In September each year thousands of volunteers across England organise events to celebrate our fantastic history and culture. Last year due to the pandemic there was no event, but this year, on 12 September, the National Trust at Coleshill welcomed visitors once again to the Coleshill Model Farm buildings, which were designed in 1852 to showcase the very best of Victorian High Farming.
The weather was unexpectedly a lot better than forecast, and after a slow start lots of visitors turned up to explore parts of Coleshill that normally remain hidden. The water mill was open, the 12th century church and the replica Second World War Operational Base (the underground bunker) and the original guardhouse.
I was helping behind the scenes but it was great to hear the Highworth Silver Band playing to an audience once again. Guided tours of the model farm were available with the knowledgeable Liza Dibble and Skills Centre walk and talk with Christian Walker, the NT manager at Coleshill. You could also visit the old forge – two of the visitors were the granddaughter and great-granddaughter of one of the early blacksmiths! Welcome refreshments were available at The Carpenters Canteen.
The National Trust intends to develop a hub for education and knowledge sharing at Home Farm in Coleshill. The aim is to retain and develop conservation skills, knowledge and expertise for the future and to restore its current buildings. This is part of the journey to becoming the National Trust’s Conservation Skills Centre.
If you have never visited Coleshill, there are many marked walks – you can walk to or from the woods at Badbury (on the Highworth/Faringdon Road), out to the Windmills, to the Tithe Barn at Great Coxwell, or just around Coleshill Park. We all need to escape business occasionally and enjoy some fresh air and – I was going to say sunshine – the great outdoors.
From Miriam Weisinger – FLBC Steering Group Member
TA REED, Highworth purveyors of verbatim reporting.