The Towns Of The Cotswolds

The Cotswolds is the epitome of rural England, and the small Cotswold towns have been fortunate in retaining, and preserving this rural idyll. Conservation plays a large part in the modern day planning and growth of all the Cotswolds towns.

Since early man, Cirencester has been the hub for everyday living. The "Capital" town of the central Cotswolds district and the town was also the capital of the Dobunni tribe, and was second only to London in importance whilst the Romans stayed. Today it is the administration centre for Cotswold District Council.

Cirencester is the largest of the towns although Stroud gives the appearance of being bigger with local villages merging into each other. This is due to the woollen mills that grew up around the valleys during the golden days of the wool and cloth industries of the 16th and 17th centuries.

The honey-coloured oolitic stone is used in abundance throughout the towns and villages and in particular Chipping Campden, which, could be the most picturesque of all.

History has produced magnificent churches and houses and large wool merchants’ properties line the main streets laying testament to the wealth of the people who used their money to build the towns we admire today.

Many are vibrant and most rely on tourism to generate the local economy. Farming was the biggest industry but, it does not generate the income that it once did. Farmers are now fighting back with many of the towns holding monthly farmers markets which sell local produce.

In the north Oxfordshire Cotswolds Banbury is the largest town and the administration centre for Cherwell District Council.

Witney in west Oxfordshire is the largest town in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds and is the administration centre for West Oxfordshire District Council.