Imagine the perfect British village… A small collection of tiny cottages made of golden sandstone with stone or thatched roofs surrounding a village green. A little schoolhouse of stone with a bell on the roof. An ancient inn covered in ivy with an inviting log fireplace within. A manor house overlooking it all from the hill above. And no structure less than a couple of hundred years old.
The Oxfordshire village of Great Tew is located in the idyllic area of rolling southern English hills known as the Cotswolds. And it looks exactly like the village I just described. I first visited this picturesque settlement in 2005, and when I returned a couple of months ago, it was as if nothing had changed. Mind you, Great Tew looks as if nothing has changed there for at least 300 years!
So while preparing for this post, I was surprised to discover that in the late 1970s it was a very different story. At the time, many of Great Tew’s historic buildings apparently stood abandoned and in desperate need of repair.
Visiting there now, it’s hard to believe Great Tew was ever anything but a tranquil hamlet untouched by time. In fact, thanks to a group of devoted enthusiasts, things were already looking up by the mid-1980s, when Rich first visited. Today Great Tew has returned to being the perfect picture-postcard example of rural British village.
If you have a contender for Britain’s prettiest village, I’d love to hear about it. Perhaps I’ll put it on my list for next time we visit Rich’s family.
While dreaming of sunny days spent lazing on the village green, perhaps with a cream tea or two, why not sign up and follow my continuing Journeys here at Jaspa’s Journal, or through my website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram?
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