Cotswolds in England

Monday, 20 December 2021 - 11:00 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, Bon voyage, Living, Working, Building, Palaces, Castles, Manors, Parks
Reading Time:  7 minutes

Broadway row © Peter K Burian/cc-by-sa-4.0

Broadway row © Peter K Burian/cc-by-sa-4.0

The Cotswolds is an area in south-central, West Midlands and South West England comprising the Cotswold Hills, a range of rolling hills that rise from the meadows of the upper Thames to an escarpment, known as the Cotswold Edge, above the Severn Valley and Evesham Vale. The area is defined by the bedrock of Jurassic limestone that creates a type of grassland habitat rare in the UK and that is quarried for the golden-coloured Cotswold stone. It contains unique features derived from the use of this stone; the predominantly rural landscape contains stone-built villages, historical towns and stately homes and gardens.

Designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) in 1966, the Cotswolds covers 787 square miles (2,038 km²) and, after the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales national parks, is the third largest protected landscape in England and the largest AONB. Its boundaries are roughly 25 miles (40 km) across and 90 miles (140 km) long, stretching southwest from just south of Stratford-upon-Avon to just south of Bath near Radstock. It lies across the boundaries of several English counties; mainly Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire, and parts of Wiltshire, Somerset, Worcestershire, and Warwickshire. The highest point of the region is Cleeve Hill at 1,083 ft (330 m), just east of Cheltenham. The hills give their name to the Cotswold local government district, formed on 1 April 1974, which is within the county of Gloucestershire. Its main town is Cirencester, where the Cotswold District Council offices are located. The population of the 450-square-mile (1,200 km²) District was about 83,000 in 2011. The much larger area referred to as the Cotswolds encompasses nearly 800 square miles (2,100 km²), over five counties: Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Warwickshire, Wiltshire, and Worcestershire. The population of the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty was 139,000 in 2016.

Bourton-on-the-Water © Kmtextor/cc-by-sa-4.0 Broadway row © Peter K Burian/cc-by-sa-4.0 Castle Combe © Saffron Blaze/cc-by-sa-3.0 Market Square in Stow on the Wold © Bs0u10e01/cc-by-sa-4.0 Stanton © Peter K Burian/cc-by-sa-4.0 Upper Slaughter © Bs0u10e01/cc-by-sa-4.0 Sudeley Castle © Wdejager/cc-by-sa-4.0
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Market Square in Stow on the Wold © Bs0u10e01/cc-by-sa-4.0
A 2017 report on employment within the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, stated that the main sources of income were real estate, renting and business activities, manufacturing and wholesale & retail trade repairs. Some 44% of residents were employed in these sectors. Agriculture is also important. Some 86% of the land in the AONB is used for this purpose. The primary crops include barley, beans, rape seed oil and wheat, while the raising of sheep is also important; cows and pigs are also reared. The livestock sector has been declining since 2002, however. Tourism is a significant part of the economy. The Cotswold District area alone gained over £373 million from visitor spending on accommodation, £157 million on local attractions and entertainments, and about £100m on travel in 2016. In the larger Cotswolds Tourism area, including Stroud, Cheltenham, Gloucester and Tewkesbury, tourism generated about £1 billion in 2016, providing 200,000 jobs. Some 38 million day visits were made to the Cotswold Tourism area that year. Many travel guides direct tourists to Chipping Campden, Stow-on-the-Wold, Bourton-on-the-Water, Broadway, Bibury, and Stanton. Some of these locations can be very crowded at times. Roughly 300,000 people visit Bourton per year, for example, with about half staying for a day or less. The area also has numerous public walking trails and footpaths that attract visitors, including the 93-mile (150 km) Cotswold Way (part of the National Trails System) from Bath to Chipping Camden.

Cotswold stone is a yellow oolitic Jurassic limestone. This limestone is rich in fossils, particularly of fossilised sea urchins. When weathered, the colour of buildings made or faced with this stone is often described as honey or golden. The stone varies in colour from north to south, being honey-coloured in the north and north east of the region, as shown in Cotswold villages such as Stanton and Broadway; golden-coloured in the central and southern areas, as shown in Dursley and Cirencester; and pearly white in Bath. The rock outcrops at places on the Cotswold Edge; small quarries are common. The exposures are rarely sufficiently compact to be good for rock-climbing, but an exception is Castle Rock, on Cleeve Hill, near Cheltenham. Due to the rapid expansion of the Cotswolds in order for nearby areas to capitalize on increased house prices, well known ironstone villages, such as Hook Norton, have even been claimed by some to be in the Cotswolds despite lacking key features of Cotswolds villages such as Cotswold stone and are instead built using a deep red/orange ironstone, known locally as Hornton Stone. In his 1934 book English Journey, J. B. Priestley made this comment about Cotswold buildings made of the local stone:

“The truth is that it has no colour that can be described. Even when the sun is obscured and the light is cold, these walls are still faintly warm and luminous, as if they knew the trick of keeping the lost sunlight of centuries glimmering about them”.

In August 2018, the final decision was made for a Local Plan that would lead to the building of nearly 7,000 additional homes by 2031, in addition to over 3,000 already built. Areas for development include Cirencester, Bourton-on-the-Water, Down Ampney, Fairford, Kemble, Lechlade, Northleach, South Cerney, Stow-on-the-Wold, Tetbury and Moreton-in-Marsh. Some of the money received from developers will be earmarked for new infrastructure to support the increasing population.

Read more on Cotswolds AONB, Welcome to the Cotswolds, cotswolds.info – The Cotswolds History & Heritage of Wool & Stone, Wikivoyage Cotswolds and Wikipedia Cotswolds (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.








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