Bourton-on-the-Water | 15th – 18th April 2016

We arrived in good time at the elegant and welcoming Harrington House, then enjoyed a leg stretch to Lower Slaughter (slohtre) meaning “muddy place”, to admire faultless Cotswold gardens, the 13th C church and water mill. Afternoon tea then awaited us and we met our friendly, helpful and knowledgeable guides who each evening described the three routes available next day. All praise to the guides, all volunteers, who also organised the evening entertainment.

Pre-supper, a stroll around the village, our guide telling us about past Bourton people and the architecture. Cotswold slate roof tiles are laid thinnest at the ridge and gradually broaden to the overhang?

Saturday morning brought a surprise; snow falling thickly! After breakfast we collected our packed lunches; pre-ordered sandwiches and choice from an extensive range of goodies. We climbed hills and met “glorious” mud in the dips. The snow and recent rains had produced a quagmire in places. This proved excellent exercise for the muscles of the upper leg – the ones that pull you out of bogs. The walk took us to Little Rissington where the church has an iron bridle gate crossing a brook over which the groom lifts his bride. An excellent 7 course dinner didn’t stop us enjoying an evening of country dancing organised by our inexhaustible guides.

Sunday dawned fair and we were taken near to the Cotswold Farm Park. We skirted the gallop (no thundering of hooves,) and into the Windrush Valley where the river has its underground origin. Then to Snowshill (Snoz’ill). The views across the hills were stunning and the charming characteristic Cotswold dry stone walls were evident, dating back to Neolithic ages. The walls we see now were built in the 18th and 19th century. In Broadway we enjoyed tea and a stroll in this very pleasant if commercialised village.

That evening Hilary and Peter threw a pre-dinner drinks party for us followed by another sociable dinner and a ghost walk. Thanks very much to the hospitable and helpful staff of Harrington House, for excellent food, reasonable bar prices, to our guides and to Hilary for organising a most enjoyable holiday.

Ann Peart

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