Stroud in Gloucestershire has been voted the best place to live in a recent Sunday Times poll. Whilst this may come as a surprise to those familiar with the more well-known Cotswold towns of Chipping Camden, Cirencester, and Stow-on-the-Wold, it will be no surprise to those who live in or around Stroud. What Stroud may lack in picture postcard “Cotswold charm”, it makes up for in community spirit. What sets it apart from many local towns is its heart - it is a real ‘live’ working town, with less second homeowners than other Cotswold market towns. It has a strong sense of community that seems to prioritise looking after each other as well as the environment (Extinction Rebellion was founded here) and has the largest and arguably the best farmers market in the country. The football team Forest Green Rovers is vegan and is headed up by Dale Vince of Ecotricity, Britain's greenest energy company. theme in Stroud and the town boasts a large number of plastic-free shops and wholefood stores.
In addition, Stroud is more affordable than many other nearby Gloucestershire towns or villages, with the average flat price being circa £260,000 and the average terraced property being circa £435,000. This makes it cheaper than nearby Nailsworth, Tetbury or Cheltenham.
Stroud also has excellent transport links, being only a few minutes’ drive to the M5 south to Bristol or north into the Midlands. The M4 to Swindon or South Wales is also within half an hour’s reach which means Stroud is well-placed for to those looking to commute to Bristol, Swindon, Cheltenham or Gloucester. It has a railway station from which Great Western offers services into Gloucester, Cheltenham, Swindon, Reading and London, with trains to Paddington Station taking around 90 minutes.
Stroud also has a number of outstanding primary and secondary schools including two Grammar schools, Marling School and Stroud High, which are next door to each other. Both consistently appear and score highly on The Times ‘Best Schools’ list.
There are miles and miles of fantastic walking routes nearby criss-crossing the Seven Valleys, and some excellent mountain biking trails and easier routes by the canal path. Stroud has its own leisure centre and cinema, and of course there’s the amenities of Cheltenham (great shopping, horse racing etc.) and Gloucester (dry ski slope, dockside cafes/restaurants etc.) on your doorstep.
So we’ve established that Stroud is a great place to live. But as a lawyer, what are your career options in the area? In answer to that, there are a lot of opportunities – there are three excellent High Street firms in Stroud itself, but with Bristol being only 40 minutes to the south and Cheltenham also only 30 minutes away, you will have the cream of the crop of international, national and top 100 law firms, as well as some niche law firms in media, corporate and agriculture all close by. It also has improved broadband and you will see the strapline “Fastershire” everywhere. The Fastershire Broadband Project is Gloucestershire County Council’s partnership with Herefordshire Council to bring faster broadband to rural communities in the two counties, which made extremely fast progress throughout 2020.
2020-2021 has been a tumultuous year for many of us, and it has made many realise the importance of community and where we live. Coupled with the desire of many to leave the city and pursue green space and fresh air, Stroud and similar locations can offer everything. Most importantly for many lawyers is that they can have it all, and not necessarily have to compromise on the quality of work that they are used to.
Please do contact Sarah Wood, Senior Recruitment Consultant at Chadwick Nott, for more information about law firm opportunities in the Cotswolds and the South West and some hands-on knowledge of relocating to the area.