"So, when I think of the Cotswolds, I will think of BIG hills, tall hedgerows, lots of sheep, stone walls, charming cottages, pretty rivers and streams, lots of tourists but not too touristy, if that makes sense."
Those were the words in my travel journal on the day I took a day trip bus tour to this beautiful area that looks like the setting for a Miss Marple or British telly mystery. If Mad Max Tours weren't so good -- or the Cotswolds so beautiful -- they would only merit one post. But we're going to stick here for a couple of posts, even though my tour was just one day! We met at the Abbey Hotel in Bath and soon after were on our way through city traffic...
...and emerging into the beautiful countryside with tunnels of trees...
...and wonderful stone walls.
I think there were nine or ten of us on this mini-bus -- enough to have fun with, not so many that you could neither see nor hear the driver. That would be a shame, because Colin, our driver, was four star!
He was a font of knowledge, good humor, bad (and good) jokes, songs and royal impersonations. He talked enough, not too much. Just perfect. He also managed to squeeze the bus through narrow roads, even in the face of oncoming traffic!
Our first stop was Castle Combe, which was beautifully preserved and a town you may well have seen in films like "War Horse" and the original "Dr. Doolittle." Colin explained it was like many of the Cotswold villages in the day -- fully dependent on sheep for its economy.
The village dates back to Roman times and then experienced a revitalization after the Norman Conquest in 1055 and again after the Black Death in 1349.
Like many such market towns relying on the wool industry, the town was built on a river. And was most picturesque.
It was tremendously prosperous, as were many such villages until the industrial revolution, which led to economic collapse of the wool industry and ultimately the town's preservation.
The homes were charming -- picture-perfect English storybook homes with thatched or slate roofs and window boxes.
One of our first stops was the town church. Along with being quite lovely, outside...
...it had displays that highlighted the production of the film "War Horse"...
...and a tomb of a knight.
The description indicated that this knight had participated in two crusades and had died in battle.
We then went into the center of town and admired the market cross where farmers and weavers would bring their sheep and their wool to sell.
The town is also home to a former manor house that now welcomes guests.
It was quite beautiful with its autumn ivy.
Everywhere we went, autumn was in full flower.
The foliage was lovely with brilliant reds...
...and quieter golds.
Even the cemetery felt as though it belonged right here in this quaint hamlet.
But this was a shorter stop. We had other towns to visit -- and we will, next time!
Sharing with: Pink Saturday / Let's Add Sprinkles / Take Me Away!
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