Around 80% of the Cotswolds is farmland. The area stretches from Bath in the south to Stratford upon Avon in the North. They are approximately 120 miles in length and 50 miles wide. There is a pronounced escarpment which runs up most of the western edge. Cotswold stone is made up of layer upon layer of sand and shell fragments bound together. It was formed during the Jurassic period about 200 million years ago. The Cotswolds were designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) in 1966 and cover about 790 square miles.
The King of Mercia, King Kenulf had his palace at Winchcombe in Saxon times. The town is steeped in history, and today is a very popular walking destination. Winchcombe is the intersection of the Cotswold Way, the Gloucestershire Way, the Wardens Way, the Wychavon Way and the Saint Kenelms Way. Beyond you can explore the Neolithic burial sire known as Belas Knapp. Situated in Spoonley Wood an original Roman Mosaic can be found under some sacking, a copy of which can be seen in Sudeley Castle.
Stanton is a village "frozen in time". Sir Philip Stott purchased much of the village before the Great War and moved into Stanton Court. He ensured by covenants that unsightly features of the 20thC could never disfigure the village. At the far end of the village is Shenberrow Hill well known for its Iron Age earthworks and magnificent views. Nearby in the village of Stanway, can be found the Jacobean Mansion of Stanway House. J.M Barrie fell in love with the house and donated the cricket pavilion where he entertained such well-known people as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and HG Wells.