PUBLISHED: 12:11 23 December 2010 | UPDATED: 15:17 20 February 2013
Katie Jarvis urges us to pay Pershore a visit. Photography by Jules Beresford
If you haven't already done so, then start planning your trip to Pershore now!
That's not meant to be bossy - simply helpful. Because you'll be in perfect time to catch some pretty plum events. Actually, THE plum event, for one. Next month, there's the Plum Fayre (August 25), with exhibitions, gardeners' question time, farmers' markets, boat trips, vintage cars, and many other attractions, too. It's an iconic occasion, for plums helped place this elegant market town firmly on the national map, and Pershore plum trees still decorate its slopes with blossom. Nestling as it does in the Vale of Evesham, Pershore enjoys all the advantages that this fertile plain bestows: sheltered by the surrounding hills, with a low rainfall, it's caressed by south-westerly winds, which are not only kindly to inhabitants, but also to the crops which bask in a long summer ripening. The Vale enjoys world-wide fame for its asparagus, as well as such harvests as peas, beans, strawberries and blackcurrants. Nowadays, it's considered de rigueur to dine from local specialities, which means you can indulge and feel virtuous, all at the same time.
You'll also be able to enjoy some of the best of the Three Choirs Festival concerts (this year held in Worcester, August 2-9) in magnificent Pershore Abbey, as well as the town's own Jazz Festival mid-month.
These, and the many other events that enrich the year, are all welcomed by Pershore's thriving traders who retain an individuality other high streets can merely long for. Here, among the Georgian architecture and the riverside setting, shopping really does become a leisure pursuit.
The Honorary Chair of the Chamber of Trade, Peter Ellingworth, has run Coach House Books in the High Street for more than a quarter of a century. "It's a very pleasant place to run a business," he says. "Even given the current economic climate, the quality and individuality of shops is extremely high. Pershore tends to attract the more discerning customer because of the distinctive brands they can find in the independents that flourish here."
It's right that it should be so, for everything about the town breathes quality - even its historical relics. The Council for British Archaeology has now designated it of major architectural importance thanks, and you can easily see why - from the listed Georgian facades that dominate Bridge Street and Broad Street, to the more unhappy etchings on Pershore Bridge, the scene of some bloody Civil War skirmishes.
Nowadays, things are - thankfully - quieter. "I had a customer in today who hadn't brought enough money. It was a case of 'Don't worry; take the goods and pay me when you're next in'", Peter Ellingworth says. "It's good to work in a place where you know and trust people. That's the kind of town this is."
For more information on shops in Pershore, visit www.chamberoftrade.pershoretown.com