Fly Fishing in the Cotswolds

The Cotswolds

One of the most beautiful areas in England

Location

Just one hours drive west from London Heathrow airport and thirty minutes east of the Welsh border, the Cotswolds is mainly in the county of Gloucestershire. The city of Bristol is nearby as are the towns of Bath, Oxford, Stratford-upon-Avon, Cheltenham and Gloucester.

Warm and appealing countryside

Very close to mainstream England and yet superb countryside… busy in a few places but quiet in most. The Cotswolds are unarguably romantic with country roads preserved manor houses, leading to peaceful river valleys, through country towns and beautiful villages of honey-coloured stone cottages, complete with churches, village greens and traditional old country pubs.

Combine all this with excellent walking and outstanding hotels and you'll see why the Cotswolds is such a popular vacation destinationfor overseas visitors. But its very easy to get 'off the beaten track' to beautiful quiet countryside. Officially designated as an 'Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty' (AONB), it has one of the lowest population densities in England and is protected as a heritage landscape of national importance.

Stow-on-the-Wold, Broadway, Bibury, Burford, Chipping Campden, and the oddly named Upper and Lower Slaughter are especially lovely, but ramble along leafy lanes and you are sure to come across other hidden delights. Walk along the Cotswold escarpment a thousand feet up and you'll have endless views of gently rolling hills criss-crossed by dry stone walls.

Activities

Walking is one of the best ways to appreciate and enjoy the distinctive character of the Cotswolds. The Cotswolds AONB has over 3,000 miles of public footpaths with long distance walks as well as short routes, providing access to the rolling hills, clear river valleys and the scattered stone villages for which the area is so well known.

For Fly Fishing the limestone spring-fed rivers of the area rival the Chalk Streams of Hampshire. Wild Grayling and introduced Rainbow Trout complement the prolific native Brown Trout population to provide challenging sport for the fly fisher.

The Cotswold Water Park is Britain's largest water park and as well as the water oriented sports such as sailing, canoeing, swimming and windsurfing large areas are set aside for land based appreciation, for example wildlife reserves, angling, lakeside walks, horse riding bridleways and cycling routes.

The area is also a great centre for shopping and antiques. There are specialist shops in places such as Stow-on-the-Wold and Tetbury, whilst the enthusiastic bargain hunter can find intriguing shops all over the area.

The Cotswolds has some of the finest gardens and arboreta in the country. A few of its best are the National Trust gem at Hidcote Manor, the manor house garden at Barnsley House near Cirencester, the rose and knot gardens at Sudeley Castle and Painswick Rococo Garden.

Pubs, Inns and Restaurants

The Cotswolds is particularly well endowed with excellent country pubs and superb food. Often the pubs and inns have excellent restaurants. Many pubs are very old and retain much of their authentic ;olde worlde' character. No visit to the Cotswolds countryside is complete without visiting a few local pubs, either just to relax in the bar with a drink and the locals or as the focal point for an evening out.

Surrounding highlights

It's hard to pick a better base for visiting the best of central southern England than the Cotswolds. So much is so close:

Just to the West is Cheltenham, England's regency spa town, which is renowned for its stylish shopping, colourful parks and floral displays, horseracing, music and literature festivals. Gloucester Cathedral and Tewkesbury Abbey are well worth the trip. Just a little further to the west no lover of unspoiled natural beauty should miss the Forest of Dean or the Wye Valley and Wales is only a stone's throw away.

At the Southern tip of the Cotswolds is the amazing city of Bath.

To the Eastern edge of the Cotswolds is Woodstock and Blenheim Palace with the colleges of Oxford just a few miles further. Hop on a train for an hour and you can be 'seeing the sights' of London.

Go just a little Northward to step into William Shakespeare country at nearby Stratford-upon-Avon or to visit Warwick Castle.

So much to see and so much to do - but don't forget to relax, chill-out a little, soak up the local atmosphere of the Cotswolds and make sure you have a really enjoyable time.

When to visit

The Cotswolds really is an all-year-round destination. Being in the south of England the winters tend to be mild. Walking can be great in the off-season months although the footpaths are quiet even in peak season. We prefer the Cotswolds in the spring and autumn for an optimal combination of the best scenery, good weather and fewer visitors. The Cotswold towns and villages can be busy with visitors during the summer months although even at these times by timing your visit to these places early or late in the day you can still see them at their quiet best.

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