10 things we love about Tarvin and Tarporley
PUBLISHED: 00:00 19 October 2016
Our guide to some of the best aspects of living in and visiting these pretty Cheshire destinations.
A woodland for the community
Tarvin Woodland Trust devote much of their time tending a beautiful woodland they created in a pocket of land between the busy A51 and the village’s residential streets.
Creating this pretty 13 acre space was the brainchild of former parish councillor, the late Jim Grogan. Banks of earth and landscaping have been put in place to dull noise by the Tarvin bypass but the fields between the road and the houses, other than being used by dog walkers, were largely abandoned. In 1993 Jim began his campaign to create this wonderful woodland. Since then proper pathways and drainage have been put in on wet sections. Areas have been cleared, trees planted and a wildflower meadow established. There’s a community orchard too, as well as a commemorative stone dedicated to Jim. The space has been transformed into a tranquil haven and the efforts of the group have earned a Green Flag award on many occasions.
This annual event, which takes place in July, is a popular community event with a parade in High Street to the show ground on Community Field. There is plenty to see and do including stalls, fairground rides and activities.
It is organised by The Rotary Club of Tarporley. Next year’s event takes place on July 8th.
Take a bite
You are not short of places to eat in Tarporley and Tarvin. There are historical pubs that ooze old world charm like The Swan Hotel which started life in 1769 as a coaching inn and an important staging post on the London to Chester route. There’s also The Rising Sun which, in the days before 1939, when Tarporley was famous for holding horse races baked a communal pie with liberal salt to encourage thirst. The Foresters pub in the town was the haunt of grooms and stable hands during the race meetings. For a change of pace and cuisine, you’ll want to try the superb Piste which combines Alpine chic with a fabulous menu. Piste is a family business headed up by James Hughes with former chef to the McLaren F1 team, Duncan Angus, driving the kitchen.
Down the road in Tarvin, Cornichon at The Gunnery has a great menu and The George and Dragon has always been a well-loved member of the community. The Stamford Bridge is also treasured. Located on the Chester road, this hostelry has a big fan base and is a popular stop for commuters.
Drink in the history
Tarporley High Street has a conservation area where handsome 18th and 19th century buildings have become the home to a wide variety of individual businesses, restaurants and cafes. It feels that little has changed in many centuries.
Tarvin also boasts a long and varied history. It appears as a substantial manor in the Domesday Book in 1086, listed as Terve. Today, it has expanded into a busy village, popular as a commuter place for Chester. Visitors can look at a Saxon cross dating back to the 10th century which was unearthed in a Civil War trench. A well documented event is the Great Fire of Tarvin which broke out on April 30th, 1752. Fanned by strong winds, within a couple of hours the greater part of the place burnt down, leaving the timber-framed buildings of Church Cottages and Bull’s Cottage (opposite Tarvin Hall) which can still be seen today. Many of the buildings today are from the rebuilding and remodelling that happened in the years following the blaze.
Tarvin Sands Reindeer Centre
Clint Shaw never envisaged Tarvin Sands Reindeer Centre becoming a tourist attraction. He first created a lake on land off the A51 in Tarvin as a place of respite for his father. But over the years the site became popular with visitors. Today, there are several lakes frequented by enthusiastic fisherman and the area is also home to Clint’s reindeer. He’s kept them for several years and now visitors can see the animals up close as well as experiencing family fun events.
Clint also organises many seasonal events. This month, a Halloween Spectacular will be taking place from October 22nd to November 6th. There will be a treat or treat walk around the spooky lake, a theatre show, an opportunity to meet the reindeer as well as face painting, balloons and other treats.
The countryside surrounding Tarporley is perfect walking terrain, the famous Sandstone Trail, one of the best of the shorter long-distance trails in the north of England, passes close to the town.
There is also an almost 2.5 mile walk around the centre of Tarvin as well as Tarvin Sheaf, which includes a woodland walk.
Cotebrook Shire Horse Centre
Alistair and Janet King’s Shire Horse Centre, near Tarporley, is set in 50 acres of very lovely countryside. Cotebrook is known for the quality of its horses and attracts tens of thousands of visitors a year.
The stud farm, one of the largest in the country, featured on ITV programme, Animal Births. It captured a foal from the centre, Sgurr Alasdair, being born.
Treading the boards
A group committed to making their village shine are the people at Tarvin Community Centre. Everything from exercise classes, toddler groups and tai chi are held here. It is also the base of the village library.
But what makes this centre a little different is its commitment to theatre and the arts. They have presented top plays and musicals, including shows from renowned theatres including the West Yorkshire Playhouse.
Places to shop
Tarporley has a reputation as a fashion mecca and it is fair to say that this picturesque village has become something of a retail therapy destination. It provides an alternative to the thronging city high streets and yet offers genuine choice for the cognoscenti. There are lots of clothing shops selling everything from high-end ladieswear to apparel for the hunting, shooting and fishing set, some of whom belong to the Tarporley Hunt Club which is the oldest in Britain. Top shops to visit are fashion boutiques Si Belle and Papillon. But there are also many other excuses for a spending spree. Its antique curio and craft shops, delis and gift emporiums are just some of the reasons for a leisurely bit of shopping.
Tarvin is also an elegant destination for shopping and dining and can offer everything from something to wear, designers pieces for the home or a place to pick up some fresh farm produce.
Tarporley Twinning Association was set up over 30 years ago. Links with the French village, Bohars, began in 1982 and members of the association have been visiting each other annually since then.
They stay with families in France and the favour is returned when visitors from the French community visit Tarporley.