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Community and Local Organisations

Hawkesbury and Horton WI's membership is from a rural community on the borders of S. Glos. and Glos. Most live in Hawkesbury Upton, Hillesley, Horton or the surrounding Commons. This is an "Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty" on the edge of the Cotswold escarpment, a beautiful place to live, and attracting Cotswold Way walkers.

There is a variety of local employment available and many families have lived in the area for generations, but a particular success is that "incomers" are integrated well. Only 7 miles from both the M4 and M5, the area attracts commuters to Cheltenham, Bristol, Bath and Swindon. However, there is a strong sense of community, a full social calendar and numerous local organisations. WI members have always risen to the challenge of contributing to our community whether inside the WI or as Church Warden, School Govenor, or Brown Owl.

photo of Hawkesbury Monument.
photo of Hawkesbury Monument..
photo of Hawkesbury Monument.
and Horton WI
Hawkesbury Uptonphoto of Hawkesbury Monument

Hawkesbury Upton is a village of about 1500 inhabitants and has two pubs; a primary school with 90 pupils; a grocery shop; a post office; a village hall, recreation ground, children's playground, a cricket ground and tennis courts. The Somerset Monument, or Hawkesbury Monument, is a local landmark. There is a Primitive Methodist and a Baptist Chapel in the village and a mile down the hill in Hawkesbury is the beautiful church of "St Mary's" surrounded by just a few houses. There has been a church on this site since Saxon times.

A monthly 30 page Parish Newsletter details the many local social events, societies and local services.

The Local History Society (www.hawkesburylocalhistorysociety.co.uk) has produced 'HAWKESBURY CHRONICLES 972-1899AD', a volume of over 300 pages illustrating life in the past in and around Hawkesbury parish using datable documents and records. Another account of the village's history, including fascinating anecdotal record of events in living memory, has been documented by four local authors in "A Monument to Hawkesbury", published by Perception D&P of Wotton-under-Edge.

The Hawkesbury Horticultural Society organises and runs the Hawkesbury Show each August. www.hawkesburyshow.org

See also www.hawkesburyupton.com and www.village-hall.org for lots of local information.

HortonPool photo

A couple of miles South of Hawkesbury Upton down the Bath Lane bridleway, an ancient Roman route, Horton sits near the bottom of the steep slope down the Cotswold escarpment. A settlement of about 100 households, Horton has a Primary school (40 pupils), Village Hall and recreation field. Horton Church, "St.James Elder", is located next to the National Trust's Horton Court, a fine Cotswold manor house with a Norman hall. A medium sized enterprise provides employment within the village in engineering.

See also www.hortonandlittlesodburyvillagehall.org.uk for lots of local information.

Hillesleyphoto of Hillesley War Memorial

As it's name suggests, the village of Hillesley is located part way down the Cotswold escarpment, at the head of the Kilcott Valley, about 2 miles North of Hawkesbury Upton. It has nearly 200 households, a pub, a primary school of 50 pupils, a village hall, recreation ground and children's playground and a TV repair shop! St Giles's Church in the village is only 150 years old; the much older Baptist Chapel (1730) has recently stopped holding regular services. A mobile library and mobile police station visit the village fortnightly.

Photographs of Hillesley, details of social events and further links to village organisations can be found at www.bizability.co.uk/hillesley. A free monthly newsletter is produced (coincidentally by a WI member) and distributed to all households in the village with details of events. Newcomers to the village are personally given a copy of the Hillesley Village Directory (again by a WI member) which lists all of the local services, organisations and facilities.

Community Organisationsphoto of schoolchildren on sports day

WI members are often key players in other local groups. Certainly skills learnt and practiced within the WI are transferable to other organisations and the friendships and common experiences gained at WI are helpful in other settings. Organisations have been grouped below into those related to sports, fundraising/campaigning and social/educational activities.

(Note: The aim here is only to provide an outline of the types of opportunites available rather than an up-to-date, maintained, contact list, as such details are readily available within the villages.)


    • Tennis clubs are active in both Hawkesbury and Hillesley and a court is available in Horton. Some tennis coaching is available.
    • Football teams for all ages (under 7s to adult) are organised in Hawkesbury, with regular coaching available. Some matches are played at the Hillesley pitch but the Hillesley (adult) team is in abeyance this season.
    • Cricket teams are active in Hawkesbury and Hillesley. Indeed Hawkesbury has a new cricket ground and pavillion, junior, senior and ladies teams and legendary cricket teas! (often by WI members).
    • Skittles alleys are available in both pubs in Hawkesbury.
    • Boules can be played on the pitch at Hillesley.
    • Dancing classes for children in ballet and modern dance take place in Hawkesbury village hall each week.
    • Horseriding stables operate from Hillesley.
    • Karate classes are available twice weekly for children in Hawkesbury Village Hall.
    • Badminton club operates from Hawkesbury village hall and the hall is hired out privately badminton.
    • Aerobics classes take place in Hawkesbury Village Hall weekly.
    • Yoga classes are taught every week in the Methodist Church Hall in Hawkesbury.
    • Pilates classes are held in Hawkesbury 5 times per week.

    Social organisations

    • Toddlers get together in Hawkesbury and in Hillesley. Hawkesbury also has a playgroup.
    • "The Works" is a craft group for 8 to 11 year olds and meets monthly in Hawkesbury.
    • Hawkesbury After School Club entertains primary schoolchildren after school & in the holidays.
    • Youth Group meets weekly in Hawkesbury.
    • "Evergreens" in Hawkesbury and "Friendship Club" in Hillesley are for over 60's to meet.
    • Guide, Brownie and Rainbow packs meet each week in Hawkesbury.
    • The "Buffs" (Royal Ancient Order of Buffalo) have regular weekly meetings in Hawkesbury and raises considerable funds for local organisations.
    • Theatre Group is very popular and puts on a number of "must see" drama performances each year in Hawkesbury Village Hall.
    • Hawkesbury and Hillesley Local History Society meet each month with a speaker on a topic of local interest. Find out more at www.hawkesburyfamilyhistory.co.uk
    • WI meets monthly in Hawkesbury Upton Village hall. Go to the Activities page for details.
    • Hawkesbury Gardening Club meet each month with a speaker except August and December. Find out more at www.hawkesbury-gardening-club.org.uk

    Campaigning / Fundraising Groups

    • Friends of St Mary's.
    • Hawkesbury School PTA, Friends of Hillesley School, Friends of Horton School.
    • Hall Committees in each village to manage lettings, fund raising and maintenance of halls, playgrounds and recreation grounds.
    • Royal British Legion meet in Hawkesbury.
    • Senior Citizen's Fund raises monies for distribution to pensioners in Hawkesbury and Hillesley at Christmas.
    • Neighbourhood Watch groups operate in all three villages.
    • Hawkesbury Upton Recycling Group is active in promoting recycling and running a village composting scheme.
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