Stretching all the way from Warwickshire in the North to Somerset in the south, the Cotswolds are in fact a range of hills 90 miles long and 25 miles wide. Due to the preservation of its medieval charm the Cotswolds is known today as an area of outstanding natural beauty (AONB), virtually unspoilt by modern industry. This idyllic countryside of rolling hills and chocolate box cottages its quite sparsely populated, with only around 85000 people living in across whole region, although it receives 38,000,000 visitors ever year.
Views From Cotswolds Edge © Travel About Britain
Farmland covers most of the area and farming has always been big business here. Most of the honey coloured stone villages, so loved by tourists, were built on the proceeds of sheep farming, during the booming wool trade in the 13th to 15th centuries. When the native Cotswold sheep became famous throughout Europe for their heavy fleeces and high quality wool.
With over 3000 miles of footpaths to explore, including the 100 mile long Cotswold Way, stretching from Chipping Camden in the north to Bath in the south, it is a great area to explore on foot.
The Donnington Way, a 62-mile circular walk, can be joined at any point along a 15 pub-to-pub route created by the Donnington Brewery. England's prettiest Brewery, set in a lovely 13th-century Cotswold stone mill, just the north of Stow-on-the-Wold on the A44. Donnington Ales are available in many Cotswold pubs and Inns.The OS Outdoor Leisure 45, ‘The Cotswolds’ map, details the entire route. Some Donnington Inns offer bed and breakfast facilities, so you can do the walk in daily sections.
Attractions & Theme Parks:
Bourton-on-the-Water Model Village | Cotswold Motoring Museum | Dean Forest Railway | Edward Jenner Museum | Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway | Keith Harding's World of Mechanical Music
Castles, Monuments & Heritage Sites:
Berkeley Castle | Chedworth Roman Villa | Clearwell Caves Ancient Iron Mines | Dean Heritage Centre | Hailes Abbey | Odda's Chapel | Prinknash Abbey and Pottery | Sudeley Castle & Gardens | Uley Long Barrow
Gardens & Historic Houses:
Bourton House Garden | Chavenage House | Dyrham Park | Hidcote Manor Garden | Kiftsgate Court Gardens | Littledean Hall | Lodge Park Sherborne Estate | Sezincote | Snowshill Manor | Westbury Court Garden | Westonbirt National Arboretum
Nature, Wildlife & Scenic Sites:
Birdland | Cotswold Falconry Centre | Cotswold Farm Park | Nature in Art | National Birds of Prey Centre | Prinknash Bird and Deer Park | Wildfowl Wetlands Trust