Castle Coombe has been called 'The Prettiest Village in England' a titled that was bestowed upon Castle Coombe by a national newspaper in 1962 and famous as the location for the 1960's version of Dr Doolittle.Transport
Situated in the narrow valley of the By Brook the village has enjoyed prosperous times producing cloth during the medieval period when several fulling mills lined the banks of the fast flowing By Brook. There is evidence that the area was populated by the Romans, which is no surprise as the village lies close to the Roman road known as the Fosse Way with settlements either side of the road and a shrine to Apollo at nearby Nettleton being discovered. Just a few miles from the Roman town of Aquae Sulis, now known has Bath, Castle Coombe must have been a much desired area of real estate.
Even earlier a late Neolithic long barrow from about 3500 - 2500 BC lies in a field above Castle Coombe, which gives evidence
of the population of the area for several thousands of years. The first written evidence of actual population is given in the
Domesday Book when it was defined as a Saxon settlement.
The castle of the moat and bailey type, may not have been built until the 12th century and only some of the earthworks can be seen about half a mile to the north west of the Manor House. From the wealth of the cloth industry several fine buildings of interest were erected including the White Hart, the Malt House, the Castle Hotel and Old Rectory from the 17th century and the Dower House from the 18th century. The lovely church of St Andrews and the 14th century "buttercross" the centre-piece of the village, said to be for the tethering and mounting of horses are also of great interest.
The manor of Castle Coombe was owned by the Scrope family for 500 years and George Poulet Scrope, who had married into the family and taking the Scrope name, researched the Baronry and wrote the "History of Castle Coombe" published in 1852. Extracts from the publication can be read here.
At the start of the war an airfield was established, to the east of the village and used as a landing ground. The airfield is stilled used today, but the roar of racing engines can be heard as cars and motorbikes race around the perimeter of the airfield rather then the sound of aero-engines.
Now, Visitors arrive by the coach load to see a village famous for being a fishing-port in the film of "The Story of Doctor Doolittle", staring Rex Harrison and Anthony Newley produced at Castle Coombe by 20th Century Fox during the early 1960's and the Manor House is now a luxury hotel. Visitors must take a stroll along the small street leading from the Market Cross down to the By Brook and stand in a part of the village which is as picturesque today as is ever was.
The village is on the B4039 off the A420 from Chippenham & Bristol. The nearest motorway is J17 or J18 of the M4.
The nearest rail station is at Chippenham with services operated by First Great Western.
Bus services connecting Castle Coombe are:
If you wish to visit Castle Coombe, please use the public car park on the edge of the village.