* Prices may differ from that shown
Lavender is one of my favourite garden plants and visiting my daughter in Wales is one of my favourite things to do, so being able to combine a trip to a lavender farm on the way to see her was a dream come true. This was especially the case this summer as we managed to time our visit to The Cotswold Lavender farm at the peak of flowering when the fields were in full bloom.
The farm is situated in the village of Snowshill -and the full address is given at the bottom of this review. The website is superb at www.cotswoldlavender.co.uk and there is online shopping available there as well as details about the farm and a news section to read.
As we drove closer to the farm the full glory of the fields in flower was to be seen. It was an amazing sight and one I will never forget. Neither will I forget the heavy scent of lavender that filled the air on that beautiful summer day in early August. Parking is free and in order to access the fields themselves there is a small charge of £2.50 but this allows repeat visits throughout the summer season. Tickets for this are available from the gift shop which is situated just across the road, and where there is also a tea room and the opportunity to purchase lavender plants. We decided that we would visit the tea room first as it was just past lunchtime. Dogs are allowed in the fields but not in the shop or tea room so we left our dog in the car in a shady area.
The Tea Room and Shop
The tea room is beautiful and very reasonably priced as well. The walls are painted in lavender which adds to the experience and the facilities provided are spotlessly clean. There are outside tables if you wish to eat outside and this is ideal if you have a dog with you. I thought the food was very reasonably priced and as you would expect some of the cakes and biscuits were flavoured with lavender which I absolutely adore. We had lavender scones which were mouthwatering beautiful, and there was a wide selection of cakes and a full lunch café style menu was also available for very reasonable prices. The tea room is situated in a covered barn which is really cosy, and during the winter there is a wood burning stove to keep off the chills.
The adjacent gift shop is an Aladdin's cave of goodies and we spent a long time browsing through the wonderful selection of aromatherapy oils and lavender related gifts and culinary treats. My main reason for visiting the shop was to purchase several plants which were so reasonably priced as well. I would suggest taking a short walk to the lavender fields before purchase if you visit during flowering, as here there is a display of rows of each variety in full bloom which gives a fantastic idea of the look that each variety has. I was particularly interested in this as there is a world of difference between the English lavenders which have a more blue tone compared to many of the French which are a deeper purple. I wanted three to plant in a tub close to my patio and so after much deliberation I opted for the Old English which seemed like the perfect introduction to lavender growing for me, as it isn't something I have tried to grow before. I paid £3.99 each for large pots which was excellent value compared to my local garden centre. The plants are doing so well that I am planning a repeat visit in the next few weeks to add to my collection.
The Lavender Fields
Having spent a while in the tea room and gift shop we purchased our tickets for the lavender farm and collected Molly our little dog and set off up the fields to what I have to say was the most beautiful walk I have done in a long time. The aroma was heavy with the scent of lavender, and the plants were lying in bee covered rows as far as the eye could see. There were swathes of deep blue and purple, and the air was filled with the intense buzzing of bees and insects. I sat on the ground with my elderly dog Molly and said to her "this is paradise" - and it was. There was harvesting machinery poised in the field beyond temporarily at rest for it was a Sunday visit that we made, but there was access into the barn where the oils are harvested with a display detailing production methods which was very interesting. Everything is done with nature in mind and with the desire to be as natural as possible and with respect for the environment.
What really struck me on the sunny afternoon was the intense beauty of the place- looking down over the fields at high summer it is one of those memories that you cling onto in times of intense stress. Picture postcard perfect in every way this was an experience to treasure.
Hill Barn Farm
This review is also posted on Ciao under my user name Violet1278.