Each day, I walk to Weston Park, Traitors Ford or Brailes. Sometimes, I do a circuit around all three villages. During the pandemic, drivers slowed down for us walkers. Over the past year, we seem to be invisible.
Despite new rules from the Highway Code for the safety of pedestrians, cyclists and riders, the juggernauts, lorries and cars pay little attention to us walkers. This last month, we have had several torrential rainfalls creating huge floods. But we walk when we can and some kind drivers slow down. Sadly, others ignore the humans who get soaked. Several times we have had to leap into the hedge while a driver blindly flashes past.
There are two nearby attractions – the golf club and the distillery. The golf club drivers rarely pass our home, but the Cotswold Distillery is just across the lane. It receives hundreds of cars (both staff and visitors), vans, lorries and juggernauts. We have counted the vehicles! It’s worse in the summer, of course.
That ‘little bijou distillery’ in 2017 was beautiful. It had two delightful buildings, plenty of greenery and did no harm to the wildlife. When the owner of the distillery first told us villagers of his plans, he promised that there would be no noise, no fumes, no more traffic and no loss.
That bijou distillery is now a huge industrial factory with four vast buildings. We understand that there will be a three-fold increase in bottles sent to the other Cotswold Distillery shops in Bourton-on-the-Water and Broadway, as well as to shops, bars and hotels across the country. This surely means three times the number of lorries going through our villages. The bottles go across the world. Except for Europe, of course.
Most of the residents in Stourton and Cherington have lived here for many years. The Cotswolds is an Area of Outstanding National Beauty. But now Stourton has noise, industrial views and fumes – plus log jams in our lanes.
It puts me in mind of that famous folk song: Where have all the flowers gone?
You may well ask.