around the lake. You can walk some of the way around the lake, with lovely views.’ While you’re there it’s really worth popping in to see Clementine’s shop and their new café. Location   The epicentre of our county   1. Brittany and Guy Murphy from Michelin starred The Red Lion East Chisenbury love to recharge the soul on the wide open spaces of Salisbury Plain as do Wiltshire Life pub of the year The Swan in Enford.    Pete and Emma Jeffries of the Swan say ‘The single reason we decided to stay put. Salisbury Plain is on our doorstep and we absolutely love it! We walk our dogs, Digger and Pickle, on the plains every day and love the peace and quiet it offers. You can walk for miles with no fences or gates and enjoy great open expanses of our countryside. From the pub car park, you can be on the plains in minutes and, if you’re lucky, you’ll be able to see parachutists from Netheravon airfield making their descent, the Hercules carriers practising at Upavon as well as deer. We can let you know of the best walks from the Pub. It’s gorgeous in the sunshine but there’s even a beauty in the rain!’ Location   Closer to Swindon?   1. The Pear Tree in Purton love strolling around the extensive grounds of Lydiard Park in Swindon.    ‘It’s an under-used Wiltshire resource which deserves a better profile. It combines pleasure, leisure and history. We particularly love the Walled Garden which is carefully tended and the staff are always happy to answer questions and share their knowledge.’ Location   2.      Buckerfields Barn love to walk on ‘The Ridgeway, the earliest known thoroughfare in Europe, imagine those who have followed the route over the last 10,000 years, watch the soaring birds of prey, embrace the big sky views and listen to the silence.’ Location   3.     Overtown manor regularly walk around Barbury Castle to see Wiltshire’s beautiful countryside. Location   4.     Little Dan Designs love a stroll around Jubilee lake in Royal Wootton Bassett. Location   The Marlborough and Pewsey Downs   1. Beverley Hams from A Piece of Cake By Bev loves to walk on the Ridgeway on Fyfield Downs.    ‘It’s just beautiful, the views are amazing, and great walking underfoot. Fantastic if you have a dog because of the wide open spaces’. Even better is the fact that once you’ve done the walk your even most justified in having one of her delicious tray bakes which she delivers! Location   2. Garp and Liis from Sticks and Stones café and lifestyle shop in Woodborough say..    ‘On our days off (rare, but it does happen) Garp and I love walking. Our favourite places are West Woods for the bluebells, Kennet and Avon canal to see the boats or kite flying on Woodborough Hill’. They make a fabulous cup of coffee so stop in after for refreshment or one of their delicious lunches. Location   3.     Indigo Antiques is also a fan of the Pewsey Downs    ‘The meadows around Adams Grave Longbarrow is at the summit of Walkers Hill. A wonderful place to walk in all seasons with a beautiful view across the Pewsey Vale. Walk up from the main road along the spine of the hill to get to the summit. Just above the huge Alton Barnes chalk White Horse, maintained by the local community. The hillside is full of a wonderful array of native wild flowers. I feel privileged to live in such a beautiful part of Britain.’ Location   4. Digger and Mojo also love that area   ‘A fantastic walk at any time of year. Park and cross the road and walk up to the White Horse – check out its spindly legs – the 19c workers refused to dig a wider outline after the architect in charge ran off with their wages…! Children are always fascinated by the sheer scale of something so familiar they’ve seen from the car. The Pewsey Vale and beyond spreads before you; at 295m above sea level, you’re at Wiltshire’s highest point. Over the seasons you may spot rare wild flowers, paraponters and corn circles. Blow away the cobwebs or walk off your Sunday Lunch.' Location   5. Meadow in my garden 'One of our favourite walks is near Oare. It's a beautiful circular walk that starts at the centre of the village and takes you on a half hour loop.' Location   6.     Balmain & Balmain say 'Walking through the Brails is a must, plus at the same time you can take in The Wilton Windmill, and end up in Great Bedwyn for refreshment'. Location   7.     Radish loves likes the Old Railway path Marlborough - 'The old railway will take you all the way to Chiseldon, but you can make it as long or short as you like. We like to walk with our little girl in her buggy and our two boys on their bikes for an enjoyable weekend breath of the beautiful Wiltshire outdoor.' Location   Nordic walking with Ashley runs all her walks around that area which is a great way of seeing the beautiful countryside while exercising. We've tried it and it's fab.   Devizes   1. The George and Dragon in Rowde love a walk around Caen hill Locks. Owner Chippy Day says.. ‘This is a 2 mile walk around 26 canal locks, all cascading down the hill so they are an impressive sight. At the top lock is a cute café which is a welcome stop, fab ice-creams, cakes and tea, just what’s needed to keep going half way around.’ If you’re looking for a delicious pub lunch to round off the walk or a pint then The George & Dragon is just up the road. Location   2.     Pink boutique like Drews pond in Devizes   'A stunning woodland walk whatever the season. This provided a therapeutic walk for patients from the old hospital which closed in 1995.' Location   Forest   1. Tiffinie from The Wiltshire Liqueur Company challenges you to walk through Savernake Forest without getting lost. Her tip is to take lots of water! If it’s a shorter walk or a picnic she’d no doubt recommend one of her liqueurs for a warming tipple. Be in awe of the big old trees in the only privately owned forest in Britain. Michelin starred the Harrow at little Bedwyn also love the forest. Being foodies Roger and Sue love to forage for wild mushrooms and truffles. Ollie and Lauren Hunter from The Wheatsheaf in Chilton Foliat also love to forage. Ashley and James Wilsey and family from The Three Tuns, Great Bedwyn favourite path in Savernake is down by St Katharine’s, where there is a gem of a church set in amongst the trees and fields. ‘Sometimes you can hear the church bells ringing as you wander along the forest paths.’ Location   Chippenham   1. Fairfax Antiques ‘Visit our local Maud Heath’s Memorial column on Wick Hill; Maud Heath was a widow from East Tytherton village who died in 1474 and left land to provide an income to maintain a causeway from Wick Hill to Chippenham for the benefit of the country folk taking their goods to market. We all love to walk to the ancient Maud Heath's Causeway, a pathway in rural Wiltshire rising above the Avon floodplain on sixty-four brick arches, carrying an undistinguished country road between Bremhill and Langley Burrell.' Location   Closer to Bath Hannah from Gyidance (dance movement psychotherapy) loves a mid-morning walk through box woods to The Greenhouse, Wadswick 'A great way to get energised for the day with a trek up the hill and into nature. Met by wood-land Pigs and landscapes of beauty, Box Woods takes you into a maze ….. and leads you to an array of treasures, including The Greenhouse Restaurant. At the heart of the unique complex for older populations, The Greenhouse serves exquisite dishes in a light, yet warm and cosy environment as well as offering spa, health and beauty treatments. A must!' Location   See our top tips map for more recommendations from our local independents on things to do.    

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Picnics and Alfresco summer parties

Sam Bertram

12 May 2017

Summer is just around the corner (we hope!), so we spoke to Jane and Nick of Gastro Nicks at their Deli in Collingbourne Ducis to find out what they recommend stocking up on for all those picnics and alfresco summer parties. Which artisan products would you recommend for summer parties and picnics?  ‘We’ve got lots of new produce coming in for summer. At the moment we particularly love the trout paté and roulade from Mere Fish Farm. They are delicious and great for parties and easy to transport for picnics You can never go wrong with our Charcuterie range. The Fennel salami is absolutely delicious as is the Prosciutto, the slightly smoked Spec and Bresaola. Always good for a picnic or lunches in the garden. We can slice cured meats for our customers so you can make sure you’ve got enough to go round. Our extensive cheese range includes a lot more sheep and goats cheese this year. There’s always a bakery selection but if you’re planning on having any parties or picnics we can order in for you. We get our bread from Honesty Bakery near Newbury and it’s divine. They do lovely sheets of focaccia bread baked with olive oil. If you want to put on a real Mediterranean spread we stock it all. Olives, antipasti, oils and vinegars and we have some bruschetta mix from Sicily coming in. It’s in a jar and you spoon it out and put it straight on crusty bread. It’s so good.  We love the fact that summer dining can be more informal – loads laid out with so many different tasting opportunities.  Not forgetting something to drink! We love to complement our picnics with Greco do Tufo – an elegant white that’s fruity enough to drink on its own. Sparkling Rosé is always good and for red our customers love Valpolicella. We’ve visited most of the producers who we source our wine from.’  And for the sweeter tooth? ‘We’ve usually got something sweet for the end of the meal. We stock New Forest Chocolates although careful those don’t melt in the sun! Other favourites are the Italian nougat, panforte and Cantucinni biscuits (crispy with almond chocolate inside). Brutti e buoni is like Amaretti - meringue with chopped almonds inside.  The summer fruits are always fantastic.  Our milk and and clotted cream comes from Cornwall and you can taste the difference when the cows have been put out in the summer pastures.’ What’s your favourite thing to cook in summer? Making some lovely pasta salads with our Sicilian pasta. It’s egg free and made from durum wheat and it’s not just a texture but actually tastes of something! The Tricolore pasta even has a bit of chilli in it. It’s great to combine it with chunky Italian yellowfin tuna in olive oil or with anchovies.  Our Sicilian pine nuts, pecorino or parmesan make great ingredients for fresh pesto.  You just need fresh basil.  Have a go!’  http://www.gastronicks.co.uk/

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Help flowers last longer

Pod & Pip

10 May 2017

Sarah Williamson-Jones from Pod & Pip tell us how to look after our fresh flowers. By following a few simple rules you can help fresh flowers last even longer and your enjoyment of them.   * When you receive your flowers cut a little bit of the ends of the stems (1-2cm) and make sure it's at a slight angle, this helps the water to be absorbed.   * Remember to check that your flowers have enough water everyday, some flowers are more thirsty than others. Alstroemeria and daisies, for example like a good drink!   *Make sure you use clean water and that the vase you are using is also clean. Dirty vases can harbour bacteria which can reduce the longevity of flowers. Replace the water if you can see it is getting discoloured or smelly.   * Ensure you put the flowers in an adequate size vase, don't try and squash the stems into a vase that is too small as this can crush and damage the stems.   * Place the flowers out of direct sunlight and try and avoid very warm spaces.   * Remove any leaves or flowers under the waterline in your vase as this speeds up decomposition.     * Remove an faded flowers, some flowers last longer than others   Sarah Williamson Jones is the founder of Pod & Pip. Friday flowers delivered to your door. www.podandpip.co.uk

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Top Bluebell Spots

Sam Bertram

7 April 2017

Startling, bright colours are one of the wonders of nature and no more than the carpet of blue flowers in our woodlands in spring.   We asked around for people’s favourite bluebell spots in Wiltshire and it’s no surprise we got an overwhelming response. So here  are our recommendations from Wiltshire locals…   1. The top spot goes to West Woods which the majority of people named as their favourite. Situated just outside Marlborough near the village of Lockeridge it’s a beautiful plantation of beech trees on a former ancient woodland site and the bluebells are magnificent. Note for dog owners: In December there were some suspected cases of Albama Rot thought to have been contracted in West Woods. For more information see this link http://ww.forestry.gov.uk/alabamarot  If you want to avoid the crowds Nordic Walking with Ashley have found some lovely ones on foot. Gopher Woods has some bluebells - on the walk from Knap Hill to Oare.   2. Closer to the Dorset border and Tisbury? Try the Larmer Tree or one local described a magical bluebell wood you can see from the road. Leave Clementine’s Shop, and continue to the Bath / Shaftesbury road. Just before the road there is a hump back bridge and to the right a stunning bluebell wood with a stream running through it. (Please note: unknown if on private or public land so please check if investigating!). Win Green near Ludwell is also good as well as Ashmore just over the border in Dorset.   3. On the Wiltshire / Oxon Border you’ll find Badbury Hill near picture perfect Coleshill with its secret Second World War history. Overlooking the Vale of the White Horse it’s an Iron Age fort with a stunning bluebell woodland.   4. Devizes locals love the bluebells that grow alongside white wild garlic at Wheelers Wood on the road between Sandy lane (with its well preserved thatch cottages) & Lacock. Erlestoke wood is also a favourite and Potterne wood.   The 32 acre Oakfrith Woodland in Urchfont dates back to the 18th Century and is one of the few remaining areas of significant woodland in the Pewsey Vale. In early spring bluebells cover the woodland floor.   5. If you live a little nearer Bath, Quarry Hill Woodland on Devizes Road in Box has some lovely displays.   6. Closer to Warminster the woods around Longleat are a must visit & if you head to Heaven’s Gate at the top of Prospect Hill you’ll see more while enjoying the views across the parkland of Longleat and Longleat House.   7. Malmesbury locals recommended Sommerford Common as a good spot. Go to Brinkworth and turn up Stoppers Hill towards Minety. It’s an extensive mixed woodland run by The Forestry Commission.    8. On the Wiltshire / Berkshire border the Littlecote grounds have lovely bluebells and a beautiful Roman mosaic and the remains of a Roman Villa, so get your history fix while you’re there.   9. It’s important not to forget our treasured National Trust Properties - Lacock & Stourhead both have displays of bluebells alongside other spectacular spring flowers.   10. Closer to Swindon are Ashen Copse in Wroughton & Pinkcombe wood in Hodson. Quidhampton Woods near Wroughton are on the slopes up to Bincknoll Castle, a hill fort overlooking Swindon. Take in the panoramic views while you get your fix of blue. There's also Hagbourne Copse right in the middle of Swindon.   11. Two years ago 7000 bluebell bulbs were planted by residents and the council in Milford Hollow near Laverstock in Salisbury so fingers crossed they produce a beautiful display.   12. Around Calne & Chippenham Bowood House opens it’s Woodland Garden from 21st April where you can see Rhododendrons amongst the bluebells. Mortimers Wood is just south of Chippenham near Pewsham Way – a small area of ancient woodland with recorded history dating back over 800 years.   13. Jubilee Lake in Royal Wootton Bassett has lovely bluebells in its woodlands. Complete with children’s playground and tea rooms you can stay for a bite to eat or enjoy a picnic by the lake.    14. Grovely Wood in Great Wishford is the largest tract of private woodland in Southern Wiltshire straddling the Wyle and Nadder vallies. The carpet of bluebells are stunning - inspired by the display a local Great Wishford resident calls her greeting card business Simply Bluebell.   TAKE NOTE: Hopefully it’ll be dry and the sun beating down but if not don’t forget your umbrella!   Got some more suggestions? Contact us on Twitter or Facebook or email us on hello@localuncovered.com and we’ll add them in.

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