When I was in junior high school, I used to check out all kinds of travel books on England from the library. I would pour over all the amazing photos of grand houses and little country villages, thinking that surely such beautiful places couldn't really exist. (I think the U.S. has lots of natural beauty, but our additions to the landscape in most places have made it uglier not prettier.) The pictures that most captured my attention were of the Cotswolds. Chipping this and Chipping that, and of course, the Slaughters. Since those early days fantasizing over the unbelievably picturesque Cotswolds I have been to the UK many times. But until this last trip, I had never truly gotten out into the countryside (just country towns with train stations). And, though I had been to the nearby cathedral towns of Gloucester and Worcester I had never gotten to the Cotswolds.
It is a little hard to describe what makes the setting so damned pretty. Certainly it is the color of the warm honey stone most of the buildings are made of. And the scale of the buildings and their juxtaposition with the idyllic landscape. They all just seem cozy. The reality of the situation is that there are cars and tour buses in the Cotswolds. And the towns seem to be playgrounds for the rich, which takes away some of the Miss Buncle quality. But overall these little Cotswolds towns are absolutely charming and did not disappoint in the slightest.
We didn't get to as many towns as I thought we would have, but the slower pace was better for enjoying them anyway, so no loss there. And we didn't take as many pictures as we would have liked. It was misting from time to time and we didn't want to get the camera wet. But I think the pictures below of the Slaughters and a few of Chipping Campden will give you a feel for the magic of the Cotswolds.
|The traffic sign may take away from this picture of Upper Slaughter, but its warning that the road ahead |
has a ford and is not suitable for cars helps explain one of the photos below.
|A slightly better picture of the ford in Upper Slaughter.|
|On the trail from Upper to Lower Slaughter|
|Checking my flank for rogue sheep.|
|Someone posted a picture of this commemorative stile, or one very much like it, a while back on their blog.|
Was it Rachel?
|Entering Lower Slaughter|
|On our way back to Upper Slaughter|
|Back in Upper Slaughter|
|Almshouses in Chipping Campden|
|This is the kind of cozy view, everything all close together and pretty, that I remember from my youth.|