Relax, take it slow and leave your sat phone on charge, your fixer at the airport and your dragoman in the pub – as AONB’s (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) go, the Cotswolds is not a job for the STF (Special Tourism Forces). However, as Caroline Mills, author of Bradt’s new Slow Cotswolds… guide says, ‘For many years I’ve watched as tourists have flown in from all over the globe, ‘done’ Stratford-upon-Avon, hopped on a coach to take a photograph of Lower Swell (from the coach door) en route to Bath before ‘doing’ Oxford, then climb back into an aeroplane to tell friends and family that they’ve been to ‘the Cotswolds’. I’m not knocking this approach to travel (entirely) but I really hope that you can see a little more and get under the skin of what the Cotswolds are all about, meeting the communities that live and work here.’
The ‘Four Shires’ of the Cotswolds are peppered with castles, country houses, gardens, rural estates, Roman ruins and inveigled by the historic wandering of the Fosse Way. Caroline Mills shares her love of the Cotswolds with an enthusiastic, personal narrative guiding visitors from market towns to elegant abbeys, cheese-rolling competitions to Rollright Stones. Slow Cotswolds… is far more than ‘another book on the Cotswolds’ or a dry, prescriptive ‘How To…’ guide; Mills interviews craftsmen and characters, and reveals local stories and folklore together with highlighting restaurants and cafés using locally produced ingredients. She comments, ‘The Cotswolds might not be as dramatic as the Scottish glens, or as rugged as the North York Moors or even as picturesque as the Lake District on certain days. What it does have is a comforting feeling that everything is right with the world.’
Caroline Mills studied at RADA but after realising the potential impact on her Saturday nights, went to Oxford to gain an Honours degree in English and Music before diving into publishing. She now works freelance, writing travel books and contributing to various national magazines on travel, food and gardens.
Title: Slow Cotswolds
Author: Caroline Mills
Publisher: Bradt Travel Guides
Publication: April 2011
ISBN: 978 1 84162 344 3