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Warminster Town Park given prestigious Green Flag Award

Posted on 21st July 2017

Warminster’s popular Town Park has been recognised for its beauty, cleanliness and excellent facilities by the prestigious Green Flag Awards.

County flag of Wiltshire

Just one year after being taken over by Warminster Town Council, the park – also known as the Lake Pleasure Grounds – has been completely refurbished over the last 12 months, and council representatives are delighted that their efforts have paid off.

Speaking to This is Wiltshire, Cllr Tony Nicklin, Deputy Mayor of Warminster, explained: “We know how much green spaces matter to residents and visitors, and this award celebrates the dedication that goes into maintaining Warminster Town Park to such a high standard.”

The revamped pavilion café, a pristinely arranged lake island, and brand new flower beds are just some of the highlights which impressed the Green Flag judges, so anyone visiting the park this summer from the comfort of their Wiltshire holiday lets can be assured of a truly relaxing day out.

Image Credit: Paul Callan

‘Unheard of’ finding at Avebury Neolithic monument

Posted on 10th July 2017

A new discovery at the historic Avebury monument in Wiltshire has been hailed as ‘unheard of’ by archaeological experts.

Avebury Neolithic henge monument

Recent research by the universities of Leicester and Southampton has revealed that a formation of stones first uncovered 80 years ago by archaeologist Alexander Keiller is in fact part of a ‘stone square circle’, which is now believed to be among the earliest parts of the whole site.

Discussing the findings, Dr Mark Gillings told reporters that not in his ‘wildest dreams’ had he expected his team to make such a significant discovery, with his colleague Dr Joshua Pollard explaining that ‘square megalithic settings of this scale and complexity are unheard of’.

The archaeologists in charge of the project believe that the square may have been constructed to commemorate the ancestral home of Avebury’s first residents, and may indeed explain the purpose of the entire monument.

Officially designated as a World Heritage Site, Avebury has long fascinated historians, with amateurs and professionals alike flocking to holiday accommodation in Wiltshire to visit both this ancient monument and the iconic Stonehenge, which sits less than 20 miles away. With the confirmation of this latest discovery, interest in the area will now surely only increase.

Image Credit: Mark Kent

Designer inspired by Wiltshire’s beauty

Posted on 23rd June 2017

Wiltshire has inspired many artists over the years from John Constable’s View of Salisbury to Terry Pratchett’s Discworld. Now another artist has joined their ranks, recently decamped to Bradford on Avon. Helen Baker has had exceptional success with her previous collection inspired by her former home town in Cornwall, Wiltshire takes centre stage for her latest line.

Helen Baker’s Cornwall inspired fabrics

The gender neutral colours of her first collection combined with the simple and fresh graphics make a refined and young take on what can be perceived as twee. Since her move Helen is looking for new inspiration in her adopted county. Mrs Baker told the Wiltshire Times:

“I take inspiration from everything around me – even while just looking out of my kitchen window while doing the washing up.”

“I’m currently working on a range inspired by windows in Bradford on Avon. Our windows, shop windows, all the gorgeous architecture. I always take snaps on my phone while I’m walking around town, visiting all the wonderful independent shops in the centre.”

While based in Wiltshire, all of her fabric and products are available online to cater to the needs of a modern family. While Scandi chic is something we all aspire to, it can be hard to conform to the monastic standards, and though clean lines and muted colours are appealing, they soon lose their shine when coupled with the general mess that accompanies modern living.

Helen Baker encapsulates the Scandinavian aesthetic in her designs, allowing you to bring hints into your home. Her attachment to the Nordic principle of lagom is both apparent and inspirational. On Helen’s blog, she states:

“The latest Scandinavian concept to have found its way into current lifestyle trends is ‘lagom’, meaning not too much not too little, just the right amount. Our Nordic friends seem to lead the way when it comes to quality of life”

“When it comes to my fabric designs and their manufacturing, I have made conscious decisions in line with lagom principles before l even learned of this term. My inspirations come from the natural world around me, I am drawn to simplicity and efficient design, my designs are printed in the UK using eco-friendly pigments and I embrace multifunctional family living.”

Anyone staying in our Wiltshire holiday cottages is likely to come away feeling inspired and energised, but what better way to remember a holiday in this glorious county, than with one of Helen’s designs that mirror its beauty?

Image Credit: (Helen Baker)


Albino sparrows spotted in Wiltshire

Posted on 10th June 2017

We have all become accustomed to seeing the hearty speckled sparrow in nearly every British garden, and sightings of sparrows in Wiltshire should not cause much of a stir. However albino sparrows are somewhat of a rarity and pairs of albino sparrows even more so.

Sparrow bathing

When enjoying a retreat in a Wiltshire cottage holiday, you are more likely to see this rarity than ever thanks to a community of people living on the Kennet and Avon Canal in Wiltshire. The birds that have been spotted are leucistic, meaning they have partial pigmentation loss. Though their feathers may be white, they are not fully albino, which would be signified by pink eyes such as in other species.

Thought to be the first pair ever spotted, other albino and white sparrows have been seen previously, with a sighting in Norfolk in 2015 and an albino sparrow photographed in Sanctuary Lakes, Melbourne, Australia in the same year. Unfortunately due to their colouration, albino sparrows are a much more obvious target for predators, meaning they often have shorter life spans, and this is the reason the genetic mutation is so rarely seen. However residents of the local area are ‘feeding them and taking care of them’.

Unfortunately it is not just white sparrows who are under threat, the common house sparrow has experienced a gradual decline over the last century. The RSPB are doing their best to raise awareness of the issue: “House sparrow numbers were not monitored adequately before the mid-1970s. Since then, numbers in rural England have nearly halved while numbers in towns and cities have declined by 60 per cent. Because of these large population declines, the house sparrow is now red-listed as a species of high conservation concern.”

Image Credit: Kurt Bauschardt

The fun side of foraging

Posted on 25th May 2017

Recent news has brought to light the sheer amount of food waste in both homes and retail, leading to a market U-turn in attitudes towards left-overs. From Asda’s wonky vegetable boxes to the increase in left over recipes, we are moving away from mass production and looking to become more self-sufficient with our food.

blackberries ripening

There has been a similar increased interest in foraging. While many people remember scouting hedgerows for blackberries for grandma’s apple pie, few people have done more than that since. Restaurants have been busy jumping on the bandwagon of wildly grown goods and appealing to those who want to reduce the air miles as well as the food waste. Native is such a restaurant based in London that aims to allow their customers to appreciate nature. Native is uncompromising on their ethos and looks to inspire others to similar goals.

“Native looks to provide its guests with an original dining experience that encapsulates the country’s best wild food that is native to the UK through a combination of innovative cooking and country thrift. Our food looks to unite the country’s best foraged foods and game in a laid back, full flavour adventure through the British seasons.”

While you may want to direct your new-found enthusiasm to your nearest scrap of woodland, foraging requires knowledge and an inherent respect for natural spaces. While enjoying a Wiltshire cottage holiday, what better way to ease yourself closer to your foraging future than with a beginner’s course into the edible aspects of nature? The Wild Side of Life has different courses throughout the year and based in Wiltshire to initiate you into the lifestyle.

Whether it is a few wild flowers added to a salad or a meal of morels, we can all add a little more of nature’s bounty into our diets, and foraging for the ingredients can be as much fun as eating them.

 Image Credit: Living in Monrovia