Avening: a flourishing village with royal connections

Located between Nailsworth and Tetbury, Avening is a lively and popular village set in idyllic Cotswold countryside with great links to nearby commuter towns and cities.

With a population of over 1,000, the village has much to offer. For starters, there’s a primary school, playing field, busy pub and a diverse range of clubs and groups.

Avening’s royal links date back to 1080 when Queen Matilda, wife of William the Conqueror, commissioned the village church. Fast forward to 2011, and royalty was in the spotlight once again when Queen Elizabeth II paid a surprise visit to Avening Church to attend the christening of her first great grandchild, Savannah Phillips, the first grandchild of Princess Anne, who lives at nearby Gatcombe Park.

The village church is grade 1 listed and holds regular services. It also plays host to Avening National and International Art Show which exhibits photographs, paintings, drawings, prints, crafts and sculptures.

Avening village hall was designed by renowned architect Thomas Falconer, a member of the esteemed Cotswolds Arts and Crafts Movement.

The village expanded over the years with the development of the cloth mills right up until the 19th century. During the Second World War, Avening lay on the GHQ line (general headquarters line), a defence line built across the country in case of an invasion. As a result, anti-tank ditches were dug out and pillboxes constructed.

Surrounded by stunning countryside, fields and valleys, there’s an abundance of walks and public footpaths in and around Avening. Head through the woods to nearby Cherington Lake for a tranquil walk along the water’s edge or take a leisurely stroll across Minchinhampton Common and enjoy panoramic views across the Stroud valleys. More information about local walks and a village map can be found on the parish council’s website.

Avening Primary School is located in the heart of the village and has two playgrounds, a nature area and a before and after school club. Its values are ‘respect, engage, aspire, collaborate, hope’, and the school is firmly embedded in the local community. Pupils enjoy extra-curricular opportunities, such as theatre trips, and even produce their own school magazine, titled The Warbler. Nearby secondary schools are situated in Tetbury, Stroud, Gloucester, Cheltenham and Cirencester.

The social club is a hub of activity and also has a bowling alley. It’s home to Avening Community Café on Tuesday mornings when residents can pop in for a drink, home-made cake and a chat. A mobile post office is also open on Tuesdays from 9.30 – 11.30am in the social club car park.

Regular groups and clubs cater for all ages and include a playgroup, youth club, silver band, choir, Women’s Institute and a monthly cinema club held in the village hall on the last Wednesday of every month.

The Bell is a traditional country pub with a warm and friendly welcome. It has a wide selection of real ales and drinks as well as a delicious menu of home-cooked Indian cuisine.

The Queen Matilda (a nod to the village’s royal connections) is a popular bed and breakfast with cosy ensuite double rooms – a perfect place to stay for those wanting to explore this beautiful part of the Cotswolds.

Just down the road at Longfords is the 17th century Weighbridge Inn, home of the famous 2in1 pie which was created at the pub over 40 years ago and remains a firm favourite with customers.

Golf fans are spoilt for choice – Minchinhampton Golf Club has two championship courses, The Avening Course and The Cherington Course located near Avening, and The Old Course on Minchinhampton Common. The Avening Course has a classic parkland layout and features several lakes and fairways lined with specimen trees, not to mention fantastic views across the village and beyond.

The Villager Magazine is a great source of information for residents and newcomers and has a useful list of contacts.