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What's on in Wiltshire

  • The Swan

    Head chef Pete and his wife Emma lived in Enford for 12 years before the run down, village-owned pub came up for tenancy. With a move closer to their jobs in Hampshire on the cards, they were stopped in their tracks. This was their dream come true. Following extensive refurbishment they opened in July 2014 as a proper community pub. “We’re not trying to be a gastro pub. We just want to be a pub that serves tasty homemade local food where people go if they don’t want to cook themselves, or just fancy an inexpensive meal out with family or friends.” From all accounts they’re doing something right. Regulars love their favourites board with Chilli, proper pie, The Swan’s Burger and cheesecake amongst others – their chips are legendary. Their menu is dictated by their customers and a specials board features dishes such as wild sea bass with parsley cream, poached samphire and new potatoes. They’re busy 7 days a week. It’s a cosy beamed pub with a roaring fire from autumn through to late spring. They do outside catering, there’s a shop facility where locals can order groceries and Hub in the Pub on Thursdays means villagers can get together over coffee and cake with all proceeds going to charity. Their dogs Digger & Pickle welcome other pooches and there are toy baskets for children of all ages. They’ve recently opened a beer garden, held their first beer festival and have plans for a B&B. ...»

  • 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 that became the home of a prosperous merchant and his family. The Merchant's House Trust leased the house from the town council in 1991 and is carefully restoring it and providing the public with a rare opportunity to view a 17th century house of this type. There are guided tours around the house and award-winning garden throughout the week, when you can take a fascinating glimpse into the home life of a wealthy merchant in the 17th century. The pretty shop on the ground floor raises funds to help the upkeep of the house and is full of lovely china and glassware, items for the home, some really unusual gift ideas for all ages as well as toys and greeting cards. The shop is full of colour with lamps, throws and rugs that make it feel warm and welcoming. In November and December the paneled room on the first floor becomes the traditional setting for the Christmas room, full of colour and nostalgia, a truly magical wonderland. The aim is to offer quality items that customers won’t see elsewhere and yet are still good value. There is always someone on hand to give advice but it’s also the perfect shop for browsers, there is so much to discover. ...»

  • Barbury Races

    Racehorses have been trained around Barbury for over a century & the wider area is a haven for lovers of fast horses. Holding four Point to Point meetings a year, Barbury racecourse is set within a natural amphitheatre in picturesque countryside. A well established and much loved Point to Point track, it’s an enjoyable & inexpensive day out for all the family. Bring a picnic, enjoy good quality sport and have a laugh with friends.There’s plenty of space for the children to run around & if it’s bad weather you can watch the racing from your car – no grandstands here! The racecourse is popular with riders, and, for spectators, it’s a chance to see young riders coming up the ranks or old favourites returning to the track. There’s plenty of room around the paddock & winner’s enclosure & unlike other professional sports, both the jockeys & trainers are very approachable & happy to autograph. Situated just moments from Swindon and the M4, the incredibly welcoming community means you don’t need to be an expert to enjoy your day. It’s easy to see all the action and there’s plenty of time to wander around, have a drink or bite to eat, or browse some of the stalls. With meetings held from December to April it’s a fun day out for anyone who loves sport and the outdoors. ...»

  • Nordic Walking with Ashley

    Ashley Sandy learnt to Nordic walk when living in Switzerland in 2006, and has always been interested in improving her own health. The joy of exercising while walking through beautiful countryside has remained with her, so in 2015 she decided to qualify as a Nordic walking instructor. ‘I love Nordic Walking – you get great exercise, while exploring new places & views, and loads of fresh air. Nordic walking makes you stand tall, you use more muscles and have better posture. Add a gorgeous view to that and you feel like you’re on top of the world.’ Living near Marlborough, Ashley runs her Nordic Walking classes at some fabulous locations including the Marlborough Downs & Pewsey Vale. It’s a low impact cardiovascular exercise that by adding poles uses 90% of the muscles in your body. It’s fabulous for general fitness & can help people with high blood pressure, stress or those recovering from injuries. ‘Nordic walking is great fun as it’s so sociable. Beginners can start with a taster session to see if it appeals and after that they can do 4 x 1 hour lessons spread over four weeks. This helps you build up the techniques and your fitness and at £35 is a steal.’ Once you’ve learnt how it’s done you can join Ashley for her more easy going walks, workout walks with intervals and drills or adventure walks to discover new parts of Wiltshire. ...»

  • Wiltshire Wildlife Trust

    Wiltshire Wildlife Trust has existed since the 60s with the aim of reconnecting people with their local wildlife and landscape. There are 37 reserves throughout the county which people can visit to just enjoy and experience nature, or attend one of the many family-friendly events. ‘The chalk downland of Wiltshire is an extremely rare ecosystem that supports a wide variety of wildlife. Projects include creating meadows to increase the wild flower population, which in turn supports other wildlife, and restoring rivers and waterways to help alleviate floods. At places like Langford Lakes focus is on aquatic creatures and water birds while some schemes look to improve woodland areas. We also have a team concentrating on waste reduction and recycling.’ Events include nature spotting and craft for children, introduction to wildlife skills and evening talks are regularly held around the county. Extremely popular is ‘Country comes to town’ held annually in Devizes where people can experience wildlife & nature first hand. A care farm helps people with learning difficulties, mental health and getting back into the workplace. ‘We rely heavily on our 2000 volunteers and our membership scheme which gives locals access to member events and reserve guides. Everything is so hectic in the modern age and there’s a huge reliance on technology. We hope to encourage people to take a step back, switch off and reconnect with nature. We want people to feel pride in their county.’ ...»

  • Marlborough Downs Space for Nature

    Marlborough Downs Space for Nature formed in 2011 when a group of farmers successfully bid for funding for a project to work together to improve nature conservation in the countryside on a big scale - making their own decisions on what they wanted to do on their land to support wildlife and the landscape. Since then, some incredible initiatives have been put in place. One priority was to create a necklace of new and restored dew ponds across the Downs - re-watering what had become an essentially arid landscape. Increasing the tree sparrow population - from single figures to over 300 on one farm - has been particularly successful and nationally recognised. Farmers from 29 farms provide year-round food and shelter for birds, planting up seed mixes for birds to eat over winter, providing suitable habitats, and installing nestboxes. Wildflower corridors have been created, and habitats managed for invertebrates and small mammals also support birds of prey and owls. A key part of the project is to involve the wider community and reconnect people with their local landscape. Events and workshops are held regularly and are extremely popular. In addition, tracks have been upgraded to improve disabled access. ‘We’ve created a template for farmers to work together which is now being used across England. Most of our work is done on a voluntary basis, and we hope to engage many more people in our projects. Next up is working together to provide food and habitats for bees and other pollinators.’ ...»

  • Deborah Husk

    Deborah Husk is a commercial photographer who also creates photography as fine art, exhibiting every July in the Marlborough Open Studios from her base in Alton Priors. Her work is stunning. ‘I’ve been a photographer for over 10 years and love the process of studying the subject and defining how best to take the shot. Styling and lighting is key, and the output must appear effortlessly gorgeous and desirable.’ Commercially, Deborah primarily works with lifestyle products. Clients include British fabric and accessories designer Fermoie through to fashion and a high-end artisan tea company. She works hard to create the right environment paying attention to craftmanship and detail, helping create memorable images that connect with customers. ‘My fine art pieces are inspired by my environment. I love my garden and choose plants and vegetables that, not only taste good, but that I ultimately want to photograph. I also create images that are unique, photographing antique collectibles such as watches or hip flasks, so they almost look real. Many items we hold on to have no purpose but lots of sentiment. By photographing these pieces, you can bring them to life in another way.’ Deborah’s studio is fabulous and most of her commissions are created there, although she can travel to your premises if required. Don’t miss The Open Studios, an opportunity to see Deborah at work and have a go at photographing like a pro! ...»

  • Marlborough College Summer School

    Now celebrating its 44th year, Marlborough College Summer School will run from 8th July to 4th August 2018 and host an amazing array of more than 500 courses. The popularity of Summer School is undoubtedly underpinned by the phrase “something for everyone”. Catering for students from 3 years old through to 90 years young, it is this blend spanning the generations and accommodating all combinations of family groups and individuals that creates a unique holiday atmosphere in the prestigious setting of Marlborough College in Wiltshire. The eclectic course programme of art, culture and sport is refreshed and developed annually, and this year is no exception. Traditional favourites will run alongside a wide range of inspiring new titles including Needle Felting, Millinery, Latin Dancing, Sustainability in Daily Life, Astronomy, Wine Appreciation and Taoist Yoga. For students wishing to really make the most of their time at Summer School, booking a stay in one of the College Boarding Houses is thoroughly recommended. The College’s historic grounds are conveniently located to enjoy Marlborough’s famous High Street and the beautiful Wiltshire countryside. Plus, as a resident you can take advantage of the excellent cuisine on offer and free admission to all lectures, recitals and entertainments. Gala Performances are open to Summer School customers plus the general public and take place every Tuesday and Friday evening. This year’s superb line-up features An Evening with Lord Robert Winston, a photographic lecture with Chris Packham, Illyria’s outdoor production of Dr Dolittle, Liza Pulman's musical tribute to Barbra Streisand, the award-winning Blake and much more. For further information and to request a brochure, phone the Summer School team on 01672 892388 or visit www.summerschool.co.uk....»

  • The Farm Cookery School & Netherstreet Beef

    Gretchen Winter’s lifelong dream of a cookery school at the farm where she grew up became a reality in 2016. The impressive result can be put down to her combined experience of running restaurants & events plus teaching children to cook in schools through her company Jack & Maddie. Located at Netherstreet Farm, home to her family since 1889, it’s a beautiful space in a rural setting. ‘I want to make cookery classes affordable – a place for people rather than chefs. It’s all about demystifying cooking and using ingredients that are readily available locally.’ The spacious cookery school has 8 stations fitted with domestic appliances, so it feels like a home from home. There’s a dedicated demo room and two conference rooms with a smaller breakout room. Perfect for off-site meetings, team building or large parties. ‘We have classes focusing on global flavours like Indian, Moroccan, Spanish, Italian or Korean and ‘Cook from Scratch’ is perfect for beginners. A popular event is ‘Cook & Dine’ where people get help cooking their meal & then stay and enjoy it without needing to wash up. Holiday clubs and Birthday Parties are also in demand.’ At £25 for a demo and starting from £35 for a class including your meal it’s a steal! Gretchen and her husband Matthew are also focusing on Galloway Beef Production and the meat is now available at www.netherstreetfarm.co.uk...»

  • Taste Wiltshire

    Taste Wiltshire was first launched with the aim of showcasing the best food and drink in Wiltshire whilst being an affordable day out. This year takes place at Netherstreet Farm in Bromham for the first time, allowing for more producers and easier parking and accessibility for guests. With over 30 producers exhibiting on the day it is expected to be to be a great day out for all the family. Wander around, sample and buy local food and drink and meet the producers. Demonstrations include Lisa Markwell, Food Editor of the Sunday Time talking through her experiences as a food journalist and Prue Leith Cordon Blue Cookery training, whilst providing some hints and tips on how to do it yourself. There's everything from wine, gin and beer to bread, meat, cakes and endless other delights. It is shaping up to be a fabulous day and we look forward to seeing many of you there. ...»