Population: 5,600

Eat at: Wilder (01453 835483)

Why? This modern dining space at the heart of the village is the brainchild of creative chef-patron Matthew Beardshall.

Drink at: The Village Inn (01453 835715)

Why? Beer aficionados will be excited by this traditional pub that is selling a growing range of their own ales, as well as guest ales, lagers and ciders.

Stay at: Egypt Mill (01453 833449)

Why? A riverside hotel with two working water wheels and 28 stylish en suite rooms. It is also a wonderful location for a drink or a meal.

Lying within the Stroud Valley and dating back to the 12th century, Nailsworth has become part of the Cotswold tourist trail, though visitors attracted to its past may find its locals live very much in the present. Celebrated for its independent shops and community spirit, the town supports independent shops, top-rated eateries and charming cafés. Step outside the town and you’ll find the fabulous walks the Stroud Valley is famed for. Nailsworth has been noted as a “best place to live” by the Sunday Times and in summer it’s not hard to see why this former wool weaving town is much-loved. At one time, Nailsworth’s prosperity and employment depended on its watermills – it had more of these per square mile than anywhere in the country. Its 21st-century renaissance includes the revival of these as apartments, private homes, hotels, museums and businesses.

Most noted for... Its foodie credentials – Hobbs House bakery, run by the “Fabulous Baker Boys”, and Leonard Walker’s butchers, both on George Street, are among the most noteworthy. A monthly farmers’ market is held every fourth Saturday.

While you’re here... Take a walk to the Thistledown Environmental Centre. It’s mostly uphill to get to, but has a café on the site to recover and the walk back to Nailsworth is downhill. (01453 860420)

But try not to... Miss seeing inside Nailsworth’s mills. Dunkirk Mill Museum and Gigg Mill Weaving Shed both open periodically in summer. Watch out for exhibitions, art installations and talks celebrating the mills’ histories. (stroudtextiletrust.org.uk)

Who’s who:

Cotswold Life columnist, scriptwriter, broadcaster and local, Sue Limb, is patron to Nailsworth’s Festival. Former Olympic gold medal oarsman turned disability champion Pete Reed was brought up in Nailsworth, and British marathon runner Dan Robinson lives in nearby Horsley. A blue plaque marks the one-time home of 20th century “tramp poet”, WH Davies, who lived in Watledge.

William’s Food Hall

Stroll down Fountain Street and step into the award-winning William’s Food Hall and oyster bar. This remarkable fishmarket, delicatessen and restaurant was a keystone to Nailsworth’s renaissance as a foodie destination. The vision of William and Rae Beeston in 1975, who built on the reputation of former fishmonger and game dealer Frank Carpenter, William has now retired and found new owners to keep the faith. Loved by celebrity chef Rick Stein and championed by food critic Matthew Fort, it’s a destination for foodies. (williamsfoodhall.co.uk)