Things I love include food, flowers and heritage. Since moving to a more rural posting here in Wiltshire, I’m also nurturing a growing interest in wild food and foraging. So finding a pop up coffee shop with an emphasis on local and sustainable located in a historic courtyard of converted buildings…winner!
Wilton Shopping Village is housed in a historic courtyard of brick buildings, the oldest of which dates back to the 1700’s. The site has been used in the past as a grist mill and a tannery and, of course, as a weaving mill for the production of the famous Wilton carpets. Yes, that Wilton.
In the carpet weaving days, the central lawn was used for the rolling out and inspection of larger carpet creations. If you’re interested in that sort of thing (and it is more interesting than it sounds, honestly) check out @wilton_carpets on Instagram for some intriguing heritage images and some jaw droppingly beautiful shots of the modern creations.
The carpet weavers might be long gone, but colourful things are still being created in the courtyard thanks to the arrival of a pop up cafe from Herbs & Wild. The work of Salisbury based Hannah Thomas, H&W places the focus back onto traceability of ingredients, foraged food and seasonal eating. I love the idea of slowing down the approach to food, of using what can be sourced locally and connecting a bit more with what goes on our plates.
I touched in a previous post on my attempts at a little bit of foraging in my local woods, but I don’t have the knowledge to do much more than pluck a few berries at the moment. No one wants to find out the hard way they shouldn’t have eaten something. So finding a place to go that will give me a taste of the wild is a beautiful thing.
And it is also a beautiful place. Wooden tables, each with its own jar of wildflowers, fill the space under a marquee. It creates a lovely intimate-feeling space nestled in amongst the old brick buildings. The perimeter of the courtyard is planted with lavender and pretty summer blooms, and for those who prefer more casual seating there are traditional striped deckchairs.
Being a blisteringly hot day- I think it got up to about the 34 degree mark- we opted for gelato and iced drinks in the shade. The gelato came the form of some locally produced loveliness from the nearby Lacock Dairy. Yes, that’s Lacock as in the nearby village visited and blogged about here. I’m not sure I’d get more local, unless I made it myself. Lets leave it to the experts, shall we?
Due to the heat and the fact that we foolishly timed our visit for just after lunch, we didn’t sample the foody offerings. Not that I wasn’t tempted, but it would have been sheer gluttony. And my waistline is telling me that there has been quite enough of that in lock down, thank you. I’m definitely pencilling in a return visit very soon, though. The menu includes dishes like windfall apple, blackberry and lavender cobbler and samphire spaghetti, so I’d be missing out if I didn’t.
Beyond the walls of the courtyard, there’s plenty of space to walk off the indulgence. The town of Wilton is just up the road and there are some lovely walks along the banks of the River Nadder. Honestly though, I was a bit hot and gelato-stuffed to walk, so enjoyed the river by perching and dipping my feet in.
I love the idea of slow food, of wild edibles and foraging. Quarantine forced me to slow down, evaluate and has left with me with some ideas on changes I’d like to make and avenues I’d like to explore. Food and the great outdoors play a big part in everyday life for me, so isn’t that a grand place to start?
The pop up event runs at Wilton Shopping Village from July to September, use post code SP2 0BH. Beyond this, Herb & Wild offers a range of supper clubs and work shops all of which look brilliant. I’d highly recommend checking them out. Even if you aren’t local enough for a visit, the website and Instagram account @herbsandwild is a feast of inspiration.
Have you started going out to eat and drink again? Been anywhere nice or found any local gems? Let’s chat in the comments.
P.s…this is the first post I’ve created with the new WordPress editor. Honestly, I’m struggling with it. So please be kind and forgive any mistakes if I’ve missed them! And let me know how you are finding the new ‘blocks’, I’m interested to hear how others are getting on with it all?
Haven’t yet had the dreaded email, so still using Classical Editor but any day soon……. Loved the pop up in Wilton, my type of cafe. We’ve begun eating out again but much more cautiously than before and largely in support of our favourite restaurants.
Likewise here, we have made a point of using a few local, independent places. I’m still wary of trying to rush things but if they don’t get some support they might not be there to go back to.
Have to say new editor not so bad now I’ve had a play with it but the old one wasn’t broke either!
When I saw the title ‘ Shopping Villages I nearly didn’t open the post, as any kind of shopping experience is … not my thing. But this looks wonderful. My years in France have made me an ardent, though still inexperienced forager. And Block Editor? Well done. It’ll have to wait till the dark days of winter. I’m terrified.
This is as close to a retail experience as I get these days if I can help it! Block editor…well, it’s not as terrible as I first thought but I do prefer the old way. Have been informed by the Teens that it’s not that hard and I must keep up, so that’s me told.
Teens don’t know quite everything, They just think they do …
I haven’t been to Wiltshire before but I’d love to visit one day! Thanks for sharing 🙂
It’s a beautiful place, I hope you do. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment.
I seem to have lost my appetite for shopping but I must say this shopping village looks lovely. I am using the new block editor, it does take a bit of getting used to it but I think it’s good for my aging brain to face new challenges!
Shopping for leisure and pleasure seems a bit alien now, doesn’t it?
The Wilton Shopping Village and pop ups looks so nice Helen. So great that new life has been brought back to mills such as these. I tried the new block editor but soon discovered it wouldn’t let me centre my photo captions or even justify my paragraphs as I like to do. So for continuity I’m getting around it by writing my posts on my iPad as that still supports the classic editor and then managing to find a way back into Classic on my laptop to add photos via Flickr with my preferred caption style. Frustrating and very time consuming, I’m happy for change if it’s for the better but I don’t think this is. Let me know how you are finding it too Helen.
I hate to sound negative but I’m not keen on the new editor at all. As you say, change for the better is a wonderful thing but I can’t see any extra benefits to the new editor as yet. Maybe as I use it more, all will be revealed? And yes, I agree, it’s great when old buildings are repurposed in a way that preserves them.
My first instinct was to send an SOS with a ‘Book me a table’ message but then I realised I live too far from Wilton to make the journey. You did make me want to visit though, that ice-cream, and in fact, the whole shopping and eating experience sounds delightful.
Classic or Blocks. Classic every time.
What a lovely comment, thank you so much. Hopefully you’ll find something similar near you. I’m on Team Classic…even after several sessions trying to learn to love the Blocks!