The Old Post Office is in the pretty hamlet of Fossebridge, in a spectacular dip in the Roman Fosse Way, between the Gloucestershire towns of Cirencester and Northleach. This 7-bedroom, 3-bathroom property, which dates back to the 17th Century, has a wealth of character, including flagstone floors, beamed ceilings and feature fireplaces. Up to 2 well-behaved dogs are welcome (*See below).
(*Dogs: Up to 2 well-behaved dogs are welcome at The Old Post Offcie at an additional cost of £30 per dog. Please let us know if you will be bringing a dog(s) and we will then revise your booking confirmation.)
The Old Post Office is entered through the Outer Courtyard door (Note: the main oak door at the front is very old and tricky to open from outside though it does open from the inside). Step inside from the Courtyard onto the original flagstone flooring and turn left along the hallway to head into the Dining Room.
The striking dining room is at the heart of The Old Post Office and features a large antique dining table, with seating for 6 (extra seating can me brought in from the Breakfast Room) and an impressive open fireplace. A tall, glass-fronted dresser houses china and glassware for 12 guests, plus plates and bowls for use in the garden. Original beams and an unusual chandelier over the table add to the wonderful character of the room.
The kitchen, with its high-beamed ceiling, shaker style units and quirky chicken and duck pictures and ornaments, brings to mind a French farmhouse kitchen. A small breakfast bar sits adjacent to the original stone hatch - an ideal place to perch for a morning cuppa or to sit and chat while a meal is being prepared. The kitchen is fully equipped with gadgets, appliances and basic cooking supplies, including range oven/hob, microwave, dishwasher, Nespresso machine, kettle, toaster, crockery, glassware (including champagne flutes) and cutlery for 12, blenders, bakeware, saucepans, teapot, cafetière, bowls, serving dishes and recipe books. (See ‘Facilities’ for more details.)
This beautiful room is very much the heart of the house and really gives the impression of stepping back into the 17th Century with its smooth flagstones, huge wooden beams and window seats. Dominated by sumptuous sofas, armchairs and an impressive inglenook fireplace with a Clearview multi-fuel log burner, this room is an inviting entertaining and relaxing area, away from the distraction of a TV, which is in the Snug.
This handy room off the Living Room is a bit of an Aladdin’s Cave! It’s where you will find the washing machine and dryer, clothes rack, brooms, mop, vacuum, cleaning products, an old but working fridge-freezer and the water immersion heater.
This elegant, dual aspect second reception room, with its duck-egg blue walls, sink-in corner sofa and open fireplace, is the ideal place to retreat to play a game, curl up with a book (on the sofa or window seat) or watch a film on the extra-large TV (with Amazon TV) or DVD player (A wide choice of DVDs is provided). Light from the garden pours into the room and is reflected in a stunning mirror over the marble mantelpiece.
Return to the Courtyard entrance hall and through to:
Located at the end of the downstairs hallway, this cosy king size double bedroom with brass bedstead feels a bit like a retreat within a retreat with its inglenook fireplace, window seat overlooking the Outer Courtyard and original feature oven. The stone walls and wood panelling add to the unique setting of this ground floor bedroom.
This contemporary shower room with polished limestone flooring and tiling, sink and dual flush W.C. and heated towel rail is ideally located for guests in Bedroom 3 but is also useful as an alternative to the upstairs Family Bathroom for guests sleeping on the upper floors.
Between Bedroom 3 and the Shower Room is a small hall with a full-length mirror, hanging hooks for coats and plenty of space to keep muddy boots and shoes.
Off the Inner Hallway is an Inner Courtyard which leads to the Annex (see below for description of Annex)
Upstairs Main House
A wide wooden staircase in the Living Room leads to Landing One, with a pretty window seat overlooking the garden.
This striking master bedroom, with its ornamental Victorian fireplace and painted tile surround, is furnished with a mahogany king-size sleigh bed, antique chaise-longue, mahogany cupboard, chest of drawers, a dressing table and mirror and a flat screen TV/DVD player. As you walk across the original, slightly creaky, oak floorboards to gaze out over the landscaped garden you’re sure to appreciate the long history of the house.
The pale olive-green Shaker-style wood panelling in the family bathroom makes this a very inviting and relaxing space. Featuring a full-size bath with a hand-held shower, a large sink, with an eye-catching blue mosaic mirror, and a dual flush toilet.
At the end of the landing is a gorgeous twin room (the beds can be linked to make a king-size bed) decorated in a calming silver-sage green colourway. The cushioned window seat beckons you to take a pew and read a book or gaze out over the garden. This bedroom has a hanging cupboard, large chest of drawers and mirror, and bedside tables with reading lamps.
An ideal bedroom for a younger guest with its single, Victorian, iron bedstead and pretty window seat with views over the garden. A large walk-in cupboard with chest of drawers provides plenty of space to hang clothes and store suitcases (or hide during a game of sardines!). The room is also furnished with a ladderback chair and bedside cabinet.
A winding, carpeted staircase leads up to Landing Two, with a large storage cupboard and full-length mirror, and the two attic bedrooms right up in the eaves, but with plenty of space:
Bedroom 6 (Attic Room 2)
This single bedroom features The Old Post Office’s striking oak A frame. Extensive built-in cupboards and a large desk, with plenty of power points for computers/devices, makes this a great spot for studying or playing computer games, as well as sleeping in the pretty metal-frame day bed.
Bedroom 5 (Attic Room 1)
At the far end of the converted attic, through a linking cut-out doorway (from Attic Room 2), is Bedroom 5 or Attic Room 1, a double bedroom featuring the far end of the home’s ancient oak A-frame. The bedroom has extensive built-in cupboards and drawers, bedside tables and reading lamps and a Velux window (with blind).
The well-appointed, two-storey Annex has two entrances: one leading from the parking area into the living room on the top floor and the othevia the Inner Courtyard that links to the Shower Room in the main house.
The property has a gated entrance to both the front and side. There is a gravel driveway to the side of the property with ample off-street parking for 4 cars. Access to the first floor of the annexe is located from the parking area. Between the annex and the main house is a small paved courtyard. A pretty walkway from the parking area leads down some steps, past a small pond, through the landscaped garden to both an Outer Courtyard, and the rear entrance, and on round to the front door.
All the rooms, except the kitchen, face south and have lovely views over the mature garden, with its shrubs, herbaceous boarders and towering trees, bordered by the babbling River Coln. The garden has several paved terraces, with plenty of outdoor seating and tables for a meal for 12 or a quiet drink in the sunshine. A charcoal BBQ is provided for guests to use, placed down by the river terrace.
The closest food supplies are at Chedworth Farm Shop, just 1 mile away, selling basic food items, wine and beer, plus farm-produced cheese and milk, locally reared meat, fruit and veg. (See www.chedworthfarmshop.co.uk for opening times.) The farm shop also has a small cafe, serving all-day, full-English breakfasts!
A wider range of amenities are available in Northleach, 3 miles along the Fosse Way, (see below), while the greatest selection is in Cirencester (about 8 miles away).
Northleach has a small Budgens mini-market store in the centre, which stocks all the essentials, while Cirencester has all the major supermarkets, including Waitrose, Tesco Extra, Lidl and M&S Simply Food. Waitrose, Ocado, Tesco and Sainsburys all deliver to The Old Post Office.
Fossebridge is in the centre of superb Cotswold walking country. You can walk on footpaths directly from the cottage, up the Coln Valley to the Roman Villa at Chedworth and downstream towards beautiful Bibury and the famous Arlington Row.
For a short introduction to the area, follow a stunning 2-mile walk that starts at the Inn at Fossebridge, just across the road, published by Paws under the Table – a guide to dog friendly walks and pubs in Oxfordshire and the Cotswolds.
For longer countryside walks visit www.cotswoldsaonb.org.uk to download several walks in the area, including an easy 4.5 Mile-Without-Stiles ramble from Northleach through historic Hampnett and back along the Saltway – an historic route along which salt was transported from Droitwich to the Cotswolds.
The Inn at Fossebridge is a stone’s throw from The Old Post Office. It is set in four acres of gardens next to the River Coln and is dog friendly. Serving a wide range of food throughout the day and noted in the 2019 CAMRA Good Beer Guide, this is a welcoming and very handy inn for guests at The Old Post Office.
There are two excellent places to eat in Northleach:
•The Curious Wine Cellar (in The Ox House on Market Place: https://curiousaboutwine.com/), which serves light lunches and evening meals, plus daily fresh patisseries and bacon sandwiches at the weekend! They also host occasional live music evenings and one-off events like the ‘Gold Cup Evening’ in March.
•The Lucky Onion’s Wheatsheaf (www.theluckyonion.com/property/the-wheatsheaf/) an award winning (Best of British Tatler Restaurant Awards) restaurant, bar and hotel with treatment rooms which serves a mouth-watering selection of “quality, locally sourced, simple rustic food”, including gin-cured chalk stream trout. Booking well in advance of your stay is advisable for both establishments.
Nearby tourist attractions:
The Roman Villa, Chedworth (a National Trust property) – 3.5 miles from Fossebridge: one of the “grandest Roman villas in Britain” with a stunning Roman mosaic. There are picnic benches and summer deck chairs set to look across fantastic views of the Cotswold countryside and a café that’s open to all.
The Cotswold Discovery Centre in the Old Prison, a grade II listed 18th century building and now an historic visitor attraction. The centre is also home to the Cotswolds Conservation Board, the Cotswold Lion Cafe and the Cotswolds Dry Stone Walling Academy.). Located on the Fosse Way, 3 miles from Fossebridge.
Northleach, 3.5 miles away, is a fantastic example of a medieval “New Town”, built following the Norman Conquest, and is still very much intact. The free “Historic Town Walking Trail” booklet (available from the Post Office on Market Place) provides an in-depth guide and map detailing all the major landmarks, including 16- and 17th merchants’ houses, a workhouse, alms houses and the magnificent St Peter’s and St Paul’s Church (see below).
The Mechanical Music Museum: a living museum with an incredible variety of self-playing musical instruments. Admission by guided tour only. www.mechanicalmusic.co.uk
St Peter and St Paul’s Church: built in the 1400s from wealth generated by the town’s wool merchants, this Perpendicular church is known as “The Cathedral of the Cotswolds”. It has several famed brasses dedicated to the merchants, including John Fortey whose legacy was to rebuild the nave of the church. The church bells ring spectacularly, for services and on Tuesday night. St Peter and St Paul’s is open to daytime visitors. See @NorthleachChurch
The Dolls House: if you or your children are intrigued by Dolls’ Houses a visit to this unusual shop is a must-do. Established in 1971 in London’s Covent Garden, then relocated to Northleach in 1995, this shop sells handmade dolls houses and miniature furniture.
We hope you do not need any medical care during your stay, but if you do here is the relevant contact information:
For minor health emergencies call ‘111’. For a major emergency call ‘999’.
The Westwoods Surgery is 2-minutes’ walk from The Old Post Office. Westwoods Surgery, Bassett Road, Northleach, GL54 3QJ. Tel: 01451 860247
Closest hospital (A&E) Swindon Great Western (Coatside Way, Swindon SN3 6BB).
Emergency Dentist: The closest dentistry practices are in Cirencester or Bourton-o-the-Water. Gloucester Street Dental Practice, Cirencester. Telephone: 01285 653251.
The nearest veterinary clinic is: Stow Veterinary Surgeons, Farmington Rise, Northleach, GL54 3JA. They provide a 24-hour emergency service. Telephone: 01451 830620.
Fossebridge, Englanti, Britannia