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For much of my childhood, I lived near the southern fringes of the Cotswolds, in Marshfield, Chippenham and Swindon, but while those places are only a few miles away, they seem like a world away from the Cotswolds, which are here pictured at their best. Cheltenham and Gloucester on the western fringes are also featured, though whether they really belong in this book is open to question.

The book also features the area to the south covering, among other places, Bath and Marshfield. The pictures of Marshfield fit the general character of the village as I remember it, but if the book didn't say the pictures were of Marshfield, I wouldn't recognize them as such. My family moved from Marshfield to Chippenham when I was 7 or 8, and a bypass was built soon afterwards, so we didn't normally pass through it thereafter. I must look elsewhere to find pictures that will jog my memories, but I'm not convinced that it should have featured in this book anyway. Likewise Bath, a city more familiar to me in my adult life, and which therefore has much clearer memories for me. In any case, if you really want pictures of Bath, other books are available that do it justice.

The main town within the Cotswolds is Cirencester, which originally became important in Roman times as it stood on three Roman roads including the famous Fosse Way, which also passed through my current city of Leicester. It later became an important wool trading town, but while it remains a busy market town, the industrial revolution largely passed it by as the main railway line from Cheltenham and Gloucester to London did not go through Cirencester. Their decision, coupled with a decline in the wool industry, means that Cirencester has retained something of an old world character, although there is little evidence today of its Roman past.

Elsewhere, there are plenty of villages and a few small towns in the Cotswolds, each with their own particular charms but sharing a family likeness, as all of them were built mainly from the local limestone. Along with the surrounding countryside, these provide the main reasons to buy the book or to explore the Cotswolds.

This lavishly illustrated book, with useful and informative text, is an excellent book about the Cotswolds and some of the surrounding area.
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on 11 December 2012
The author has chosen to look at a wide range of places in the Cotswolds with interesting comments about each .I would suggest this book to anyone wanting to learn more of this beautiful area or simply to refesh one's memory of a well -loved corner of Englamd
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