Thursday, September 24, 2015
The Cotswolds, England
Interested in a Music and Markets Tour? We’d love to hear from you! How about an unforgettable holiday with us at New Years’ Jazz in Italy?
It’s another glorious day in the English countryside…sun filters into the sitting room, beckoning us to the gardens beyond…and just in case, a plethora of wellies right by the front door can keep our feet dry in the dewy grass.Through a stone arch, the path winds down beside the manicured lawns to a lake, but we’re headed first out the back door to explore Upper Slaughter..St. Peter’s church tops the town, with a unique mix of architectural styles – it’s obviously been modified through the centuries.Inside it’s simple and peaceful, with an impressive beamed and vaulted ceiling.I’d love to watch a crew of ringers peal the bells above! How many people does it take, I wonder…does each rope have a ringer, or is it a one-person job?Down the hill we walk, passing a pretty front yard, and a re-purposed red phone booth still jaunty beside a stone cottage. It now houses a defibrillator!A sign by the road warns “unsuitable for vehicles” – but this ford looks pretty harmless to us. We cross the narrow walking bridge beside it.A public walkway meanders between Upper and Lower Slaughter, taking us through a field with a good view back towards Lords of the Manor.Through woods, grassy meadows and quirky gates we go, and arrive at Lower Slaughter in about 15 minutes.The old mill is the village’s claim to fame,and now houses a couple of crafty shops, and a courtyard of golden stone garden objects.A bit bigger than Upper Slaughter, the village is filled with pretty homes and gardens, this one with reds of every shade, gently arched bridges,and tall-steepled St. Mary’s.We’re heading further north today, through rolling fields crisscrossed with drystone walls, to the bustling village of Chipping Campden, where we’re spending the night in a cute B & B over a tearoom overlooking the beautiful market hall. Built in the early 1600s, the market’s floor sure shows its age!Pauline, the founder of Slow Europe, who now lives in the Cotswolds, recommends the Badger Tea Rooms for their scones baked in an Aga – I love their crisp outside and tender inside, and the cream, of course, is delectable! Two days, two cream teas…not my usual diet, that’s for sure!
The over one hundred mile Cotswold Way, a walking path, begins here and goes all the way to Bath.Much larger than the hamlets we’ve been in earlier today, Chipping Campden boasts several good tea rooms and pubs, charming thatched cottages, many beautiful homes, and a majestic “Wool Church” so called since it was reconstructed in grand style by the wealthy wool merchants of medieval times. We still see lots of sheep on the hillsides, but I don’t think they make their masters so much money as they did way back then! The graveyard beside the church slopes down to a ruined manor, all that’s left is a many-towered entry.We stop by the Lygon Arms to make dinner reservations,returning later for a hearty meal and even heartier conversations by the locals. Last night, too, we enjoyed eavesdropping on the teasing banter by the bar – it’s obvious that these pubs are a nightly stop for many.
The town seems to glow as we walk back to our room…good night, Chipping Campden!