Visit Landmarks of the Cotswolds that Reflect its Beauty

The shimmering, cool rivers, ponds and streams of the Cotswolds provide a wonderful mirror-image of the beauty of this forgotten-by-time region. Here are some Cotswold reflections captured in several of its most treasured landmarks.
Visit these lovely places and enjoy a few calming moments of contemplation by the soothing sounds of trickling water.

1Kiftsgate Garden

Kiftsgate Garden, near Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire
This garden, created by three generations of women, is a must-see. A series of interconnected garden rooms and descending terraces offer spectacular views, some of which are reflected in a pond overlooking an endless vista of the Cotswolds.

2Cornwell Manor in the Cotswolds is a Grade II listed Manor House in West Oxfordshire

This lovely garden evokes images of Downton Abbey in Edwardian times with beautifully gowned women and suave men in tuxedos, chatting, as they drink a pre-dinner sherry. Perhaps these dinner guests stroll, on a warm summer’s evening by the reflecting waters of the fountain, before pairing up to take their places in the elegant dining room of this matchless 17th Century manor.

4Prior Park Garden

This National Trust Grade I listed garden, Prior Park, just south of Bath, Somerset, is built high on a hillside with spectacular views of Bath as just one of its many attractions. It was created by local entrepreneur Ralph Allen and begun in 1734. There are few flowers and no formal beds in this garden; it is all about breathtaking views, restful green lawns, reflecting water from the lakes and a sculptural Palladian bridge, creating a mellow mood that is immensely pleasing.

5Shilton Open Gardens

Shilton, tucked away in the Shill Brook Valley, near Burford, Oxfordshire is a charming village with much to boast about. There is a traditional pub, The Rose and Crown, which serves delicious food, and camera-ready ducks that occasionally cause cars to swerve out of their way as they cross a nearby ford. The flower-bedecked gardens are so beautiful that they are opened to the public once a year for the National Garden Scheme. It was at an open garden that this wrought iron bridge was glimpsed, its delicate pattern making a mesmerizing reflection in the stream below.

7

Westbury Court Garden

Westbury Court Garden near Gloucester and the Severn River on the edges of the Cotswolds is a revelation. It is the only 17th Century restored Dutch water garden in Great Britain. The National Trust rescued it in 1967 using an engraving of the garden from 1707 as a guide for its restoration. The calming trickle of the lily-covered canals, and the endless reflections from the gently rippling water make this garden a wonderful place for peaceful relaxation.

9

Little Faringdon Mill Near Lechlade

There has been a Mill on this site for over a thousand years which is evident from its Domesday Book listing. The two photographs of the mill, above and below, give an indication of its idyllic setting with a charming barn and weeping willow trees reflected in the streams that lazily weave around this lovely property.

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Photographs by Randall Montgomery ©2014 Available for purchase at PublicityPromo@aol.com

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Visit the Cotswolds for Lamb in Puff Pastry

Cotswolds Lamb!

Lamb in Puff Pastry

Cotswold Lamb in Puff Pastry Recipe

In Metric and Imperial measures
Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

2 (8-ribs) rack of lamb trimmed of all but a thin layer of fat.
Use Cotswold Lamb if possible
1 package of ready-made puff pastry
¾ teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 egg. (Use Cotswold egg if possible)

Seasoning:
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves of chopped garlic
2 teaspoons finely chopped rosemary
1 ½ teaspoon salt

Method:

Preheat oven to 350F/200C/180Cfan/gas 6

Prepare seasoning
Add the garlic, salt and rosemary to 2 tablespoons olive oil,
mix ingredients together, mashing the garlic so that it blends with the oil.
Set aside.

 

Braising Cotswold Lamb

Prepare lamb:
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet over high heat until hot
Meanwhile, pat lamb dry and rub meat all over with salt and pepper.
Brown racks, in 2 batches if necessary, on all sides about 10 minutes per batch.
Divide each rack into 4 double chops
Transfer racks to a roasting pan.
Spoon the seasoned oil over the lamb racks
Place racks in preheated oven and bake for 40 minutes

Cotswolds Lamb out of the oven

Puff Pastry
As the lamb cooks roll out puff pastry to approximately ¼ inch (.75 cm) thick.
Cut the pastry into 8 rectangular sections of 3 x 5 inch (7.5×12.5cm) each
Beat the egg in a bowl with a dash of water.

After 40 minutes remove the racks of lamb from the oven
Place one section of pastry on each pair of chops and
brush with the beaten egg mixture
Decorate the top with extra bits of puff pastry
Return the lamb to the oven and cook for 25-30 minutes
or until the pastry is golden brown and puffed.
Remove from the oven and let stand for 10 minutes
Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.

Puff Pastry

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Romantic Cotswold Garden with a View – One of National Gardens Scheme’s Best

Romantic Cotswold Garden

Woolstone Mill

WOOLSTONE MILL HOUSE GARDEN

Rambling, romantic Woolstone Mill House Garden, near Faringdon, is a real treat. Close to the hidden village of Woolstone with its pretty pub, The White Horse, it has many delights.
Great for a Cotswolds Get-awayThis garden has just the perfect amount of blowsy charm – trim in the right places and charmingly shaggy in others.
A stream and Rustic bridgeA stream trickles through it meandering under several rustic bridges and leading the visitor on to one interesting garden feature after another.
Romantic Cotswold GardenA spectacular circle created by yew hedges whose focal point, two topiary sheep with carved stone heads, is enhanced by a backdrop of real sheep grazing in the meadows beyond.
Topiary SheepThe wide swath of lawn in this circle is bordered by mixed herbaceous and shrub plantings and provides a splendid photo opportunity.
Topiary Sheep and Rustic BridgeThere are medlars and old-fashioned roses, kitchen and bog gardens and numerous topiary in this two acre property.
Treehouse with view of Vale of the White HorseSnuggled in among the foliage is every child’s dream of a tree house. It is well worth the climb up as there are terrific views of White Horse Hill with the Uffington White Horse clearly visible.
Tea and Cakes in the gardenSinfully rich home-made meringues with whipped cream and fresh raspberries were served, along with steaming cups of tea, in a picture perfect summerhouse at the end of the garden.
Re-purposed tea cartA truly gorgeous garden with many quirky surprises.
Rustic BridgePhotographs by Randall Montgomery ©2014 Available for purchase at PublicityPromo@aol.com


Woolstone Mill House, Woolstone, nr. Faringdon, Oxon, SN7 7QL

Click here for NGS 2015 details

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Prior Park Garden in the Cotswolds – A National Trust Must-See

The Palladian Bridge at Prior Park

Prior Park is a must-see landscaped garden built high on a hillside with spectacular views of Bath as just one of its many attractions.
IMG_4641This National Trust Grade 1 listed garden was created by local entrepreneur Ralph Allen and begun in 1734.
IMG_4621Allen, who made his fortune by reorganizing the post office, took advice from the poet Alexander Pope and the garden designer Capability Brown before creating this masterpiece.
IMG_4618There are few flowers and no formal beds in this garden – it is all about breathtaking views, restful green lawns, reflecting water from the lakes and sculptural bridges – creating a mellow mood that is immensely pleasing.
IMG_4657Meandering across the elegant Palladian Bridge, one of only four left in the world, is a joy and there is much more to discover including: a Serpentine Lake, a Cascade, a summerhouse, and a horseshoe walk.
IMG_4655Winding and sometimes steep paths lead to hidden retreats, tranquil lakes, a ruined Gothic Temple, a Grotto and finally, stunning vistas over Bath. Prior Park was the matrix for style that became known as the “English garden”.
IMG_4623-1The Palladian mansion, which tops one of the garden’s sweeping green slopes and overlooks Bath, now houses Prior Park College and was designed by John Wood, the Elder in 1742. He was commissioned by Ralph Allen to build a house “To see all Bath, and for all Bath to see”.

Highclere2

This house, with its classic symmetry, should be on the list of all the overseas visitors who, caught up in Downton Abbey fervor, are now interested in seeing other examples of the great houses of Britain.

Afternoon Tea can be taken at a tiny, clapboard tea house, with outdoor tables, tucked away in the foliage.
IMG_4647A five-minute walk from the garden leads on to a six mile circular walk around Bath, with amazing views, that passes through woodlands, meadows, an Iron Age hill-fort, Roman settlements, and an 18th-century folly.

Prior Park Garden is south of Bath, Somerset, by Ralph Allen Drive, and 3/4 mile (1.2 km) from the Kennet and Avon canal path. BA2 5AH

Click here for National Trust Link

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Cotswolds Cane Maker and his Rural Skills

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Cotswold Hiking Sticks by Jim Ruck-Cotswolds Cane Maker

on display at Church Westcote Fete

Strolling around the Church Westcote fete last week I was happy to see that Jim Ruck was still selling his wonderful hiking canes.
I had bought a hazelwood one from him a couple of years ago and it has saved me from many a tumble on long hikes around the Cotswolds.
I hope his method of making these walking canes will not be another rural skill that disappears. He described how he twists new young branches, as they grow, around the saplings that are the raw material for his canes. These make marvelously whimsical shapes that are really a piece of art in addition to being a very useful hiking stick. He shapes, smoothes and varnishes them into a variety of beautifully rustic shapes.
Jim makes sticks in Oak, Elm, Dogrose, Hawthorne and Black Thorne Ivy.

Link to Rural Skills: See ruralskills.org

Stick Comp

Photographs by Randall Montgomery ©2014 Available for purchase at PublicityPromo@aol.com

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New! Cotswolds Memoir is now available as an AudioBook in addition to Paperback and Kindle

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A portion of the proceeds of every copy of  COTSWOLDS MEMOIR: is donated to Cotswold conservation institutions.