Hidden Gems in Warwickshire
Hey there. What’s new? The summer holidays seem to be speeding along and I don’t feel like we’ve done anything yet. Well, we haven’t! Although we’ve been busy covering lots of hidden gems around the UK – from Derbyshire, Staffordshire and Wiltshire, to Lincolnshire and West Sussex.
Today though Jo from Cup of Toast gives us all the ins and ours on Warwickshire!
Discovering Old Milverton
There are lots of hidden gems all over every country. Places where you can go to escape the hustle and bustle of the crowds. For me, possibly my favourite place of all is the village of Old Milverton in Warwickshire, and the surrounding fields.
Old Milverton is my old stomping ground, the place of my childhood memories. The fields surrounding it were simply called ‘The Fields’ by myself and my sisters because, honestly, which other fields were there that were quite as special? I have heard newcomers to the area call them Saxon Fields, or even Old Milverton fields which makes sense too, but mention ‘The Fields’ to me and I’ll think only of them.
Explore the Village
Old Milverton is as the name suggests an old village, dating back beyond the 1800s. It is close to Royal Leamington Spa, tucked into a bend of the River Avon. Best explored on foot there is a small car park by the village hall which, if not in use, normally has several spaces available. The village whilst small (there are probably no more than a dozen houses) does have a busy and welcoming community. Every year on the first Saturday of September for example their annual horticultural show takes place.
St James the Great Church
St James the Great Church, built in 1880, has a welcoming service every Sunday morning for anyone wishing to attend. On occasion I have been to barn dances and other celebrations in this delightful village too. If you take a walk through the grounds of St James the Great’s Church you will come across the footpaths which lead over the fields. Stop first in the graveyard though, and take a look for the final resting place of Sir George Catlin. A political scientist and philosopher, he is also known for being the husband of the late feminist, nurse and writer Vera Brittain, best known for her work Testament of Youth.
Stop for a Drink
Once you have passed directly through the church grounds you will come to one of two gates leading out to the fields. One will take you across the top of the fields in the direction of the farm house, the other leads towards the river. Take the second of these and keep walking straight downhill and eventually you will happen upon a metal gate. Here you have a choice. Straight on leads to a very pleasant pub, The Saxon Mill.
Nestled on the bank of the River Avon, The Saxon Mill offers a great break especially in the hot weather. Sitting by the side of a weir whilst sipping a cold drink is delightful. Sometimes the water wheel is working too. I remember when I was too small to look at it properly and my father had to pick me up. Now the wall before it seems extremely short so I guess that memory must be an early one! The pub is dog friendly too, always a bonus if on a walk with your pooch.
Pack a Picnic
If you turn left at the metal gate instead, you will continue along the bottom edge of the fields. The space to your right is largely overgrown now (when I was younger it was a gorgeous water meadow) but there are two great spots to stop for a picnic. You can see the old Guys Cliffe House from both, although you will get a better view from the spot by the tree. Dating back to Saxon times this house is reputedly haunted, especially in the cave which is across the river from the picnic spot. Listen carefully for any howls!
Take a Walk
After (or perhaps before) a picnic the fields are lovely to wander around. The walk around them is not too long. Perhaps a challenge for my 3 year old to complete in one go, but my 7 and 5 year olds manage it well.
From the top of the fields views stretch across to Warwick and Leek Wootton.
If you’re looking for a beautiful place to take in some country air and relax your mind these fields are perfect for that. With a bit of muscle you can get a pushchair around them too although I confess that they are easier on foot.
Spas and Castles
When you’re done, the towns of Royal Leamington Spa (famous for its spa waters), and Warwick and Kenilworth (both of which have great castles to explore) are all a short car journey away if you wish to expand your explorations. You could even add in some of the more familiar tourist attractions to make a full weekend of it!
I’m Jo, author of Cup of Toast, a lifestyle and parenting blog. Mama to three independently spirited (read: boisterous) boys I write about life in general. Almost anything that catches my eye gets a mention, from days out to health to food to general parenting. You can catch up with me on social media too. I’m most often to be found on Instagram or Twitter, but hop on to Facebook and Pinterest on a regular basis as well.
More Hidden Gems to Come!
Keep posted because we plan a few more hidden gems before the end of the summer hols! And after that, well it’s time to get our Halloween costumes dusted off and think about Christmas tree location this year!