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Cotswolds: Area of outstanding natural beauty
Cotwolds is a region in south central England bound by the main road, the M4, to the south, the M5 to the west and the M40 to the East. Known for rolling green grass hills and a bedrock of Jurassic limestone rock. The Cotswolds were designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in 1966. The Cotwolds name though is thought to date back at least the twelfth century. The English Place-name Society beleive it derives from ‘Codesuualt’, meaning Cod’s high open land, where Cod is though to be a personal name rather than any relation to any national dishes!
The Cotwolds region stretches from Stratford-upon-Avon (the birthplace of William Shakespeare) down to the Roman City of Bath. Typical Cotswold towns include Burford, Chipping Norton, Cirencester, Moreton-in-Marsh and Stow-on-the-Wold. Houses in these areas are characterised by the honey or golden coloured limestone bricks as well as the building style. It was wool however, that made the region prosperous in the middle ages. The wealth generated was used to build the wool churches of Cotswold stone. These still stand today in Cirencester, Fairford, Northleach and Tetbury to name a few. For more information on the Wool Churches, see Britain Express website.
Visiting the Cotswolds doesn’t just have to be picking out picturesque churches in the main towns. There are wooded footpath walks, cycle paths, water parks and of course many traditional British pubs along routes, to stop for a hearty Cotswold lunch. See Cotswolds Info for a plethora of visitor attractions and activities.
If you’re curious to try some British beers, you should stop at the 2014 Camra Pub of the Year, The Marlborough Arms in Cirencester. The Marlborough Arms has a good old-fashioned, traditional atmosphere and a wide range of British beers (offering 500 different guest ales in the last two years alone). Ask the barman for a taster tray – you can try a small amount of several beers, before picking your favourite (see Drinkaware for information on enjoying alcohol responsibly).
The shot in this post, of a Cotswold Landscape on a frosty winter morning was shot above the south Cotwolds from on board a Helitours chopper. They offer Cotwolds helicopter tours – another way to take in the Cotswolds.
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