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Vale of Belvoir / Melton Mowbray

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Ancestry research will take us to the villages of Stathern, Harby and Long Clawson in late August. We know a little about pork pies and the local out of region Stilton cheese that is available here in Australia. Does anyone have any knowledge of unique/great places to stay in that region. Any local or current knowledge would be greatly appreciated ? Thank you

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    What's "out of region Stilton"?

    The name "Stilton" has almost nothing to do with where the cheese is made (though there's a silly EU rule requiring it to be made in Leicestershire or Nottinghamshire, and Melton and Long Clawson are in's in Leics, so where does this "out of region" stuff come from?): Slilton gets its name from where it was traditionally sold.

    Long Clawson Creamery is an industrial maker of many varieties of English cheese (almost none of which need to be made in a specific region, which is why the term 'Australian Cheddar' isn't an oxymoron), and the world's biggest maker of stilton. It's as noteworthy (or visit worthy) as the world's biggest maker of baked beans or inedible yeast-base spreads would be.

    The conventional "great place to stay" is Stapleford Park (www.staplefordpark.com/), an America wannabe pizza magnate's (now sadly deceased) idea of a Great English Country House.

    Most of us would prefer staying in Stamford, a nearby real small English country town of real charm.

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    Thank you so much flanneruk.

    It is so difficult to find any inside information about the region of Melton Mowbray and the Vale of Belvoir. We often listen to the local radio station " The Eye". The interest comes from my wife's ancestry as young Thomas King stole a watch and was sent to this place after he was spared following proceedings at the Old Bailey.

    I thought the production of Stilton was more focused / concentrated in a place far from Long Clawson. The company at Long Clawson must have a massive production facility. We find it readily available in our supermarkets Coles and Woolworths here in Sydney (similar market positioning to your Sainsburys and Tesco).

    I will enquire on their Facebook page whether we are allowed to visit there.

    We visited Cheddar Gorge in the early 1980's and found it highly educational. In the same way the lawyers have moved on French wine/region exclusivity of nomenclature, I expect we will have no Australian "cheddars" soon.

    I think we will take your advice about Stamford. It looks wonderful and rather smaller to the other we visited in Ct :-)

    Best wishes and thanks again.

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    Hi flanneruk

    I have been surfing through available information on the subject of Stamford. There are a few hotels and B&Bs that look good to me. Do you have a favourite ? Thank you for any further advice on accomodation in the area.

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    Sorry this is so late (was away end May in France) but a quick couple of points:-

    For the Vale and Belvoir, and far more handy for Harby and Strathern than anywhere in or near Stamford you really should try Langar Hall, in Langar (only about 3 or 4 miles from Harby). It is an absolute gem of a small country house hotel with a very highly regarded restaurant. The pub in the village isn't bad either though to be honest I can't see the reason for leaving the comfort and charm of Langar Hall in the evening. (Langar Hall is where the Test Match Special commentary team stay when covering Trent Bridge matches in near by Nottingham (9 miles) - so you might stay in the very room that Richie Benaud has!)

    For great Stilton go to Colston Bassett Dairy in the eponymous village (about 2 miles from Langar or Harby) where off-sales are to be had (not sure about tours but they have a website linked to from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colston_Bassett) and be sure to have a decent lunch in The Martins Arms, the village pub with an excellent reputation.

    Melton is where to pick up a decent pork pie - try Dickinson's & Morris just off the market place - but you can also get really fantastic, top quality pies at the village shop/farm shop in Cropwell Bishop that go by the name of Mrs Kings.

    Hope this helps some - if you've any more specific questions please fire away, I live close by in West Bridgford almost in the shadow of Trent Bridge cricket ground.

    Btw - don't get me wrong, Stamford's nice, even great, but it's not the locale you want to be for serious geanolical research which may involve pouring over parish registers and graveyards thirty miles away on the Nottinghamshire/Leicestershire border.

    Dr D.

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    Dear Dr D.

    Thank you very much for your comments / advice / encouragement.

    You are absolutely right - we will visit Stamford, but it was a bit far from the focus of our journey.

    In the interim we have booked accomodation at Stonepits Farm just north of Melton Mowbray and in the fields where we have no doubt that my wife's ancestor once roamed before he headed off to London to steal a watch, so as to obtain free passage at HM's pleasure to Sydney :-)

    Have a look at Stonepits Farm on Tripadvisor. The Hosts certainly have impressed all who have visited and reported back there. I will report back here for the benefit of Fodorites.

    Interestingly my wife's convict ancestor's name was Thomas King and so we wonder if Mrs King of pork pie fame is/was related to my wife's ancestral line.

    Funny you should mention cricket. I once played in the Sydney First Grade Comp against Messrs Boycott, Greig, Knight etc - that was way back in the mid 1970s. Didnt get to play against Ritchie: he had retired from Cumberland by then, but Dougie Walters was in the Cumberland Grade Cricket Team in the Sydney Comp at the time :-)

    So now my bones ache and I need cheese. We will definately visit Colston Bassett Dairy. We buy stilton here in Sydney from the large producing dairy at Long Clawson. It seems very large and I dont think that they have organised visits there.

    We have a day to spare between Melton and the Peak District where we are going for a day and then four days in the Lake District.

    I am going to take a look at Langar Hall now and will visit the pub and try the pies that you mentioned.

    Thank you once again for your advice.

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