Minchinhampton is a very attractive, thriving hilltop town, situated on a tongue of high land between the Golden Valley and the Nailsworth Valley, 1.5 miles north east of Nailsworth. The town also sits on the eastern fringes of Minchinhampton Common, high above the valleys that were once prosperous with the production of cloth.
The centre of Minchinhampton is a picture-postcard image of what people expect of a small Cotswold town, but with the added advantage of having a good selection of shops and places to eat. The town is centred on its High Street and old Market Square, the main features of which are the late 17th century Market House, supported on stone columns, the handsome Crown Hotel, and the Post Office.
The interesting Holy Trinity Church dates from the 12th century and has a truncated spire looking over the Market Square. The church was given to Caen's Abbaye aux Dames by William the Conqueror and then in 1415 passed to Syon Abbey, in whose hands it remained until the Dissolution.
Minchinhampton Common is a large area of open grassland with spectacular views over the Stroud and Nailsworth valleys. The area is owned by National Trust and is an important archaeological landscape, with prehistoric field systems, burial mounds and the remains of a defensive earthwork, known as The Bulwarks. In the summer the Commons are grazed by local commoners' cattle. The area covers 635 acres and is renowned for its colourful array of wild flowers and butterflies.
Food & Drink
For a small market town, Minchinhampton is fortunate to be blessed with a number of good places to eat and drink:
- Sophie's Restaurant (www.sophiesrestaurant.co.uk): Sophie's is a popular family run French restaurant located in a Grade II listed building in the heart of a pretty Cotswold village. It offers a daily changing lunch menu Tuesday to Friday and also opens on selected evenings (usually Saturdays);
- The Ragged Cot (www.theraggedcot.co.uk): Perched high on the Cotswolds outside the ancient market town of Minchinhampton sits the Ragged Cot, a country inn getaway created for serious pleasure seekers. Born of a 17th century coaching house inn set beside six hundred acres of National Trust common land the Ragged Cot is a pretty special place with an intriguing history of highwaymen and pilferage. The proprietors of the Ragged Cot take pride in their professional approach to food and service, with the seasonal menu offering great British food sourced from local farmers and even their own vegetable garden. With dishes such as seared ox tongue with pickled red cabbage, pheasant with braised leeks and artichoke puree or just simply ham, eggs with triple cooked chips you will always find a dish to fit;
- The Kitchen (www.thekitchenminchinhampton.co.uk): Choose a seat by the beautiful bay window and watch for riders trotting by on horseback or perhaps the occasional herd of cows strolling down from the Common. Serving delicious breakfasts, morning and afternoon teas, and lunches, all the locally sourced food is prepared fresh daily;
- The Old Lodge, Minchinhampton Common (www.food-club.com/old-lodge.htm): The Old Lodge is beautifully located in the centre of Minchinhampton Common. With unrivalled views of the Cotswolds, this 400 year old hunting lodge is the perfect place to escape the rush. Enjoy quality, locally sourced food served in the restaurant, the bar area, one of the smaller dining rooms or al fresco in the spacious garden. The stunning restaurant accommodates parties of up to 85 people seated and has floor to ceiling windows that look directly onto Minchinhampton Common;
- The Crown Inn: A traditional pub located in the Market Square.
Minchinhampton also has an excellent butcher's shop and an organic cheese shop:
- L Taylor & Sons (www.taylorsminchinhampton.com): For nearly a century L Taylor and Sons has been supplying the highest quality meat to discerning customers. The quality of the shop has been recognised with a Cotswold Life Butcher of the year award;
- Woefuldane Organic Dairy (www.woefuldanedairy.co.uk): All the products are made by hand in the farm dairy in time honoured ways. The unpasteurised cheeses change throughout the seasons as the milk varies depending on what the cows are eating.