Flashback Friday #24

Just Back From… the Cotswolds was written in June 2013 after a lovely spring break to celebrate the OH’s birthday. Spring was a little late that year.


the old post officeWhen you think of the Cotswolds it is the warm honey-coloured limestone and cute thatched cottages inviting romance and tranquillity that spring to mind and where market towns (formerly centres of the wool trade) have wide squares and streets and are the centres of activity. Brooks and rivers bridged by tiny stone arches  meander through the hidden villages in the rolling hills and farmland where country pubs have flagstone floors, beamed ceilings and inglenook fireplaces with log fires.

You may also think about crowds of tourists and visitors up from London for the day, often on large touring coaches; ancient churches and manor houses; picture-book tea-rooms; expensive antique, retro and vintage shops. You’d be right about all of these things, but there is another side to the Cotswolds to be explored if you look.

The Cotswolds district is mainly in the counties of Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire with parts of Warwickshire, Wiltshire, Worcestershire and Somerset at the edge. It is an area filled with hundreds of small towns and villages that don’t appear on the calendars and book covers or hog the limelight, but are equally attractive. Discover them by driving along the plethora of narrow, winding roads which often provide the most amazing views over the Wolds and the valleys. There are public footpaths, national trails and bridleways galore. Find yourself in a charming and unspoilt village away from the main tourist spots and walk around listening to the birdsong and admiring the chocolate box cottages and striking parish church. In the late spring sunshine, with so many shades of green it is impossible to count, you may stumble across a woodland carpeted with bluebells.

adlestrop laneIn the north of the region take a romantic circular drive from Moreton-in-Marsh to Stow-on-the-Wold stopping at Broadway Tower and Country Park for a picnic with a view, Broadway village with its wide main street, Snowshill Manor with its collection by the eccentric Charles Paget Wade, Snowshill Lavender farm in the summer, and Hailes Cistercian Abbey ruins, a most peaceful spot on the Cotswolds Way. Continue through Guiting Power with the ‘Hollow Bottom Inn’ and the picturesque Lower Slaughter with the tiny River Eye running through it.

There are dozens of lovely homes and gardens for you to visit, some owned by the National Trust, others in private ownership. Some are large estates such as Sezincote or Hidcote and attract the coach parties, others are smaller and often quieter. All are worth a visit.

sezincote

The Cotswolds is a vast region and requires several days to explore it thoroughly. We only touched on a small part in four days; there is a lot more to discover.


This post is a contribution to Fandango’s Flashback Friday. Have you got a post you wrote in the past on this particular day? The world might be glad to see it – either for the first time – or again if they’re long-time loyal readers.

Cee’s Which Way Challenge: Those Blue Remembered Hills

Fortunate to have a lovely sunny day on Sunday (Mother’s Day in the UK) and an extra hour of daylight (the start of British Summer time  so clocks went forward an hour) I was determined to get out of the house and go for a walk.

Cardingmill Valley lies on the edge of Church Stretton, a little Shropshire town that I still need to explore.  Church Stretton is a small town and civil parish in Shropshire, England. The town lies entirely in the Shropshire Hills AONB, on the A49 road approximately 13 miles south of Shrewsbury, the county town, and 15 miles north of Ludlow. Wikipedia

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Just as Ludlow is the gastronomic capital of Shropshire, Church Stretton is the walking capital of the Shropshire Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. I have been here many times, it is my favourite part of Shropshire and has been called ‘Little Switzerland’ on account of its hills.  And when coated in snow it is very pretty.

Shropshire Hills

But on Sunday it was sunny and spring was springing. We could have taken any number of trails, but decided that we’d return to the Reservoir as it is a wide path and fairly flat.

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Turn right onto the orange trail

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This trail is quite gentle and soon you are hidden amongst the hills with only the sound of birdsong and a burbling brook. A hidden lost world.

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At the reservoir you do have to climb up quite a steep hill to reach the water, and the trail continues should you wish to head further onto the Long Mynd (Long Mountain).

You can swim in the reservoir, though the water probably isn’t all that warm today.

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Before heading back to the car park I nipped over a stile to have a closer look at the reservoir and found this pair of Common Toads at the side of the path.  I spared them their blushes and swiftly moved on.

Doesn’t look as though we can go this way, so head back down the hill.

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A choice of routes, but I’m going to stick to the one I came along, the other one looks as though it might end in a sheep trail and I’ve been there before and it didn’t end well.

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Or you could go over the stream and head for a path on the other side.

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Returning on the orange route there are caves up on the left, and ahead on the top of that hill in front are the remains of an Iron Age Hill Fort.

Back at the road we could turn right and walk to the tea-room, but as it is now after 5 p.m. it will be closed.

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A typical “Which Way” fingerpost

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We’ll head back to the car, after one last look around and go home for a well-deserved glass of red wine. If you decide to come for a walk here, please take note of the signs. Some people seem to think their dogs are much better controlled than they actually are around sheep, and watching a sheep being chased is not amusing for me or the sheep.

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The Most Scenic Carpark?

Next time I’ll take you up the red route and see if we can find the waterfall.

Cee’s Which Way Challenge: There is no specific theme given.  It just needs to be some sort of  ‘Which Way’. The possibilities are endless.

 Join in with the challenge or view other ‘Which Ways’.
and you may like to have a look at Jo’s Monday Walks over on Restlessjo’s blog where you are in for a treat.

Just Back From… the Cotswolds

the old post officeWhen you think of the Cotswolds it is the warm honey-coloured limestone and cute thatched cottages inviting romance and tranquillity that spring to mind and where market towns (formerly centres of the wool trade) have wide squares and streets and are the centres of activity. Brooks and rivers bridged by tiny stone arches  meander through the hidden villages in the rolling hills and farmland where country pubs have flagstone floors, beamed ceilings and inglenook fireplaces with log fires.

You may also think of crowds of tourists and visitors from London up for the day, often on large touring coaches, ancient churches and manor houses, picture-book tea-rooms, expensive antique, retro and vintage shops. You’d be right about all of these things, but there is another side to the Cotswolds to be explored.

The Cotswolds district is mainly in the counties of Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire with parts of Warwickshire, Wiltshire, Worcestershire and Somerset at the edge. It is an area filled with hundreds of small towns and villages that don’t appear on the calendars and book covers or hog the limelight, but are equally attractive. Discover them by driving along the plethora of narrow, winding roads which often provide the most amazing views over the Wolds and the valleys. There are public footpaths, national trails and bridleways galore. Find yourself in a charming and unspoilt village away from the main tourist spots and walk around listening to the birdsong and admiring the chocolate box cottages and striking parish church. In the late spring sunshine, with so many shades of green it is impossible to count, you may stumble across a woodland carpeted with bluebells.

adlestrop laneIn the north of the region take a romantic circular drive from Moreton-in-Marsh to Stow-on-the-Wold stopping at Broadway Tower and Country Park for a picnic with a view, Broadway village with its wide main street , Snowshill Manor with its collection by the eccentric Charles Paget Wade, Snowshill Lavender farm in the summer, and Hailes Cistercian Abbey ruins, a most peaceful spot on the Cotswolds Way. Continue through Guiting Power with the ‘Hollow Bottom Inn’ and the picturesque Lower Slaughter with the tiny River Eye running through it.

There are dozens of lovely homes and gardens for you to visit, some owned by the National Trust, others in private ownership. Some are large estates such as Sezincote or Hidcote and attract the coach parties, others are smaller and often quieter. All are worth a visit.

sezincote

The Cotswolds is a vast region and requires several days to explore it thoroughly. We only touched on a small part in four days; there is a lot more to discover.