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Cirencester is located in the Cotswolds area of Southern England, an area stretching from areas of Warwickshire and Worcestershire to the North, down through Gloucestershire, West Oxfordshire, Wiltshire and North East Somerset.
The Cotswolds is an extremely popular area, attracting many visitors each year, domestic holidaymakers and travellers from all over the world.
The Cotswolds were designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) in 1966 and in 2000, the government confirmed that AONBs had the same landscape quality and status as National Parks.
Cirencester makes an ideal base to explore the Cotswolds due to it's excellent road links and proximity to towns and villages such as Fairford (pictured), Bibury, Burford, Bourton on the Water, Stow on the Wold, Cheltenham and Bath.
The area known as the Cotswolds runs northeast to southwest passing through six counties on the way including Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, and Warwickshire.
The boundaries of the Cotswolds are roughly defined by Oxford to the east and Stroud to the west. While Cirencester, Faiford and Tetbury are thought by many to mark the southern limits of the Cotswolds, key features of the Cotswolds can be found as far south as Bath. The northern limits of the Cotswolds are generally accepted to be in the Chipping Campden area.
To many people, the Cotswolds is characterised by attractive small towns and villages built of honey coloured Cotswold stone (the colour of which can be quite different depending on the area of the Cotswolds you are visiting). One of the best examples of a Cotswold village is probably Bibury (pictured) a few miles from Cirencester. This charming village attracts visitors from all over the world who come to see the traditional Cotswold buildings such as Arlington Row.
Many of the impressive buildings and churches in the Cotswolds were built by wealthy 'wool merchants', hence the term 'wool churches'.
The Cotwolds is, in general, still an affluent area and has attracted wealthy people who own second homes in the area or have chosen to retire to the Cotswolds. A good example of this can be found in the Cotswold Water Park area where you will find developments like The Watermark which consists of high quality second homes of wooden construction. Another example is The Lower Mill Estate near Somerford Keynes is a development of 2, 3, 4 and 5 bedroom second homes.
The Cotswolds were designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) in 1966 and so celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2006. It is believed that the AONB covers 2,038 square kilometres making it the largest Area of Natural Beauty in England and Wales.
Walkers are well catered for, with miles and miles of walks and walking routes being open to the public. The Cotswold Way is a typical example which runs the length of the Cotswolds for an length of around 103 miles.
For more information on the Cotswolds area, please visit the Cotswolds website.