The Cotswolds, Gloucestershire, England
'The Cotswolds' is a hilly ('Wold' means 'Hill') area of England which includes most of Gloucestershire, part of Oxfordshire and small parts of Worcestershire, Warwickshire, Wiltshire and Somerset.
The area is characterised by attractive small towns and villages built of the underlying Cotswold stone, a honey coloured oolitic limestone, rich in fossils.
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The Cotswolds have been designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) covering some 768 square miles.
The Cotswold Way is a long-distance footpath, 103 miles long, running the length of the AONB, mainly on the edge of the Cotswold escarpment with good views over the Severn Valley and the Vale of Evesham.
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The Cotswolds is an area of beautiful landscapes and picturesque villages much appreciated by walkers, photographers and artists - a perfect place for wanderers without watches.
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The Cotswolds is a maze of little roads connecting towns of golden stone which, in Shakespeare's day, was the centre of England's wool industry. Most of the large houses and churches were built by rich wool merchants between the 15th and 17th centuries.
One such 'golden town' is Stow-on-the-Wold.
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Chipping Campden, near the northern tip of the Cotswolds, is one of the old wool towns. It is mentioned in the Domesday Book in 1085 and the name is derived from the Anglo Saxon 'Cepynge Caumpedene' meaning Market Campden - 'Chipping' means 'Market'.
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