Picture Perfect Villages in the Cotswolds
This morning at breakfast, Carol, the owner of the Cornerways B & B where we are staying in Chipping Campden gave us a list of must see villages in the Cotswold that are not always on the tourist trail. With our map in hand and the GPS in the car to guide us, we set off on a full day adventure touring the northern Cotswolds.
Our first stop was Broadway which is known as the "Jewel of the Cotswolds." It is a very pretty village with honey colored stone cottages either with slate or fully thatched roofs. Down Kennel Lane live some cream colored fox hunting dogs pictured on the front cover of a book about the Cotswolds we had seen at the B&B. The dogs were all behind an iron fence silently lined up on their hind legs. Their heads moved in perfect unison watching their owner who was just coming home. He opened a door to an enclosed garden and they bounded off without a sound.
Following a long winding road with hundreds of cyclists, we pulled into Stanton. There are no businesses, cafes, or accommodations that we could see. It is just a pretty village with one Main Street of houses and a church. Hedgerows were neatly trimmed, roses were in full bloom, and lavender swayed in the breeze with fat bumble bees buzzing about. In front of one house was a simple wooden table with a sign that said "Fresh Mint."
I have always known about Upper and Lower Slaughter. My parents talked about visiting it years ago and even owned a memoir written about the area. I will look for the book in my old bookcase filled with their favorite books. Driving into town, we were immediately struck by how it is one of the prettiest villages we have ever seen. We stopped for lunch at the Cotswold Inn, a lovely inn with indoor and outdoor tables. The inn is so old there are signs kindly posted everywhere to warn the visitor of old wooden beams on a low ceiling.
After lunch we followed a one mile footpath along the stream that ran through the town and through the fields to Upper Slaughter. Just at the end of the village was to me the most perfect house. It was a tiny cottage made of stone with pots of wild flowers on the door step and a basket of handmade lavender sachets for sale in a tiny wicker basket.
Hiking to Upper Slaughter was a sensory experience. The smell of roses, honeysuckle, and at times, woodsmoke filled the air. Water gurgled in the stream, sheep calmly bleated, doves cooed in the distance and tiny gravel crunched beneath our feet. Arriving in Upper Slaughter we were surprised to see a tiny village with an elegant wedding about to take place at a manor complete with vintage cars. We had been told the village is often so quiet that it looks like no one lives there.
Bourton-on-the -Water is known as Little Venice. We visited it yesterday and wanted to go back and take photos, The Main Street in the village runs beside a crystal clear stream with tiny stone bridges. Today the town was much more lively and although it was chilly, children were wading in the stream beside the ducks. There are shops in town that are mostly independently owned and it was fun to browse their tempting gifts.
Time moves slower here in the Cotswolds. We could have gone on touring villages all day.