Discover the hidden delights of Wiltshire.

Meet our community of independent Wiltshire businesses. Shop & support local.

Find local food & drink, artisan gifts, things for home & family, places to stay & see what's on.

 

 

  • The Wheatsheaf

    Masterchef semi-finalist Ollie Hunter and wife Lauren bought The Wheatsheaf pub in Chilton Foliat in November 2015...»

  • Sticks & Stones

    Sticks and Stones is a stylish, lifestyle shop wrapped around a cosy and relaxed café alongside the Woodborough Garden Centre, ...»

  • Marlborough Literature Festival

    Founded in 2010 by volunteers keen to celebrate fine writing, Marlborough Literature festival is held annually in the last week of September...»

  • The George and Dragon

    After a long career at Soho House, Chippy Day craved a better life in the country so bought the George and Dragon in Rowde in 2004....»

  • 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....»

  • 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...»

  • Digger & Mojo

    Clarissa and Yosh Reilly used to live in Papua New Guinea, where the local motto “expect the unexpected” fits their new vintage furniture emporium in Pewsey very well. ...»

2019 New Year Bucket List

Sam Bertram

31 December 2018

Here's our suggestions on what to see and do in 2019 to make the most of our beautiful county of Wiltshire. Plan for one a quarter and you’ll find it incredibly achievable and rewarding! 1. Our environment needs our help more than ever Reduce your impact on the environment - look to recycle and upcycle - buy beeswax wraps, take a shopping bag, resusable bottle and coffee cup with you, buy bamboo straws, wooden toothbrushes. Avoid products with microbeads. Buy produce from local companies rather than supermarkets to avoid all the supermarket packaging and reduce food miles.  Hat off to local Devizes company Meadow in my Garden who continue to evangelise for nature & encourage people to go wild in their gardens. They do great work helping volunteer projects & guerilla gardening initiatives with their flower meadow mixes that encourage wildlife & pollinators. You don’t need to have a big garden for wild flowers & they not only look stunning but also help our busy bees, butterflies and ladybirds. They’re looking for volunteers to help fill public spaces with wild flowers. Get in touch if you think you can help. 2. Look at your grocery list and think what you can source locally There’s so much fabulous food & drink available right here in Wiltshire. Visit your local butcher or become a regular at a Wiltshire Farmers Market so that local always makes its way onto your table. J W Fine Foods in Woodborough smoke & cure their own salmon, The Farm Cookery School sells their own Netherstreet Beef & The Baking Chambers sells bread local to Lockeridge while also running fabulous bread making courses. If you feel like a tipple look no further than The Wiltshire liqueur Company – also fabulous ingredients for any recipe. It not only supports your local economy but when it hasn’t travelled it’s better for the environment and tastes better too! 3. Experience some of the amazing pubs & restaurants in the county It’s important to support your local pub & restaurant, but once in a while it’s worth going further afield.  In Wiltshire we have The Good Food Guide’s best dining pub in the country for the second year running - The Michelin Starred Red Lion, East Chisenbury and Countryside Alliance pub champion 2018 The Swan in Enford. Don't miss the incredibly popular The Three Tuns, Great Bedwyn regularly featured in national publications as a lovely country pub surrounded by fantastic walks. They've also recently launched their catering arm 'Full Flavour Behaviour' serving upmarket but casual food.  We love the The George & Dragon in Rowde with their fabulous seafood & rustic luxurious rooms with a touch of Soho House, The highly awarded Harrow at Little Bedwyn, critically acclaimed for its 900 bin wine list, and The Wheatsheaf Chilton Foliat where local sourcing is at the heart and is in the SRA's top 20 most sustainable restaurants. For a casual lunch or for the best coffee try the lovely Sticks & Stones in their lifestyle shop in Woodborough or book onto one of Former Michelin Star Chef James' pop up supper clubs at J W Fine foods. The food is fantastic. 4. Regular bracing walks are a great way to stay fit Visit a new part of the Wiltshire countryside & walk somewhere new – there are stunning walks from the North Wessex Downs to the Nadder Valley. Our members have lots of top tips on things to do – whether it’s walking the ancient Ridgeway, an invigorating walk across Salisbury Plain or a walk around Fonthill Lake near Tisbury you’ll be pleased you ventured there.  5. Look after yourself & others Love Food in Marlborough has Love Food to go - healthy nutritional meals for delivery, and has an energy boosting cookery demonstration on 17th January showing you foods that ward off lack of energy and motivation.  Nordic Walking instructor Ashley Sandy can help you get fit and have fun while exploring the beautiful outdoors, and is offering ski fit classes to get you ready for the slopes. Make this the year to get yourself first aid ready with a course from Worsley Training, so if someone collapsed at work or on the street you'd know what to do.    6. Make it to at least one of Wiltshire’s events or festivals Racehorses have been trained in Wiltshire for over a Century so have fun watching Barbury Races – a great day out for all the family. Kick off your shoes at a music festival or there are plenty of Arts Festivals around the county - Salisbury, Trowbridge & Devizes and fabulous theatre at Illford Arts Festival near Bradford on Avon. Marlborough literature festival has some great authors & there are plenty of Food & Drink Festivals throughout the summer. See our events calendar. 7. Take in one of our national treasures Stourhead near Mere is the second most visited National Trust Property. However, there are plenty more to choose from – Avebury (the ‘better’ stone circle), Lacock Abbey, Wardour Castle near Tisbury, Great Chalfield Manor and Garden (featured in ‘Wolf Hall’), The Courts Garden in Holt or Old Sarum near Salisbury.   And don’t forget the marvellous Salisbury Cathedral and Malmesbury Abbey or Castle Combe, said by many to be the prettiest village in England or The Merchant's House in Marlborough to see how a wealthy 17th Century Merchant would have lived. 8. Learn something new How often do you wish you could do something better? There are plenty of places offering courses – Marlborough College Summer School has every course you can imagine and it’s a fun way to spend a week.  Organise a nutritional cookery course at your home with Love Food or a bread making course with The Baking Chambers. The Farm Cookery School in Bromham has a fabulous array of cookery courses for all ages, and Sonia Wright runs wonderful horticultural courses at Buckerfields Barn in Ogbourne St George. 9. Don’t always default to Amazon If you’re looking for a gift or new items for the home stop and think if you could buy from a small local company.  You’ll be amazed at the unique things available as well as how affordable they are too.  Garp from Sticks & Stones makes the most wonderful wooden items for the home and Rachel runs her amazing company Fioriblu in Avebury selling colourful leather handbags and accessories. And there are lots of ideas for the home too. You can get beautiful curtains, blinds and other soft furnishings made by White Mulberry Soft Furnishings, bespoke sofas, chairs and Nadder cubes from Balmain & Balmain in Wilton, funky lighting from Charlie Howe Designs in Urchfront.  If you're looking for something unique pop into one of our marvellous local shops - Digger & Mojo and Indigo Antiques never fail to please. Here's to a fabulous 2019!

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Best coffee in a rural location

Sam Bertram

29 December 2018

Sticks & Stones is a lovely relaxed rural café & lifestyle shop in Woodborough near Pewsey. Co-owner Garp Flack has always made the most beautiful wooden kitchenware so we spoke to his wife, co-owner Liis Flack, to find out what inspired them to open a café. What inspired you to transition from a shop selling Garp’s beautiful wares to opening a café? ‘Back in the day we had a studio and stock room at the back of Wiltshire Barn in Nursery Farm, Woodborough, which we used as a base to wholesale Garp’s kitchen accessories. We briefly had a shop in Marlborough, but when we got offered new premises at Nursery Farm, with a front on to the car park, we knew we wanted to focus on that space.   As with all rural businesses attracting customers is your number one priority. The new shop had a kitchen, if a little hidden, so we focused on uncovering everything, doing some refurbishments and opening up the space. It seemed a logical step to open a café alongside the shop. My mother is a chef in Estonia and Garp worked in the restaurant trade before leaving London. Although we said we’d never work in catering again, we kept coming back to it.  It’s obviously part of our DNA and we’re loving being involved in hospitality again. You’ve got a real loyal customer base, how have you achieved that? We started with the tiniest coffee machine and cakes from a local baker and we’ve gradually expanded our menu. We’ve got a great reputation for serving delicious coffee. Garp is pedantic about the quality of our coffee and regularly asks our staff to make him a coffee to ensure we’re keeping up the good standard. We’ve tried to make the café a little more interesting by buying local when we can but if not looking to the country of our births, Estonia and South Africa. We stock my aunt’s Estonian herbal teas and lovely leather handbags from Cape Town. We also have fabulous loyal staff. We incorporate food trends, the fact that people want to be healthy and serve what’s in season as much as possible. We serve a variety and our portion sizes are good while not being wasteful. One regular customer has a number of allergies, and we bend over backwards to make something he can eat. There is some Estonian influence – we love to cook chanterelles and wild mushrooms in season and serve smoked fish which we get from a local business. Some of our favourites are French Onion soup with croutons and gruyere and bagel with cream cheese and local salmon and avocado.  Many of our local customers work from home and come in to get out or meet clients. We have stay at home parents and we bribe dogs with treats so they drag their owners here! One local artist visits a few times a week, and just sits outside and relaxes. On a sunny day you could be anywhere in Europe. Come and see us – there are lots of other businesses to browse at Nursery Farm while you’re here.  http://www.uksticksandstones.com/     

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Lucky winner

Lucky winner

One lucky person won four tickets for the Vine & Craven Point-to-Point at Barbury on Sunday 10th February

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