Blockley Parish is located in a beautiful part of the North Cotswolds within the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It is one of the largest parishes in England by area, at about 12 square miles (30 sq km) of mixed use farm and woodland, with a population of just over 2000*. Over the years, the parish’s evolution has been strongly influenced by its relatively isolated location and by the industrial history of Blockley village, its main population centre.
With a long and influential industrial history and significant ongoing commercial activity, the parish is home to a thriving community with a strong sense of identity, while remaining relatively tranquil and unspoilt.
Blockley village developed as a mill town during the 9th Century, using the reliable, spring-fed streams to power the 12 water mills later recorded in the Domesday Book. The mills were variously used for grain, timber, cider, flax, wool and silk over the years. After their boom years during the first half of the 19th Century, they went into relatively rapid decline with the collapse of the local silk trade.
Although most of the mill buildings remain, none of them retains any working machinery and all but one have been converted into domestic premises. The small, densely packed mill workers’ houses remain one of the village’s characteristic features, lining the narrow, steeply-sided valley alongside the main stream and High Street.
In the mills’ heyday, the village had over 60 shops, seven inns and four banks, as well as two piano factories and the Vulcan iron foundry and works. The village now boasts one community-owned shop and café with a part-time Post Office service, a hotel, a pub and several small business units.
Blockley Parish forms part of the boundary between the headwaters of the Rivers Thames and Severn. Significant clay deposits lie between the attractive limestone hills; springs form the main source of the several steeply-falling streams which flow through Blockley, Aston Magna and Draycott villages. By contrast, the parish village of Paxford lies on more open, level ground drained by the Knee Brook, a tributary of the River Stour.
Local economy and culture
Village life is highly active across all age groups. Blockley is home to a large primary school, bowling club, sports club and grounds, a parish church and three village halls. Social and recreational clubs remain popular, including an amateur dramatic society and several choirs. It is a popular tourist destination, primarily for ramblers, as the narrow roads and limited parking make it impractical for coach-based tourism.
Three light industrial/commercial parks are also located within the parish, home to 70-80 active businesses. The business parks are at Draycott, Northcot and Northwick Park, the latter being adjacent to the attractive Northwick Park mansion and grounds. Paxford is also close to the active Northcot brickworks, which still produces high quality bricks from a local clay deposit. Aston Magna also retains some of its former timber activities.
The recent advent of broadband has enabled more people to work from home and this, combined with relatively fast train connections to Oxford and London, has encouraged more families and young professionals to settle in the parish.
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Please browse our council team by portfolio to get in touch with the relevant councillor. Or for more
general enquiries, please email Sarah Longbottom, our Parish Clerk, at email@example.com.