England 2015 – Day 3: This is the Cotswolds

It would be impossible to explain in words how beautiful this area is.  It is quintessential English countryside at its very best.  About three miles down the road from Charingworth Manor is the village of Chipping Campden.  I decided to begin my first full day of exploring by visiting the village.  The Cotswolds are covered with public walking paths (literally over 100 miles of them), many passing through villages and across farmland.  These are usually accessed by small gates along the side of the road marked by a sign indicating “public footpath”.  My first stop on the way into town was a small footpath into a field of sheep at the side of the road.  The field overlooks the old woolen church in Chipping Campden (St. James’), one of many built by wool merchants to “show off” their wealth.  You can just wander through the field among the sheep (and plenty of cute baby lambs).  After my stop at the field, I parked by the church and wandered around the town for a while.  In the center of town, the market hall dates back to 1627, where it was originally used by produce merchants.  One of the best parts of the day was the walk I took on one of the footpaths though some of the fields surrounding the village.

Chipping Campden Walking Path
Chipping Campden Walking Path

From Chipping Campden, I headed to Broadway, about 5 miles away.  The highlight of Broadway is Broadway Tower, built in the late 1700s overlooking the village of Broadway.  The staircase winds to the top, where you can take in the views of 16 counties as far as the Welsh border.  In case you’re wondering, the café by the tower serves a pretty good hot chocolate, perfect for washing down a lunchtime ice cream cone.

Leaving Broadway, I took a “long cut” back to the hotel through Broad Campden and Mickelton.  The receptionist at the hotel was able to give me some walking maps of the area when I checked in yesterday.  The village of Ebrington is a short 1 ¼ mile walk from the hotel down a narrow country road.

The village of Ebrington
The village of Ebrington

Described by my guidebook as “achingly beautiful”, I can’t think of any words more appropriate for Ebrington.  The main road is narrow and surrounded by thatched roof cottages.  In the center of the village is the small St. Eadburgha’s church, another of the Cotswold wool churches.  And just up the street is the Ebrington Arms inn and pub.  A small bar area lends itself to several small wooden tables and benches, and was the perfect spot to enjoy a pint of cider and a traditional English fish and chips dinner.

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