South Cotswolds - Minchinhampton
Minchinhampton, or "Minch" as it is known to its friends, is a delightful town. It is small (barely makes it into my "market town" category) and is in a relatively non-touristed part of the Cotswolds. Minch is a "royal" town, with Gatcombe Park, Princess Anne's residence, on the outskirts between Minch and Avening.
Minchinhampton sits on the edge of Minchinhampton Common, 500 acres owned by the National Trust. The commons are wide open fields sitting high above the Stroud Valley. Rodborough Common, also owned by the National Trust, are to the north and look down to Stroud. There is a large golf course on one side of Minchinhampton Common (they stop play when walkers are in the area) and the remains of Iron Age Bulwarks on the other side, close to the town. There are trails across the common and in the woods around the edges.
Minchinhampton, High Street
The town of Minchinhampton is charming and fun to explore, but make sure to spend time out on the commons. Walk along the western edge near Amberly for views down to the Nailsworth Valley and across to the third commons in this area, Selsey Commons. Small roads go across the commons and there is lots of parking. Rodborough Commons to the north are smaller, but have better views.
Walk the High Street: The High Street is an eclectic mix of style of historic buildings.
Market Hall: The Market Hall is at the north end of the High Street.
Church: Holy Trinity Church has a 14th century south transept and interesting brasses. website
Historic Buildings: 18th century Crown Hotel on the High Street. The most interesting spot in Minch, is the intersection at the south end of the High Street. From here, walk down Well Hill street for a block (we rented a house on this block a few years ago). Return to the intersection and walk along W End street, west from the end of the High Street, to see the blocks of charming row houses.
The Kitchen (tea room), High Street. Wonderful tea room. New owners in 2007, but still as good as it was before. Homemade cakes, perfect scones, good breakfast and lunch. Warm and friendly tearoom. website
Old Lodge Inn (pub), on Minchinhampton Common. Part of the Food Club group with five pubs in the area. Building was originally a hunting lodge but became an inn in the 18th century. website
Food & Drink in Nearby Villages
Amberley - Amberley Inn (pub), hotel and pub sitting on the edge of the Minchinhampton Commons overlooking the Nailsworth valley. We had a lovely lunch here on a sunny winter day. website
Amberley - The Black Horse Inn (pub), on the north side of the village (Littleworth). Serves food, vegetarian options. We have not been to this pub but it is the favorite of a friend in the area. website
Longfords - The Weighbridge Inn (pub), on the B4014 between Nailsworth and Tetbury, at the road to Minchinhampton. Known for their "2 in 1 pie" (half is homemade cauliflower cheese, the other half you choose). website
Winstones Ice Cream Factory, Rodborough, on the edge of the commons.
There is a good small deli on the High Street, across the road from The Kitchen. The butcher is on the south end of the High Street.
Woefuldane Organic Dairy: 3 Market Square. Products produced on their nearby farm - award winning cheese, milk, eggs. Closed Sunday, Monday.
The nearest supermarkets are in Stroud (see our list of supermarkets in the Cotswolds).
Minchinhampton and Rodborough Commons: Over 600 acres of open space, owned by the National Trust, sitting high above the valleys around Stroud. These commons feel a bit like a "moor", like Dartmoor, but are smaller and more tame. When the weather is bad, it will be worse up on the high and exposed commons, but this is a good place to walk after a rain because the water drains off quickly (there is limestone under the ground). There are public footpaths in the woods around the edge of the commons and across the commons. The Minchinhampton Commons is larger. The Rodborough Commons are to the north and look over Stroud. website
The Minchinhampton Golf Club is on the commons (website), but the golfers stop play when walkers are in the area. In the summer, cattle roams free on the commons which means they can wander out onto the roads. (If driving in England on narrow roads, on a different side than you are used to isn't exciting enough, then add in the possibily of a cow stepping out in front of you.) \
Amberley: Across the commons from Minch, Amberley sits on the edge of the commons overlooking the Nailsworth Village. Charming village, two good pubs. Public footpaths take you to Nailsworth.
Avening: Pretty village on the road to Tetbury. Norman Church and interesting churchyard.
Box: A very small village on the southern edge of the Minchinhampton Commons. Not much to see here, but there are a few vacation rentals in this village and would be a good location. website
Rodborough: Interesting churchyard and village green. Rodmarton Manor is nearby.
Historic Houses and Gardens
Rodmarton Manor and Garden: Manor built in the Arts and Crafts style. The furniture was made for the manor and is also Arts and Crafts style. 8 acre gardens. House and gardens are open on limited days during the summer. Gardens open in winter for snowdrops. website
Avening - Burial Chambers: 1/4 mile north of the Avening church are three burial chambers. One has a "porthole" entrance.
Hampton Fields - The Long Stone: Prehistoric standing stone in a field near Hampton Fields.
Minchinhampton - Bulwarks: Iron age earthworks on the edge of Minchinhampton, on the commons.
Gatcombe Park: The Gatcombe Horse Trials are held yearly at Gatcombe Park, the residence of Princess Anne. It is on the road from Minch to Avening. website
The Ladder: Don't miss the drive from Minchinhampton Commons, near the Halfway House Inn at Box, down to Nailsworth. They call the road "The Ladder" or "The W" because it winds back and forth down the steep hillside. After a few tries, it was fun to drive.
Walking in the Cotswolds: Recommended guidebooks and maps for walking in the Cotswolds. We use these guides: Cotswold Classic Walks (Goldeneye), Cotswold Short Walks (Pathfinder Guide), The Cotswolds Walks and More Cotswolds Walks (Pathfinder Guides). Using those books, I listed our favorite hikes in this area below. All are circular walks - begin and end at the same spot.
Minchinhampton Common (Jarrold Short Walks - 2.5hrs): A flat, easy walk on these beautiful wide open commons, with good views to the valleys below. Part of the walk is along the ancient Bulwarks. Pubs in Amberley along the walk, and in Minchinhampton. Pathfinder has a similar version (Minchinhampton Common - 2hrs).
- The Stuart Singers: Choir based in Minchinhampton - they do concerts in the area.
- Minchinhampton in the Snow: The market town and the commons in the snow, southern Cotswolds.