Welcome to The Cotswolds!

I love the English Cotswolds and think everyone should visit this beautiful place at least once in their lifetime. Having lived all over the world and traveled as much as possible, I still think that this little part of England is one of the world's greatest treasures. This site is dedicated to helping spread the word and encourage sustainable travel to the Cotswolds.

If you enjoy reading this blog, please help spread the word by sharing with your friends!

Sunday, 14 August 2016

The Most Haunted Place in the Cotswolds?

Any list I've come across of the "most haunted place in the Cotswolds" lists Woodchester Mansion as number one.  Or at least puts it in the top ten.  I shall leave it to you to decide, should you ever visit.  What I can certainly say, however, is that this unfinished Jacobean mansion set deep in a remote valley near Stroud is as fascinating as it is beautiful.

We went there today for a look, and are looking forward to returning again soon.  I've taken a few photos, including a set from the cellars, where paranormal researchers routinely carry out studies, as this is supposedly a "hot spot" for otherworldly activity.  There just may be a ghost or two captured in the photos... if you spot one, please let me know.

Details of the property and its history are here- http://www.woodchestermansion.org.uk/HomePage.aspx.  And if you want to see just how frightening this place can be, try the all night ghost hunt this Halloween!  http://www.dusktilldawnevents.co.uk/halloween-in-woodchester-mansion-ghost-hunt-p-690.html

And now for the cellar.  Again, if you think you see anything, let me know!

Sunday, 7 August 2016

A Spicy Walk around the Farmcotes

It was another delightful day in the Cotswolds today, so we struck out early for a 5k ramble between Little Farmcote and the neighbouring bustling metropolis of Farmcote.  Little Farmcote has three houses, and Farmcote about seven.

There are huge, panoramic views throughout most of the walk, and arguably some of the finest in the area.  The walk uses part of the Winchcombe Way and a bit of the Cotswold Way, and is a circular route between the two villages.  Farmcote itself is gorgeous.  A short, single track lane with just a few houses, each made of honey coloured stone, all perched along the top of the wolds at over 260 meters.  There is also a very pretty little Saxon church, St. Faith's, that is well worth a visit.

Now, for the spicy bit.  Farmcote is home to the one and only Farmcote Herbs and Chilli Peppers.  Not only is the location along well worth a visit- the views from here are some of the best- you can stop by to pick up over 250 kinds of fresh herbs, all manner of chilli peppers and products (Gloucester Old Spot chilli sausages, chili chocoloate, sauces and chutneys, chilli burgers) to take home.  And, if you are on a long walk on a hot day, as we were, they sell some really lovely country ice cream, and have cold water to fill your bottles straight from a Cotswold spring!  

If this has piqued your interest, and you'll be in the area on 20 & 21 August, stop by for their annual Chilli Festival.  Both days from 10:30am to 5pm, and featuring BBQ, Beer Tent, Tea Tent, Live Music, stalls selling handcrafts, and , of course, all manner of chili-related products, including chilli ice cream and chocolate.

See you there!

Saturday, 9 July 2016

Stanway House Summer Fete

Apologies for being offline for such a long time.  You see, there are just too many brilliant summer fetes and festivals going on here in the Cotswolds, and I haven't had time to write!  Today was an especially good one- the summer fete at Stanway House, home to the 13th Earl of Wemyss (Jamie Neidpath), and a truly stunning place to visit.

Stanway House is home to a 300 foot high gravity powered fountain, that can often be seen as one travels around the North Cotswolds between Broadway and Winchcombe.  The fete itself was quite an event.  All manner of traditional games (I spent some time having children throw wet sponges at my face), the local Morris side was out dancing up a storm to some lively traditional tunes, there was a brass band performing throughout, a hog roast, and some very special ale.

The ale.  So very good!  Stanway House was built during Elizabeth I's reign, and included a brewery.  The old brewery had been in disuse for many, many years until a local brewer convinced Lord Neidpath to let him fire it up again.  Now, the Stanway Brewery is producing some outstanding real ale, only to be had at a very tiny number of local pubs.  Luckily for me, they had come to the party with take home two-pint ale cartons.  So, hours after returning from the fete, I sit writing this post with a cool glass of Stanney Bitter.  Top hole!

Sunday, 29 May 2016

Shipton Oliffe & Withington Circular

I like cows.  And horses.  The problem is that my dog doesn't.  In fact, she wants to eat any animal she sees, and makes it very clear.  Even if the animal is ten times her size, and is in a herd with 25 other large animals.  The result is that my walks around the Cotswolds are getting longer and longer.

That's because I am continuously following some footpath only to discover that it crosses a field full of cows or horses.  Although serious trouble with them is rare, aggressive dogs often provoke their defenses, and can have a very bad result.  So, when this happens, I am forced to turn around and find an alternate route.  This can easily add an extra kilometer sometimes.

This walk, which should have been about 9km, was 12km.  I suppose its for the best.

We started in the little known village of Shipton Oliffe, famous for having nothing in it at all apart from a few houses and two very beautiful Norman churches, and takes in the quintessential Cotswold village of Withington.  Quite a lot of the route follows the River Coln.  Trout, anyone?

In case anyone would like to try this walk, here is the link to my ViewRanger upload:  http://my.viewranger.com/track/details/MzIxNTAyNg==