Pershore

Pershore is a market town situation on the River Avon in the Vale of Evesham, known as the “fruit and vegetable basket of England” in Worcestershire.  Pershore is known for its lovely Georgian architecture, its plums and pears and asparagus, its college and its Norman abbey.

The Pershore Abbey is probably the best known landmark in town.   The abbey is a majestic, stately structure which speaks to the town’s prosperity at the time of its construction in the 11th century.  The site was originally founded by St. Oswald in AD 689.

The Pershore College is renowned worldwide and is the home of the Royal Horticultural Society and the National Alpine Society.

You will find many antique shops on Pershore’s High Street as well as numerous restaurants, public houses, tea shops and cafés.  This is a wonderful place to shop and indulge in refreshments; many of the restaurants include locally grown produce on their menus!  There are also plenty of inns if you are thinking of staying the night.

Pershore is especially celebrated for the quality of its plums and the blossoms which beautify the town every spring.  Pershore’s plums are known as the “Pershore Emblem” or the “Pershore Purple.”  There is even a Pershore Plum Fayre held annually in the fall!  Pershore is a fun and delicious stop on your Cotswolds vacation!

pershore

 

Painswick

The small town of Painswick in Gloucestershire has been settled since the Iron Age.  It sits atop a hill overlooking the Stroud valleys.  The town features narrow streets and medieval architecture typical of the Cotswolds.

Painswick is best known for its 15th century church, St. Mary’s.  The spire was added in the 17th century and in 1792, 99 yew trees were planted in the churchyard.  Yew trees are commonly planted in church yards in the UK (and church yards are frequently built surrounding yew groves) due to the fact that yew trees can live for centuries or possibly longer.  The seeming immortality of the yew tree makes it a symbol of immortality in Christianity.  All 99 yew trees planted in St. Mary’s church yard in the 18th century are still alive today.  The church has an organ and thirteen bells.  Architectural historian Clifton-Taylor describes St. Mary’s yard as “the grandest churchyard in England” for its yew grove and its well crafted tombs and monuments.

There are a number of bed and breakfast estates in Painswick where you can stay.  Any churchyard enthusiast would be remiss not to include a day at Painswick on his or her to-do list while visiting the scenic Cotswolds!

Painswick

Nearby you can visit Painswick Rococo Garden.

 

Naunton

Naunton is a tiny hamlet in Gloucestershire in the Cotswolds.  It is nearest to Stow-on-the-Wold, Cheltenham, Guiting Power and Bourton-on-the-Water.  Bourton-on-the-Water in turn is a short walk from Upper and Lower Slaughter.  The village is spread out across the bottom of the Windrush Valley and probably has existed in some form or another for 2000 years.  As of a decade ago, there were less than 400 people living in Naunton.

The Church of St. Andrew in town was built in the 15th century on the site of an older, demolished Saxon church.  The Church has two sun dials designed in the 18th century.  The Latin inscription over one reads “Lux Umbra Dei,” which means “Light is the shadow of God.”  The pulpit inside, carved in the 15th century, is beautifully crafted, as are the gargoyles on the exterior.

There are a number of lovely, tranquil walks around Naunton leading through the countryside and to the neighboring towns.  During the spring and summer, the Windrush Valley blooms with exquisite flowers including cowslips, yellow rattle and orchids.  This is a quiet and secluded valley in which to enjoy a pleasant stroll.  When you feel ready to retire, you can return to the Black Horse Inn to enjoy refreshments and relax.

Naunton

 

Nailsworth

Nailsworth
Nailsworth

Nailsworth is a small to medium sized town in Gloucestershire in one of the Stroud Valleys.  It is located near Minchinhampton but has more places to eat, stay and shop.

Nailsworth’s history stretches back to ancient times.  There are still buildings of medieval origin in the town including Beverston Castle and Owlpen Manor.  In more recent times Nailsworth specialized in milling and brewing.  Nowadays Nailsworth is a center of commerce for local merchants dealing in a variety of wares.  Every fourth Saturday of the month the town hosts a farmer’s market.  Among the town’s numerous shops you will find two bakeries, a delicatessen, two butcher shops, several craft shops and bookstores and a gardening store.  There are also a couple of art galleries in town.

Nearby you can enjoy visiting Ruskin Mill, an arts and crafts centre which teaches youths from around the country, Woodchester Mansion, an unfinished Gothic manor with impressive grounds, Owlpen Manor, a lovely Tudor estate with terraced gardens, Nailsworth Ladder, a very steep road leading to Minchinhampton Common, and the Minchinhampton Common itself, the second largest common in the Cotswolds.  These are just some of the many attractions in and around this bustling, friendly town!

Nailsworth

 

Minchinhampton

Minchinhampton is a small, attractive town in Gloucestershire just northeast of Nailsworth.  It sits atop a hill between the Golden Valley and Nailsworth Valley.  There are a number of sites here of to fascinate a visitor.

The town’s church, Holy Trinity, is an example of distinctive local architecture.  It has a typical cruciform appearance but its spire is distinguishing in that it is truncated.  The reason for the spire’s strange shape is that part of it had to be destroyed in the 16th century owing to the arches below being unable to support the spire’s weight.  The oldest parts of the building date back to the 14th century.

What other spots can you visit in Minchinhampton?  Ruskin Mill is a well known arts and crafts centre attended by youths from all over England.  Woodchester Mansion is an unfinished but well preserved 19th century Gothic manor.  The Mansion is set on a beautifully landscaped 400 acre park.  The Mansion includes a tea room and a gift shop.  Owlpen Manor is a handsome Tudor manor which includes a church, barn and mill.  The Manor also has a beautiful terraced garden.

There is a lot more to see and do around Minchinhampton; this is a wonderful little town that can provide plenty of pleasurable diversion for a day!

Minchinhampton

 

Mickleton

Mickleton is a small village close to the border of Worcestershire and Warwickshire on the western edge of the Vale of Evesham.  It is 3 miles north of Chipping Campden.

The town is known mostly for its produce; you can buy locally grown fruits and vegetables in Mickleton including apples, asparagus and cauliflower.  The town has a number of appealing stone and half-timber thatched cottages.  There is a hotel called the Three Ways Hotel with a Victorian Memorial Fountain just outside.  The lovely Medford House features a 14-century tower and spire.  The two-storied porch, constructed in the 17th century, is considered highly peculiar.  Inside is a chapel with a 12th century crucifix.

Mickleton is also known for the nearby Meon Hill.  Meon Hill is believed to have been J.R.R. Tolkien’s inspiration for Weathertop in The Fellowship of the Ring.  The site has long been associated with paranormal activity and is commonly associated in local folklore with the Devil.  A man named Charles Walton was notoriously murdered there in 1945 after being accused of witchcraft.

There are two public houses in Mickleton where you can enjoy a delicious meal and a drink, King’s Arms and Butcher’s Arms.  Mickleton is off the beaten path, but a pleasant and intriguing place to visit.

mickleton

 

Upper Slaughter

Upper Slaughter is a tiny Gloucestershire village 4 miles southwest of Stow-on-the-Wold.  It is also very close to Bourton-on-the-Water, Daylesford, and of course Lower Slaughter.  Upper Slaughter sits on a grassy hillside just above the River Eye which runs through Lower Slaughter.  The name “Slaughter” is derived from the Old English “slough,” which means “muddy land.”

Upper Slaughter was once the site of a Norman Castle, but all that remains today are the ruins of its motte and bailey.  The most prominent building standing in Upper Slaughter is the Manor House with its beautiful gabled roof.  Parts of the house are as old as the 15th century but the style of the manor is largely Elizabethan.  It has been converted into a hotel.

There is a footpath connecting Upper Slaughter to Lower Slaughter a mile away called “Warden’s Way.”  Warden’s Way will lead you on a peaceful stroll across several stone bridges over the Eye to the neighboring village.  The walk takes about 25 minutes to complete in one direction.  Since Lower Slaughter has no accommodations you will want to plan to return to Upper Slaughter for the night, or drive to nearby Stow-on-the-Wold.

Both the Slaughters are small, but they are a secluded and enjoyable way to spend an afternoon in the Cotswolds.

Upper Slaughter Manor Hotel

Lechlade

Lechlade is a small market town on the southern outskirts of the Cotswolds in Gloucestershire.  The River Thames and Rivers Coln and Leach combine here and represent the highest point upstream on which larger vessels can travel on the Thames.  Due to its proximity to the rivers and their confluence, Lechlade has been a center of trade for centuries.  Stone mined in quarries in Taynton was loaded on boats at Lechlade and transported to building sites of famous structures all around England including Windsor Castle and St. Paul’s Cathedral as well as a number of Oxford Colleges.  Now the town is a center of leisure for water sport enthusiasts.

Lechlade is believed to contain the oldest bridge over the Thames anywhere outside of London.  The bridge was originally constructed in the 13th century but was rebuilt during the 19th century.  A statue of Father Thames was moved from the source of the Thames to stand next to the bridge.  Another bridge from the 18th century is situated to the south and is known as the Halfpenny Bridge.

The skyline of Lechlade is defined most prominently by the spire of St. Lawrence’s Church.  The poet Shelley wrote the famous poem Summer Evening Meditation there.  You can visit the glorious interior of the church or enjoy a view of the spire from a cruise aboard the Inglesham motorboat during the summer months.

lechlade

Kingham

Kingham is a tiny village and parish in Oxfordshire with less than a thousand people.  It sits between Chipping Norton and Stow-on-the-Wold, within just several miles of each in the Evenload Valley.  Kingham is less well known than the other two villages on the route, but it is no less enchanting.  Voted “England’s Favourite Village” of 2006 by Country Life Magazine, its streets are lined with lovely thatched cottages from the 17th and 18th centuries.

There is a railway station a mile from Kingham providing service to and from London Paddington, Oxford, Worcester and Hereford.  Many of the Cotswold towns are inaccessible by rail, so this is a very unique and exciting feature.

The town is home to a couple of breathtaking churches.  Churchill has a church tower high on a hilltop and visible from quite some distance.  It is designed to be a more slender version of another tower in Oxford.  St. Andrew, another church in town, was built with a Norman design in the 17th century.

Kingham has two public houses, the Plough and The Wild Rabbit and a single hotel, The Mill House.  Either of these pubs is a great place to stop in and have a bite to eat or a refreshing pint of real ale.  Since Kingham only offers a single hotel, be sure to reserve your room in advance if you plan to spend the night, or else stay at nearby Stow-on-the-Wold or Chipping Norton.

If you are getting a train to Kingham station it is advisable to book a Taxi in advance, Kingham Taxis

Blockley

Blockley is a small town in Gloucestershire located just three miles from Moreton in Marsh.  This quaint, pictorial town sits on a small hillside beside Blockley Brook, which is a tributary of Knee Brook.

Blockley is an ancient town granted a monastery in AD 855 by King Burgred of Mercia.  In the 19th century during the decline of the wool industry, the town turned to silk for its profits.  Six silk mills and 600 people were employed in 1884 in the production of silk for ribbon making to be completed in Coventry.  Unfortunately within just two decades a levy imposed on imported silk would force this industry too to decline.

Due to its differences in industry and history, Blockley is a bit different in atmosphere from other villages in the northern Cotswolds.  Its buildings are hewn from local stone as others are, but here the golden colour of the stone is even more striking and definitive.  A lovely village green and Norman Church add to the charm of this delightful town and many peaceful footpaths leading from the village into the surrounding countryside offer a serene diversion on your Cotswolds trip.  Being such a small town, Blockley only has several inns – so make your reservations before you arrive!

Blockley