Adam Henson: Local treasures

PUBLISHED: 12:32 05 January 2012 | UPDATED: 20:52 20 February 2013

Adam Henson: Local treasures

Adam Henson: Local treasures

Adam Henson celebrates the New Year and some of the great Cotswolders.

Adam Henson celebrates the New Year and some of the great Cotswolders.

Like everyone else I like to make New Year resolutions although Im the first to admit that some are more successful than others. Last January I promised to get a better grip on the world of social media in 2011. Here we are 12 months later and Im still no better at tweeting. So Im going to reboot that resolution and once again pledge in writing to become a regular Twitter user in the coming year.

Im also going to learn to say no a little more often, for the sake of my kids. Far too often I miss their important school shows or sporting events because Ive packed my diary too full. As I cant be in two places at once, I need to take action.

The farm, our various businesses and the media mean that Ive got lots of jobs but being a dad is still the most important one. Im certain that 2012 will also see more Cotswold people and places appearing on Countryfile.

For me its a very important part of the programme. So in this column over the next few months, I thought Id introduce you to some of the great Cotswolders Ive featured on TV recently. After all, our corner of England is full of wonderful characters with a wealth of knowledge and the knack of telling a good yarn.

People like Simon and Sarah Righton from the hamlet of Dorn near Moreton-in-Marsh. Theyre the third generation of the family to run the 300-acre mixed farm close to the Gloucestershire Warwickshire border. Their charming 15th century farmhouse is the centre of a busy enterprise which includes sheep, beef cattle, pigs, arable, bed and breakfast accommodation, a caravan site and a brilliant farm shop.

They recently opened a cutting room where sausages, bacon and pork joints are produced for sale on the farm. I took the BBC cameras there to see the butcher hard at work. To watch him create banger after banger with precision and speed is to witness a thing of beauty. I never thought a string of sausages could be so romantic!

The Rightons seem to have a limitless enthusiasm for promoting farming and the rural way of life in general. Theyll roll their sleeves up and get involved in everything from British Sausage Week and Farmhouse Breakfast Week to Open Farm Sunday and the North Cotswolds Food & Farming Festival. Theyre a great advert for the industry.

A few miles south is a skilled Cotswold trader who Ive featured on Countryfile more than once. Robert Preston is a traditional family butcher with a shop in the very heart of Stow-on-the-Wold and a wealth of experience. Butchery is a much more complicated and specialist trade than it appears and Robert began learning the art at the incredibly young age of 13, working in the famous covered market in Oxford. He then spent time honing his skills with experienced butchers all over Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire before taking over Lambournes in Digbeth Street.

But its not just any old shop. Its a local landmark and part of the furniture in Stow. Theres been a butcher on the site for more than a century and there even used to be a slaughterhouse at the back of the building. Many people would be horrified at the very thought these days but it was the norm in our grandfathers era. Just like us, our forebears were concerned about food miles even if the phrase was unheard of back then.

As local independent shops have closed at an alarming rate, I think its vital to cherish and support the ones which remain. The shelves, hooks and display trays in Roberts shop overflow with delicious meat thats hard to find in many multiple stores; Cotswold lamb, Gloucester, Hereford and Short Horn beef, Old Spot pork as well as pheasant, partridge, woodcock, pigeon and rabbit, while the hand-written signs inside the shop read like a tour of the Cotswolds; meat from Winchcombe and Witney, pies from Honeybourne, fresh veg from Ebrington, condiments from Highgrove and honey from Shurdington. Mouth-watering stuff, but did you expect anything less?

Cotswold Farm Park, Guiting Power, near Cheltenham, Gloucestershire GL54 5UG

Tel: 01451 850307

Fax: 01451 850423


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