An illustrated guide to the ‘prettiest village in England’
Katie B Morgan
- Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto
With its world-class racing circuit, fascinating history and prominence in the Cotswold wool trade, there is so much more to Castle Combe than being the ‘prettiest village in England’
Points of interest on Katie B Morgan’s map:
Lady with parasol: Stardust film, 2007. Other films shot on location at Castle Combe are The Wolfman, 2010; War Horse, 2011; and Robin of Sherwood, 1984-86.
The Dower House and parrot with top hat: Features as Dr Dolittle’s house in the 1966 film.
The Butter Cross and the Market Cross: Henry VI granted an annual sheep fair in 1440.
St Andrew’s Church: Founded in the 13th century, and probably built on a more ancient site. The tower has a faceless clock which is possibly medieval, but has been altered over the years.
Smarts Bridge: Known locally as the Roman bridge, it has a parapet on one side only as it was built for packhorse use. According to legend, the ghost of a Roman centurion has been seen standing guard.
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The White Hart: The oldest public house in the village.
Cottages along Water Lane, near the bridge: These were probably weavers’ cottages. The large weaver’s house was once owned by the ‘Blanket’ brothers. In the BBC West TV programme Day Out, they suggested this was actually the birthplace of the blanket.
Poirot: One of Agatha Christie’s books, starring the Belgian detective – The Murder of Roger Ackroyd – is set in a fictionla village, believed to be inspired by Castle Combe.
The Manor House: Used by the New Zealand Forestry Officers as their headquarters in WWII.
Red and white cloth: In the 15th century, the village was famous for its red and white cloth, known as ‘Castle Combe cloth’.
The Old Bakery: A Lardy Cake Fair was held in the village from the early 20th century, and Hurley’s bakery became famous for its recipe. Some believe that the lardy cake actually originated here.
Rack Hill: Where cloth was hung and stretched.
Picture perfect: In 1961 it was voted to be ‘the prettiest village in England’.
Morris Minor: Featured in Kinmoza, a Japanese animé featuring the Fosse Farmhouse near Castle Combe.
Truckle Hill: The site of a Roman villa.
Castle: There was a 12th-century motte and bailey castle here, although all that remains are some stonework and earthworks.
Deer: William Scrope wrote a book called Days of Deer Stalking. The Scrope family owned the village for over 500 years.
Royal Air Force: The site now used by the famous racing circuit is a former RAF satellite airfield.
READ MORE: Where to go wild swimming in the Cotswolds.