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24 September 2014
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Castle Combe, an insiders view
old castle combe
The Old White Hart Inn at Castle Combe.

Castle Combe is
said to be one of the prettiest villages in England.
But what is it really like to live there?

Resident Adrian
Bishop continues his story.

 

Internet links
Castle Combe village website

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The medieval Market Cross dominates the centre of the village.

Presidents, politicians and pop-stars alike have over the years enjoyed a refuge from their hectic routines in the peace and tranquillity of this venue.

It is not uncommon to see celebrity guests sight seeing in the village.





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Market cross
The medieval market cross and St Andrews church.

It is a small community of only 47 ancient dwellings set between the wood clad slopes of the combe, the trout laden River Bybrook complementing a scene of unspoilt natural beauty.

Dominating the centre of the village stands an imposing medieval Market Cross, which together with the adjacent 12th century church of St. Andrew create an atmosphere of timelessness.

There have been many changes to the community life of the village in the past fifty years. Two bakeries, the dairy, three grocery shops, post office and the school have closed.

No longer does the village have a resident doctor or policeman, and the estate once the largest employer, now has only three workers.

Sustenance for visitors is available at a small hotel and pub, the two tea rooms which were previously providers having also shut their doors.

House
Many famous people have come to enjoy the tranquillity of Castle Combe.

The facilities of a luxurious hotel once the seat of the feudal Lords of the Manor, are available for visitors with deep pockets.

Presidents, politicians and pop-stars alike have over the years enjoyed a refuge from their hectic routines in the peace and tranquillity of this venue, and it is not uncommon to see celebrity guests sight seeing in the village.

Of the resident population in work, the majority are commuters, although some small business ventures do provide local employment.

A number of retired people are settled in the village, and also one or two "week-enders" have holiday homes.

This latter category has included a Lord of the Realm, a Saudi Arabian Sheik and an Ambassador to the United Nations. Castle Combe’s arguable reputation as "the prettiest village in England" is not just of recent times.

In the early years of the 20th century organised parties of visitors were brought from Bristol and Bath in horse drawn charabancs, to be served refreshments at the numerous cottage tea rooms.

Today many visitors from home and abroad arrive in coach parties on whirlwind tours, spending only a few minutes in the village before heading off to Avebury and Stonehenge.

Any proliferation of shops selling tourist souvenir material has been resisted, in order to preserve the aspects of unspoilt beauty.

Those who appreciate how fortunate they are to live in such a lovely place, hope that the visitors, some of whom have traversed the globe, will share the enjoyment of Castle Combe.

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