Cotswolds cover an area of England about the size of greater Tokyo. Popular with both the English themselves and visitors from all over the world, the Cotswolds are well known for gentle hillsides ('Wolds'), sleepy villages and for being so 'typically English'. There are famous cities such as
well known beautiful towns like
and hundreds of delightful villages such as Burford
Castle Combe (Cottages)
Above all, the local honey-coloured limestone, used for everything from stone floors in the houses to the tiles on the roof, has ensured that the area has a magical uniformity of architecture.
Straddling the Western edge of
Oxfordshire and the Eastern side of
parts of Wiltshire, Somerset, & Worcestershire
are the Cotswolds, a ridge of limestone hills rising steeply from the
Severn Valley (Cottages)
in the West and sloping Eastward toward the Oxford Vale.
During the Middle Ages most of the Cotswolds were open sheep runs, providing an important source of wealth for the towns and villages that grew prosperous on the wool trade. The wealth accrued from wool and later the sale of manufactured cloth, is still in evidence in the wonderful churches and manor houses found in the region's elegant market towns.
The Northern Cotswolds are characterised by charming villages of soft yellow stone, built in folds between rolling wolds. Although they owe their existence to the medieval wool industry, most now rely on tourism for a living. Today there are around twenty quarries providing the stone material that is used for the construction of new buildings. A visit to the Cotswolds takes you away from the coast, inland to a picturesque and historic part of Britain where you can explore numerous country lanes and encounter small beautiful villages in the most unexpected places.