A couple of weekends ago Richard, Edward and I went to stay at The Wheatsheaf in Northleach as guests of CP Hart (the company we bought our bathroom from). As with most bloggers I get so much utter crap in my inbox that it was a real treat to be offered something I actually wanted to do and as we’d stayed in The Wheatsheaf before, we knew it to be dog-friendly, serve good food and have really nice rooms and so it was a bit of an easy sell.
One of the real joys about having a dog is that because I have to factor in Edward’s exercise needs in the planning of any trip we take, I’m discovering new, beautiful parts of countryside that I would otherwise have missed if I didn’t have to regularly override my natural laziness to go for long tramps through the woods.
On this occasion we stopped our journey a few miles short of Northleach and took a delightful walk through the Sherborne Park Estate – a working estate owned by the National Trust – down to the pretty village of Sherborne. I do love huge trees, sweeping fields and estate fencing and so I was as happy as Edward, especially as the sky was blue and it felt like spring was finally peeping through the winter gloom.
After our walk we checked into our room at the Wheatsheaf and I was touched to find Edward had been given his own bed, a personal supply of dog biscuits and a water bowl more suitable to a labrador. Looking after my dog really is the way to my heart and although I’m always grateful when establishments accept dogs, I find myself becoming a fiercely loyal customer when they avidly welcome them. Such simple things that make such big differences. (Please excuse the horribly blurry photo.)
Considering we were in one of the dog-friendly rooms, it was really very nice. I loved the oversized enamel bedside pendant lamps and the fabulous use of oil paintings in contemporary frames.
The CP Hart bathroom was suitably luxurious and of the quality I have come to expect from them. I especially liked the unusual cog mirrors and of course the enormous bath which reminded me of those tin tubs depicted in the black and white Wild West films that were constantly on tv when I was a child.
The food at the Wheatsheaf is consistently good. We have eaten here a few times but this was the first time we’d had afternoon tea. Instead of finger sandwiches and dainty cakes we were given big, fat, warm scones stuffed with plump sultanas and just the right dusting of icing sugar. It was hearty, rustic and delicious.
Edward is ever hopeful of crumbs, although he why he’s looking at Richard is beyond me as he never, ever gives him any titbits whereas I am a complete pushover for those doleful eyes.
The weather the next day was a bit miserable. It was overcast and melancholic and we weren’t much in mind for a big walk but Edward insisted so we spent an hour ambling between the two Slaughters. Lower Slaughter in particular is undoubtedly one of the prettiest villages in England, but is a little too pretty and perfect for my taste. With the River Eye gently meandering through the centre of the village and the higgledy-piggledy amber coloured houses, it does resemble a set from Miss Marple but is definitely worth a visit if you’ve never been. Somehow I managed to not take a single photo of either of the villages to show you but I did get a snap of a field of sheep.
During our walk we passed my most favourite driveway in the whole of England (although this does now have a contender in Montacute House). I’ve been obsessed with this house for as many years as I can recall but I have never been able to get any closer than this view through the ornate gates. Frankly I think it’s bloody rude for houses such as these to not be in the hands of either the National Trust or a sensitive hotel group otherwise how else am I supposed to get inside for a snoop?
After our gloomy walk we had lunch with a remarkable friend in the unremarkable Chequers Inn and after a quick post-lunch trolley dash around the Daylesford Organic farmshop we made our way home. Now that our beloved German Vomit Box has been reluctantly sold and been replaced by a succession of crappy rented VWs, the wafer thin consolation is that the countryside now moves past slowly enough for me to photograph it.
(Richard, Edward and stayed at the Wheatsheaf as guests of CP Hart who paid for our room and breakfast. We paid for all other outgoings including the hire of said crappy Polo.)
The Wheatsheaf Inn, Northleach, Gloucestershire, 01451 860244 cotswoldwheatsheaf.com