The Cotswolds in modern times is underdeveloped compared to many regions of the UK. It has avoided major industrial development and building works, leaving it unspoilt and peaceful, a true example of English countryside. The Cotswolds was one of the largest contributors towards the English wool trade before the period of the Industrial Revolution, and since the cloth trade moved north, it has remained well-preserved and tranquil. Many buildings that were once used for the production of wool, have been tastefully renovated into residential homes or offices. The Industrial Revolution was helped by the building of canals to transport goods and raw materials throughout the UK and Europe, but soon after in the mid 1800’s the railroad became the main form of transport.
The Cotswolds is a huge area that spreads across several counties including Gloucestershire, Warwickshire, Oxfordshire and parts of Wiltshire and north-east Somerset. The region covers 800 square miles and has around 139,000 residents. The area is in south-west England and is increasingly popular for its stunning countryside and easy commute from major cities such as Bristol, London and Bath Spa. The Cotswold hills are well-known for their gentle, sloping curves in the English countryside where sheep and cows graze near to picturesque hamlets and villages that nestle amongst the hills and close to woodland.
The Cotswold Limestone
Famous writer J.B Priestly once wrote about Cotswold stone describing it as “the truth is that it has no colour that can be described. Even when the sun is obscured and the light is cold, these walls are still faintly warm and luminous, as if they knew the trick of keeping the lost sunlight of centuries glimmering about them”. The beautiful pale yellow colour of Cotswold stone is honey-coloured and the stone has been used to build throughout the region. Cotswold stone is Oolitic limestone and materialised during the Jurassic time millions of years ago. During this time, the Cotswolds were under sea and various fragments of skeletal marine organisms can still be found in the stone. The colour of Cotswold stone varies depending where it is quarried in the area. The colour is a paler cream in areas such as Bath in the south Cotswolds and in the northern area, the stone is often a rich honey colour. Listed buildings, many Cotswold market towns and charming Cotswold villages are often entirely built of this natural and beautiful stone.
People have been residing and working in the Cotswold area for the last 6000 years. Proof of the Bronze Age was once found near Snowshill giving a collection of well-known weapons and various artefacts that are now on show in the British Museum in London. The Romans discovered the area in AD47 and built Cirencester and the famous Fosse Way road that links up many locations. During gravel excavations, the largest Roman cemetery was discovered in Horcott near Fairford in 2006. The last battle in England took place in the village of Nibley Green in Gloucestershire and was fought between private armies in 1469. Cotswold wool merchants have built magnificent houses and given many stunning wool churches during the Middle Ages in Chipping Campden, Northleach and Cirencester. The market square in the town centre of Stow-on-the-Wold is a typical reminder of the Cotswold heritage where large sheep markets once took place throughout the region. Now, Cotswold sheep, famously nicknamed as ‘Cotswold Lions’ because of their shaggy golden coat, are now bred as a minority and the area has become home to pastures of cattle and crop farmers.
Secret Cottage Private Tour
Visiting the Cotswolds is an incredible experience but can rarely be done in a day. If you want to see the area but may be limited on time, then book a day tour with the Secret Cottage Tour. Not only do we take you around the stunning sights of the Cotswolds but we welcome you into our home ‘The Secret Cottage’ to give you a taste of beautiful village cottages and some fine homemade food. The Cotswolds is not far from London, taking only one hour and 40 minutes on the train. In fact, the train from London Paddington comes directly to our nearest train station in Moreton-in-Marsh where we pick you up. We take you in our seven-seater luxury minibus on an exciting six-hour tour to see the beautiful places of the Cotswolds, through picturesque Cotswold villages, pretty market towns and show you some of the best Cotswold attractions around. We give you a delicious homemade buffet lunch in The Secret Cottage and stop here in the morning for a hot drink and pastry. We also give our guests a traditional Cotswold cream tea in the afternoon to make sure you get a true taste of Cotswold life! When the tour is over, we return you to the train station so you can be back in London in time for your evening meal. Book your place now to avoid disappointment.