Yes, the green welly brigade is in evidence, but this market town is one of those rare spots in the countryside where Guardian readers can be out and proud
What’s going for it? It’s not often one yearns to set eyes upon a concrete multistorey car park. But Stroud is a welcome corrective to most Cotswolds towns, which are a succession of cutie pies, all Country Casuals, antiques shops and unmuddied green wellies, like scoffing three boxes of Thorntons with The Waltons on loop.
First of all, multistoreys. The town has its pretty moments, but much of it is ordinary (good ordinary), occasionally shabby (good shabby). Second, although the green welly brigade is in evidence, it is outnumbered. There is a Peacocks. There is the great Stroud bookshop. There is Fat Toni’s pizzeria (slogan: “history in the baking”). It has health-food shops. It has community farms. It has “Britain’s first totally organic cafe”. It has a spirited community that likes nothing more than seeing off Tesco, McDonald’s and the BNP while rooting for trees, hospitals and post offices. That is right: Stroud is one of those rare spots in the countryside – such as Lewes or Totnes – where Guardian readers can be out and proud.