with its enchanting villages and traditions, provides many gardening
highlights. The region
boasts some of the most beautiful gardens in England and the UK.
The Cotswold Hills rise gently west from the broad, green meadows
of the upper Thames to crest in a dramatic escarpment above the
Severn valley and Evesham Vale. Rural England at its most mellow,
the landscape draws a unique warmth and richness from the famous
stone beauty of its buildings.
Treat your senses to the truly fantastic array of sights and smells
around the many Cotswold gardens, from grand designs attached to
stately homes to the secret delights and private passions of many
individuals' more modest homes. Many stately homes and gardens open
their gates from the first show of snowdrops to the last leaf of
autumn and are a delight to visit.
The Cotswolds are nationally important for their rare limestone
grassland habitat and for ancient beechwoods with rich flora. Important
grasslands such as Cleeve Hill have survived due to their status
as ancient common and a National Nature Reserve protects the finest
ancient beech complex. Some Cotswolds plants are so rare that they
have specific legal protection under the Wildlife and Countryside
Traditionally a landscape formed by sheep grazing, this is now
prosperous mixed and arable farming country. The Area of Outstanding
Natural Beauty excludes urban areas but includes market towns such
as Chipping Campden and beautiful villages like Broadway. Now only
the third largest employer, agriculture is outranked by tourism
and services. Of the working residents (population about 120,000),
73 per cent commute beyond the AONB to Cheltenham, Bath, Gloucester,
Cirencester and elsewhere.
The Cotswolds provide splendid landscape scenes, trickling streams,
dry stone walls and grazing sheep and will delight as you explore the
regions garden treasures. The dry stone walls and limestone cottages
covered with spring Clematis and Wisterias are stunning features
of the quaint stone villages and on the borders,
in the Vale of Evesham a stupendous mass of fruit blossom in April
and May from Apple, Plum and Pear. In June and July the Hollyhock
growing like weeds out of any crevice in footpaths to full summer
and late Autumn of cottages drenched in climbing roses.
The rolling hills, steep escarpments and wooded coombs of the
Cotswolds are blessed with a temperate climate and a tradition
of prosperity that has allowed its inhabitants to build splendid
manors and fine houses out of the local honey-coloured limestone.
To complement such dwellings magnificent gardens were constructed,
designed by famous figures such as Capability Brown, William Kent
and Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe.
is the only UK charity dedicated to helping horticulturists in