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Knowledge, Perspectives, Eat, Sleep, Drink, Eat, Drink

Love your area:

Best of Witney

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Love your area Witney New Bridge over River Thames Witney

From real ales to hay bales, via blankets and confectionary here are OX Magazine’s best-loved Witney staples – the latest instalment in our celebration of Oxfordshire’s many impeccable towns and villages.

Cogges Manor Farm

Love your area Witney Cogges Manor Farm
Cogges Manor Farm © Ric Mellis

Across the River Windrush stands Cogges Manor Farm. The house dates all the way back to the 13th century, while Cogges appears in the Domesday Book of 1086. You can even see the first owner of Cogges on a portion of the Bayeux tapestry. Cogges manor came under the purview of Henrys VII and VIII who then gave the land to the founder of Trinity College Oxford, Thomas Pope. Fast forward to the modern day and the grounds have been lovingly restored by volunteers into a working garden with buildings used for all manner of events. Check their website for details about pantos, carols and Christmas markets in December.

Church Lane | cogges.org.uk

Wychwood Brewery

Love your area Witney Wychwood Brewery‘Afraid of the dark, Lagerboy?’ – So reads the strapline to Wychwood Brewery’s flagship ale, Hobgoblin. (A disgruntled reader of this ad made a complaint to the Advertising Standards Agency which was duly quashed.) This world-famous brewery offers two-hour guided tours that can be booked through their website and make excellent gifts for any ale fanatics in your life. See how the beer is concocted from its raw ingredients and sample the finished product at the tour’s end.

Eagle Industrial Estate, The Crofts | wychwood.co.uk

The Shake Shop

Love your area Witney The Shake Shop

Local sisters Kim and Debbie opened their incredibly popular little shop in 2011 and have been ‘shaking up Witney’ ever since. Dedicated to flying the flag for family-run, independent business, the shop has gone from strength to strength, expanding from their initial space to include a 50s diner. They have a smoothie/milkshake menu as long as your arm and a range of old-fashioned sweets sold by weight that is sure to resurrect pangs of nostalgia from anyone who used to spend their pocket money on penny sweets. They also run events raising money for local charities, and once made 270 milkshakes in their seventh birthday happy hour.

Market Square | shakeshop.co.uk

Witney Blanket Hall & Pie Shop

Love your area Witney Blanket Hall and Pie Shop

Witney has been synonymous with woollen blankets since The Middle Ages. Until 1908, the word ‘Witney’ was allowed to be used generally to denote quality and could be appended to products made up and down the country. Blanket makers also traditionally made mop heads and at one point it is believed that every Royal Navy ship had a Witney mop aboard. Witney Blanket Hall was built in 1721. For over 120 years, every blanket woven in the town passed through its doors to be weighed and measured. After passing through many different incarnations since the mid-19th century, the hall has reopened in a nod to Witney’s heritage. On sale are blankets, throws and other woollen goods as well as tea, coffee, cakes and even their own Blanket Hall Beer.

High Street | www.cotswoldwoollenweavers.co.uk/blankethall

Greenway Antiques

Love your area Witney Greenway Antiques

Housed in a charming 17th century building, Greenway Antiques has been in Witney for 35 years. Independent and family-owned, the personally selected items change and evolve constantly, so there’s always something to look out for on a visit. Given their personal engagement with their stock, there’s no better place to get expert advice on a special antique. Covering the periods from the 17th to the mid-20th centuries, they carry items for the home and garden, furniture, decorative items and metalware, especially for the fireplace.

Corn Street | greenwayantiques.co.uk

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Fri 18 Jan 2019

Foodylicious:

Food and Drink you can feel Good About

After a chance meeting at the Didcot Street Fair I find myself on the way to meet Simon Collison, a man who knows more about the UK’s food and drink industry than anyone you’re likely to meet. I was there to discover the ethos of a man whose enterprise, Foodylicious, had caught our attention. He’s an extremely affable chap, with a generous smile and genuinely enthusiastic tone. I first ask him of the route of his career thus far and discover a raft of leading brands that he was responsible for bringing to the UK consumer.

Mon 14 Jan 2019

Self-confessed food obsessive and fermentation advocate, Emma Collen, owner of the fabulous Jericho Kitchen Cookery School, had her passion for all things fermented ignited by a lesson from Simon Poffley, author of Ferment, Pickle, Dry: Ancient Methods, Modern Meals.

Fri 11 Jan 2019

“A Time of Hope” 

Oxford Marks Holocaust Memorial Day 

This month Keble College will hold its 12th Holocaust Memorial Day service, which welcomes the sounds of both Keble College Choir and that of the Oxford Jewish Congregation, OxfordShir. The latter is named for the Hebrew word for song, Shir. “It seems to work,” conductor John Dunston says warmly of the wordplay. He and I are both guests of Nevsky Everett, Chaplain at Keble.

Fri 11 Jan 2019

One aspect of the festive season that inspires a little reflection come January is our alcohol intake. Christmas and New Year seem to be a perfect storm for having one too many, and January can leave us feeling the need to cut back – hence dry January. So as to not feel like one has to totally abandon the booze – here are a couple of guilt-free cocktail ideas from some purveyors of fine, alcohol-free and low-calorie drinks that won’t have you feeling left out.