Rosey in the Cotswolds

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September 9th 2012
Published: September 9th 2012
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The weather has been great and we've both managed to get sunburnt. We had 3 nights in the Cotswolds, so just 2 full days to get a taste of the region - we could have easily done with more. Our first day was spent travelling through a couple of villages in the North Cotswolds, visiting some lovely gardens and trying to avoid getting lost along the twisting roads. The main village that we visited was Chipping Campden which was just down the road from "our" village of Ebrington. Chipping Campden is a small market town and known for its High Street which dates from the 14th to 17th century; this is lined with buildings constructed from the very attractive Cotswold Stone. We picked up a map from the local information centre and walked the streets following that, stopped in at the local silversmiths and spent some time in a more commercial business which is based in the village for the design of its silver and stainless steel household goods. Just as well we recently bought new cutlery as I could quite easliy have been tempted by some of the canteens of cutlery that we saw there. Notable architecture in the village
Another Chipping Campden thatched houseAnother Chipping Campden thatched houseAnother Chipping Campden thatched house

Bet these people employ a gardener.
includes the old Market building, some almshouses and the local church. The reason for the silversmiths etc in town is because Charles Ashbee, who was a major practitioner in the Arts and Crafts Movement, moved his Guild and School of Handicraft from East London to Chipping Campden in 1902. This didn't flourish but some of the craftsmen stayed on and I guess initiated an arts tradition in the area. My immediate reaction on stopping at the village is that it is inhabited by rather affluent, mature aged ladies who wear floral scarves around their necks. There were quite a lot of older tourists around also, although thankfully these appeared to be travelling independently rather than by the bus load.

Our second stop was at a National Trust property called Hidcote Manor Gardens. I was definitely one of the youngest clients at the gardens on the day we visited. These were created by an American called Lawrence Johnston and consist of lots of garden "rooms" separated from each other by hedges, rare trees etc. - think sculpted plants etc and you'll be on the right track. Even though it's towards the end of the season there were still lots of flowers in bloom. They have a good display of hydrangeas and the National Trust is proud of their fuschias. We spent a pleasant couple of hours there. Our last stop was at another National Trust propery called Snowshill Manor. This was the home of a collector and poet and is renowned for his collection of stuff collected from all around the world. We were too late to enter the manor and visit the collection but we did have a wander through his garden and into the small cottage that he lived in - the manor was for the collection not him. I don't know for sure but I suspect that Charles Wade (the owner of Snowshill) was probably a bit eccentric.

Our first day had involved lots of driving along winding, narrow roads and so we decided that our second day would be a bit more relaxed. After breakfast that morning we set off on a walk to the next village of Ilmington. This involved walking along bridle paths between farms, made paths on the Foxcote Manor estate and across fields on our return walk. It was a pretty gentle walk although since undertaking the walk I've read that
Church in Chipping CampdenChurch in Chipping CampdenChurch in Chipping Campden

This is in the "Perpendicular style" - a fancy way for saying it's tall I gather.
we ascended the highest point in Warwickshire - sounds more awesome than it was. It seemed strange to us to be walking along roads/paths through an Estate and I was waiting for somebody to come and tell us it was private land. However, we were on public paths all the time and this didn't eventuate. We waved to a guy delivering jet fuel (for the estate owner's helicopter?) and one of the game keepers was out on his 4-wheel motor bike checking on the pheasants. Apparently this manor is owned by somebody (the owner or CEO) associated with Gap clothing - it looked pretty nice through its large iron gates. When walking through the estate we wondered what the small chicken-like birds inhabiting the hedgerows and remnant forest were. There were feeders out for them so it was obvious that they weren't wild; we thought pheasant but they didn't seem large enough nor have a long tail and so we asked a local couple that we met along the way. Apparently they were young pheasant. The owner buys young pheasant in June or July and stocks his property with these. Over the next 6 months or so he feeds them
Sliver smith at workSliver smith at workSliver smith at work

Note the paperwork above his head. Orders were speared to a large nail driven into the ceiling.
up and then just before Christmas has his "shoot". Somehow feeding up the game doesn't seem quite sporting to me.

It was about 2:00 pm by the time we finished our walk and so afterwards we drove to the town of Tewkesbury. The Lonely Planet description of streets lined with half-timbered houses leaning every which way and topped by wavy roofs rather appealed to me, as did the fact that it was on the confluence of the Severn and Avon Rivers. The town was a lot larger than I thought and on approach my immediate reaction was that we'd wasted our time as the approach to town was a combination of light industry and 1970s suburbia. However, once we got into town proper there were quite a lot of very old, half timbered buildings - not quite wall to wall but not too bad. One of the pubs in town is mentioned in "Pickwick Papers". We had a bit of a walk along the Avon River but we didn't see the Severn in the part of town that we walked through. To be honest I was looking for a nice pub on the river bank to sit and have a beer in the beer garden (it was beautiful and sunny) but no such luck and we still haven't seen one. I blame this desire all on watching too many episodes of Morse.

We left Ebrington the following morning and drove to Cornwall via some other Cotswold villages (Lower Slaughter, Morton in the Marsh, Stow in the Wold) and Bath. The drive down was very picturesque. It was interesting to watch the building materials of the Cotswolds change from the golden cream colour of the north to grey stone further south. The farmers in this region are currently cutting various crops and baling hay and it is not unusual to find yourself following large harvesters, tractors or trucks laden with hay bales.

Additional photos below
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Cotswold viewsCotswold views
Cotswold views

On our walk

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