Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB)
We have many guests on our Cotswold small group tours that have travelled from all around the world. Guests are seeking the feel of the 'true' English countryside. Throughout the year the Cotswolds is special whatever the season with its picture perfect cottages, & quintessential English villages.
As you may know, the Cotswolds is as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, established in 1966, the area covers 787 square miles, covering 6 English counties. Gloucestershire being the largest section, but also parts of Warwickshire, Worcestershire, Oxfordshire, Wiltshire & Somerset.
There are currently 46 AONB's in Britain, 33 in England, the remaining in Wales & Northern Ireland. The purpose of an AONB designation is to conserve and enhance the natural beauty of the designated landscape. There are two secondary aims: meeting the need for quiet enjoyment of the countryside and having regard for the interests of those who live and work there. The Cotswolds main landscape feature are the 'Cotswolds Hills' which rise gently from the wide meadows of the upper Thames. The Cotswolds has a current population of 152,000 residents, which spread over almost 800sq miles means there is plenty of space to enjoy the beauty of the region.
It is easy to spot the wealth of archaeological sites & historic buildings with more than 6,000 years of human activity in the Cotswolds. From the Neolithic long barrows, such as Belas Knapp near Winchcombe to looking more closely at the fields for evidence of past agricultural practice, in the form of ridge and furrow.
What was hugely impactive was the success of the wool trade in the Cotswolds from the Middle Ages. The wealth generated by wool merchants went into our characteristic buildings & structures has left the Cotswolds with a living legacy. As you explore take a moment to admire the fine architecture carved out in the soft stone as you explore the Cotswold towns and villages. One thing you can't miss is our dry stone walls, (our as our American visitors like to call them, 'Stone fences') we have over 4,000 miles of these characteristic walls throughout the Cotswolds region. Serving as stock barriers and boundaries, offering shelter from the elements, such walls were created when labour was cheap & stone plentiful. It takes one tonne of stone to build a meter of dry stone wall, a skilled 'waller' would be able to build between 2-3 meters of wall a day. These structures provide the perfect habitat for little birds, such as bluetits & wrens, along with voles & mice.
If you are a looking for a small group tour of the Cotswolds, which will allow you time to explore this beautiful region. If you love history & quirky facts then Cotswolds Guided Tours is the perfect choice for you. we run Cotswold Tours from Moreton in Marsh, Stow on the Wold, Bourton on the Water, Chipping Campden & new for 2020 Cotswolds small group tours from Broadway.