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The Cotswolds is an area west of Oxford, reaching from west of Swindon in the south east corner to west of Cirencester, and north towards the vicinity of Stratford on Avon (Chipping Camden).  The Cotswolds is  about the size of greater Tokyo, there are well-known for gentle hillsides (the ‘wolds’), and typically English villages with cute names like Bourton on the Water, Stow on the Wold, Morton on the Marsh, and Lower and Upper Slaughter. It is also famous for its building style using a warm limestone in many places, with fine cottage gardens.

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Cirencester has a history back to Roman times. It is one of the main market towns in the south western Cotswolds. It also has England's highest hedge of Yew trees on Lord Aplsley's estate, reaching over 40 feet high and costing £5000 for its yearly trim.

Bourton on the water

Bourton on the water is arguably the prettiest of the Cotswolds towns, with a pleasure water canal bisecting the town. In summer large masses of people descend on it to enjoy ice cream, afternoon teas and tourist shopping on the main street fronting the canal. While I was there a troop of Morris dancers performed.


Broadway is in the north western part of the Cotswolds. This is the corner lying below Warwick and a little further afield is Birmingham. It has a long main street with the traditional open market hall still in place. It has some fine topiary gardens and the curiously named Old Butt cul de sac.

Upper Slaughter, Ogbourne St George

Stow on the Wold

Stow on the Wold is an important market town towards the centre of the Cotswolds, just in the northern half. It has several squares and shopping streets, and purportedly Englands oldest inn: the Royalist Hotel from 947 AD. The last two photos were taken at the former Great Western Railways workshops in Swindon, which is now another factory outlet shopping centre.

Winchcombe, Sudeley and Gloucestershire to Warwickshire railway

Winchcomb lies between Cheltenham and Broadway, it is the nearest Cotswolds town to the former and Sudeley castle lies across a stream from the town. The Gloucestershire to Warwickshire railway (GWR) company, not to be confused with the Great Western Railway (GWR) company based in Swindon is now a historical railway society, located in Toddington. It runs steam trains from Cheltenham racecourse to Toddington.

Cotswolds map

The Cotswolds reach from Swindon to north of Bath in the southwest, to Chipping Camden and Chipping Norton on the northern side.

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