When I first arrived in my little corner of the Cotswold’s 50 years ago it was a very rural scene. I lived on the edge of the countryside with farms and fields all around. There was some post war prefabricated housing nearby, and a few ancient cottages. There was one unobtrusive industrial area with factories linked to the aviation industry, and their offices were in a manor house which was known as Arle Court. The manor was built in the mid1800s to replace the Butt family’s original Elizabethan house of the same name and it has a fascinating history.
Today the area around the manor house has become very built up with a supermarket and DIY store, a pet shop, a park and ride bus service, new housing, and an enormous car showroom and garage! Most of the old factories have been converted and now house a private hospital, a gym, offices, and a film studio.
But when I go to the area these days, I make a point of taking a little detour to what can only be described as an oasis of peace and a little treasure trove of nature. Despite everything around, there is still the stunning manor house set in 7 acres of beautiful formal gardens with a lake and woodland hiding it from the busy modern, commercial world. It is called Manor By The Lake now and is a quirky hotel, perfect for weddings, special events and conferences. The decor inside is simply gorgeous as you will see if you look on the website.
There are herons and ducks in the lake, woodpeckers galore in the gardens, and an abundance of wildlife in the woodland. I used to be able to walk my dog there, but now it is all private and there are development plans afoot for the woodland. I just hope that a little corner can be preserved for future generations to enjoy.