The Cotswolds are a low range of rural hillsabout 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.
Castle Combe in particular is one of the finest traditional villages in the country.
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.
The stone seen in most of these photos is yellow Cotswold limestone.
The region is popular for tranquil rambling holidays so short term country homes and independent cottages in pretty towns are available for rent throughout the Cotswolds.