We have been publishing high-quality Cotswold guides for 35 years; Guidebooks, Photographic Books, Walking and Cycling Guides, as well as Touring Map-Guides. We are now placing all our experience, know-how and energy into this project. Below is Phase 1. The Site will develop in parallel with our Guidebook but will in due course be far more extensive. Our intent is to retain the independence, free spirit and opinions of our books.
This On-Line Guide is designed to be User-Friendly. For Phase 1, there are three categories: Where To Stay, Where To Eat and What To See & Do. To find your idylic Place To Stay that fits into your budget and style just scroll down the page and admire the images and short description of each Listing. If one takes your fancy you can discover more by entering their website. We have chosen these hotels, inns and camp sites because we believe they are the best. We do not contemplate listing the norm, the average…Only The Best Will Do - When Time Is Short...
The Cotswolds embody English domestic architecture at its very best. Evidence of local craftsmanship is ever-present in the shape of the churches, cottages, farms, tithe barns and manor houses. The Cotswold village is the embodiment of all these factors, none more so than Chipping Campden. Out of this rich vein of architectural brilliance has arisen the English Country House Hotel, the Country Inn (Pub) or Hostelry, the English Tea Room, all well represented in this Guide.
What and Where is the region known as the Cotswolds?
To some fashionistas, and magazine editors, the Cotswolds runs comparison to the New York Hamptons and Tuscany. Whilst to others the name is synonymous with wool and hunting, stone walls and majestic churches. The Cotswold Hills are set in a triangle between Bath (to the south), Stratford-Upon-Avon (to the north) and Oxford (to the east).
The Cotswolds region is perched on the central section of a ridge of oolitic limestone. The geological structure has thus had a profound and lasting affect on the landscape, and ‘look’ of the area. The oolitic limestone that forms these hills has the appearance of 1000s of tiny balls, like fish roe and is between 200 and 175 million years old.
This ridge has been tilted on its side, and is run off with streams, and river valleys, that lead off in a south-easterly direction, to feed the Thames basin. On the western edge, the scarp is steep in places with outcrops of rounded hills, notably Cam Long Down, and Bredon Hill, and makes for fine walking country, and pleasing views across to the Malvern Hills and Wales
Linguistically, the Cotswolds derives its name from two Saxon words: ‘Cote’ - sheep fold, and ‘Wold’ - bare hill. This references the importance of sheep in the development of the area. And, it is to the Cotswold Lion sheep that one must look to for the origin of wealth and endeavour that brought prosperity to this region
Neolithic Man found refuge on these hills from the swamps of the Severn, and Thames flood plains. The Celtic Dobunni tribe established hill forts where they farmed, bartered their crafts and founded coinage before the Romans arrived. They were not a warlike tribe like their neighbours the Silurians (Welsh), and eased into a compatible relationship with the conquering Romans to build Corinium Dobunnorum (Cirencester) into the second largest Roman settlement in Britain with a populace of 12,000 inhabitants.
The Saxon farmer laid the foundations of prosperity for the medieval wool merchants, and it was these merchants who built the great ‘Wool’ churches and the great manor houses.
Henry VIII’s Dissolution of the Monasteries in the C16 saw the destruction of the Abbeys at Cirencester, Winchcombe, Hailes and Malmesbury. The first, and last battles of the English Civil War, 1641-1651, saw skirmishes at Edgehill, Lansdowne (Bath) and Stow-On-The Wold.
In the more peaceful C18, Bath and Cheltenham epitomised the elegance, hedonism and splendour of the Georgian era.
The landscape is rich in imagery: dry-stone walls divide the vast, sweeping sheep pastures and lazy, winding, trout streams meander through the rich pastureland. And, scattered across this landscape you will come across quaint hamlets undisturbed by coach, sightseer or time itself. All this makes for an idyllic scene rarely bettered in England.
Remember, there is so much more fun to be had in the Cotswolds by having this book beside you.