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     HOME AT FIRST's ENGLAND

The Cotswolds

TRADITIONAL RURAL ENGLAND TWO HOURS WEST OF LONDON

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— GREAT HOLIDAYS BEGIN HERE —

LOWE COTTAGE

   Photos © Home At First

BRETFORTON • NORTHERN COTSWOLDS • ENGLAND

LOWE COTTAGE: A 17th century cottage set in a prosperous Saxon farming village in existence since at least the 8th century. The village lies in the broad, flat, fertile Vale of Evesham in the English County of Worcestershire at the foot of the upwelling that forms the Cotswolds hills. Although neighboring villages set among the hills have become world-famous destinations, drawing the enormity of interest such fame attracts, Saxon Bretforton remains pristine, with an ancient church, a historic pub, and a superb main street lined with classic cottages (some thatched) and a Jacobean manor house, all in golden Cotswold stone.

THE ACCOMMODATIONS: Guest quarters that sleep up to 4 persons comprise the northwestern half of the two-story, 17th century farmhouse. The ground floor has a sunny, spacious, country kitchen with oil-cloth covered dining table, terra cotta ceramic tiled floor, gas range and oven, built-in dishwasher and refrigerator, freezer, microwave oven, deep capacity, double country sink, and washer/dryer utility closet. Curtained glass-wall double doors open from the kitchen onto the landscaped private garden (fenced-in back yard) with umbrella-covered dining table for four. The living room is furnished with two overstuffed sofas atop its natural flagstone floor. The late-model, flat-screen TV stands in contrast next to an ancient brick corner fireplace with wood-burning stove insert. The thick stone walls hint correctly that this is the oldest part of the cottage.

CLICK HERE TO SEE DETAILED
INTERIOR AND EXTERIOR
PHOTOS OF LOWE COTTAGE

 

          Two double-bedrooms (one bedroom with a double bed; one with twin beds) and

one bathroom with a large, walk-in shower comprise the

 

lodging’s upstairs. (NOTE: The twin bedroom has no closet space. A wardrobe and a built-in closet are in the double bedroom, providing the clothes hanging space for both bedrooms.)

          Convenient private off-street parking is adjacent to the cottage. Entry to the cottage is from a front door into a front hall and from a back door into the kitchen.

THE HOSTS of Lowe Cottage reside on-site in the completely separate southeastern half of the house. They are a young married couple who have lovingly transformed the historic farm building into a delightful home with independent guest lodging. They look after the cottage and their guests with equal enthusiasm, and are eager to promote the attractiveness of the village and surrounding area to visitors.

The owner/hosts at Lowe Cottage:
enthusiastic about of the history of
their house and village, and eager
to welcome visitors to both.

The owner/hosts at Lowe Cottage: enthusiastic about of the history of their house and village, and eager to welcome visitors to both. Photo © Home At First.

 

Floor plan of Lowe Cottage, Bretforton, Northern Cotswolds, England. Drawing © Home At First.

 

THE SETTING: Lowe Cottage is a gabled former farm building of native, golden Cotswolds stone. Set on the principal street near the center of Bretforton village, Lowe Cottage is but a few houses away — easy, flat, nearly traffic-free, walking distance — from the village center with its 16th century manor house (with 14th century roots), 14th century church, numerous thatched cottages, and popular 15th century pub-restaurant.

          Saxon records date Bretforton from at least the 8th century. The village has served as an important farming center from ancient times. Originally, Bretforton served Evesham Abbey, farming the eastern corner of the fertile Evesham valley which extends to the sudden rise of the Cotswolds hills three miles southeast of Bretforton. When KING HENRY VIII broke with the Roman Catholic Church in the 1530s in order to marry ANNE BOLEYN, he dissolved abbeys and monasteries throughout Britain and confiscated the land to the Crown. Evesham Abbey was closed and its manor and agricultural lands in and around Bretforton were sold by the Crown to local yeomen farmers. The fertile Evesham valley remains an agricultural garden, and Bretforton’s yeomen farmers continue to prosper to the present day. Bretforton’s rhythms remain much as they have for centuries, much as its agricultural prosperity continues.

 .

CLICK HERE TO SEE PHOTOS OF

 

         “The village is not a hundred miles from London, yet ‘far from the madding crowd's ignoble strife.’ A green valley, in the midst of those far-stretching, cold-looking Cotswold Hills, it is like an oasis in the desert. Up above on the wolds all is bleak, dull, and uninteresting. The air up there is ever chill; walls of loose stone divide field from field, and few houses are to be seen. But down in the valley all is fertile and full of life. It is here that the old-fashioned villagers dwell. How well I remember the first time I came upon it! Suddenly, as I was wondering how amid these never ending hills there could be such a place as I had been told existed, I beheld it at my feet, surpassing beautiful! Below me was a small village, nestling amid a wealth of stately trees. There were cottages, bridges, and farm buildings, but all were vine clad and time worn. I could just see an old manor house, and round about it, as if for protection, were clustered some thirty cottages. The cottages, like the manor house and farm buildings, are built of the native stone, and all are gabled and picturesque. Indeed, save a few new cottages, most of the dwellings appeared to be two or three hundred years old. One farmhouse I noted carefully was this relic of the days of ‘Merrie England’.” 

— J. ARTHUR GIBBS, “A COTSWOLDS VILLAGE”, 1918

          Lowe Cottage, Bretforton, could be the very relic farmhouse J. Arthur Gibbs wrote about over 90 years ago. And Bretforton, Worcestershire, in the Vale of Evesham at the northwestern edge of the Cotswolds escarpment still easily qualifies as that “surpassing beautiful” small village Gibbs spied below him. After most of a century has passed, Bretforton remains “fertile and full of life”, an oasis where “the old-fashioned villagers dwell.”

 

THE LOCATION AND ACTIVITIES: THE COTSWOLDS is a region defined as much by tradition and lifestyle as by geography. Located in west-central England in parts of several counties (Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Wiltshire, Warwickshire, Worcestershire, and Somerset), the region extends nearly 100 miles from the historic city of Bath in the southwest nearly to Shakespeare’s home town of Stratford-on-Avon just beyond the end of the hill country. Although several sizeable cities and towns — including Bath, Oxford, Worcester, Gloucester, Cheltenham, and Warwick — are associated with the region, the Cotswolds are best known for dozens of picturesque small towns, villages, and hamlets — many with long, curious, hyphenated names like Stow-on-the-Wold — which give the region its reputation as a bastion of traditional (“Olde”) England.

 

Touring the Cotswolds by car involves travelling short distances over small, country roads. Count on getting lost. Count on having fun and discovering some fascinating place whenever you do. Photo © Home At First.
Touring the Cotswolds by car involves traveling
short distances over small, country roads. Count on
getting lost. Count on having fun and discovering
some fascinating, unknown place whenever you do.

TOURING THE REGION BY CAR is the most popular activity for visitors to the Cotswolds. Bretforton village lies on the extreme northern edge of the Northern Cotswolds, about five miles east of the large town of Evesham. Within 10-15 minutes drive is one of England’s great country gardens at Hidcote, and two of the most popular of the Cotswolds tourist towns: Chipping Campden and Broadway with their antiques shops, galleries, and upmarket pubs and restaurants. Within 30 minutes drive are many more small Cotswolds villages with big

 

reputations, places like Burton-on-the-

Water, Lower Slaughter, Moreton-in-Marsh, Winchcombe, Stanton, and Stow-on-the-Wold. Impressive history may be revisited within 30-45 minutes or so by car: Shakespeare’s Stratford-on-Avon, Warwick with its great castle-cum-theme-park, KATHERINE PARR’s Sudeley Castle near Winchcombe, the Gloucestershire Warwickshire (steam, tourist) Railway at Toddington & Cheltenham, and in the city of Gloucester with its great cathedral and revitalized Severn waterfront. Within a two-our drive are the world-class small cities

of medieval Oxford and Roman Bath — each worthy of a full

 

day’s visit — as well as the rugged scenery and industrial history of south-central Wales.

          Longer day-trips outside the region are also quite manageable, to destinations as varied and attractive as Salisbury and Stonehenge, Tintern Abbey and the Welsh borders, and even to London. Many visitors find a train trip to London a fascinating day excursion. Hourly rail services from nearby Honeybourne station (5-minutes drive from Bretforton) reach London’s Paddington station in under two hours time and operate late enough to provide up to ten hours or more in London. Happily, each day's exploring is civilized with opportunities to duck into pubs, restaurants, and tearooms for rest and fortification.

          Touring goes hand-in-hand with shopping (window or otherwise) and eating. The same Cotswolds villages renowned for their attractive scenery and quirky names also offer art galleries, crafts and antiques shops, fine dining in atmospheric restaurants, and the opportunity to experience the regional character of real ale from local, independent breweries in traditional, rural pubs.

          Besides touring, shopping, eating, and drinking, visitors find the Cotswolds a delightful region for walking, cycling, and horseback riding. Long and short distance hiking, biking, and bridle paths, like the Cotswold Way, crisscross the region, providing relaxing exercise in delightful surroundings. Along the way, and afterwards, the pubs and restaurants

Sign post at the intersection of the Cotswold Way and the Heart of England Way, two principal regional walking paths in the Cotswolds. Photo © Home At First..
Sign post at the
intersection of the
Cotswold Way and the
Heart of England Way,
two principal regional
 walking paths in the Cotswolds.

await.

 

 

 

 Walking in the Cotswolds is one way to experience the England of your travel dreams. Photo © Home At First.
THE ENGLAND OF
YOUR TRAVEL DREAMS.

THE OFFER: Looking for the remnants of the England of novels and history? Come explore the Cotswolds from your own cottage base in a historic village, shopping eating, and raveling like a native. Visit estate gardens, medieval castles, and great churches. Discover your own favorite list of pubs. Travel by auto, by bicycle, on horseback, and on foot throughout the Cotswolds and beyond by day, and return to your comfortable, authentic cottage in cozy Bretforton each evening. HOME AT FIRST makes it possible to experience the England of your travel dreams.

AVAILABILITY: For current availability information,
call
HOME AT FIRST at (800) 523-5842, or contact us by
e-mail at:
info@homeatfirst.com.

 

HOME AT FIRST

Get more information about HOME AT FIRST's travel program to: THE COTSWOLDS.