The perfect blend - Gordon Wilkinson paints Tarporley
Watercolour artist Gordon Wilkinson takes his easel to Tarporley where the past and present combine beautifully Words by Natalie Mortimer
No-one could accuse the people of Tarporley of living in the past. While they are aware of, and rightly proud of, their village’s history and heritage, they are also intent on preserving its beautiful character for the future.
Councillor Richard Brierley, who sits on Tarporley Parish Council, said: ‘Tarporley is a very pleasant place. It’s the centre of a rural area and as such it has better services than you would expect in a village this size.‘The centre of the village is quite well preserved and any development we have seen has been very sympathetic.
‘There is an olde world feel in a thoroughly modern village and that extends beyond the bricks and mortar to the sense of community.’
And talking of bricks and mortar, the most famous building in the area is Beeston Castle which was built in the 1220s by the Earl of Chester. The medieval stronghold sits on the Mid-Cheshire ridge and gives stunning views down over the village. It contains the famous castle well which, at over 100 meters deep is the deepest well in any English castle and rumour has it that Richard II buried some treasure here which remains undiscovered.
There are certainly some historic gems in the village. The imposing Swan Hotel dates back to 1769 and served as a stagecoach inn on the London to Chester route and the Old Fire Station, on the High Street, was home to one of the first volunteer fire brigades in England.
But despite the olde world feel, there is no sense that Tarporley is stuck in the past. The fire station has been converted into a Chocolate Shop, the pretty red brick main street is lined with pleasant and bustling shops and there’s a very active community.
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‘We were very proud to win the community spirit award in the 2010 Community Pride Awards,’ Cllr Brierley added. ‘There is a very active village life, a good range of independent shops, restaurants and monthly events. It really is a very pleasant place to live.’
Where is it? Nestled in the heart of the Cheshire Plain, Tarporley is one of the largest villages in Cheshire and lies roughly half way between Chester and Nantwich, close to the junction of the A49 and the A51 and six miles south of Sandiway. Type CW6 0AG into your satnav to find the village centre.
Where to park? There are a number of public car parks just off the main street and there's also on-street parking available around the village.
What to do? Admire the buildings, visit the four pubs and make the trip to Beeston Castle. Tarporley stands near the Sandstone Trail long distance path, and there are some superb walks around the village, too. For one of the best, log on to cheshire.greatbritishlife.co.uk