New to Stroud? Here are ten things to enjoy this spring.
- Watch the sunset from Selsley Common – enjoy the rare wildflowers, the ground nesting birds, find ‘the dippy’ and write your name in stones or make a labyrinth. The cows are back grazing from 13 May too.
- Visit Stroud Festival of Food and Drink from 19th to 21st May – in addition to many events being free of charge, there are ticketed events in the Sub Rooms including Jack Monroe and Oz Clarke. Fab foodie area by Fawkes Place for street food, vegan treats, seating and great vibes. Don’t forget the Cococaravan Cacao Bar. www.stroudfoodanddrink.com
- Book onto a course – there are bee-keeping, dry stone walling and permaculture courses happening regularly here. A great way to meet new people and discover more lovely secret corners of the area.
- Go foraging for wild garlic – a great free ingredient and flavourful but milder than garlic bulbs. Carefully cut the pungent flat leaves, leaving the bulbs in the ground to grow next season. The plants have tall bright white flowers and grow in shady woodland until early summer. You will smell them clearly from the path. Great mixed with pine nuts, oil, some lemon juice and maybe some parmesan or nutritional yeast flakes for a home-made pesto rich in vitamin C and beta carotene. You can also use the leaves in flat breads and chapati or wild garlic butter/vegan block.
- Go for a stroll around Stroud farmers market on a sunny Saturday morning – come with an appetite and a thirst, a large shopping bag and some spending money. 11am is peak market time, before everything has sold out and when there is an amazing buzz. It’s what Saturdays are made for!
- Take a long walk around Woodchester Mansion, visit the tea rooms for a hot drink and home baked cakes made by The Sober Parrot.
- Walk along the canal Start at Stroud Snug (the new café hang out at Wallbridge and a great meeting place for walks, runs and cycle rides) make your way to Stroud Brewery at Thrupp and the Long Table and Cotswold Canals Book Shop at Brimscombe. Enjoy the nesting swans, look out for otters and kingfishers, moorhens and mallards.
- Find The Heavens – one of Stroud’s best kept secrets and a wonderful place to walk, lie in the sun, paddle in the stream and have picnics – close to town yet a world away. There are footpaths from Horns Road and from Bowbridge Lane.
- Take a walk up Swifts Hill, follow the Laurie Lee walk to The Woolpack, a great eatery and traditional country pub vibe with the most amazing views, outside seating and terrace.
- Visit Winstone’s Ice Cream on Rodborough Common. Take a picnic rug and a football, one of my favourite after-the-school-run activities with the grandkids each summer. Over the road is great for a walk around the fort and for lovely views and benches to take a rest on.
As always, take your picnic litter home, keep to the paths, pick up after your dog and close gates after you. And keep dogs on leads near farm animals. Don’t wanna sound like your mum, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t do this!!