Thursday, September 24, 2015
The Cotswolds, England

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It’s another glorious day in the English countryside…sun filters into the sitting room,09241501 am filtering sun 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.09241501 am prepared boots by doorThrough 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..09241501 am walkSt. Peter’s church tops the town, with a unique mix of architectural styles – it’s obviously been modified through the centuries.09241501 church of st peterInside it’s simple and peaceful, with an impressive beamed and vaulted ceiling.09241501 church simple beautyI’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?09241501 church web of bell pullsDown the hill we walk, passing a pretty front yard09241503 mailbox pack up to stowe, and a  re-purposed red phone booth still jaunty beside a stone cottage. It now houses a defibrillator!09241501 phonebox now defibrillatorA sign by the road warns “unsuitable for vehicles”  – but this ford looks pretty harmless to us. We cross the narrow walking bridge beside it.09241501 sign not suitable for vehicles the fordA public walkway meanders between Upper and Lower Slaughter, taking us through a field with a good view back towards Lords of the Manor.09241501 to lower slaughter by lordsThrough woods, grassy meadows and quirky gates we go, 09241501 woods and fields and gatesand arrive at Lower Slaughter in about 15 minutes.09241502 down to the millThe old mill is the village’s claim to fame,and now houses a couple of crafty shops, 09241502 etsy items in the crafty shopsand a courtyard of golden stone garden objects.09241502 golden stone for the gardenA bit bigger than Upper Slaughter, the village is filled with pretty homes and gardens,09241502 nice gardens this one with reds of every shade, 09241502 reds of every shadegently arched bridges,09241503 bridgesand tall-steepled St. Mary’s.09241502 pretty church in a bit bigger townWe’re heading further north today, through rolling fields crisscrossed with drystone walls,09241503 undulating fields to the bustling village of Chipping Campden,09241504 chipping campden where we’re spending the night in a cute B & B over a tearoom overlooking the beautiful market hall. 09241504 market hallBuilt in the early 1600s, the market’s floor sure shows its age!09241504 old floor 1627Pauline, the founder of Slow Europe, who now lives in the Cotswolds, recommends the Badger Tea Rooms for their scones baked in an Aga 09241504 from the aga– I love their crisp outside and tender inside, and the cream, of course, is delectable! 09241504 chipping campden sconesTwo 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.09241504 way starts here goes southMuch larger than the hamlets we’ve been in earlier today, Chipping Campden boasts several good tea rooms and pubs, charming thatched cottages,09241505-pass-cottage-on-way-to-church many beautiful homes,09241505 elegant townhomes not a village and a majestic “Wool Church” 09241505-q-churchso 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.09241505 q graveyardWe stop by the Lygon Arms to make dinner reservations,returning later for a hearty meal and even heartier conversations by the locals.09241506 delicious dinner and fun conversation eavesdropping 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…09241507 goodnightgood night, Chipping Campden!