Castle Combe village in Wiltshire, seen in the movie 'War Horse'. The double yellow no-parking lines
and the lady on the left are probably not Victorian, unlike everything else. Photo by W. Lloyd MacKenzie
What are The Cotswolds?
Cotswolds are a low range of rural hills about 25 miles (40kms) by 90 miles (145 kms) designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and divided among the counties of Somerset, Wiltshire,
Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire, Warwickshire and Worcestershire. The region has been occupied since 4000BC, evidenced by carbon dating of neolithic pottery found in Slaughter.
Sometimes known as 'The Heart of England' the Cotswold hills are small
(a little over 300m/1000ft) but perfectly formed and studded
with pleasant towns and well-preserved old villages inhabited mainly by well-preserved
old English folk.
Combe in particular is one of the finest traditional
villages in the country.
Bourton-on-the-Water, River Windrush, Gloucestershire. Photo by W. Lloyd MacKenzie.
Since Roman times the Cotswolds have been home to the affluent and the Middle Ages (5th - 15th centuries) were no exception as locals developed a remarkably successful sheep and wool a business that enabled the building of many fine houses, castles and churches, known as wool churches. Since then large scale farming and retirement homes have been the economic mainstay. Luxury Short Breaks in the Cotswolds.
The stone seen in most of these photos is yellow Cotswold limestone.
The region is popular for tranquil rambling holidays so short term country home and character cottage rentals in pretty towns are available throughout the Cotswolds.
• a superbly made scale model of the village built in Cotswold stone.
• Cotswold Motoring Museum.
• Birdland Park ( including penguins, flamingoes, and parrots) and Gardens
• a model railway.
• many walking trails start or finish in this village, including the 100 mile (160 kms) 'Heart of England Way'.
Photo by Bruno Girin
Cirencester was an important Roman town known as Corinium and today houses a Roman museum, the Corinium Museum, with a fine collection of Roman artifacts.
The two largest towns in the Cotswolds are Gloucester and Cheltenham.
15th century Sudeley Castle, Gloucestershire, and its award-winning gardens near Winchcombe. Photo by Gordon Robertson
excellent hiking route offering some terrific views is the Cotswold Way, a 103 mile
(165 kms) footpath that runs from Bath to Chipping Campden and
visits various sites of interest such as Sudeley castle, Hailes
Abbey and Broadway Tower (photos below). This became an official National
Trail in 2007.
typical Cotswolds hotel, The Swan in Bibury. Photo by W.Loyd MacKenzie
In the Vicinity
far away are the wonderful ancient sites of Stonehenge, Avebury and the White
Horses, as well as some magnificent Stately Homes such as Bowood and Stourhead; Longleat and its self-drive Safari
Park are particularly popular.
lies to the east of the Cotswolds while just 12 miles north
is Castle Combe with its terraced
houses - many hundreds of years old and classified as ancient
monuments - built from local stone with thick walls and split-stone
tile roofs. Strict regulations ensure that this village will
be preserved like this indefinitely.
More Cotswolds Pictures >>>
Oxford Pictures >>>
Chester Pictures >>>
Bath Pictures >>>
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