Dursley doesn’t have classic Cotswold prettiness, but its architectural gems are worth discovering and its location is well-known to dedicated walkers and pilgrims. Dursley sits along the River Ewelme in the lush green Vale of Berkeley, adjacent to the village of Cam and 10 miles south of Stroud. If your preference is for strolling, rather than hiking, you can still get some steps in by joining the Cotswold Way from the town centre or via one of many local footpaths. Dursley’s Market House, which was built in 1738 and renovated in 2014, is well worth stopping for. Now used as the town hall, it is home to an unusual statue of Queen Anne. The 14th-century parish church, which has a Gothic revival bell tower, Jacob’s House and heritage centre, and the ancient priory in Long Street, are also of interest.

Most noted for... Its association with internationally acclaimed author JK Rowling, who once lived locally. She used Dursley as the surname of Harry Potter’s ‘muggle’ family.

While you’re here... Walk to the William Tyndale monument, on top of Nibley Knoll. Tyndale translated the New Testament into English between 1525-1535, making it understandable for all. He was killed for his efforts and is considered a martyr. The monument to his sacrifice was erected in 1866.

But try not to... Miss the hill fort Uley Bury, which dates back to 300 BC, and the neolithic long barrow, Hetty Pegler’s Tump, dating back to 3,200 BC.

Who’s who

Local lore has it that William Shakespeare taught at Dursley school while evading the justice of the day. He had fled Stratford after being caught poaching at Charlecote Park. In the 19th century, Mikael Pedersen invented his namesake bicycle here. The town and its landscape have long inspired world-renowned writers, including: literary novelist Evelyn Waugh, author of Scoop! and Brideshead Revisited, who lived in Stinchcombe and chaired its parish council; author Peter Currell Brown, who wrote the cult classic Smallcreep’s Day, and who lived and worked in Dursley, and the aforementioned JK Rowling, who was born in nearby Yate.

Slimbridge Nature Reserve

Head out of town to nearby Slimbridge nature reserve, England’s first Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust centre: it was founded more than 75 years ago by naturalist, Olympic sailor, painter and broadcaster Sir Peter Scott. It’s a good place to go otter-spotting, and see migratory birds, including Bewick’s swans. wwt.org.uk/wetland-centres/slimbridge

Population: 7,900

Eat at: The Old Crown Inn

(01453 860502)

Why? With its hearty food and range of beers, the Old Crown in Uley is the perfect pitstop for lunch and supper in a gorgeous setting.

Drink at: The Old Spot Inn

(01453 542870)

Why? Stocking ales, perry and cider from local breweries, plus a selection of other tipples, this pub regularly wins awards.

Stay at: De Vere Tortworth Court Hotel

(01454 263000)

Why? Tortworth Court is a Grade II listed manor house and 30-acre estate that has undergone a multi-million pound refurbishment.