Wednesday, October 09, 2013


We drove the back roads most of the way from North Wales to our next stop in the Cotswolds.  Some beautiful county crossing the mountains in Wales on very slow roads taking 6 hours to go a little less than 200 miles.  A great drive in my opinion.  The Cotswolds are a range of hills in southwestern and west-central England, an area 25 miles across and 90 miles long.  The area has been designated as the "Cotswold Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty."  I had read quite a bit about the area and most people rave about the it.  I must say it is beautiful, especially the buildings made of the native stone. The stone is yellow and more like a honey color and sort of glows when the sunlight hits it.

We are staying at another great B&B, the The Fieldways, in the small village of Cold Aston.  It is in a quiet location with a great host in Alan a retired developer, Canadian Army Colonel now the owner of a wonderful bed and breakfast.


Our first experience with visiting different towns in the area was somewhat negative.  I suppose I should have known, this being a Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty that it would be crowded with tourists and really shouldn't complain because I'm one of those tourist.  We paid a visit to Bourton-on-the-Water.  I can't figure out if they call this town the "Venice of the Cotswolds" because of it's canals or it's miserable crowds. Surrounding Bourton's green are the typical tourist trap shops you find in towns like this.  Yes, it is beautiful, but the sidewalks are jammed with busloads of disoriented tourists wearing name tags.  That having been said, it is possible to get off the tourist trail and find picturesque villages hidden away down narrow country lanes and in secluded valleys.  We spent a day driving around to the main towns in our immediate area and decided that on our second day we would go for a walk.

The next morning after another huge English breakfast (we've gotta stop eating like this) consisting of, porridge, bacon, sausage, mushrooms, tomatoes, beans, toast, juice and coffee, Alan mapped out a walk for us which would take us to a pub at the halfway point in the village of Naunton.

A little information about walking here in the UK.  I have mentioned before that there are signposted paths crisscrossing the country.  Put simply, paths here are rights of way, crossing private property and having the same protection as a highway or street. Sometimes a landowner may grant permission for walkers to cross his property on permissive paths on which there is no legal right of way.  It's a great system and most walkers respect the rights of the property owner by not disturbing crops or livestock.

It gets a little getting used to for us as you are sometimes walking through someone's back yard or between two houses.  For the most part the paths a clearly marked and when they are not, just look for the worn pathway.  So on this day we headed out crossing fields,  passing through numerous gates, getting lost a time or two, until we walked into a valley and the village of Naunton.  In the village we saw no tourists and only a few locals. We went to the local pub, The Black Horse, for some refreshments.  Just locals in the pub along with their dogs.  It was the kind of place where everyone knows your name. (I think I've heard that somewhere before).  Anyway friendly folks.  Still not hungry after our filling breakfast we headed back towards the B&B.  By the time we got back we were now hungry so we hopped in the car and headed back to The Black Horse for a late lunch. Different people and their dogs this time.  We had a great lunch and a great day.






So what's a dovecote?  Well, it's a home for doves and pigeons of course.  You can read about the very old Naunton Dovecote HERE.


It was a great day devoid of the crowds.  In fact for the approximately 5 miles we walked, the only person we saw was a farmer on his tractor, and he waved.

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