Bed and breakfast near The Cotswolds
Cotswolds Titled an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) in 1966, homes itself to 790 square miles of breathtaking, undulating countryside. Its derivation is said to come from an Anglo-Saxon farmer named Cod who farmed on the notorious high lands, otherwise known as Wolds' and hence Cod's Wold. Another surmise is that Cots' relates to animal, or rather sheep, enclosures and again Wolds' are areas of gentle landscape resulting in Cotswolds'.
The Cotswolds are located in southwestern and west-central England encompassed by the counties of Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire and Warwickshire as well as sprawling into parts of Wiltshire, Somerset and Worcestershire. Despite attracting 38 million visitors each year, those of which are predominantly tourists, the Cotswolds has a remarkably low urban-sprawl growth rate and homes one of England's lowest population density areas with a population of 85,000. Its hilly topography is due to a rapid decrease in sea levels some 100 million years ago and has since endured erosion creating the hilly landscape we now know and love.
Back in the Middle Ages, the wool trade contributed up to 50% of Englands' economy, a large proportion of which was sourced from the Cotswolds. The large, open fields gave home to the 'Cotswold Lions', infamously large sheep with long, golden coats and it was this that gave the region the European reputation of strong, quality wool. The wealth accrued from the wool trade naturally went on and supported the local economies. For example, merchants would donate generous amounts of money to the churches in hope to ensure their paths to paradise. By the 15th Century, wool had become so prominent that an Act was passed in which the deceased had to be buried in wool. It was from this in which the saying Don't pull the wool over my eyes originated meaning 'I'm not dead'.
The Cotswold stone is one of the features that makes the towns and villages so Cotswoldsunique. Its formation dates back to 200 million years ago during the jurassic period where many layers of sand and shell fragments created the oolitic limestone that is typical of the Cotswolds. It can vary in colour depending on the amount of iron oxide compacted within it, demonstrated by the paler, honey colour in the north and the greyer stone in Stroud. It is estimated that combining the 4000 miles of drystone walls would result in the same length as that of the Great Wall of China.
In the north of the Cotswolds lies the beautiful 12th Century town, Chipping Campden. CotswoldsDubbed the jewel in the crown' of the Cotswolds, Chipping Campden offers a little something for everyone: from arts & crafts to history, from scenic walks to the infamous Dover's games. The town's industry was fueled by the demand for wool, stone and horse equipment with its prime trading location. It is now a popular tourist town which people travel to admire its historical beauty and traditions.
One tradition that has been around since the 17th Century is the Cotswold Olimpick Games, locally known as Dover's Games. In 1612 a local lawyer, Robert Dover, asked for permission from King James to host an event in which a variety of games were held for all social classes to partake in; such games included sledgehammer throwing, sword fighting, wrestling and horse racing. It is still celebrated today with shin-kicking, straw bale racing and tug of war and was recognised by The British Olympic Association as the first stirrings of Britain's Olympic beginnings'.
Half an hours drive from Stratford lies the 13th Century market town of Moreton-in-Marsh. Still holding true to its roots, it continues to host the largest outdoor street market in the Cotswolds every Tuesday with approximately 200 stalls. Its favourable location close to the Roman Fosse Way has allowed Moreton to continue to be a popular and accessible destination for tourists and trade through the centuries.
Like Chipping Campden, Moreton-in-Marsh continues to support and celebrate its traditions. Every September Moreton Show' attracts societies from all over the Cotswolds and further to celebrate the farming life. It offers a little something for everyone; horse, cattle and sheep competitions or if you're not a huge animal fan there are crafts, floral and scarecrow competitions as well.
For the rest of the year there are many historical attractions to visit such as the Curfew Tower which dates back to 1633 or you can just appreciate another one of the Cotswolds many beautiful towns.
Also located close to the Fosse Way lies a high 700ft town of the Cotswolds, Stow-on-the-Cotswolds Wold. It was originally a wool town whereby it could host up to 20,000 sheep for trade in its substantial Market Square. Nowadays it is centre to popular arts and crafts and antique shops with its surrounding Cotswold stone adding a homely and welcoming feel to the town.
Stow can also be appreciated for its participation in the English Civil War. The town's local St Edward's Church was one that held the oppositions' prisoners in the mid 17th Century, particularly for Donnington; a local town where the last battle took place in March 1646.
Cirencester is a vibrant tourist and craft town which has been labelled The capital of the Cotswolds'. The wool trade was prominent here and its affluence dates back to medieval England where 'wool churches' were a way of demonstrating such wealth. St. John Baptist's church is an example of a wool church and also holds the large feat title of the 'Cathedral of the Cotswolds' situated central to the town.
Twice a week the street market takes focal point on a Monday and Friday where you can purchase fresh fish, olives, fruit & veg and admire the beautiful flowers, antiques and clothing stalls. Cirencester has a real homely and lively feel to it and is certainly a town to visit if you have a day to spend in the Cotswolds.
Chipping Norton is a quaint and robust town which is one of few that is largely unaffected Cotswolds by the tourist trade. At 700ft tall, it is the highest town in Oxfordshire and is commonly known as 'the Gateway to the Cotswolds'.
Like many of the other towns, it has its traditions such as the mop fair. Initially this was a wool fair that was granted by King John in 1205 like many other towns, but it gradually became a centre of trading employees. Employers and employees would gather here every October (the end of their working year) carrying an item that illustrated their trade. Those who did not have significant skills, servants for example, would carry a mop head. Once an employee was hired, they were given a small amount of money which they could then spend on the food, drink and game stalls about the town. This tradition continues today and is held in neighbouring towns, including Stratford-upon-Avon, at the end of September.
This stunning Cotswold village lies on the River Windrush and hence is often referred to as 'the Venice of the Cotswolds'.
Its tourism promotion has grown around the Model Village (a mini replica of the village itself) opened in 1937 and Birdland, opened twenty years later.
one of the most attractively-sited of Cotswold towns.Cotswolds
major wool market in medieval England.
renowned centre for the antiques trade. In the church is an inscription recording the execution of three Levellers by Cromwell's men in 1649. This is commemorated in May each year. research
locally as the Gateway to the Cotswolds sits on the River Windrush.
The industrial origins of the town are based on wool, stone, brewing bellfounding and sadlle and bridle making.