Too many coffee shops is a constant Cotswold cry.

Seeing an increasing number opening in our towns, concerned citizens write to the media complaining.

Initially, I was in agreement but now see how wrong they were.

Of course the new owners of these excellent establishments would like to see locals patronage them but locals are not the target customers.

We have in the Cotswolds an invading tribe, bringing more prosperity to this area than any newcomers since the Romans.

This tribe is composed of people from many nations.

Japanese prefer Bibury.

Americans can be found en-route to Stratford-upon-Avon.

Everybody seems to head for Bath or Oxford.

Indeed it is our position between these famous destination towns that puts our deserved title of Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty that means this tribe will always be with us.

Add on the might and charm of Berkeley Castle, a few literary figures such as Laurie Lee and William Morris and you can see why the tribe will continue to flock here and fill our coffee shops.

The tribe is of course known to us all.

We may call them tourists or perhaps visitors but all come with goodwill and hopefully full wallets.

They emerge from coaches and cars anxious to explore but prepared to spend, and of course they need a drink.

Are we not the same?

Driving to a nearby town presents the challenge of parking.

Once this has been achieved with various degrees of ease the next stop is a coffee shop.

It may be the National Trust shop near the Swindon Outlet Centre (superb porridge) or Woodruffs Organic Cafe in Stroud.

In Wotton-under-Edge one is spoilt for choice.

If we are heading further afield our journey is boosted by a visit to the Gloucester services on the M5.

We have very few disappointments and some absolute triumphs.

Soon it will be Huffkins for my annual treat of lardy cake.

Now, looking at the overall picture I welcome these additions to our commercial scene.

The two new ones near me are a delight.

Of course you may not wish to see so many in your town but the alternative is worse.

Coffee shops indicate prosperity.

Empty shops exactly the reverse.