Coachmans Cottage owner and Bath Self Catering member persuades fellow residents of Steeple Ashton in Wiltshire to become the first “Village Destination Ambassador” on the Great West Way, following the Great West Way’s first presentation in a sitting room.
A Steeple Ashton resident and holiday cottage owner thought that the charming conservation village of Steeple Ashton in Wiltshire, could be “put on the map” by joining the Great West Way.
To bring both footfall and extra income into the village, especially to the St Mary’s Church and the community village shop. The Great West Way launched three years ago, with the goal that in thirty years the GWW will be synonymous with America’s Route 66. Funding has been raised and the GWW concept is now well under way.
The village, about 12 miles south of Bath and 3 miles north of Salisbury Plain has a population of around 1000 residents, with 349 dwellings. 68 of these, some 20%, are British Listed Buildings. The Church of St Mary’s is Listed Grade 1, there are 8 Listed Grade 2*, and the remaining 59 are Listed Grade 2.
The word quintessential is often over used but there is much to praise about this charming village, as a visitor was once heard to say “Midsomer without the Murder”.
Heritage is key, a manorial village in the 9th Century, and in 1266 a Royal Charter was granted to hold a weekly market and an annual wool fair. By 1420 the village had become prosperous from the local cloth industry, initiating the building of the magnificent St Mary’s Church, known as a Pocket Cathedral, which survives today.
The Village Green is the heart of the village, with a lock-up gaol and market cross. Architectural styles spanning 700 years, from the Manor House to humble cottages, can be admired as visitors stroll around the pretty streets.
There is always a warm welcome and refreshments at the award winning village shop, housed in the old school house, and also at The Longs Arms pub.
Keevil Airfield is nearby, serving in WW2 as a fighter and glider base for American and British forces as well as the assembly of Spitfire fighters.
It took seven months to get there, but last week the village of Steeple Ashton joined the Great West Way. The Parish Council, The Village Shop, The Friends of Steeple Ashton and Coachmans Holiday Cottage each took an equal share in the cost of becoming a “village destination ambassador”.
Thanks to Kathryn Falkner for the image of the High Street in Steeple Ashton