The Cotswolds is a range of hills in central-southwest England, sometimes called the "Heart of England", a hilly area reaching over 300 m. The area has been designated as Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The highest point in the Cotswolds is Cleeve Hill at 330 m (1083 ft).
The Cotswolds lie within the current ceremonial counties of Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, Somerset, Warwickshire, and Worcestershire. The county of Gloucestershire forms the largest area of the Cotswolds.
Description[change | change source]
The spine of the Cotswolds runs southwest to northeast through six counties, particularly Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, and southern Warwickshire. The northern and western edges of the Cotswolds are marked by steep slopes down to the Severn valley and the River Avon, Avon. These are a result of the broken edge of the limestone layer. On the eastern boundary is the city of Oxford and on the west is Stroud. To the south towns as Cirencester, Lechlade, Tetbury, Beverston and Fairford mark the southern limit of this region.
In the Middle Ages, the wool trade made the Cotswolds prosperous. Some of this money was put into the building of churches. The area has a number of large, handsome Cotswold stone "wool churches". The area is still wealthy and has attracted people who own second homes in the area, or have chosen to retire to the Cotswolds.
Typical Cotswold towns are Bourton-on-the-Water, Broadway, Burford, Chipping Norton, Cirencester, Moreton-in-Marsh, Stow-on-the-Wold and Winchcombe. The town of Chipping Campden is famous as the home of the Arts and Crafts movement, that was founded by William Morris at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries.
The Cotswold Way is a long-distance footpath about 103 miles long (166 km) running the length of the AONB, mainly on the edge of the Cotswold escarpement with good views over the Severn Valley and the Vale of Evesham.
Cotswold stone[change | change source]
The area has attractive small towns and villages built of Cotswold stone (a yellow limestone). This limestone is rich in fossils. The stone is a yellow oolitic Jurassic limestone. At the time, this was laid down in a warm tropical sea, about 177 million years ago. The latitude of Britain was about where North Africa is today. The stone is full of fossils such as stalked crinoids. A project is under way to collect examples for the Natural History Museum.
Historical structures[change | change source]
References[change | change source]
- Tens of thousands of Jurassic fossils found at secret site. 
Other websites[change | change source]
- Cotswold District Council — The website of Cotswold District Council
- Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Website Archived 2016-04-05 at the Wayback Machine (Countryside Agency)
- Cotswold Journal Local Cotswolds news and information
- Yate and Chipping Sodbury Guide Archived 2007-04-03 at the Wayback Machine — A Guide to Yate, Chipping Sodbury on the Southern Edge of the Cotswold Escarpment
- Photos of Lower Slaughter in 3d (Anaglyphs) Archived 2007-03-11 at the Wayback Machine
- Cotswold AONB Magic interactive map (slow on first load)