Pleasant village at the foot of the orchard clad Oxenton Hill. The medieval parish church has very fine early English stonework in its west window and tower arch.
The Market House in the centre of Tetbury is an immediate reminder of the history of the town. Built in 1655 and supported on three rows of bulging stone pillars, it was designed for the sale of wool and yarn, and is still used as a market today. The town has origins in the 7th century (and probably long before) as a defended hilltop site and has a busy commercial centre, strong on antique shops. Look out also for shops with the Prince of Wales Feathers badge, suppliers to HRH. A walk down the old Chipping Steps and round into Gumstool Hill will reveal another part of Tetbury's history, with 17th century weavers' cottages. Gumstool Hill gets its name from the reputed site of the old ducking stool, used as a punishment for minor breaches of the peace. The hill is still used for the annual Woolsack Races, a long-standing tradition which requires 65lb woolsacks to be carried by the contestants up and down the 1 in 4 slope. The town's old police cells now house the museum.
Tewkesbury is an historic place, known to Shakespeare (Falstaff has the line "Wit as thick as Tewkesbury Mustard") and Dickens (who 'used' the Royal Hop Pole Inn in Pickwick Papers). The mustard, by the way, is available locally and worth trying - a blend of mustard flour and grated horseradish root. The town lies where the River Severn and Avon meet, a fact that has prevented urban sprawl and ensures that today, Tewkesbury offers one of the best medieval townscapes in England. Delightful timber-framed, mellow-brick houses and narrow alleyways surround an outstanding 12th century Benedictine Abbey. The Norman Abbey tower provides spectacular views of Bredon Hill, the Malverns, and the scarp face of the Cotswolds. Surrounding villages in the Severn Vale have a special character and add extra charm to the area. A brand new Heritage & Interpretation Centre will open in 2007, based in the Old Hat Shop, a Grade II Star timber-framed building in the town centre. The centre will present the history of Tewkesbury whilst linking to town gems such as one of the oldest Baptist Chapels in England and medieval merchants' cottages. Walking routes that pass through Tewkesbury include the Severn Way, The Gloucestershire Way and routes that take in the River Severn and The Tewkesbury Battle Trail. Tewkesbury is strong on Festivals, including a very successful new Food and Drink Festival and Arts
events. A dramatic Medieval Festival in July reenacts the Battle of Tewkesbury, the decisive War of the Roses battle of 1471.
Tirley lies near the bank of the River Severn a few miles from Tewkesbury. The medieval parish church lies at a distance from the village in the flood meadows. Signs show the flood levels of the past. Close to Ashleworth Ham Nature Reserve and
Toddington Manor was recently acquired by Damien Hirst, forming a fine group with a Victorian parish church (not open to the public but you'll sneak a glance through a hedgerow). The village is also home to the preserved Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway.
Tredington is an elegantly beautiful village in the Valley of the Stour, said to have been the location of the King's Army camp on the night before the Battle of Tewkesbury in 1471.
2 miles north of Northleach, this small village is pleasantly sited on a hillside, with the hamlet of Lower Dean in the valley below. There's a good circular walk from Turkdean, via Notgrove.
An ancient crossroads where an Iron Age hillfort, later became a Roman camp. The river crossing was of great strategic importance in past times - the Cavalier forces of King Charles I camped on the banks. The village setting now conjures images of
village green cricket and trips along the beautiful River Severn into Tewkesbury from the local pub.
Small pretty country village with easy access to the Malvern Hills, Cheltenham, Worcester, Upton-upon-Severn, Tewkesbury and the Cotswolds. It is also close to the River Severn for riverside walks.
2500 years ago, Uley Bury, a great Iron Age hillfort, dominated the area. Set in a stunning valley, one of the prettiest in the area, the church is a gem. Uley Brewery is an excellent supplier to local pubs. Prema Arts is an independent rural arts centre with
a national reputation.
These twin villages nestle below Meon Hill, the last outcrop of the Cotswold range. Good views from the top on a clear day across the Vale of Evesham as far as the Malvern Hills. The church, with its tall steeple, is dedicated to St Swithin, and is a landmark for miles around.
Situated below the scarp, not far from Gloucester. Upton's church has a fine perpendicular tower and a monument to Sir Thomas Snell in the north chapel.
The village is known for its heritage - no visitor can fail to miss Prinknash Park and Abbey which dominate the skyline.
Home of the National Arboretum - the finest collection of trees and shrubs in Europe spread throughout 600 acres of glorious Cotswold countryside.
Together with Aston-sub-Edge, lies below the escarpment on the edge of the Evesham Vale near Broadway. Fine 17th century stone farmhouses and cottages around the square and up the hill. At Aston there is an impressive old manor house and an interesting little church.
5 miles north of Chipping Norton and in rolling hill country, the village has a wide green and attractive old buildings. Open the church door for the sense of history within. The hamlet of Ascott is nearby.
1.5 miles from Broadway set beneath the Cotswold scarp with many handsome Cotswold stone buildings. A village duck pond leads to a pinnacled and gargoyled church.
Winchcombe is an unspoilt golden-coloured market town set above the River Isbourne on the Cotswold edge. Cottages, small shops and some good pubs and tea-rooms give the town a warmth all of its own. The town was an important centre in Saxon times and later became the site of one of the largestBenedictine monasteries in England. Although the abbey has gone, the town thrives. The stone Church of St Peter displays an altar cloth worked by Catherine of Aragon. Outside the church there are
40 gargoyles, said to represent local town characters from the 1460s.
Dent's Terrace is a splendid set of almshouses and there are beautiful sets of cottages on Vineyard Street.
Winchcombe borders Sudeley Castle (apartments open occasionally) which is establishing an international reputation for contemporary art in its beautifulgardens (open regularly). Also in or around Winchcombe are the Folk & Police Museum (outside of which are some seven holed stocks - the last hole for a one-legged rogue of the town), a Railway Museum and Winchcombe Pottery. Winchcombe is a great base for walkers with the Cotswold Way, Gloucestershire Way & Wychavon Way all passing through. The Wardens Way & Windrush Way both start and finish here. Nearby Belas Knap is a Neolithic barrow in a spectacular location above Humblebee Woods (beloved of
Little and Great Witcombe are quiet locations set at the foot of the Cotswold escarpment, with easy access to Cheltenham & Gloucester. Great Witcombe has a fabulous Roman Villa where you can roam around and picnic in ancient settings. The
ancient tradition of Cheese Rolling also takes place nearby every year on the second Bank Holiday in May, where contestants chase a Gloucester cheese down a very steep hill!
Village on the River Coln with six converging lanes - an almost secret layout amongst the trees. The church attracts attention - there has been a building here since the late 7th century. Good walks, including parts of the former railway line.
Woodchester is notable as the location of Woodchester Roman Villa. Nearby Woodchester Mansion is regularly open to the public and stands in a landscaped valley, privately owned by the National Trust. If parking for the Mansion/NT, head for Nympsfield/Coaley Peak (not Woodchester, which is a common mistake).
The village of Woodmancote (4 miles north of Cheltenham) lies nestling on the slopes of Cleeve Hill in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Stay here for cycling, walking, touring the Severn Vale and easy access to Cotswold villages.
Amongst the Cotswold hills just north of Cheltenham, this village is small and has a pleasant mix of stone and timber-framed houses. A peaceful setting for exploring the region.
The market town of Wotton-under-Edge is an excellent centre for walking and is on the Cotswold Way. Its main street has been called a 'department store within a street'. There is a newly-refurbished community run cinema, a vibrant community arts centre and a highly respected auction room. In summer, the town has an outdoor swimming pool with retractable cover.