• Our favourite place: Witney

    by  • 09/12/2016 • Country moment • 0 Comments

    Visit WitneyThis pretty Oxfordshire market town on the River Windrush has prospered and grown from its 300 year history in the blanket industry. We love it for its…

    Wool history Follow the Witney Wool & Blanket Trail and discover the town’s landmarks. Trail leaflets are available online or at the Witney Visitor Information centre on Welch Way.

    Architecture Admire the Georgian buildings along the High Street. There’s also the 17th century Buttercross and 13th century church with a 156-foot spire which can be seen from afar. The Corn Exchange, Blanket Hall and the towns three almshouses also carry a fascinating history.

    Open spaces Witney Lake & Country Park is a haven for wildlife and leads to the Lower Windrush valley walking trails while Standlake Common Nature Reserve (developed in the 1990’s) offers an easy way to watch wildlife with bird hides and leisurely pathways. In the town centre, Church Green is a lovely open space to sit and watch the world go by or to enjoy a good book.

    Museums Explore the town’s history further at The Witney & District Museum in Gloucester Court Mews, or, experience Victorian country life at Cogges Manor Farm Museum,  which may ring a bell as the setting of Yew Tree Farm in TV series Downton Abbey.

    Shops Everyday goods and high street brands can be found at shopping centres Marriotts Walk and Woolgate; or amble the High Street and its smaller side lanes for bespoke gifts and finds. Dove White, on the High Street, has the prettiest accessories to make a house a home while sister shop Decorus  displays room sets and sells larger pieces of furniture plus mirrors in a modern country style. The Old Pill Factory is a treasure trove of decorative antiques, while Wesley Barrell  is the place to source that perfect sofa. Redecorating? Then Relics of Witney is made for grand plans – source paints (Earthborn, Farrow & Ball, Little Greene), bespoke hardware and accessories. Bookworms will love the antiquarian selection at Church Green books, and third generation clock maker Steven Fletcher offers clock restoration and watch repairs at the Clock Workshop.

    Witney Sewing and Knitting Centre is packed with a huge variety of sewing machines plus fabrics, haberdashery, wool and threads and craft ideas.

    If you’re looking for gifts, teddies new and preloved, source Steiff, Merrythought and Dean’s brands at Teddy Bears of Witney. Or step in to the Sota Gallery for contemporary artworks and exhibitions including ceramics, glass, photography and textiles.

     Food Delicious local produce is easy to source in this ancient market town’s shops with additional variety to source at regular markets. Family business and traditional Densham’s butchers sells locally farmed meats and game from Cornbury Park estate in nearby Charlbury, weekend roasting joints and award-wining British pork and green goblin cider sausages – all prepared in the shop. For hampers or picnics, pick up a Best of British basket at The Solan Goose sandwich deli, which includes everything from carved Wiltshire ham, tangy Stilton and handmade piccalilli to summer berry trifle and gingerbeer. And visit the twice weekly charter market on Thursdays and Saturdays (the Thursday market dates to the Middle Ages)  Or try the monthly farmers market.

    Do you have a favourite market town to visit? We would love to hear more about it…

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