WARWICK sits near the northern edge of the Cotswolds, a series of gently rolling hills and honey-coloured villages that are quintessentially English. This is an area of stone walls, hidden river valleys and distinctive market towns and villages made of the famous Cotswold stone. The flower gardens are exquisite.
The famous medieval castle at Warwick was built by William the Conqueror in 1068. In the 17th century the grounds were turned into a garden. It wasn’t until the 1750’s when Warwick Castle transformed into a stately home that the development of the gardens became a priority. Under the instruction of the 1st Earl of Warwick, the gardens were developed under one of Britain’s greatest landscape gardeners, Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown. It is believed that Warwick Castle was Brown’s first independent castle commission and his achievements here won him praise and national recognition. Every curve of the lawn, or tree and shrub planted, was carefully considered. It may look natural, but the gradient of the lawns down from the Castle to the river is actually man-made. Although there have been many changes since Brown’s time, the overall layout is still ultimately his and continues to be maintained by a team of gardeners.
In the nineteenth century Robert Marnock, the Victorian landscape gardener, added a hexagonal parterre and a rose garden. It consists of a number of topiary peacocks, manicured hedges and a beautiful pond and fountain. Stunning peacocks roam in their garden home. He also laid down the immaculate fragrant Rose Garden where all of the roses are traditional cultivated species. This part of the garden was in fact lost after the Second World War when a tennis court was laid over the top. It was not until two of Marnock’s original drawings were discovered that the gardens were restored to their original glory in 1986.
BIBURY is situated in the centre of the Cotswolds in Gloucestershire on the River Coln.
This village was once described by William Morris as ‘the most beautiful village in the Cotswolds’. One of the village’s main tourist spots overlooks a water meadow and the river. It is Arlington Row, a group of ancient cottages with steeply pitched roofs dating back to the 16th Century. They are built in Cotswold stone, the roofs too are of natural stone slate. The doors to these cottages are exceedingly low, adding to their vintage attraction. The gardens are spectacular and enhance these lovely buildings. These picturesque cottages were built in 1380 as a monastic wool store. This was converted into a row of cottages for weavers in the 17th century. The cloth produced was sent to Arlington Mill. The cottages were restored in 1929 and are now owned by the National Trust.
BATH, Somerset, is set on the southern edge of the Cotswolds.
Bath is known for its natural hot springs and is home to some of the nation’s grandest Georgian architecture – not to mention one of the world’s best-preserved Roman bathhouses. In 1987 the city was inscribed as a World Heritage Site, designated by UNESCO, in order to preserve its natural and cultural heritage. It is an elegant city.
A famous Bath resident was Jane Austen, English novelist.
The photos take us on a flowery walking tour through the streets of Bath and the surrounding area.