Friday afternoon at Daylesford Organic farm shop near Kingham, Gloucestershire, and a steady stream of 4x4s crunches along the pale gravel drive to park outside the low-slung honey-coloured complex. The London crowd is arriving to claim weekend organic treats of farm-fresh venison and award-winning cheeses, with perhaps a scented candle or an impulse-buy potted bay tree.
This is prime Cotswolds second-home territory, 90 minutes from London, six miles from Stow-on-the-Wold and on the doorstep of David Cameron and the rest of the Chipping Norton set. England’s green and most pleasant countryside, it has an unnerving air of perfection, its pristine village cottages polished and painted in pale aqua and sage green Farrow & Ball.
The small village of Daylesford was put on the organic foodie heaven map by Carole Bamford, wife of JCB billionaire Sir Anthony Bamford and the high priestess of healthy eating. She converted the family’s 1,500-acre Daylesford estate to organic farming and in 2002 opened the farm shop.
These days you are as likely locally to bump into a celebrity as a flock of sheep — Cotswolds residents include Alex James from the band Blur and actress Liz Hurley — and the Daylesford Organic empire has farm shops in Pimlico, Notting Hill and Selfridges, a restaurant, spa, cookery school and market garden, while the extended brand covers breathtakingly priced cashmere, plus homeware, bath and body products.
Five newly renovated Daylesford cottages are available to rent, four in a terrace beside the main farm shop and the fifth in nearby Kingham village. All have use of the Bamford Haybarn wellness retreat — also next to the Daylesford shop — where yoga and Pilates soothe stressed-out urbanites. A private chef will come in to cater but the farm shop is on the doorstep and there are pubs nearby, including Lady Bamford’s very own pub-restaurant, The Wild Rabbit.
The cottages’ style is designed to seduce weary Londoners with clotted-cream colours and Agas, apple racks and rough stone floors. Throw in an antler coat hook and you are done. Prices start from £330 for a minimum three nights at The Egg Store.
TAKE A TOUR OF A DAYLESFORD COTTAGE:
There is a clear “Daylesford effect” says Ian Daniels of estate and letting agent Butler Sherborn, with potential buyers often specifying that they want a home as close to Daylesford as possible.
Popular villages include Evenlode and Oddington, while Kingham is helped by its station, with trains to London in 85 minutes. Prices typically range from £425,000 for a two-bedroom cottage to £1.45 million for a four-bedroom detached house.
This is countryside hosed down and styled up, a formula that finds its way into squeamish Londoners’ hearts.
“The Cotswolds offers some of England’s most beautiful countryside,” says Daniels. “It benefits from excellent schools, road and rail links and many superb hotels and country pubs. This ensures it remains an extremely desirable place to live permanently or have a second home.” And, of course, without any messy country mud or muck.
Butler Sherborn: butlersherborn.co.uk (01451 830731)
Daylesford: daylesford.com (07824 081468)
The Wild Rabbit: thewildrabbit.co.uk (01608 658389)