Cotswolds - The Traveller


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Wednesday, November 19, 2014


Cotswold - An Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Cotswolds is located in south central England with the Cotswold Hills which is a range of rolling hills that rise from the meadows of the upper Thames to escarpment such as the Cotswold Edge. This is above the Severn Valley and Evesham Vale and the area is defined by the bedrock of Jurassic limestone creating a kind of grassland habitat which is rare in U.K, and is quarried for golden coloured Cotswold stone.

In 1966, it was designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and is considered to have some amazing features from the local Cotswold stone and the rural landscape have some stone built village, stately homes and gardens as well as historical towns. The Cotswold is an area of England somewhat the size of greater Tokyo which is popular with English as well as tourist from all across the globe.

The name Cotswold is attributed to the meaning `sheep enclosure in rolling hillsides where the term `wold’, means hills though the English Place Name Society, for several years have accepted the term Cotswold derived from Codesuualt of the 12th century or other variation, the etymology of which was given as `Cod’s-wold’, which is Cod’s high open land.

Gentle Hills/Sleepy village/Typically English 

It is well known for its gentle hillside, sleepy villages and being typically English. One will find some of the famous cities like Bath, well known beautiful towns – Cheltenham with hundreds of amazing villages like Burford and Castle Combe.

The local honey coloured limestone found here is used for everything right from the stone flooring in the houses to the tiles on the roof and the area has a magical uniformity of architecture. The amazing honey coloured towns and villages of the Cotswold appear as if from the 21st century from another era which is characterized by gentle dynamism together with vibrant festivals and lively galleries with liberal endowment of intriguing museums.

Occupying an area of around 800 square miles across five counties like Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Warwickshire and Worcestershire, the region of `wolds’ or rolling hills as it is called, is one of the biggest of the thirty eight Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty –AONB in England and Wales.

Drystone Walls in Fields

One will find the `Drystone walls’ all over in the fields and most of which were built in the 18th and 19th centuries as a matter of considerable skill since there is no cement to hold the wall in shape.

These represent a unique historical landscape with a major conservative feature which is still used by farmers to enclose their sheep and cattle. During the medieval period between the 13-15th centuries, the native Cotswold sheep were very popular throughout Europe and were known for their heavy fleeces with high quality wool which were priced very high.

The revenue generated from the wool trade enabled the wealthy traders to leave their mark by building fine houses together with beautiful churches which were known as `wool churches’.Besides the amazing countryside, one will also find interesting places to explore which include magnificent castles, ancient churches, stately homes with historic houses and glorious gardens.

You could shop at some of the oldest chartered weekly markets and also visit some market towns to shop or indulge in some leisurely ramble or have a traditional meal at the pub. Cotswold is an amazing destination with plenty to explore.

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