Box is a bijoux beauty and a haven of peace

A quiet village with a vibrant heart, Box is situated on the edge of Minchinhampton Common, a Site of Special Scientific Interest owned by the National Trust. The market town of Minchinhampton with its cafes, pubs, shops and primary school is a mile away with Box village lying 3 miles from Stroud and 10 miles from Cirencester.

Box is made up of around 200 homes, many built in the traditional honey-coloured Cotswold limestone, with a population of 300-400 residents (this doesn’t include the free-range cows who can choose to wander off the Common and through the village as there is no cattle grid to bar their way).

According to the village website, Box first appears in documents from the 14th century named as La Boite (the box). A veritable jewel box, it grew up around agriculture, quarrying and the weaving industry and thrived during the 1800s when it had a pub, shops and a bakery before settling down to a quieter life in modern times as a picturesque residence to those seeking to make their home in this beautiful corner of the world. It still boasts a church and a village hall and behind its peaceful demeanour a wealth of clubs and societies provide a bustling social life for the villagers.

Box Village Hall forms the social heart of the village and hosts classes in yoga, Pilates and Tai Chi as well as being the meeting place for many groups:

Box Friday Morning Coffee takes place in the village hall every Friday, as it has done for 20 years, for residents to ‘meet their neighbours and catch up on the latest village gossip’.

Box Art Group meet every Thursday under the guidance of two tutors for ‘an amiable couple of hours of painting and sketching’. The group also hold an annual show.

Talking of shows, the annual Box Village Show encourages villagers to enter their home-grown fruit, vegetables and flowers, home-made bread, biscuits and cakes as well as arts and crafts.

Box Players is an amateur dramatic group whose most recent production was an up-to-date take on the Jack and the Beanstalk pantomime.

Box Gardening Club meets regularly to hear speakers and also puts on outings and a Christmas party.

Box Swimming Club meets every Thursday evening at Beaudesert Park School swimming pool and welcomes swimmers of all abilities.

The excellent Box Village website has details of all social events as well as the latest edition of Box News.

Villagers don’t let the absence of a pub get in the way of getting together over a drink. The Box Bar sets up in the village hall from 6.30pm on the first and third Friday of every month as a social hub for the village. Promising a warm welcome, it serves wine, prosecco, gin and tonic, organic cider, organic lager and beers from the local Stroud Brewery and even draft organic, gluten-free Pale Ale. All profits go towards the Village Hall.

Every Tuesday fresh produce comes to the Box Village Hall car park with visits from the Salt Bakehouse Van (8.15-9.45am) with freshly baked bread and pastries and a fresh fish van (11am-12pm).

Regular Anglican services are held at St Barnabas Church whose golden spire can be seen reaching above the surrounding green and pleasant land. Originally a corrugated iron mission church, the current building was consecrated in 1958.

Box Wood, on the edge of the village, was purchased by the villagers in 2017 and is managed by Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust. Populated by oak, beech, hazel and box trees, the woodland is home to 450 difference species of wildlife including 58 protected species including the ‘elusive’ hazel dormouse. Limestone streams thread through the trees; anemones, bluebells and wild garlic carpet the floor in the spring; woodland butterflies, great spotted woodpeckers and tawny owls call it home. A beautiful place to immerse yourself in the wonders of the natural world, there are varying lengths of trails to walk – and dogs are welcome.

The well-regarded independent Beaudesert Park School is just down the road. It is a weekly, flexi-boarding and day prep school for girls and boys aged 3 to 13. Featured in Tatler Schools Guide, the magazine describes Beaudesert pupils as ‘well-exercised, happy and grounded’. Making the most of its bucolic setting, the school has achieved the Eco-Schools Green Flag Award, an international accreditation recognising their work to reduce the school’s environmental impact.

Nearby, there are primary schools in Minchinhampton and Stroud. Secondary schools in the area include private, comprehensive and selective grammar schools across Stroud, Cirencester, Gloucester and Cheltenham.