20090801-08_A Walk Around Lacock
When : 1st to 8th August 2009 …. (a weeks holiday in Lacock)
Who : Me and my family
Where : Lacock, Wiltshire, England
Maps : 1:25,000 OS. Explorer Map No.156, Chippenham & Bradford-On-Avon
Grid ref. : 91, 68
Heights : None to speak of, unless you walk up Nethercote Hill.
Parking : There is limited on street parking, but due to its popularity there is a car-park situated just outside the village on Hither Way … Just follow the sign posts off the Chippenham to Melksham Road.
Public Transport : A bus passes through the village picking up and dropping off near The George on West Street
Summary : A gentle wander around the village of Lacock.
Not really a “Country Walks Diary” type of walk this one, but, as I’ve already written a diary post about a circular walk from the village (and there’s another one planned to follow), I thought I’d scribble this down too, as a bit of an addendum … It’d be almost impossible to leave the village having done a walk from here without having an explore around the village itself …. In fact, I don’t think I’ll be adding too many words, just letting my pic’s show what the village looks like.
The majority of the village is owned by the national trust and the cottages are rented out to local residents and from what I can gather there are very strict rules on what can be done to the properties, especially the outside aspects. This is to preserve the feel of the place as an Olde English Cotswold Village from times gone by. There are virtually no outward signs of modern life, such as road signs, painted lines on the roads, telegraph poles, TV aerials, etc. I believe there is a very limited pallet of colours available for painting front doors, window frames and the like, all muted soft shades – absolutely no hard shiny modern gloss paints.
There are several attractions in the village but I won’t go into much detail here as there are loads of dedicated web-sites and publications written by much more learned authors than me. What I can give is a quick overview of the village from a casual visitors/tourists perspective, which is maybe what led you to find this diary entry in the first place.
I guess for the first time visitor, the main attraction would be Lacock Abbey with it’s long history … Currently owned by The National Trust, the house and grounds are open to the public (obviously for an entrance fee) along with The Fox-Talbot Museum. Fox-Talbot is attributed with inventing modern negative photography with the first photo being taken of one of the windows inside the Abbey (The French dispute this, claiming one of their own for this honour). I guess it’s quite fitting and apt that the village is at times full of people carrying cameras, taking snaps with the same basic principles still based on Fox-Talbots early pioneering work.
The village essentially consists of four streets; High Street, West Street, Church Street and East Street which are laid out in a roughly square shape, plus three roads into/out-of the village and Nethercote Hill which looks like a country road heading out of the village but is in fact a dead end.
In the village, attractions include the following, written more or less starting at The Abbey and walking in a clockwise direction along High Street, then West Street, Church Street, Nethercote, East Street and back to High Street. So here goes :-
Lacock Abbey ; Fox Talbot Museum ; The Stable Tea Rooms ; The Red Lion ; National Trust Shop ; Small Village General store ; The Village School.
Small Courtyard of Touristy shops ; The George Inn ; Quintessentially – a shop selling handmade soaps etc.
The At The Sign Of The Angel Inn ; Lacock Bakers ; The Carpenters Arms ; King John’s Hunting Lodge Tearooms ; Wiltshire Crafts Touristy Shop ; St .Cyriac’s Church ; The old Work-House, now a Pottery and Bed+ Breakfast.
The Ford ; Nerthercote Hill for views over the Avon Valley.
Watling Goldsmiths (Jewellers) ; Village Hall often with craft markets etc ; The Lock-Up and the Tythe Barn
(if I’ve missed something I’m sorry).
Having said all that, the star attraction is just the village itself, it really is spectacularly understated and very, very, pretty. If you can allow yourself to drop out of our 100 mile an hour pace of modern living, it’s a super place to just wander and imagine yourself in slower times gone by.
It’s this olde worlde quality of the village that keeps TV and film companies coming back time and time again to use Lacock as a perfect “on location” film set. All they need to do is add some dirt and straw on the roads, maybe add a facade or two on the front of some buildings and there they have a set ready made …. It’s a hassle at times for the residents whilst filming is in progress as it can affect access to their homes but I guess it keeps the coffers topped up for The National Trust. It’s fun trying to match film-to-location. As a family we’ve been watching the recent episodes of Cranford just to pick out the locations behind the actors.
Just some of the filming that has taken place in The Village or The Abbey, or both, are as following :-
Cranford Chronicles ; Harry Potter films ; The Dinosaur Hunters ; Pride and Prejudice ; Emma ; Moll Flanders ; The Other Boleyn Girl ; The Wolfman ; Randall and Hopkirk Deceased ; Tom Browns School Days ; Title sequences of The Antiques Road Show (coming through The Ford) ; etc., etc., etc.
There are a couple of attractive cottages at the far side of the ford, one has quite a sizeable fig tree growing nearby and the other often has grape vine cuttings for sale which I guess gives an indication of the mild climate here-abouts. After passing between these two cottages the lane climbs Nethercote Hill, which is a dead end for motor vehicles, but has several footpaths radiating out in different directions across the pastures here. You don’t need to go far to get some nice views over the Avon Valley. It’s possible to make circular walks by continuing on these paths from here, or, if you’re less adventurous, just turn around and head back down the road to the ford and the village again.
Just to finish, we’ve visited here for years, before being married, having kids in push-chairs and toddling and now we’ve reached the age where we can let the kids walk around the village on their own (they love going into The Bakery for sugar mice, or to paddle in the ford) allowing us to take the Sun (if it shines) in the back garden.
And that, I suppose, roughly describes the village, I hope you enjoyed my scribblings and my pic’s ….
Next walk = 20090806_Castle Combe-Biddestone Walk_Macmillan Way
A few links that I have found … might be of interest/use …. (please note these are external sites which I have no control over and as such I do not accept any responsibility for anything in them) :