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Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty: 32 reasons why it deserves its designation

PUBLISHED: 09:47 06 June 2017

The pretty Cotswold village of Castle Combe (c) Kevin Eaves / Shutterstock

The pretty Cotswold village of Castle Combe (c) Kevin Eaves / Shutterstock

Archant

One of the most beautiful landscapes in the UK with its vibrant towns and charming villages, bags of history and intrigue, vast countryside and impressive architecture, we choose 32 reasons why the Cotswolds is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

1. The Cotswolds are famed for their fairytale villages.

Lower Slaughter, the Cotswolds, Gloucestershire

2. From the charming cottages of Arlington Row, Bibury

Arlington Row cottages, Bibury

3. ...to perhaps the most photographed village of them all…

Castle Combe

4. ...it’s easy too see why residents and visitors alike enjoy village life so much.

Bourton on the Water (15)

5. The honey-coloured cottages of Broadway are bound to give you major house envy...

Broadway. Worcestershire.

6. ...or perhaps this beautiful house in the Oxfordshire village of Swinbrook will…

Vacant House Down our Lane in Swinbrook

7. ...or the Cotswold stone properties on The Hill, Burford.

The Hill in the Morning, Burford

8. There’s always plenty to see and do in the vibrant Cotswold market towns including Stow-on-the-Wold

Digbeth Street

9. ...Chipping Campden...

Wine merchant in Chipping Campden

10. ...Chipping Norton...

Chipping Norton, England

11. ...and also Burford.

Burford Closeup, Cotswolds

12. The Cotswolds are also home to some of the UK’s most striking stately homes.

Ragley Hall, Warwickshire

13. Including Snowshill Manor, home to Charles Wade’s quirky and extraordinary treasures from his past…

Snowshill Manor

14. ...and Charlecote Park which has been at the heart of the Lucy family for over 900 years…

Charlecote Manor

15. ...and the gorgeous gardens of Rodmarton Manor are just waiting to be explored.

Rodmarton Manor, Gloucestershire

16. You can explore Sudeley Castle, the only private castle in England to have a Queen (Katherine Parr) within its grounds...

Sudeley Castle

17. ...or Blenheim Palace, the home of the Dukes of Malborough and birthplace of war-time Prime Minister, Sir Winston Churchill.

Blenheim Palace

18. You can admire the ruins of Minster Lovell Hall, a former 15th century manor house…

Minster Lovell Ruins

19. ...the wondrous Rollright Stones...

rollright stones

20. ...or perhaps the impressive ruins of Hailes Abbey, near Winchcombe’s town centre...

Hailes Abbey

21. The region is home to over 50 per cent of the UK’s Jurassic unimproved limestone grassland. The limestone grassland of Crickley Hill is rich in plant life, beech woodlands and steep valleys...

Crickley Hill - 15

22. ...while the vast landscape of limestone grassland at Cleeve Common is popular with walkers...

One Woman & Her Dog

23. ...Rodborough Common...

... towards Selsley Common.

24. ...is inhabited by rare butterflies such as Chalkhill Blue and the Duke of Burgundy.

Duke of Burgundy (Hamearis lucina)

25. There are plenty of countryside walks to enjoy in the Cotswolds…

Stanton Drew-091

26. ...you could even begin at the start of The Cotswold Way National Trail in Chipping Campden.

Cotswolds

27. The region is a pleasure to explore in the spring, especially when soaking in the pink and white blossom adorning the trees at Westonbirt Arboretum

P1010372

28. ...or on a countryside pub walk in the summer, resting and refuelling at The Fleece Inn, Bretforton...

The Fleece Inn, Bretforton

29. Admire the autumnal hues at Cheltenham’s Pitville Park...

Autumn Lake in Cheltenham

30. ...or wrap up warm and wonder round Woodchester Park in the winter

Deep in the woods. Woodchester park

31. The UK is home to 46 Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty...

Shadows of Autumn

32. ...and we’re glad to be living in one of the most special!

Cirencester

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