England: The Cotswolds
In the center of England, the Midlands, is a region called The Cotswolds, an area of outstanding natural beauty. It is the second largest protected landscape in England.
In the middle ages, England became a world power from the creation and sale of wool from the sheep that live in this area.
The Cotswold Hills are a range of rolling hills which rise from the meadows of the upper Thames to an escarpment, known as the Cotswold Edge, above the Severan Valley and Evesham Vale.
The area is defined by the bedrock of Jurassic limestone that creates a type of grassland habitat rare in the UK. The golden colored Cotswold stone is quarried for the buildings. The predominantly rural landscape contains many quaint stone-built villages, historical towns, and stately homes and gardens. The forests are a joy to walk and see the bluebells in spring.
My favorite village is Chipping Campden with its ancient open architecture stone wool market and a church at each end bookending the High Street.
We traveled to 72 countries, and when we asked ourselves where we would like to have some “dwell time,” actually living in a place for a month or two, our immediate choice was Chipping Campden. We have been there the month of May each year for ten years.
There is a literary and music festival that month. There is an antique sale in the town hall, and the ancient Olympic Games take place at the end of each May on Dover’s Hill.
A poet once wrote that “in Campden town, life is led at the human pace.”
Tranquil, bucolic, healing, friendly, warm and charming are just a few words that come to mind when I think of Chipping Campden.