A warm welcome in Tarvin and Tarporley

PUBLISHED: 00:00 16 September 2014

Businesses along Chestnut Terrace

Businesses along Chestnut Terrace


We visit Tarporley and Tarvin to meet the locals who love life here, and are extending a warm welcome to others

The Chestnut Pavilion, TarporleyThe Chestnut Pavilion, Tarporley

To suggest Tarporley has carved itself a reputation as a place for retail therapy is absolutely true. With a hive of charming boutiques, restaurants and cafes it has become a delightful change to busy city high streets for discerning shoppers. There is also a draw for passionate foodies with old coaching inns, a lovely chocolate shop and a popular local butchers and fantastic restaurants.

But a friendly welcome and a helping hand are also at the top of the list in this historic, picture postcard village. One talented local, Joanne Taylor, has turned making people smile into a full time occupation. The 37-year-old, who runs Callula Glass from home just outside the village, first started making jewellery after she was made redundant from a marketing job. But her passion for working with fused glass was ignited when she decided to study a foundation degree in Contemporary Arts Practice course at Leek College in 2009. The following year she bought her first kiln and after a lot of experimentation, she launched Callula Glass in July of that year.

But now Joanne has taken her work one step further and is hoping to spread a little cheer not just around Tarporley, but also across Cheshire and the rest of the country. She has been making sentiment gems and leaving them in different places for passers-by to discover. Each fused glass piece features the words smile, dream big, love or be happy. A tag is pinned to each one explaining the gems are for the finders to keep or to give to a friend.

As part of her Sentiment Project, Joanne has left them in many different places including Delamere Train Station, Tarporley High Street, Lake Bala in North Wales, Barmouth Sand Dunes and even one on Buckingham Palace gate. She also plans to enlist the help of friends and family to help leave them further afield including in France and Scotland.

Tarporley milestoneTarporley milestone

She said: ‘I have always loved creating items that bring a smile to a person’s face so the Sentiment Project felt like a really good thing to do. I have really enjoyed searching out for new places to leave the gems. It’s a lot of fun.

‘What has been really special is hearing from people who have found the gems. I have heard all kinds of stories from lots of different people. It’s been quite an emotional thing. One couple were revisiting their wedding venue on their first anniversary and they found one. I love the fact they have a memento of this special time. I was only going to do it this year but I’d love to carry it on because it has been such a success.’

Joanne is not the only person providing a helping hand. Just a few minutes down the road is Jigsaw Medical Services, a medical services company who provide event medical cover, ambulance services, medics for television and film as well as first aid training and clinical education. They have provided medical support for many events from the local Tarporley Carnival and the successful Bolesworth International to large scale concerts for big names acts including Tom Jones. Their biggest event to date was providing medical assistance for the Grand Depart for this year’s Tour de France.

Chris Percival, founder and managing director who also lives in Tarporley, said: ‘The Tour de France approached us because they needed medical cover for 3.5 million people. We provided over 230 doctors, nurses, paramedics for the two days to make sure the public were looked after.

‘That was a really big scale event for us and it was one that we were very proud to have been asked to do. It was an honour to be a part of it.

‘But we are just as proud and it is just as important for the smaller events we do. We love being involved with Tarporley Carnival because it is something local to us and it is a fantastic occasion. It’s important to me that we are involved with local life and the community.’

What is remarkable is that Chris, 22, founded the company during his university education. He first knew he wanted to have a career in medical services when learned first aid as a teenager.

He said: ‘People are really surprised by my age but they do also realise we are good at what we do. I really love what Jigsaw achieve and want our reputation to keep growing.

‘It was important to me to be based in Tarporley. It’s a fantastic area and I love being here.’

It has been the warm nature and support of the local Tarporley and Tarvin communities that has helped make the annual Fun Horse Ride such a success. The Rotary Club of Tarporley event, organised by secretary John Smith and committee chairman Andrew Wallace, has been running for more than 25 years. The event, which starts at Utkinton Lodge Farm in Cotebrook, near Tarporley, is being held on September 7th and takes in 10 miles of gorgeous Cheshire countryside including Hatchmere, Beacon Hill and parts of the Cheshire Plain. It encourages equestrian enthusiasts to enjoy a fun ride together while raising money for charity.

John said: ‘I love the atmosphere, it is a really fun ride and we usually get around 150 to 200 riders. Any kind of riders can join in and we always have an enjoyable day. Our course also gives them access over fields rarely available and there are some jumps if people want to do them.

‘It is also a good way of raising funds which we donate to charity including Tarporley War Memorial Hospital, St Luke’s Hospice in Winsford and Clwyd Special Riding Centre in Llanfynydd. Each participant gets a rosette and everyone always says they have a good time.

The welcome is just as warm in Tarvin. Like Tarporley, this Cheshire village does not come any more delightful. This rural idyll, 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.

It is also a place rich in history. Visitors can looks at a Saxon cross dating back to the 10th century which was unearthed in a Civil War trench. A coin of Constantius I was also found here indicating a Roman connection and because of the village’s close proximity to Chester it became the site of various skirmishes throughout the English Civil War.

A well documented event is the Great Fire of Tarvin which broke out on Monday 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.

Recently work has been done by local organisations including Tarvin Parish Council, Tarvin Civic Trust and Tarvin Local History Group to find out more information and to show how a former pinfold near the centre of the village would have looked 150 years ago. Pinfolds date from the Medieval period and would once have been found in most villages.

Tarvin Pinfold had an area for stray animals, a well and even a roundhouse used as a small prison to house criminals overnight. An interpretation panel has now been installed in the village for people to see what the space would once have 
looked like.

The village has been the ideal place for Tara Cork who took over the running of The Gunnery Brasserie in High Street just over a year ago. The American-born restaurateur first came to England after meeting husband Jonathan when the pair both worked in Boston. She has worked in the restaurant industry since leaving university as well as working in marketing and advertising for large companies including America Online. But it was her move to Cheshire, a yearning to run her own business and the previous owner’s plans to retire that drew her to this quaint restaurant, which dates back to the early 19th century.

Tara, who has two children Sammy, 11 and Daisy, three, as well as expecting a third baby, said: ‘I call The Gunnery my fourth child. Now, I am lucky to have my staff who do a lot of the running for me but I have given a lot of time to the restaurant. It makes me happy and I hope I make other people happy.

‘It is a tremendous opportunity because when in your life do you get the opportunity to do something like this? The village is growing fast, there are developments that mean the village will be bigger and I am seeing a lot of new faces here. I think we’re in a great position to grown as Tarvin does.

‘People here have been so welcoming. It is such a nice community and the village is really coming into its own. I’m really proud to be a part of it. Running The Gunnery has been a tremendous learning curve for me, but the people here have made it worthwhile. They have been fantastic.’

The origins of Tarvin and Tarporley Pub names

High Street Heroes of Tarvin

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