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Stroud is on the western edge of the Cotswold Hills. It meanders along five picturesque valleys, and the views of the surrounding hills are truly spectacular. Selsey, Rodborough, Painswick and Haresfield Hills are public commons with public parking for those not able to walk up the 400 feet high hills. There are views to the Severn bridges, The Malverns, and the Welsh Black mountains.
Stroud is quirky. It is a centre of excellence for organic cuisine. Woodruff's was the first organic cafe in Britain. There is a weekly farmers' market, again offering a wide range of mostly organic meat, vegetables, fruit, bread, wine, fruit juices, cider, etc. all from local producers. Stroud is full of creativity. There are numerous artists, authors and musicians. In June, there is a tour of art studios around the five valleys. Throughout the year there are a number of galleries selling a wide range of pictures and objets d'art. In the centre of Stroud is the 'Made in Stroud' shop. There ls a wide range of galleries selling locally made artwork and high quality hand crafted objects such as silk printed scarves, leaded glass, pottery, stationary etc. They also have a catalogue of local producers of high quality food and drinks that will sell direct to the public from the premises.
Stroud is described as 'The Undiscovered Cotwolds'. There are many authors, artists and royalty that have made the Five Valleys their home. These include Jilly Cooper, Prince Charles, Princess Anne, D. King-Smith, Jamilla Gavin and Rev. W. Awdry who wrote Thomas the Tank Engine. There is a stained glass window of 'Thomas' in Rodborough Parish Church, on the southern outskirts of Stroud. Selsley church was designed by William Morris, a leading light in the Arts and Crafts movement. There are many examples of the Arts and Crafts movement in the Stroud area. Stroud is also famed for its abundance of natural healers, and there is a thriving anthroposophical community including a GP practice. There are also a collection of Waldorf-Steiner schools and Camphill Communities. A few days in Stroud, surrounded by the unparalled scenery, and eating and drinking the local produce, will induce a feeling of well-being in anybody.
A favourite hotel is The Bear of Rodborough. The Prince Albert is a quirky pub selling good beer and providing interesting entertainment, and The Lamb at Woodchester does extremely good quality, reasonably priced food. The beer garden of the Kings Head in Kingscourt has gorgeous views, but travelling there in the car is very scary along an extremely narrow lane. Instead, park at the top of Kitesnest Lane, Kingscourt and walk.
We wouldn't live anywhere else!!!!