South Cotswolds - Nailsworth
Nailsworth is not your typical Cotswold market town and is frequently overlooked by tourists. It is not as pretty as some of the other towns and has a great deal of modern sprawl (most from the 1970s) but is a great place to visit or stay. Part of the downside of Nailsworth is the main commercial area along the busy A46 highway, but if you park and explore the town you will find the traffic does not move fast, the sidewalks are wide, there are many places to easily cross the road and there are other commercial areas off this main street.
Nailsworth, Town Center
Walk the High Street: A clock tower and a war memorial mark the main roundabout in Nailsworth where the A46 highway (Bridge Street and Fountain Street) meets the B4014 (George Street) and Spring Hill. The main residential areas are above town on the east-facing side of the valley. The commercial part of town is along Bridge Street, Fountain Street and George Street, but there is another quiet area one block off the A46 that you get to from Spring Hill. This is Old Market which ends at Cossack Square (and the pub).
Church: St Georges church (19th century) sitting above the A46 overlooking the town.
Historic Buildings: There are eight historic mills in this area (see below for more information). There are historic mill worker cottages in a small neighborhood called Watledge on the east side of the valley, behind Egypt Mill. Walk up Spring Hill on the west side of the valley to see several historic homes - Spring Hill House (1789), the Upper House (early 1700s). In the center of town, Chestnut Hill has Stokescroft (18th century) and The Friends Meeting House (17th century). On George Street look for the large copper kettle hanging over the north sidewalk.
Parking: Lots of free parking on Old Market. If the spaces are full, continue to the end and Cossack Square, then turn right up Newmarket for another large free parking lot. Or go back to the center of town and park by the Morrisons on George St.
Balti Nailsworth (Indian restaurant), George Street near Morrisons. Indian restaurant for eat in or takeaway. Large vegetarian menu (also menu for meat eaters). website
The Britannia (pub), Cossack Square. Historic pub in the center of Nailsworth, parts from about 1700. Part of the Food Club group with five pubs in the area. website
The George Inn (pub), Newmarket. Neighborhood pub on Newmarket, off Cossack Square (half mile up).
Hobbs House Bakery (cafe), 4 George Street. Artisanal, and some organic, breads and pastries. There is a lovely cafe upstairs (breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea). Bakery closes at 4pm, cafe at 3pm, closed Sunday. The main bakery is in Chipping Sodbury in the southern Cotswolds, with shops in Chipping Sodbury, Tetbury and Nailsworth. They also sell at the Saturday Stroud Farmers' Market. website
Wild Garlic (restaurant and rooms), Cossack Square. Very good restaurant for lunch or dinner (closed Monday, Tuesday, no dinner Sunday) with rooms above. website
Food & Drink in Nearby Villages
Horsley - Bell & Castle (pub)
Woodchester - Old Fleece (pub). Part of the Food Club group with five pubs in the area. website
New video from Cotswold Productions - Nailsworth has the Best Independent Shopping in the Cotswolds. Have a look at the great collection of shops!
Bramley's, green grocers beside Morrisons on George Street. Great selection of fruit and vegetables, with some from local farmers.
Hobbs House Bakery, 4 George Street. Top quality bakery (breads, pastries, some food) downstairs and a lovely cafe upstairs (breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea). Closed Sunday. They have shops in a few other towns (Tetbury, Chipping Sodbury) and sell at the Stroud Farmer's Market (Saturday morning). website
There is a good natural foods shop on the main road in Nailsworth up from William's. It is small but well stocked.
William's Fish Market and Foodhall, 3 Fountain Street (on the main roundabout across from Hobbs). Specialty foods and small restaurant.
Morrisons (supermarket), off George St.
Tesco Express, Old Market St.
More supermarkets are in Stroud (see our list of supermarkets in the Cotswolds).
There are many other interesting shops on the main streets.
Horsley: Village on a busy road (B4058) on the outskirts of Nailsworth with a restored historic mill.
These mills were built in the 17th and 18th centuries. They have all be converted to businesses or apartments. The last two working mills shut down in the last twenty years. The Nailsworth Tourist Office has good information about these mills.
Egypt Mill: On the A46 in the center of town, now a restaurant and hotel.
Nailsworth Mill: On the western side of the valley, on Pensile Road.
Day's Mill: In the center of town on Old Market St.
Price's Mill: On Miry Brook off Newmarket Road in the town center.
Dunkirk Mills: On the west side of the A46 about a mile north of Nailsworth. This mill is now apartments. You can pull into the large parking lot and have a good look at the mill. The Nailsworth River runs under the building. The Pedestrian/Cycle Trail runs behind it.
On the B4058 to Horsley there are the following mills - Lock's Mill, Gigg Mill, Ruskin Mill, Horsley Mill. Ruskin Mill has a small cafe, but there is no parking (except handicap parking). Instead park at Horsley Mill and take the trail along the river down to Ruskin Mill (about 20 minutes). There is a trout farm between the two mills.
On the A46 to Stroud you see more mills and there are mills on the River Frome in Stroud.
Historic Houses and Gardens
Woodchester Park (National Trust): A large wooded valley with small lakes, north of Nailsworth running west towards Nympsfield. There are beautiful trails through the woods. Woodchester Mansion is at the Nympsfield end. website
Woodchester Mansion: A 19th century mansion that was never completed. You can tour the mansion. website
Woodchester Roman Mosaics: In the churchyard in Woodchester is a section of Roman Mosaics from a villa that was here during Roman times. BUT you can't see them! They used to uncover them every ten years, but this practice has stopped.
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.
We have spent many months in Nailsworth and have done many walks in this area. The Ordnance Survey Explorer 168 - Stroud, Tetbury & Malmesbury covers this area in good detail, showing many good walking trails. The tourist office in Nailsworth sell brochures with walks in the area.
Stroud Pedestrian/Cycle Trail: This trail was built over old train tracks that ran through this area. The path is paved and is used for walking and bikes. It starts behind the Egypt Mill in Nailsworth and goes into Stroud (or branch off for Stonehouse and Eastington). It runs parallel to the A46, but the part from Nailsworth to South Woodchester is far enough away from the road that you don't hear it. North from South Woodchester the trail is right beside the road, but only for a half a mile, then it separates again. It is about 5 miles to Stroud and you can take a bus back, but they do not run frequently. Instead park in either Nailsworth or Stroud and walk out and back.
Nailsworth to Minch: Another lovely walk we found when staying here. Park in Nailsworth. Take the Stroud Pedestrian/Cycle Trail north to Dunkirk Mills. Take the marked footpath up the hill towards Amberley. There are a few different ways to go, but all bring you up to the Minchinhampton Commons. Walk across the commons to Minchinhampton. Return via lanes to Box and then to Nailsworth. About 2 hrs. You need your Ordnance Survey map for this hike.
Woodchester Park (Jarrold Short Walks - 3hrs): We did this walk many times, walking from our cottage on the northern edge of Nailsworth. This hike has you park at the other end, near the mansion, then walk through the woods, along the ponds. A lovely hike in an almost secret valley.
- Nailsworth Town Council: Town website with some tourist information.
- Nailsworth: Unofficial guide to this Cotswold town. Webcam, forums, weather.
- Nailsworth News: Very local news distributed in print to houses in Nailsworth, but you can read it online in PDF.
- The Cotswolds - Stroud District: Stroud District Tourism. Information for Stroud, Nailsworth, Dursley, Painswick, and Wotton-under-Edge.
- Nailsworth: A walk through this market town south of Stroud, southern Cotswolds.