Stow on the Wold The Highest Town in the Cotswolds.

At 8oo ft above sea level, Stow on the Wold is the highest town in the Cotswolds. Controlled by the Maugersbury Monks in 1086 the Viking settlement grew on the convergence of eight roads on the Roman Fosseway. But it was the Saxon farmers who laid the foundations of the "fleece" which created wealth for the wool merchants who traded vast numbers of sheep in the market square which being driven into the square through "Tures" (small alleyways).  In 1646 the Battle of Stow was the last and bloody battle of the Civil War.  Over 200  prisoners were locked in the Church of St Edwards, the 15th Century tower of which can be seen for many miles today. Admire the history of the town, the beautiful St Edwards Church, the Art galleries and Antique Shops, the bookshops and of course the fine foods, of the deli's, cafes,s hotels and restaurants. 

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How the Cotswolds was named

Think of the Cotswolds and immediately you think of villages, stone walls, towns and small streams, and woodland. "Wold" means rolling hills and countryside. "Cots" is an Anglo-Saxon word for sheep enclosure, thus putting the two together becomes rolling hills where sheep are kept.  However, the Domesday Book refers to an Anglo-Saxon Cheif named King Cod who ruled the area, which became known as  "King Cod's Weald land. Weald means woodland. 

Alt="St Edwards Church Stow on the Wold"

Magical Cotswold Church Door

The two ancient Yew trees that have grown around the North Door in St. Edwards Church, Stow on the Wold look more like an entry into a fairy tale than into a Church. There is little doubt that J.R Tolkein was inspired to write "The Doors of Durin" as a result of one of his many visits to the Cotswolds while living in nearby Oxford.           St Edwards Church is well worth a visit too: It dates back to the Middle Ages with the North Door being constructed in the 13th Century. The 88ft high 4 stage tower was completed in 1447 and can be seen from many miles across the Cotswold Landscape. 

Stow on the Wold


10 of the best walks and rambles in the Cotswolds

Whether you are looking for a short amble or a hill hike here are some of the best walks in the Cotswolds. There are over 3000 miles of footpaths and rights of way in the Cotswolds which is a wonderful area to explore on foot.  The longest walk is 102 mile Cotswold Way, along the length of the Cotswolds from Bath to Chipping Campden.

  •  Painswick to Slad - Best Walks in the Cotswolds
  • Chipping Campden Cotswold Way Circular Walk -Best Walks in the Cotswolds
  • Winchcombe to Belas Knapp -Best Walks in the Cotswolds
  • Broadway and the tower -Best Walks in the Cotswolds
  • Tetbury to Westonbirt Arboretum - Best Walks in the Cotswolds
  • Blenheim Palace -Best Walks in the Cotswolds
  • Lower Slaughter to Bourton on the Water via Naunton -Best Walks in the Cotswolds
  • Malmesbury Abbey and riverwalk Best Walks in the Cotswolds
  • The Cleeve Hill Ring -Best Walks in the Cotswolds

CotswoldWalks , National Trust, Hiking

Alt="Dovers Hill Chipping Campden"

The Olympick Games held in the Cotswolds in 1612

The Games and festivities began on Dovers Hill near Chipping Campden in 1612, under the auspices of Sir Baptiste Hicks. It was claimed that games, contests and races would keep locals fit to fight for the King. There were much merriment dancing and drinking which was frowned upon by the Puritans. Sadly the games were stopped after the Puritan Victory of the Civil War, revived in the late 1700s, and banned again after a rowdy episode in the 1850s. The games were restarted in 1966. Fans of shin-kicking, handstands welly wanging and relay races using wheelbarrows over slippery surfaces gather each year at the end of May for a weekend of festivities and Jamboree.!

Alt="Stanway Cricket Pavilion"

Thatched Cotswold Cricket Pavilion

The thatched cricket pavilion in Stanway, near Broadway in the Cotswolds was built in 1925 by the author of Peter Pan J.M Barrie. He used to stay at Stanway House and played cricket with his friends Artur Conan Doyle, HG Wells and AA Milne. His team was called the Allahakbarries. Stanway House is a Jacobean house that has been in the Tracy family ownership for over 500 years. The Gateway to the House features the crest of the family, fluted columns topped by scallop shells because a Tracy ancestor was among the three knights who murdered Archbishop Thomas Becket in 1170.

Stanway, Thatched Roofs

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Discover the Cotswolds in Small Group Tours

Exploring the Cotswolds in a small group is much the best way to discover the quaint rolling countryside, the beautiful honey-coloured cottages, the winding river valleys, gorgeous small villages in an area where time has stood still. This are of AONB is 800 square miles of which 80% is farmland. Discover and learn about the rich heritage of the area, and the historical connection and subsequent wealth from Cotswold Sheep which in turn has created many wool churches and large Country Mansions.