Corsham, Wiltshire
 
By Emma Kirkup

On a beautifully sunny February day, I made my way to the charming town of Corsham nestled between Chippenham and Bath, just off the A4.

A strong arts scene

First stop was to head to the Pound Arts Centre, on the edge of the town. The Pound was a hive of activity when we first arrived with children’s drop-in workshops for half term and locals gathering in the café for  a warming cuppa or a tasty looking cake. I had a good look around the temporary exhibition space and then went to meet one of the resident artists, Chris Dunn.

Within the Pound there are three resident artists who use the venue as a  starting point for their artistic careers. Chris Dunn, an illustrator was very pleased to show us some of his creations which were absolutely amazing with such detail to them! I came away with very envious feelings wishing I was that creative!

The Pound has a big programme of events throughout the year including comedy, film and theatre. It also stages the annual Pound Arts Festival usually during June.

Fascinating history

Next stop was a visit to Corsham's 17th century Schoolroom and Almshouses (pictured at the top) with its beautiful exterior. Lady Margaret Hungerford, who lived at the time in Corsham Court, built the Almshouses for six poor people and a free school for ten ‘needy’ scholars.

I was given a tour by two of the volunteers who began by proudly showed me the old master’s area. We wandered through to the old schoolroom which doubled up as a prayer room, where you can still see graffiti from some of the naughty lads who clearly weren’t paying attention during lessons!

There is interesting architecture and a fascinating insight into the social history of the town and of Lady Hungerford.

After my visit I took a stroll through the parkland which belongs to the Corsham Court estate. It’s a popular place for locals to walk and the pathways were scattered with snowdrops. Corsham Court is open at various points during the summer months and although it wasn’t open on the day I visited I managed to peek through the gates towards the beautiful exterior of the house. It’s also home to some of the ‘famous’ residents of the town, the peacocks! You can often spot them on the High Street or even cheekily holding up the traffic. Unfortunately on this occasion they were hiding from me!

Make a break of it

Just on the outskirts of the town lies Guyers House Hotel, which sits within several acres of grounds and has recently been upgraded to a four stars. It has recently relaunched its bar area and is open for non-residents too. The rooms I were shown had spectacular views over the pretty grounds.

Close by as well is Jack’s restaurant within Hartham Park. I was taken on a tour to show me some of the rooms you can use for private functions, meetings and weddings as well as the bar and restaurant area which is open to the general public.

What’s more?

There is great excitement within the town as it gears up for the BBC screening of Poldark. Corsham High Street was used for the filming of this production and it was fascinating to be shown photographs by Rachel from Corsham Town Council of the shop fronts ‘covered up’ ready for the filming.

If you enjoy walking as well then keep an eye out for the Corsham Walking Festival which takes place on 12-14 June 2015.

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Corsham
Market Town
Corsham High Street
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