I have to be honest, I am no fisher! Not for any aversion towards fish, fishing or any particular reason, it’s simply because I have never tried it. So when we were invited to a view a new cottage over at Cranham, near Painswick, you can imagine my interest and surprise when I was advised by the owners that they also own of the best, if not the best, high quality and exclusive fishing operation in the Cotswolds – which is available only to those who are part of the Fishing Club/Syndicate.
This is classic trout fishing and is as good as it gets away from the Scottish Highlands. The lovely and delightful owners were terribly patient with me, slowly educating me about the wonderful world of fishing. For example did you know that successful trout fishing is dependent upon the diversity and abundance of ‘fly life’ and that this ‘abundance’ is dependent upon the PH value of the water – who’d have thought it! Peter, by now, in full flow and expressing his deep passion for fishing proceeded to explain that the finest trout fishing is found in areas of the UK where the water is alkaline, places where there are high levels of chalk, which then proceeds to impart its ‘magic’ to the water.
The Cotswolds’ Limestone
As I listened (and learnt), Peter informed me what is less well known: that the other principle source of alkaline water is from limestone, and that no other part of the UK is more associated with limestone than the Cotswolds. So here I am not only taking in the breath-taking scenery from their lovely home but I am now in the midst of an ecology/geography lesson delivered by one of the most knowledgeable people! Peter went to say that ‘all of the water emanating from the limestone aquifers of the Cotswold Hills is pure alkaline water’. So it is little wonder then that some of the finest trout fishing is to be found in the region is in Cranham. Thankfully if you’re staying at the cottage and you are a knowledgeable fisher then by special arrangement you can fish here - THE Cotswolds finest fishing location, surrounded by some of the most idyllic countryside.
In the last 10 years Peter and Carol have carefully nurtured their home and the lakes to create the perfect environment for fishing and now for self-catering holidays. Lakeside Cottage on Brook Farm is a superb holiday home, the creation of which Peter oversaw himself, with high quality touches throughout. As you would expect the views are spectacular. One interesting note is that the location suffers zero ‘light pollution’ which means that when it is dark, it really is dark!
Caught the Fishing Bug?
If you were interested in trying some more fishing in the Cotswolds, then you need to head to the region’s ‘main river. The principle river of the Cotswolds is the River Colne which enjoys superb trout fishing throughout its length. Be warned, much of it is privately managed, but fishing is available on some beats on a daily or weekly basis. Fishing on the Colne can be accessed through The Bull Hotel, Market Place, Fairford, GL7 4AA. 01285 712535
In addition to the streams, the Stillwater trout fisheries also benefit from that same alkaline water, and there are several notable still-waters in the Cotswolds area. The largest is Witcombe Reservoir:- Witcombe Lakes, Witcombe, Gloucester, GL3 4TR 01452 863591
Lechlade and Bushyleaze Fisheries, Burford Road, Lechlade, GL7 3QQ. 01367 253266 www lechladetrout.co.uk
Barnes Lakes, Standlake, Witney, OX29 7QB. 01865 300343
Salford Lakes near Chipping Norton, OX7 5YY. 01608 643209
Brook Farm Fishery If you want to enjoy classic nymph and dry fly fishing in crystal clear spring-fed water, then Brook Farm Trout Fishery has few rivals. Nestling in an idyllic valley high in the Cotswolds and surrounded by stunning countryside, Brook Farm offers not just the finest trout fishing, but also the opportunity to stay at the fabulous Lakeside Cottage overlooking the two lakes. The Fishery operates on an exclusive private syndicate basis, but guests of Lakeside Cottage have the unique opportunity to join the syndicate for the duration of their stay
I can’t say that I’m a natural or that I caught anything, but that says nothing about Peter or Carol’s farm, more about my poor technique and inability to stand still for any length of time. But when you see what you are surrounded by, the nature and the peace it is just as appealing to sit at the Crow’s Nest and watch others ‘cast their fly’.