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Cozy Cotswolds full of history

The history of the Cotswolds

The idyllic rural retreat of the Cotswolds is a place like no other in the UK. Stretching across four UK counties; Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Warwickshire and Worcestershire, are miles of countryside beauty and unspoiled, peaceful villages. This region was designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in 1966 and is home to endangered British Wildlife and ancient woodlands - but what is the history of such a perfect part of the UK?

How did the Cotswolds get its name?

The most common explanation for the Cotswolds developing its name is the derivation of ‘cot’ meaning ‘sheep enclosure’ and ‘wold’ meaning ‘hill’, this together means ‘sheep enclosure in the rolling hillsides’. There is also another comparison of the Weald from Saxon/German word ‘Wald’ meaning ‘forest’.

The Wool Trade

In Medieval Europe, the Cotswolds was a source of high-quality wool due to the free-roaming sheep having miles of rich hills to roam making them the perfect grazing land for the sheep. This made the sheep some of the best and healthiest in the country. The sheep, along with the Cotswold region, became famous for their wool within the trade, with the sheep being widely known as the Cotswold Lion – a native breed known for their long golden fleece. The success of the market towns in The Cotswolds from the thriving wool trade is still apparent today throughout the region.

The Civil War

Over 300 years ago, the Cotswolds was the setting for bloody battles throughout the Civil War and were of strategic importance throughout it. King Charles I’s headquarters were in Oxford, with much of parliamentary duties occurring throughout Gloucester, so the area had high political importance at the time.

The first battle of the Civil War took place on the northern edge of the Cotswolds at Edgehill, which was to be known as the Battle of Edgehill and was commemorated by the building of The Octagonal Tower in 1742.

Outstanding natural beauty

The Cotswolds is covered in small towns and villages made from the underlying Cotswold stone that is a yellow, fossil rich limestone. The colour of buildings made with this stone is often described as honey or golden.

The stone varies in colour depending on the region that it is taken from - a honey-coloured in the north and north east of the region, as shown in Cotswold villages like Broadway, with a more golden colour in the southern and central regions, however the limestone is a pearl-white colour in Bath.

When the Cotswolds was named as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, it ensured that the area would be protected by the principal aim of agencies like Natural England and the Countryside Council for Wales who care for it. These organisations aim to maintain the character and integrity of the area in question.

The Cotswolds is one of the only places in the UK to preserve its natural beauty and history within both the architecture and land, making it an uncompromisingly idyllic place to visit and observe. No matter what time of year stay in Cotswold cottages to experience the beauty first hand.

Please note: This has been a collaborative posting