The International Steam Pages
Cotswold Ways, 2012
For convenience I have now grouped lifestyle illustrated features by topic:
This page is just one of several describing aspects of our '2012 new life', for earlier and later pages use the West Gloucestershire link above.
East of the lower parts of the River Severn lie the Cotswolds, it's real picture postcard stuff but unsurprisingly, if you aren't careful you'll be sharing it with large numbers of other visitors. I made a point of driving 'the pretty way' back from Heathrow Airport on Day 1 of the visit of Yuehong's Aunt and her husband. Turning down a country lane off the A40 just inside Gloucestershire we 'chanced' upon The Fox at Little Barrington, an excellent opportunity to introduce 'pub culture'. Somebody had come off second best in a collision with a bus shelter in Beijing but that wasn't going to derail the visit.
Apart from pub crawling, the best part of visiting the Cotswolds is just driving slowly and taking in the atmosphere, hopefully not intruding too much into the lives of those who can afford to live there. However, given that I can't get there too often, I had to stop off at the church in Kings Stanley where we planted a cherry tree for my late mother. It's been in there for not much more than 10 years but it's grown so much that someone has had to take the top off:
Bibury, east of Cirencester is a tourist mecca, but on the occasion of our visit, the famous Arlington Row had been taken over for filming and there was a large wedding reception in the Swan Inn. We didn't stay long...
Bourton on the Water is the Cotswold's answer to Blackpool and is definitely best avoided but just north of it, Lower and Upper Slaughter have learned to live with the tourists.
Upper Slaughter even has a drive through car wash:
Just below the escarpment, east of Tewkesbury, I've always enjoyed visiting Stanton and we finished our trip there. There's nothing over the top about it, just a nice collection of period houses in Cotswold stone with the odd 'country cottage' interloper...
On the road to Stanway, Yuehong recognised this unusual cricket pavillion, it appears in Beningfield's English Villages (ISBN 0 670 84631 7) and was apparently donated by J.M. Barrie, the author of Peter Pan! The book presents a somewhat idealised view of rural 'Middle England', but it's one that escapists like Yuehong and I enjoy immensely:
Rob and Yuehong Dickinson