There is plenty to do in the area around Thistledown, and you don’t even have to get in the car. There are lovely walks from our farm, and we have created a walking map to help you explore the area – please ask for one on arrival. We share a boundary to the north (down into the valley) with Woodchester Park. The woodland is managed by the National Trust and there is a box for donations at their car park on the road to Stroud via Selsley Common. You can access Woodchester Park by walking down towards our pump house in the northwest corner of the farm – look for the walking man on the site map (see Map & Arrival). There are beautiful woodland walks and four large lakes at the bottom of the valley. Woodchester Mansion is along the valley to the west, about 40 minutes’ walk from the farm. A nice circular route takes you through the park and back up to the National Trust car park. From there you head along the lanes and back to us – this will take about 2 hours and you can go via our local pub, The Rose & Crown. It’s about 20 minutes’ walk along Tinkley Lane to reach Nympsfield and the pub. If walking at night be sure to take a torch and wear bright clothing if possible.
Longer walks through Woodchester Park can take you to the pubs at Woodchester, or you can walk down into Nailsworth or Uley. Alternatively, Nailsworth is a 5 minute drive, and offers plenty of shopping options, including a Farmers’ Market every fourth Saturday of the month, lovely restaurants and a couple of pubs.
Stroud is around 12 minutes by car. There are lovely cafés and shops in the centre of town. The Museum in the Park has permanent displays from the Stroud District as well as temporary exhibitions. The multi-award winning Stroud Farmers’ Market is held in the centre of Stroud every Saturday and offers a great selection of local food and crafts. On Friday and Saturday the Shambles Market is also held in the centre of town. A market is also held on some Sundays. There is a cinema and a leisure centre, which may come in handy if the weather isn’t great.
To get an aerial view of the farm and surrounding area, you can take to the skies at Bristol and Gloucester Gliding Club, which is less than 10 minutes’ drive along the B4066 towards Stroud. There is also an Italian restaurant / café at the glider club.
Selsley Common and Minchinhampton Common are both less than 10 minutes’ drive away. They are a good place to exercise dogs and the former has excellent views over the Severn Vale.
Slimbridge Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust is located off the A38 beside the River Severn and offers a great family day out. Not far from Slimbridge WWT is Berkley, which is home to Berkley Castle and Dr Jenner’s House, where Dr Jenner pioneered use of the smallpox vaccine. In the spring and autumn you can watch the Severn Bore. This is a wave which runs up the river caused by large tides. This can be quite impressive, as the Severn has the third largest tidal range in the world! You can explore the local canals with a narrowboat from Gloucester Narrowboats.
Around 30 minutes south of us is Westonbirt Arboretum, which has a spectacular collection of trees. It’s not far from Tetbury – a pretty market town and well worth a visit if you’re into antiques! If you fancy something a bit more adventurous then Cotswold Waterpark has a selection of activities, from fishing to waterskiing. The Waterpark is close to the town of Cirencester. Known as Corinium in Roman times, it was one of the most important cities in Britain. Cirencester is home to the Corinium Museum where you’ll find lots of Roman artefacts and exhibitions.
The Forest of Dean is over the River Severn and offers thousands of acres of stunning walks. The River Wye, which runs through the northwestern edge of the forest, is great for canoeing.
The cities of Bath, Bristol, Cheltenham and Gloucester are all within one hour’s drive of Thistledown.
- Woodchester Park – just next door!
- Woodchester Mansion – 30 mins
- Nympsfield (Rose & Crown pub) – 20 mins
- Coaley Peak Longbarrow – 30 mins
- Uley Bury Fort – 40 mins
- Selsley Common & Longbarrow – 1 hr
- Nailsworth town – 5 mins
- Stroud town – 12 mins
- Wotton-Under-Edge town – 20 mins
- Slimbridge WWT – 25 mins
- Westonbirt Arboretum – 30 mins
- Gloucester – 30 mins
- Cotswold Waterpark – 40 mins
- Cheltenham – 40 mins
- Forest of Dean – 40 mins
- Bath – 45 mins
- Bristol – 50 mins