The small market town of Atherstone sits on the old Roman Watling Street (A5) which generally forms the upper boundary of North Warwickshire.
Atherstone has a long history dating back to Roman times. An important Roman settlement named Manduessedum existed at nearby Mancetter, the Roman Watling Street running through the town. It is believed by some historians that Boudica was defeated by the Romans in her final battle near Manduessedum.
Many of the old buildings in the town are timber-framed but have been 'modernised' by the addition of brick facades. Look up when in the town and you will see the original shape of many of the buildings. The layout of the centre of the town has changed very little in 750 years with its historic centre based around St. Mary's Church and the Market Square.
Atherstone was once an important hatting town, and became well known for its felt hats. The industry began in the 17th century and at its height there were seven firms employing 3,000 people. Due to cheap imports and a decline in the wearing of hats, the trade had largely died out by the 1970s with just three companies remaining. The production of felt hats in the town ceased altogether with the closure of the Wilson & Stafford factory in 1999.
The picturesque Coventry Canal runs through the town with its series of eleven locks. Atherstone also has a railway station on the West Coast Main line, with an hourly service 7 days a week to both London and Crewe.
The town still plays its annual Shrove Tuesday football game. Not a game for the faint hearted but a tradition which has survived for over 800 years.
A small town with some of the best transport links in the country. Main line trains to London, Birmingham and the north and south from Coventry and Nuneaton and only minutes to the centre of the UK's motorway system. For those who prefer a slower mode of transport the Coventry Canal passes through the edge of the town and provides a waterway link to the north and south of the country.
Although Bedworth has its civic links with Nuneaton it is a town with its own friendly identity.
Whilst still thought by many as an ex-coal mining area, it formed an important part of the 19th Century silk ribbon weaving industry of Coventry and North Warwickshire. The ribbon trade collapsed in 1860 following the Cobden Free Trade agreement with France but the town adopted other trades such as tape, bead and trimming work and eventually hat making.
One world famous silk ribbon maker still operates in Bedworth. Toye, Kenning and Spencer produce high class medal ribbons and Masonic regalia which are exported around the world.
Still run by the Toye family, the firm has grown and diversified since its foundation by a Protestant Huguenot refugee, Guillaume Toye in 1685, its original values are unchanged – superb craft skills, quality and service.
The company holds a Royal Warrant from Her Majesty The Queen as supplier of Gold and Silver Laces, Insignia and Embroidery and was commissioned to manufacture the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medal.
High class engineering skills abound in factories today in Bedworth, many people not realising that the Torches for the 2012 Olympics were made in the town. One of these torches can be seen in the Heritage Centre conveniently situated in All Saints Square in the centre of the town.
Next to the Heritage Centre is Bedworth's hidden gem, the picturesque Nicholas Chamberlaine Almshouses which were built in 1840/41. These are managed by the Nicholas Chamberlaine Charity which was founded in 1715 after the death of Nicholas Chamberlaine. Nicholas was Rector of the small town for 51 years and in his Will left money to build and support schools for boys and girls and the establishment of a hospital (almshouses). As well as the almshouses the charity also supports three Church of England schools in the town. The pupils of these schools still gather in late May for songs, prayers and sticky buns at the almshouses for the annual Founders Day service.
This annual custom sees buns provided for schoolchildren by the Charity and is the reason why it is better known as Bun Day.
Top class entertainment for North Warwickshire, Coventry and further afield, is provided by The Civic Hall in High Street which celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2013.
The town takes pride in the Miner's Welfare Park, which dates from 1923 and was given the accolade of the best public park of its type in 2000.
The market town of Coleshill is an historic coaching town in the western part of North Warwickshire lying close to the outer edge of Birmingham.
Known for its attractive high street with a higher than average proportion of independent retailers, this town offers a wide variety of products and services.
There is a large selection of pubs and restaurants as well as local facilities such as banks, post office and library and railway station.
Some excellent hotels and coaching inns provide a high standard of accommodation and there are lots of places of local interest including the stocks, the old market hall, the church and local walks.
Coleshill is a thriving community that prides itself on providing a large selection of events to attract people to the town – locals and those from further afield.
Local legend has it that an elephant was buried in the town when it died as it was passing through with a circus. Coleshill is also mentioned in the Doomsday book and it is famous for being the town that invented Brylcreem!
There are plenty of open spaces including the Croft, near the Parish Church and lots of local parks and the river Cole of course. Sports feature highly in the community with brand new Leisure Centre (recently relocated adjacent to the Secondary School), the cricket club, the tennis club, the football club and the rugby club.
Nuneaton, in northern Warwickshire, lies at the very heart of England. The Royal Geological Survey and the Ordnance Survey have pinpointed the exact centre of the country to be on the Watling Street, about a mile away from the town. Nuneaton is therefore a natural choice when choosing a base to explore the area.
The town is famous as the birthplace of the Victorian novelist George Eliot, who lived there from 1819 to 1841. Many visitors make pilgrimages to the ancient churchyards of Nuneaton and Chilvers Coton, where monuments to people immortalised in her novels can be found. It is even possible to stay in George Elliot’s house - which is now a Premier Inn, with a heritage of which it is very proud.
One feature of Nuneaton not to be missed, is the bustling street market, which dates back to the 13th century. The market operates on Wednesdays and Fridays and continues to attract people from across the Midlands with its fresh produce and array of goods for sale.
The town is also blessed with a splendid public park which was laid out in 1907. Situated right in the town centre, the park is the result of an endowment by local businessman and colliery owner – Edward Ferdinand Melly. Edward Melly left money, not only to landscape the park but to create an art gallery and museum. Visitors interested in history will also be intrigued by the fine terracotta features which adorn many of the buildings (hint: remember to look upwards!). These are a legacy of the town’s many skilled brick and tile manufacturers.
The town's central position provides it with outstanding transport links, which make it especially attractive to both visitors and the growing number of small businesses which call Nuneaton home. The M1, M6, M40 and M69 are only a short drive away, while excellent rail services radiate across the country, offering fast services to London, Manchester, Birmingham, Leicester and Coventry to name but a few.
However Nuneaton is not all about speed. Should you be looking for a leisurely way to travel, the Coventry Canal runs through the town and if you would rather not leave town, watching the colourful boats float by is a very pleasant way to spend a few hours on a sunny day.
Those wanting to get close to nature and unwind are spoiled for choice as Nuneaton is close to many places of outstanding natural beauty such as the superb Arbury Estate and its George Eliot connections. Nearby Hartshill Hayes Country Park is another beautiful location with relaxing walks whilst there are rolling vistas across the fields of Leicestershire to Bosworth Battlefield and Charnwood Forest.
Polesworth is a large village located near to the northern tip of Warwickshire, 3 miles from Atherstone and 4 miles from Tamworth. The Staffordshire border is adjacent to Polesworth and the Leicestershire and Derbyshire borders are less than 5 miles away.
The river Anker and the Coventry canal run through Polesworth and the Roman road The Watling Street (A5) runs nearby. The railway station is on the West Coast Main Line.
The name Polesworth comes from the words “pol” meaning a pool and “worth” meaning “a dwelling”.
Polesworth abbey is the main tourist attraction and was founded in 827 by King Egbert with his daughter Edita. It has been rumoured that William Shakespeare spent some time at the abbey as a page boy and was also educated during some of his life there too.
Pooley Hall, built in 1509, has some of the oldest brickwork in the country. The hall is still there and overlooks Pooley View. The hall was once owned by Edwin Starr a famous pop musician.
Polesworth was well known for its coal mining and clay industry which made the population grow rapidly. The open cast mine is now a public park – Pooley Heritage Centre. This is an excellent good place for families with walks, picnic benches, refreshments, a small shop and a children’s play area, all set in woodlands.
In Polesworth there are several public houses, a doctor’s surgery, a library, shops, very good take-aways and a very good chip shop. There are also 2 self- catering holiday properties which are Donative Holiday Cottages, set just outside of Polesworth on a working family farm. The Abbey Gatehouse which is the gatehouse to Polesworth Abbey, has 2 apartments that have been recently restored. There is also fishing on the nearby lakes at Alvecote.