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Things to do in Stroud, Gloucestershire


The Countryside around Stroud in the Cotswolds
Stroud Countryside

The Gloucestershire market town of Stroud is ten miles south of Gloucester and is a popular destination for tourists visiting the scenic Cotswolds.

There is evidence of early settlement in the area with Neolithic burial chambers at Uley Long Barrow. The area also has Roman remains at Frocester nearby.

The town itself only really developed in the 13th century. It was recorded as La Strode in 1221 and was located on marshy ground where the Slad Brook and the River Frome merge. The first church at Stroud was built in 1279 and St Laurence Church now stands on the site.

Bond Mill Lift Bridge on the Stroudwater Navigation Canal
Bond Mill Lift Bridge

During the Industrial Revolution, Stroud's woollen mills were powered by the local rivers which run through the nearby valleys.

Cotswold Countryside near Stroud
Cotswold Countryside

Sheep were reared on the surrounding hills and the town produced finely woven cloth. In particular, Stroudwater Scarlet cloth was woven to make into military uniforms.

To distribute its fine material, the Stroudwater Navigation Canal and the Thames and Severn Canal were built and were used commercially until the early 20th century.

The town has been home to various religious groups including the Huguenots escaping persecution in France in the 17th century. Many Jews also settled in the area during the 19th century.

Lord John Russell was the MP for Stroud in the mid-19th century and later became Prime Minister. He was responsible for the Reform Act 1867 which gave every male the right to vote.

Present Day Stroud

Stroud is a small town of around 12,500 residents which are predominantly white and mostly female, with 96.4 men to every 100 women.

The Painswick Valley, near Stroud in Gloucestershire
Painswick Valley

The bohemian town is known for having steep, narrow streets lined with independent small shops. It has always attracted artists and writers and it has a relaxed cafe culture.

Stroud was the birthplace of the Organic food movement and opened the first organic cafe in Britain called Woodruff's. It now has a busy Farmers' Market on Saturdays.

In the centre of the town is a Tourist Information Centre in the Subscription Rooms, a theatre and a museum and a leisure centre at Stratford Park.

Cotswold Farmland Panorama on a bright sunny day
Farmland Panorama

The railway station was built by engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel and trains continue to run on the Golden Valley Line from Gloucester to Swindon.

Things to do in Stroud

Surrounded by an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Stroud is popular with those who enjoy outdoor pursuits. The Cotswold Way passes to the west of the town and offers a pleasant traffic-free hike.

Ebley Mills, Stroudwater Navigation Canal, Stroud
Ebley Mills

The canals in the area have pleasant towpaths for walking and there are plans to restore the waterways for leisure and boating.

Calcot Manor is a historic building near Tetbury and the 16th century manor house is now a luxury hotel. On the tithe barn wall is the original datestone showing the year 1300 AD.

Newark Park is a Grade I listed Tudor house and estate which is currently managed by The National Trust.

The land around Woodchester Park is also National Trust owned and includes the gatehouse, ice house and several estate cottages.

The large lakes and many paths make it an interesting place to visit. The house Woodchester Mansion, at Stonehouse is a Site of Special Scientific Interest as it has colonies of lesser horseshoe and greater horseshoe bats.

The house is a popular place for ghost watching.

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