Day one in the Cotswolds

Published: October 18th 2013
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A combination of a low in the sky sun and high cloud has had the effect of holding back the daybreak really making it look as though a new day has begun. We are certainly getting the feeling that autumn is well underway and that is being aided by the cool temperatures.

Full kitchen facilities means a full breakfast although we couldn’t find any bacon in the supermarket yesterday afternoon that looked good enough to accompany our eggs so we shall make do with just poached eggs on toast.

Although we had been to this area before, four years ago, we had just taken a day’s drive from south to north and as it had been so busy because it was summer we hadn’t actually stopped to take much in. So we are treating that as a taster and today and tomorrow we will plan a couple of short touring routes through places that sound interesting and take some walks through the villages that look photogenic, which will probably be most of them.

We were a bit slow out of the blocks after breakfast with Chipping Campden the first village to take a look at. The village is another of those market towns we had already visited although in this instance the name ‘Chipping’ is old English for a market place so it all seems quite appropriate.

The buildings in the stylish main street dated from between the 14th and 17th century. In the middle of the village is the open sided market place with what looked like the original rather uneven stone floor built in 1627.

Next was Broadway on the western side of the Cotswolds escarpment. We had aimed for here because it had one of the few petrol stations around and we were in need of a top up.

The main street of the village here had a much different look to it than Chipping Campden for as the name suggests the main street was very broad giving the village a much more open feel about it.

A short distance further on we came to Snowshill,a tiny village set on a hillside and famous in the Cotswolds for the Manor and Garden, which we didn’t have enough time to linger in, and also lavender that is grown in great profusion in the area. Of course the lavender season was well and truly over and all there was left were rows upon rows of clumps where the flowers had been cut from.

The town of Tewkesbury was next on the calling list but more because we thought there would be a supermarket, which there was. In fact the town was quite sizeable and because they were setting up for a funfair in the main street we didn’t bother trying to find a car park as all the roads around the down town area were closed off.

A short distance away is the hamlet of Deerhurst where we found a building that was constructed in 1056 known as Oddas Chapel.The building is very well preserved although another half timbered construction had been added to the end of the chapel during medieval times.The chapel itself was built by a guy in memory of his brother and is one of the very few remaining buildings of the Saxon era that are still virtually in their original state.The interior was very simple with some inscriptions still just visible on the walls.

Adjacent is another Saxon church with history going back to 804AD although the building had been added to several times over the years so that you needed to follow information inside the church to actually work out what was the original building.In this case it wasn't too hard to do that and there are low doors and windows that had been blocked up that formed the original building.

An interesting addition to the outside of the building is a small sculpture depicting an angel and although there was instructions how to find it there was no information as to its importance in relation to the church.

The route home took us to Bourton-on-the-Water which is known as ‘Venice of the Cotswolds’ as the River Windrush runs alongside the main street with a number of low stone arched bridges. It really was very picturesque and even the cold wind and the lateness of the day couldn’t take the appeal of the village away.

We had hopes of making it to Stow-on-the-Wold as well but it was getting late in the day and so we decided to include that in tomorrow’s route rather than stopping for just a short time and not getting to see all that we wanted to.

The light was fading as we made it back to the Farm Cottage and we decided that tomorrow we should head away a bit earlier so that we don’t run out of time for what we want to take in.

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