Our local guide to Dursley
To generations of children all over the world, the name Dursley is forever associated with the ghastly family who bring up Harry Potter in the best-selling series of books by J K Rowling.
But to us, Dursley is a friendly little market town in the southern Cotswolds nestling peacefully at the foot of the mighty slumbering bulk of Stinchcombe Hill, where the statue of Queen Anne on the ancient market hall has kept watch over the town’s comings and goings for hundreds of years.
The town was good enough for Shakespeare (who is believed to have spent eight years here working as a school teacher and referred to its ‘wild hills’ in his play Richard II) and today is home to around 11,000 people.
There are supermarkets, primary and secondary schools, a stylish modern library, a range of independent shops and cafes, a popular leisure centre and swimming pool, new housing estates and, nearby, a direct rail link to Bristol. Dursley’s Old Spot pub is regularly voted Gloucestershire ‘Pub of the Year’.
Dursley is also fast becoming a centre for the arts – you’ll want to check out the exhibitions and workshops which take place at Kingshill House and also the nationally acclaimed Prema Arts Centre in nearby Uley, which has a lovely café.
Dursley also has much to offer if you want to head out with the dog or the kids to blow away the cobwebs. The town is surrounded by woodland and countryside and the Cotswold Way long distance trail passes through its centre. Stinchcombe Hill above the town is an exceptional Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty with superb views in all directions and a popular golf course. On a clear day, you may even spot Wales!
Alternatively you can feed the ducks and geese or take a Land Rover safari at the world famous Wetland Centre just down the road in Slimbridge.
Those who like to dig around in the past will also find much to interest them here – sites on the doorstep include Uley Bury Iron Age Hill fort and the neolithic long barrow evocatively named Hetty Pegler’s Tump. Dursley was once a large-scale manufacturing town and engines built here by the Lister engine company were used around the world. The Listers site is now being developed as a large housing estate with industrial units.
The Lister Hall theatre is named after the company. So while Harry Potter might not have liked the name Dursley, we certainly do – and we think you will too.
- Food and Shopping: The town offers a range of independent shops, cafes and restaurants, as well as Sainsbury’s, Lidl and Iceland supermarkets.
- Leisure: there is a swimming pool, leisure centre, library and arts centre.
- Schools: primary schools in Dursley, Cam, Coaley, North Nibley and Uley: Rednock School (secondary) is a comprehensive.
- Churches: in Dursley, Uley, Slimbridge and Coaley.
- Links: there is a railway station to Bristol and Gloucester at nearby Cam.
“Dursley has a thriving community and one of the finest public houses in the area – there is nothing better than dropping into The Old Spot for a pint of Uley beer!”