‘I reckon the place is blessed…’
What’s going for it? Banks may fall, nations may crumble but, you feel, Tewkesbury will always be there. For centuries, it’s seen off inundation after inundation, the last biggie being 2007. That image of its cute-as-apple-pie assembly of gables and crumbly Norman abbey surrounded by water, an inland island, became a handy bite-sized symbol of resilient Olde England, cornered but fighting back. This year they didn’t have it so bad – “just a puddle” one local told the Daily Mail. I reckon the place is blessed by ancient white witches for, despite being located at the confluence of two hefty rivers, the Severn and the Avon, it always manages to survive its regular dunking. Good job, too. What a place. I love how the crooked old town is built on a hummock (those clever Saxons!), its mustard (mustard and horseradish, genius), its super deli, its Roses theatre-with-a-cinema (last stage for Eric Morecambe), its great location on the M5 (those clever Saxons!) and the re-enactors who replay the Battle of Tewkesbury every year, with historically authentic swashed buckles and Thermos flasks.
The case against Whose idea was it to put a town a millimetre above two rivers? Have your sandbags handy, next to the teabags.
Well connected? The glorious M5: with fortunate traffic you can make Birmingham or Bristol in an hour. Rail not in town, but four miles east at Ashchurch for Tewkesbury: north to Worcester (21 mins, mostly hourly), south to Cheltenham (nine mins, every two hours) and Gloucester (18 mins, every two hours).
Schools Primaries: Tewkesbury CofE, Tirlebrook, Ashchurch and Carrant Brook are all “good”, Ofsted says, while the John Moore is “outstanding”. The town’s secondary, Tewkesbury School, is “good”.
Hang out at… The abbey’s Touching Souls, Cotswold Life’s teashop of the year 2011. And what Cotswold Life doesn’t know about teashops…
Where to buy You’ll be wanting to live in the old centre, course, but demand is high for higgledy-piggledy houses on lanes and alleys giving on to the river. Otherwise, suburbs stretch to the M5, with detacheds lining the route on and off Ashchurch Road, ending in splodges of new “executive” homes. Victorian to Edwardians, too, on Oldbury Road.
Market values Town houses and large detacheds, £300,000-£500,000. Detacheds, £200,000-£300,000. Semis, £175,000-£275,000. Terraces, £120,000-£245,000.
Bargain of the week Pretty, Victorian, chain-less three-bedroom detached, in the centre, with a good-sized garden, £229,950, with Tag.
From the streets
Sheila Hoeman “Friendly, just the right amount of busy, with a street market twice a week. And a theatre so close I don’t even put my coat on! Wonderful neighbours, great pubs. Hardly use the car, everything I need is here and the people couldn’t be more helpful. Maybe 2007’s flooding created a real community spirit.”
Bridgette Hatter “A beautiful, friendly little medieval town topped by a magnificent Benedictine abbey. Constantly amazed by the breadth of events – concerts, festivals, etc.”
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