English Heritage’s new museum telling the captivating and dramatic story of the Cotswold abbey that was once one of England’s most important pilgrim destinations. The new museum provides fascinating new insights into the history of the abbey and the lives of the monks who worshipped and lived at Hailes for nearly three centuries.
The new museum vividly brings to life 300 years of piety, culture and tradition at Hailes. Visitors will be greeted by an imposing 13th-century stone sculpture of Old Testament figure Sampson fighting a lion. Symbolising Christ’s defeat of death, the sculpture was once a boss in the ceiling in the abbey’s chapter house.
Among the other treasures inside the museum, visitors will find an exceptionally rare fragment of 14th-century monk’s spectacles, lost for centuries on the site of the monks’ choir-stalls.
Coinciding with the reopening of the museum, the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway reopened the abbey’s station, Hayles Abbey Halt, which now allows members of the public to visit the site by heritage railway for the first time since 1960. The new museum at Hailes Abbey is open daily until 31 October.
For visitors looking for a mobile app to accompany them around historic Winchcombe then look no further than a Real Town Tour. You can download the free app and access a map, walking companion and tour guide of your favorite places rolled into one mobile package.
Down load the app and then view Gloucestershire Market Towns where you will find Winchcombe.
If you have not already booked for the popular Winchcombe Walking Festival then watch out as the walk to Postlip Hall is fully booked and others are filling up. Bookings are coming in from far and wide including overseas.
Some walk leaders are already out walking over the routes making notes and seeing the first signs of spring. What better way to see the countryside in it’s ‘new spring clothes’ than come on a guided walk. Picture of deer encountered on a recent recent walk by walk leaders near Brockhampton.
The first of ten new gates has been installed by the Cotswold Voluntary Wardens Winchcombe work party. Walkers will be pleased to know the steps over a drystone wall near the Salt Way have gone.
We are now waiting for the Rights of Way department to give us permission to replace the other nine stiles situated on the Winchcombe Way section – on Dunns Hill and a section to St Kenelm’s Well. Hopefully permits to dig a hole can be obtained from PROW soon. Thank you to the Wardens for helping to improve access to the countryside and the tenant farmer.
WWaW and the Countryside Fund administered by the Cotswold Voluntary Wardens are joint funding the replacement of nine stiles with kissing gates on the Winchcombe Way. These will be situated on Dunns Hill towards the Salt Way and on adjacent paths to St Kenelm’s Well thus removing all stiles in this area, thanks to the landowner giving permission.
WWaW funding has come from sales of guide books and the Walking Festival while the Countryside Fund funding has come from donations by walkers on the Cotswold Voluntary Wardens guided walks.
The new gates will start to appear in March and will be installed by the Cotswold Voluntary Wardens.
Local resident and video producer, Andrew Davies, has launched a 60-minute film follows the life of the town throughout the year and features 25 different stories of local people, organisations and events.
Andrew has sought to convey the behind-the-scenes stories as well, by interviewing the owners and organizers, including Lady Ashcombe at Sudeley Castle. The film brilliantly captures a year in the life of this vibrant community. Andrew has combined his experience as a professional video producer with his affection for his hometown to produce this delightful portrait of Winchcombe’s history, culture and people. The DVD is on sale at The Emporium and Café 6 in Winchcombe, or on-line at: www.winchcombevideo.co.uk
A new footpath has opened and walkers no longer have to walk through the paper mill. Hollingsworth and Vose has to be congratulated, through investing a considerable amount of money, they have created a new footpath to divert walkers away from the industrial setting of buildings to a pleasant walk through trees. The footpath now meanders above the buildings from the old settlement ponds to the driveway. Walking along the top of the bank gives you lovely views of Langley Hill.
Winchcombe continues to see improvements to the footpaths in and around the town. The latest footpath improvement is on a path from Gloucester Street leading to the King George V playing field. The Cotswold Voluntary Wardens have constructed a boardwalk with the kind permission of the landowner. Previously walkers had to negotiate a very muddy section adjacent to the River Isbourne often frequented by cattle having a drink.
The cost of the project has been financed through The Countryside Fund, (donations from walkers on guided walks), Winchcombe Town Council and Winchcombe Walkers are Welcome.
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the formation of the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Beauty (AONB), Liz Eyre Chairman of the Cotswold Conservation Board is walking the Cotswold Way from Bath to Chipping Campden.
On Friday 26th August 2016 Liz Eyre will be walking a section from Cleeve Common to Stumps Cross, above Stanway and passing through Winchcombe. If you see some bunting and a group of walkers passing through Winchcombe around midday please say hello and wish Liz success with her walk.
In 1966 the Cotswolds was designated as an AONB and extended in 1990 as we know it today. The Cotswold AONB is the largest in England and Wales.
The Countryside Rights of Way Act, confirmed that AONBs, shared with National Parks the highest status of protection in relation to landscape and scenic beauty. An Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) is exactly what it says it is: an outstanding landscape whose distinctive character and natural beauty are so precious that it is in the nation’s interest to safeguard them.