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Gloucestershire on Country Tracks

Yesterday’s Country Tracks with Liz Bonnin on BBC One was the second episode in the series and it took her through our beautiful county of Gloucestershire. Did you see it?!

Liz’s Gloucestershire trip took her from Westonburt Arboretum through Gloucestershire via Chedworth and Painswick to Regency Cheltenham Spa.

She introduced Gloucestershire in the programme by talking about the floods of 2007 when Gloucestershire was the worst hit county in the country. She mentioned Gloucester and Tewkesbury in particular and how they are well known for the famous Gloucester Cathedral and Tewkesbury Abbey. She went on to mention that these two Gloucestershire towns were the worst affected in the floods but are now fully restored to their former beauty.

Liz also talked about the Royal Forest of Dean and how it is home to ancient and rare trees. This lead her on to the start of her journey at Westonburt:

Westonburt Arboretum are planning a treetop walkway for visitors to be able to walk at treetop height across yew trees, oaks, sycmores etc to get people up close and personal with trees. it’s already a spectacular place to visit and this will enhance the visitor experience. Some amazing photos of the arboretum by Sarah Howard were shown.

Chedworth was the next destination on the trip. There has been a recent discovery of mosaic stones at Chedworth Roman Villa which has opened a new chapter in Roman history. The site was discovered by Victorians in 1864 but this new mosaic has only just been found! Apparently Romans probably travelled to Cirencester to get mosaics commissioned at the time. how they knew this i don’t know?!! The mosaic was made up of three colours: white from local limestone, blue from shale from Dorset and red broken brick and tile. The mosaic is 1600 years old.

Stroud was the next feature – a company based there is the is world leader for production of artificial snow, frost and ice for films, winter wonderlands etc. They use all bio degradable, environmentally-friendly material, whereas in the past polystyrene and even forms of asbestos + formaldehyde were used for film snow! The lady in the feature had a go at making it snow in the Forest of Dean in mid-August, bursting it out of a tube machine to the Ghostbusters theme tune!

Painswick’s Rococo Garden was next. Described as a step back to the essential period of essential garden design, Painswick House, plays host to Painswick arts festival and garden sculptures. There was a lovely seahorse sculpture by Alan Ross from Ross-on-Wye on the other side of the River Severn. There are new installations each year, a must for garden lovers staying at our self catering accommodation.

The next feature was a Garden Watch excerpt where they were wildlife watching at night in general gardens of accommodation in Gloucestershire’s Dursley neighbourhood via CCTV. Woodmice, badgers and deer were all found just roaming in gardens …and hopping over fences in order to do so!

The show finished up in Cheltenham, a place with an ‘image of gentility’, deriving from the discovery of spa water in the early 18th Century. Liz mentioned Cheltenham’s festivals of music, literature, jazz and science that occur every year at Cheltenham’s Town Hall and Pittville Pump Room. Gustav Holst took centre stage. Liz went in to the Cheltenham house in which he was born, now his museum, to find out more about why he composed the Planets Suite. It was a trip to Spain that inspired his discovery of astronomy, and he then researched it himself and went on to compose The Planets as a result, a ‘pioneering masterpiece of its time‘ and ‘expression of provincial England at its best‘.

The show then hopped from Cheltenham to over cheese rolling in Brockworth on spring bank holiday with Michaela Strachan. The chase down the hill after a chunk of Double Gloucester cheese is tradition from the 19th century, and perhaps goes back even further to pagan times. People come not only from all over the country but all over the world to take part.

They then returned to Cheltenham and went to All Saints church where Liz blew up a mobile planetarium! She described Holst’s Planet Suite as a ‘timeless piece of music from the very heart of Gloucestershire‘ and concluded that a trip to Gloucestershire is a trip of ‘many discoveries, stunning views, art and nature combined’. i don’t think any visitor to Cooks Green Holiday Cottage would disagree with that.

A lovely little celebration of our gorgeous county. If you haven’t been yet, give us a ring, book in at the holiday cottage and explore the delights of Gloucestershire and the Cotswolds.

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