Sian El­lis of the Cotswolds Con­ser­va­tion Board en­joys some blue sky think­ing

En­joy some breath­tak­ing Cotswold views and big skies this sum­mer

Cotswold Life - - INSIDE - WORDS: Siân El­lis

Here of a Sun­day morn­ing, My love and I would lie, And see the coloured coun­ties, And hear the larks so high, About us in the sky.

So runs A E Hous­man’s poem Bre­don Hill, and while it’s true that the sum­mer­time re­flec­tions segue into a wist­ful tale of love and loss, the choice of a Cotswold view­point as the place for happy mem­o­ries is bang on the money.

Thanks to its dra­matic ge­ol­ogy, the Cotswolds is full of such el­e­vated van­tage points, lift­ing us into the sky and un­furl­ing long, long views. All along the es­carp­ment from Bath to Chip­ping Cam­p­den, across the open wolds, and swoop­ing down hills into val­leys the most ex­hil­a­rat­ing panora­mas make the heart beat faster (lit­er­ally as well as metaphor­i­cally if you’ve just had a climb).

Whether look­ing out from, or into, the Cotswolds Area of Out­stand­ing Nat­u­ral Beauty (AONB) – from Cleeve Hill and Com­mon to Chel­tenham or vice versa, for ex­am­ple – our views are pre­cious and de­serve the pro­tec­tion that AONB des­ig­na­tion helps to pro­vide. So as Au­gust un­rolls, get that pic­nic to­gether and give your­self a well-earned es­cape with glo­ri­ous views. Here are some favourite days out.

SKY’S THE LIMIT

• Ex­plore Bre­don Hill, Worces­ter­shire, and get in po­etic mood at the sum­mit with panora­mas of the es­carp­ment, Vale of Evesham, Malverns and Sev­ern Vale, www. vis­it­bre­donhill.co.uk

• Wan­der the Cotswold Way above Winch­combe and peer down on Sude­ley Cas­tle amid fields and trees – over 1,000 years of es­tate his­tory cap­tured in a glance, www.na­tion­al­trail.co.uk/ cotswold-way

• Pick up pic­nic sup­plies in Bath and head along Bath Sky­line walk for 6 miles of chang­ing scenes and stun­ning vis­tas of the World Her­itage City, www. na­tion­al­trust.org.uk

• Climb to the hill­top at Ilm­ing­ton where the ‘roof of War­wick­shire’ re­veals vast views, or let the open hill­tops on a 6-mile stride around Cleeve Hill Com­mon Ring take your breath away; down­load walks at www. cotswold­saonb.org.uk

• En­joy the wild­flower-speck­led beauty of El­liott (Swift’s Hill) Na­ture Re­serve – and Slad Val­ley farm­lands stretch­ing away into the dis­tance, www. glouces­ter­shirewil­dlifetrust.co.uk • Tackle the Iron­stone Hills, off-road cy­cling around Brailes Hill and As­cott; or spin across the high wold with its open fields on a North­leach Hazleton ride. Down­load trails from www. cotswold­saonb.org.uk

• The Cotswold Edge, lo­cal ridges and ther­mals make the area great for glid­ing and bird’s eye views. En­joy soar­ing in blue skies, www. cotswoldg­lid­ing.co.uk and www. bggc.co.uk

ABOVE: The fields around North­leach

Winch­combe fields

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