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If you are reading this, then you are probably thinking about taking a holiday in the Cotswolds, and with this comes the thought: what am I going to do, where am I going to go and what is there to see when you get here? Of course there are plenty of great attractions to choose from, but just because you want to book into Cotswolds accommodation it doesn’t mean you have to hit the tourist trail as well!

Below we’ve come up with some ideas that are a little different and may appeal to those of you who fancy an alternative day out.Rural Skills

One activity you can try that is becoming more popular all the time is to have a go at learning some rural skills, the kind of activities which are traditional to the area or country and I don’t mean Morris Dancing!

The Cotswolds Rural Skills website is a fabulous resource for such training courses focussing on a wide range of our local, rural skills and crafts throughout the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Under the guidance of local instructors, organisations and community groups the group provide you with some high quality courses that are not only informative and practical but also make a lasting contribution to the Cotswold landscape. Your holiday can, as they like to say, make a difference.

Most people tend to admire the dry stone walls and hedges that are such a significant part of the countryside in the Cotswolds. But few think about the hard work that is required to keep them looking this way and this is where you can get involved.

So why not book a spot on a course that will teach you how to perform these skills? It gives you the chance to have a totally different kind of holiday that is incredibly rewarding and allows you to give something back to the Cotswolds when you leave too. All you have to do is to decide what kind of activity you’d like to try.

To be honest some of the finished products are taken for granted, especially as you see them almost every day and for this very reason it would be something special and memorable to go home after having completed a course in one of the following:

  • Dry Stone Walling
  • Hedge laying
  • Blacksmithing
  • Charcoal Making
  • Working with Lime Mortar


How Long?

The good thing is that most courses run over a single weekend, so you can escape to the Cotswolds on a Friday and enjoy a long weekend there with two days of rural skills to soak up as well. With courses taking place in locations such as the Cotswold Farm Park, Bath and Cirencester you can see that it gives you a great opportunity to try something new and see some wonderful locations too.

The best part about many of these courses is that they don’t take place in factories or workshops. Instead you’ll find yourself out in the middle of the countryside, helping to rebuild a real dry stone wall or to replant a hedge. So you can see that you don’t just learn your new skills – you use them in a practical setting in the Cotswolds too.

Of course you can also book a week long holiday and kick it off with a weekend of learning rural skills before going on to enjoy the remainder of your break. It is a good idea to see where each course is based so you can see which part of the Cotswolds you would most like to stay in. This will enable you to book the best course and also to choose the best location for the remainder of your holiday.

But the best thing about learning rural skills such as these is that they give you a new appreciation for all the hard work that goes into keeping the Cotswolds looking as good as it always has. This can’t be done without help from people like you, and as you can see it provides you with an outstanding and memorable break too.

Personally speaking I have a bit of problem with my hedging so the hedge laying courses are for me. Hopefully I’ll see you there!

Some up and coming courses:

Blacksmithing on 23 June in NorthleachDry Stone Walling 23 June in Tetbury

Lime Mortar from 23rd June, Ebworth

Visit the Cotswolds Rural Skills website for further details.