Top positive review
10 people found this helpful
Rough Guide to the Cotswolds
on 15 December 2012
I have recently moved back to south Warwickshire/Gloucestershire border after thirty years of living elsewhere and bought this guide to provide information about the area around my new home and to re-acquaint myself more generally with an area I knew pretty well in my teenage years. It is good to have a guide that covers not only the Cotswold escarpment which forms the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty but also the neighbouring areas both north (Stratford-upon-Avon & the Vale of Evesham), south (Oxford & Woodstock, for Blenheim Palace) and west to Bath. This makes a good deal more sense for the visitor than a guide restricted solely to the AONB and should make it easy to devise a suitable itinerary.
Whilst the guide covers the major sights in the area it also provides information on places off the beaten track. There is plenty of information about public transport albeit in many rural areas the options are somewhat limited and a car will be essential for some places/areas. The details of timetables for the area I live in are accurate. There are also plenty of tips for places to stay and eat, the assessment of local pubs & eateries that I have tried being reliable in my view.
By and large this guide isn't as 'sniffy' about the popular places as some RGs although occasionally there is a slightly barbed comment. For example, one rather attractive off the beaten track village that I know is, in a disparaging tone, described as "over-neat". I can only assume the author has some objection to well-kept houses and mowed grass, which is pretty typical of all the villages in the area, particularly those, like the village in question, which are largely conservation areas! I am not quite sure what the residents of such places are supposed to do, and why the author comments in this way about one village when the same could be said of many more villages covered by the book - there is a certain chocolate box quality that you cannot escape in the Cotswolds.
The guide quite properly refers to the impact of large numbers of visitors on some places, like Broadway, Stow-on-the-Wold & Bourton-on-the-Water, although the danger of mentioning the less well-known places is that they too succumb to the hordes with even the tiny villages with lanes too narrow to accommodate large coaches subject to the impact of car drivers.
All told though, this is an excellent guide to the area, highlighting a wide array of popular and less well-known places from stately piles, impressive gardens, pretty villages, stunning views, artisanal food producers, pubs & restaurants and more so that it is easy to satisfy a range of interests.