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Introducing Harry’s hidden Stroud gems


There are so many reasons to love living in Stroud. From the caring community, fantastic restaurants, and gorgeous countryside. There really is something for everyone here in the land that they call Stroud, writes Harry Gardner.

Being a Stroudie (born and bred) has meant I have been fortunate enough to spend many an afternoon exploring the local area.

My mission? To hunt out the best cup of coffee, the tastiest cake and the most beautiful views in all the land, now wouldn’t that make a great job!

I hope if you can find the time to visit these gorgeous little spots they give you as much joy as they do for me and my friends.

I know finding places can sometimes be a pain. To make this easier, for each place mention below I have shared the google map location and in case you’ve heard of it, the what3words location.

Still here? Great! So where am I taking you first?

  1. Cherington Lakes – aka Dumbledore’s bath.

If you’re looking for a short walk of a lunchtime then you really can’t go wrong with this pretty little escape. Whenever I’ve been here with friends and family it is always so quiet. The small loop of the lake can be completed in 15 minutes so is perfect for little ones too, especially if they like feeding the ducks – although buggies are probably a no go)

It really doesn’t matter if it’s rain, sunshine or blowing a gale, this place is always a delight to visit. 

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Parking can be a struggle if there are more than a handful of walkers out adventuring at the same time, but this doesn’t usually happen. 

No time to pack a picnic? No problem, the fabulous Jolly Nice which is just off the A419 and on route to Cherington Lakes (absolute winner) serves great local produce and what’s more, they have a drive-thru! 

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I often swing by here before heading to Cherington Lakes to grab a hot coffee and one of their hearty sausage rolls (they have veggie ones too).

Jolly Nice and Cherington Lakes go hand-in-hand. 

W3W: awestruck.renewals.curries / Google Maps

  1. Woodchester Mansion Lakes – aka mothers sink

I still can’t believe the amount of people I’ve spoken to who haven’t been here yet. Not only is the mansion steeped in fascinating history but the surrounding grounds are stunning too, go on, treat yourself, have a google.

Here you can find not one but five lakes. Each lake stretches as far as the eye can see, each one different and each one such a gift.

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Not only this but there are some very quirky landmarks on route. Including a pretty little victorian boat house, built in the late 18th century.

There are a couple of ways to get into the grounds, either off the B4066 where you can park for free if you’re a National Trust member or if you’re walking you can enter the south side via Woodchester if you’ve come by foot.

W3W: fake.series.laptops / Google Maps

  1. Arlingham – aka the Nuns river

By now you’ve probably picked up on the water theme. There’s something so relaxing about it and at number three, Arlingham isn’t any different. In fact, things have just stepped up a gear if like me you’re a fellow water lover.

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From here you can sit with a cider and watch the sunset over the River Severn. The scenery is stunning.

Here I’ve seen Kingfishers, Herons and Cormorants. Across the water, you can see the Forest of Dean. From Arlingham you can join many public footpaths including the Severn Way.

W3W: dignify.pram.allows / Google Maps

  1. Sharpness Marina

Not far from Arlingham is its neighbour Sharpness, another fabulous place to visit. Here you can walk all the way to Gloucester or Bristol. 

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The marina is filled with boats and often fishermen. From one side you can see the River Severn and the other the canal (which was once the broadest and deepest in the world).

Something to note, when the River Severn is out it may look like lovely sand to walk on but it couldn’t be more deceiving. The tidal waters with fast-flowing currents are incredibly treacherous.

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Here you will also find the SARA’s inshore lifeboat and water-rescue station. They currently have five inshore lifeboats and a rescue hovercraft.

W3W: prude.delays.swarm / Google Maps

  1. Toadsmoor Lake

And at number 5 is Toadsmoor Lake. I recently acquired a wonderful postcard capturing the lake from what I believe to be the 1950’s.

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Here you can walk past the pond and enjoy the tranquil sounds of the water, again another great picnic spot.

Tessa Wood from the Stroud Rambling Club writes up the perfect route here.

W3W: clenching.cape.limbs / Google Maps

Well, that was hidden gems of the valley part one, and I hope it’s given you some inspiration for your next walk.

If you have the time, I’d love to hear about your hidden gems that mean a lot to you. Stay tuned for part two.

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