Countryfile Magazine - - Landscape -

The Cotswolds has al­ways been my home and, al­though I have trav­elled all across the UK and around the world, the old adage “there is no place like home” rings true for me. The rolling Cotswold hills, dry­s­tone walls and beau­ti­ful vil­lages have al­ways been close to my heart.

Of course the Cotswold area got its name from the sheep fa­mous for their wool in the mid­dle ages. A ‘Cot’ is old English for a sheep en­clo­sure, and ‘wold’ means rolling hill.

We still breed Cotswold sheep at home and it was the wealth made from their wool that built many of the wool churches, vil­lages and manor houses around the Cotswolds, in­clud­ing one of my favourites, St Ed­ward’s Church in Stow on the Wold. We can see it from our farm, six miles away, stand­ing proud on the top of the hill.

Stow is steeped in history and at one time played host to some of the Cotswolds’ largest sheep fairs, when up­wards of 20,000 sheep were fun­nelled along Sheep Street and into the main mar­ket square. Stow also has a great com­mu­nity, with a wide va­ri­ety of pubs, ho­tels and places to eat, an ar­ray of good qual­ity in­di­vid­ual shops, in­clud­ing Lam­bournes butch­ers, and for me it is a place where I played rugby for 15 years – fond mem­o­ries.

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