Market Square, Minchinhampton
Minchinhampton shown within Gloucestershire
|Population||2,875 (2011 Census)|
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|EU Parliament||South West England|
Minchinhampton is an ancient market town, located on a hilltop, 4 miles (6.4 km) south-south-east of Stroud, Gloucestershire, England, in the Cotswolds. The town is twinned with Nkokoto, in Tanzania.
Nearby is Minchinhampton Common, a Site of Special Scientific Interest. It offers an area of 580 acres (230 ha) for the recreation of walkers and golfers and is managed by the National Trust. The Common is also used as grazing land for the cows of local farmers in the summer. On the Common are long parallel ditches and mounds which formed part of a large Iron Age fort. There are outstanding views from the Common, west over the Severn estuary into Wales, and east to the Golden Valley and further into the Cotswolds.
The town's shops are clustered in and around the High Street and comprise a general store, two hairdressers, Boots the Chemist, a ladies' boutique, a butcher's shop, a local organic dairy outlet, two restaurants, a cafe, a Post Office, an antiques shop, an estate agency and several charity shops.
The Crown Inn closed unexpectedly in March 2014. The pub had hosted clubs and societies, including a folk club and Probus over the years and its location on the Market Square meant that it was a focal point for the Minchinhampton Country Fayre, held every other year.
The main square has a War Memorial, and a 17th-century Market House, given to the town in 1919 by the Lord of the Manor Lt. Col. H. G. Ricardo and restored in 1944. A market is held every Thursday.
There are two churches in Minchinhampton – Holy Trinity (Anglican) and Minchinhampton Baptist Church. The spire of the parish church of the Holy Trinity was pulled down for safety reasons in 1863 and now the stub has been completed with a "coronet" structure.
Minchinhampton is close to the former Royal Air Force airfield, Aston Down, formerly a large employer in the area, now closed down and used for gliding. In 2005, following a Freedom of Information request, the local newspaper revealed that Aston Down is contaminated with arsenic, hydrocarbons and radium. Since the site is located above a vulnerable aquifer, local residents have formed a pressure group, the Aston Down Action Group, in an effort to persuade local government and central government agencies to implement more stringent safety regulations.
Sport and amenities
The town has is also a doctors' surgery, library, dentist, school, youth club and sports facilities. The town has a very active rugby club, Minchinhampton RFC, with three adult teams, minis and juniors from under 6 to under 16 and a large touch rugby section. Minchinhamption RFC play in Gloucester 3. 
Minchinhampton is close to the home of the Princess Royal, Gatcombe Estate, which hosts the Gatcombe Horse Trials in late summer each year. In 2014, the 2003 rugby world cup winner and ex England and Gloucester RFC rugby international Mike Tindall who is married to Zara Phillips, the Queen's granddaughter and daughter of the Princess Royal, and who lives at Gatcombe Park started to play rugby for Minchinhampton RFC. There is a twice-yearly craft fair at Gatcombe, and a summer visit by Gifford's Circus every other year.
- "Stroud district twinning links". Retrieved 2008-03-07.
- Natural England SSSI information on the citation, map and units of assessment
- "Minchinhampton Country Market". Retrieved 2008-03-07.
- Toxic threat to water supply Stroud News and Journal. 17 August 2005
- "Former England and Gloucester centre Mike Tindall plays for his local club Minchinhampton". BBC Sport. 27 October 2014.
- "Gifford's Circus - Dates". Retrieved 2008-03-07.