Quintessential England: The Cotswolds

Sometimes when I want to dream;  I go there.  I open the gate to the garden of my imagination;  and I go there.  I walk over the rolling hills and into the tiny villages built of ancient limestone, past cottages with thatched roofs and smoking chimneys.  I stroll into one of the age-old pub’s, or past manor homes, churches, quant farms and cemetery’s.  I go to the Cotswolds, a small region in south central England, that has always captivated my imagination.  A land frozen in time.  Places like Bourton-On-The-Water, Buford, Stow-On-The-Wold, which made a name for themselves in the Middle Ages at the height of the wool trade.

Photo: Goeff Doggett

The land was flowing with milk and honey during it’s peak.   The Cotswold Lion, was a special breed of sheep that flourished on the rolling green hills beyond the great meadow.  The wealth from the wool trade was used to fund and build the churches and Abby’s that remain a tourist attraction to this day.     Stanford-Upon-Avon was even the birth place of Shakespeare.  As a matter-of-fact, that’s usually what I think of, when I think of the Cotswolds;  The beautiful white washed tutor homes with wood beams and wavy leaded glass;   Bards and artists walking the street;   The sound of hornpipes  coming from The Queen’s Head Pub.

Photo: George Hoden

But there is one thing, that you must do, if you ever pass that way.  To experience quintessential England, you must walk  from village to village on the Cotswold Way, a path over 100 miles that spans from Chipping Chamden  to the ancient Roman city of Bath.   Meander over the lush green hills, through small gates and hidden pathways, past sheep farms, over cobblestone streets and into the sleepy villages.    However, if you would rather sit than walk, there is always the saddle.    The very best way to see the Cotswolds, is by rambling over these pastoral hills on horseback.

Photo: Karen Arnold

You can book an equestrian tour through the area from one of the local riding schools.  Most will take your luggage by van, from town to town, while you ride over the countryside with your party on horseback.  There is the option for staying in luxurious manor homes along the way.  You can rest in your stately room that is reminiscent of a Jane Austin novel, and wake to a full English breakfast,  before saddling up and heading off for the next village.  Take a trip back into time, to experience this magical place, perfectly preserved.  Fall in love with the Cotswolds, and you’ll have plenty of places to dream about, in those quiet moments of solitary reverie for years to come.  Dare to dream.






References:  Wikipedia