I had a lovely time in Castle Combe recently, a pretty village some 12 miles out of Bath. We were very lucky on the day I chose to go with my camera - there are often a lot of tourists, but I think the extremely hot weather that day had kept people inside and in the shade!
The area is thought to have been inhabited for around 10,000 years and the river Bybrook which you can see in my photos is thought to have flowed through the same route for more than a million years. The village was established in the fifteenth century, expanding to its peak population in the middle 16th century when the woollen industry was most active. (Info from the Castle Combe Cookbook, which is so much more than a cookbook!)
The market cross provides the focal point of the village and has been in place since the fourteenth century when the privilege to hold a weekly market was first granted.
Here I am sitting in the Castle Inn restaurant - although we arrived quite late for lunch we were made to feel very welcome, nothing was too much trouble, and we had a gorgeous lunch. The Inn has all those lovely higgledy piggledy passages and beautiful features of panelling and timbered beams that you expect to find in a building of this age - it would make a wonderful setting for a novel! Castle Combe is often used for film and television locations - Doctor Doolittle and Poirot amongst others were filmed here.
We went for a walk around the village and stopped in at the church where I found an amazing medieval, faceless clock, beautiful stained glass windows, and bought a wonderful cookbook 'Food for Fetes and Festivals' with such tempting recipes as Ecclefechan Butter Tart, Lobster Royals with Oysters, and Chocolate and Orange pudding!
For more information on Castle Combe click here to see their website.