Quaint vil­lages and a dark his­tory

You’ll find mu­se­ums, not mur­ders, in ru­ral Eng­land, writes Mitchell Toy

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - Escape - - DISCOVER BOURTON- ON- THE- WATER -

AF­TER watch­ing too many episodes of Mid­somer Mur­ders, I won­dered if a flak jacket and a lawyer would be wise ac­ces­sories for a trip to ru­ral Eng­land.

In the Cotswolds vil­lage of Bourtonon-the-Wa­ter, pop­u­la­tion 4000, I as­sumed at least 30 per cent of towns­folk would be old-school killers if Mid­somer was any­thing to go by. That put the to­tal num­ber of peo­ple who might im­pale me with a farm­ing tool or shoot me with an an­tique re­volver at 1200.

But I fig­ured the typ­i­cal Mid­somer­style slay­ing usu­ally in­volved gold card hold­ers and ar­gu­ments about mar­malade, which put me at ease as a young Aus­tralian out­sider stay­ing in the western English nook for eight days.

In­stead of a quaint and peace­ful crime hub, I found a quaint and peace­ful tourist hub, at­tract­ing oc­to­ge­nar­i­ans by the bus­load on week­ends, keen to catch a snap of the town’s iconic foot­bridges over the River Win­drush, which runs through the vil­lage cen­tre. Ducks rally on the wa­ter un­der red­den­ing au­tumn trees and the glut of old stone cot­tages would make any­one think hob­bit might be on the menu at any of the plen­ti­ful lo­cal tea rooms.

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