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13 November 2014

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Woolsack Races

You are in: Gloucestershire > Our Crazy County > Woolsack Races > View from the start line

View from the start line

The Crown Inn, on Gumstool Hill in Tetbury, is positioned right on the start line for the famous Woolsack Races. Landlord Owen Stapleford shares the view of the annual event from his front door step.

Gumstool Hill, home of the famous Tetbury Woolsack Races

The Crown Inn stands at the top of Gumstool Hill

Every year on the Whitsun bank holiday in May, Tetbury comes to life to the sound of Woolsack racing.

"I saw them practicing last year up to a week before, falling over and walking back up the hill with black eyes...no, that's not for me!"

Owen Stapleford

The annual event attracts hundreds of spectators as people line the streets to watch teams of men and women running up and down the very steep Gumstool Hill with heavy woolsacks on their back.

The start line for the race is at the top of Gumstool Hill, marked by a plaque on the wall of The Crown Inn.

Landlord of the pub, Owen Stapleford, only took over the pub in 2008, just two weeks before the Woolsack Races. Was he ready for it?

"It was different!" says Owen.

"I've had previous pubs next to football grounds so we're used to big crowds but these are actually nice crowds so that makes a nice difference."

Gumstool Hill in Tetbury

Gumstool Hill

Big boost

So what is it actually like running a pub overlooking the famous races?

"It goes on the most of the day. There are other events that go on around Tetbury that day but we're busy right from opening at 12pm till 8pm-9pm so it's a very big boost and we take a week's takings in one day.

"Most things are catered for here. None of the pubs put up prices so food is still reasonable. It's just a great family day out.

"There's plenty of parking so you haven't got to be here at 7am or 8am in the morning, you can get here in time for the races if you just plan to come out on the day."

Plaque on the wall of the Crown Inn on Gumstool Hill, marking the official start line of the Tetbury Woolsack Races

Plaque marking the official start line

Experience

After a fairly slow start to 2009, business is picking up for Owen as tourists seek the Spring and Summer sunshine in the Cotswolds...

"A lot of our clientele is to do with the Arboretum. We also get quite a few come in for the Highgrove Estate tours and just the whole Cotswold experience with the little picturesque towns and things like that."

So to enter into the sprit of the races this year, is Owen planning on entering a race himself?

"No! I saw them practicing last year up to a week before, falling over and walking back up the hill with black eyes...no, that's not for me!"

last updated: 26/05/2009 at 11:53
created: 09/04/2009

You are in: Gloucestershire > Our Crazy County > Woolsack Races > View from the start line



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