10 Nov A cosy Cotswold getaway at Hammonds Farm B&B
There’s nowhere better for a cosy autumn break than the delightful Hammonds Farm B&B on the fringes of the Cotswolds. Close to the picture-perfect village of Painswick, it’s the ideal base for those love long walks, kicking up leaves and curling up by the fireside in country pubs.
Discovering somewhere close to home that feels a million miles away is rather special.
With lots going on our in life away from the blog, travel planning hasn’t been top of our agenda these past few months. That said, there comes a time when you just wish for a chance to escape and let our hair down for a few days. When you’re already busy, the idea of negotiating airports and new cities doesn’t sound so appealing. So we were in happy agreement. Somewhere simple and within easy reach would fit the bill perfectly, and be exactly what we needed.
Enter stage right, Hammonds Farm B&B.
A boutique farmhouse bed and breakfast, it’s the sort of place where you feel immediately at home. Beautifully decorated in a style that’s both simple and sumptuous, it invites you to relax and put your feet. On the other hand, the lush green landscape of the Cotswolds calls at you from every window, tempting you to explore and return muddy-booted.
Within two minutes of stepping through the door, I realised we couldn’t have found ourselves anywhere better.
About the B&B
Nestled between the green slopes of the Painswick valley on the western fringes of the Cotswold, Hammonds Farm at first glance isn’t so different from its rural neighbours.
But, surrounded by lush fields, this working farm shines on closer inspection.
First of all, there’s the farmhouse itself. It’s the epitome of rural elegance – clean-cut creamy Cotswold stone, beautiful proportions and windows that invite you to sit and look out on the surrounding countryside all day long. It’s flanked by charcoal-coloured Dutch barns on one side, and a charming assortment of tumbledown stone barns on another. Stretching for what seemed like miles in every direction is a patchwork of hedgerows and pastures, crossed occasionally by winding lanes and peppered with other farms and country cottages.
Bea Hyde has been running Hammonds Farm B&B for just a few short years, but everything – from her welcome to the gorgeous decor – makes it feel like it’s long-established. Very much in a good way.
Walk through the door and you’re met by a sweeping staircase, bright and breezy breakfast room on the right. On your left is a cosy living room filled with sumptuous sofas and centred around a vast fireplace. Head upstairs and you’ll find a few bedrooms on the first floor, then two more on the top floor in the eaves of the farmhouse. We stayed in Sebright, up here, and it’s was peace and perfection.
Everything comes together beautifully here. There’s fantastic views over the surrounding farmland from every window. The decadent wet room’s a delight. And the furnishings are a perfect compromise between simplicity, style and comfort. I could quite happily have moved in for good.
Bountiful breakfasts at Hammonds Farm
Every detail has been thought of, and perfected at Hammonds Farm. This most definitely extends to the breakfast.
I’m not normally much fussed by the first meal of the day when I’m away, unless cinnamon buns or churros are on the agenda. But I’ll make an exception for something really special.
Breakfast at the B&B is a multi-course affair, with fruit and cereals laid out ready for your arrival. Popping in to say hello, Bea took our requests (for a cooked breakfast each) and returned in a matter of minutes with a whole cafetiere of coffee plus a basket of toasted sourdough and croissants. I was in heaven. Resisting the temptation to dive straight into the baked goodies, we sipped our coffee until laden plates arrived. It was absolutely delicious, and having already been out for a morning run, we devoured it fast.
Finishing up with our pastries and another cup of coffee, we watched the world outside the window. We could have sat here all morning, had we not had plans to head out and explore.
As we stayed for two nights, we opted for something a little different on our second morning. Avocado toast for me, heaped with poached eggs and bacon – and scrambled eggs with smoked salmon for Ben. We declared each as equally delightful as our dishes the day before.
Pottering in Painswick
Hammonds Farm is a sandwiched between the Cotswold market towns of Painswick and Stroud. With its industrial heritage, Stroud’s an interesting stop, but I’ll challenge you to resist the allure of the honey-coloured stone townhouses of Painswick.
It’s a popular spot for those exploring this part of the world, but not overrun with visitors. The town centre isn’t large, but it’s a joy to meander through the labyrinth of narrow streets. You’ll find a few places to stop for a coffee if you fancy. Whatever you choose to do, make sure that you head to the churchyard. It’s home to 99 manicured Yew trees – an unexpected and surprisingly striking sight.
It’s worth meandering a little way further out of the Painswick to the nearby village of Sheepscombe, for one of the best pubs around. The Butcher’s Arms serves hearty homecooked food in a traditional, unpretentious inn. With huge fires and stone walls, it’s the sort of place that’s made for chilly autumn evenings. Whatever you do, choose the braised pork belly if it’s on the menu – I can’t recommend anything better after a long day outdoors.
Exploring the Cotswolds on foot
It won’t surprise you that we weren’t just here to curl up indoors by the fireside – tempting as it was.
We arrived with a car boot full of wellies, walking boots and trail shoes, and the determination to make the most of them.
It’s fantastic walking country around here, diverse and well-signposted. The landscape is a mosaic of farmland, heathland, wooded hillsides and lush valleys, and it’s best explored on foot.
On our first day, we headed out from the farmhouse to discover the area around Painswick. Our route took us up the valley, first towards the village of Edge and then up onto Painswick Beacon – the site of an Iron Age hillfort that offers panoramic views towards Gloucester in one direction and all of the Painswick valley in the other. With the autumn leaves golden in the late afternoon sun, it was a beautiful spot to explore. We meandered our way back through the village of Painswick and back across the fields to the farm, an easy but enjoyable route.
The Cotswold Way
If you’re looking for something more to get your teeth into, the Cotswold Way runs close by. This long-distance path stretches almost 100 miles from Chipping Camden to Bath, and the Painswick Valley just happens to be the midpoint. We hopped onto the route to explore the stretch from Edge Common up to Harefield Beacon, another heathland high-point surrounded by beech woodland. From here we headed down to the Stroudwater navigation, a sedate and peaceful canal that hints at the town’s illustrious past. This winds it’s way into the town of Stroud – although we’d recommend taking a pitstop before you get there at the Kitsch Cafe. Just next to the water, this quirky space is a hidden gem that serves up coffee and delicious homemade bakes amongst other things.
We spent our last morning exploring the nearby Slad valley, setting out on foot from Hammonds Farm. It’s far quieter than the Painswick valley, with much of the village nestled amongst the green woodland that creeps along the valley floor. With the surrounding Beech woodland every shade of copper and gold, it was a beautiful walk but all the more interesting for its literary connections. The village of Slad was the childhood home of Laurie Lee, author of Cider with Rosie – a biography of his life here in the 1920s and 30s. It’s well worth a re-read if you’re heading here.
You could also stray further afield on a longer stay here. You’re less than 10 miles from the cathedral city of Gloucester, the gorgeous Georgian masterpiece of Cheltenham is just around the corner and the vibrant city of Bristol is less than an hour away. Think of Hammonds Farm as the perfect compromise – a spectacular rural location that’s within easy reach of some urban gems.
Oh, and did I mention alpaca?
Yep, you heard me right.
Whilst sheep might be the first creatures you spot on arrival at Hammonds Farm B&B, there’s another flock that might surprise you. Alpaca.
Ben Harford has been building his flock here for twenty years, and they’re an absolute joy. As an extra treat, you can book a walk with the alpaca during your stay – and we’d thoroughly recommend it! Ben is extremely knowledgeable and charmingly gentle with his flock. The animals themselves are full of character, great fun and wonderfully soft to handle. An hour’s stroll gives you a chance to get to know your new friend, explore the farm and find out more about the history of these South American creatures in the UK and in this part of the Cotswolds.
Having ridden horses for much of my life, I wasn’t daunted by the idea of handling larger animals, but I can confirm that this shouldn’t worry you about walking with these lovely animals. It was completely new to my other half Ben, and he loved it. The alpaca are gentle and well-behaved – well, apart from their love of snacking en-route! Even if you’re a novice animal handler you’ll find these guys good fun and easily manageable, and of course, you’ll have expert help and advice on hand.
Would I go back to Hammonds Farm?
In a flash.
But I’d also recommend it to anyone else looking to get away from it all for a few days, knowing you can enjoy the great outdoors but return home each night to roaring fires and delightfully cosy rooms. Hammonds Farm B&B manages to strike the perfect balance between working farm, rural escapism and boutique perfection.
It was the ideal spot to spend a few beautiful autumnal days – and a part of the Cotswolds I’ll most definitely return to.
You can find out more about, and book your stay at Hammond’s Farm B&B at www.hammonds-farm.co.uk/