Last updated November 17, 2019

Cotswolds and on...

Bourton on the Water, Moreton in Marsh, Henley in Arden...

Bourton on the Water

Despite temperatures hovering around freezing and persistent fog, we enjoyed a brief visit to Bourton on the Water on our journey north. In the heart of the Cotswolds, Bourton appears to have developed such as to make tourism a significant focus and, as a result, exuded a kind of cutesy faux aura which was a little disappointing. Nonetheless, practically the entire town center is classical Cotswold with practically every building sporting the yellow limestone of the region.

Marian paid her tourist dues and bought a rag-stabbing kit in the craft store and is now underway on her embroidery odyssey. Following are a few damp and foggy pictures snapped during our quick walkabout.

The main road past Bourton

Note the narrow route through town with little parking.

Bourton High Street

Miscellaneous stores with no on street parking.

Latter day businesses

Stores on the main street. Even Bourton has its Discount Outlets.

Over the Top Shops

An example of "jumping on the bandwagon" - small yuppie tourist stores

The Old New Inn

Recently renovated, rooms are now available at this pub. A quick review of the interior suggested it was not quite ready for prime time!

Kingsbridge Inn

Another local hostelry

Moreton in Marsh

A few miles from Bourton is Moreton in Marsh, a much more down to earth working town with bustling retail and commercial activities. The weather remained steadfastly cold and foggy so after a quick walking tour we had a great picnic lunch in the faithful little car.

Inn on the Marsh

On Stow Road at the south entrance to town

High Street

The main intersection in town swarming with traffic and cluttered with parked cars

High Street Again

Mixed retail and commercial area of the High Street

Local gentry?

Miscellany of loiterers outside the Redesdale Arms

Why this imploring look?

I could not get Marian beyond this store. See next picture...

Lunch!

Her plan was to buy one of these 7lb pies for a lunchtime snack!

The Swan Inn

Another of the half dozen pubs along High Street

Henley in Arden

From Moreton we drove through the Vale of Evesham to Henley in Arden. The Vale of Evesham, we are assured, is a beautiful place to drive through. Not so on our trip - the fog closed in quite densely and it was all we could do to see the road ahead, so we concentrated on reaching Henley, our destination for the day.

Henley in Arden is both historic and quaint in spades - a mile long main street lined end to end with historic buildings, almost all of which are in everyday use. We stayed in the White Swan, a 16th century timber framed stagecoach stop on the London to Lichfield road (see picture below). Samuel Johnson wrote many of his contributions to the first English dictionary while staying at this inn - a contributing cause of the quirkiness of the English language perhaps.

With a population around 8,000, Henley is partly a bedroom community for commuters working in and around Britain's second city, Birmingham. There is a railway station on the west side of town which, in common with many other such stations, is automated and completely unattended. Recorded messages inform travelers of imminent happenings and vandals can put in a full days work without fear of interruption. By and large, however, the scheme appears to work quite well. The train itself, does have a driver.

The White Swan

Our home for night

Bar and Restaurant

The White Swan is under new management and is attempting a comeback. The jury is still out :-(

Our Quarters

Rustic, floors undulating enough to require support from walls and furniture when walking

Where the stagecoaches went

The "hole" in the front leads to stables and nowadays, parking

Homes on High Street

Cozy might be one description, small is also appropriate with door heights well under 6 feet

Just another commercial property

Here, a realtors office operates out of this delightful antique

Homey atmosphere

Wide sidewalks allow for external product displays and outdoor seating for some restaurants

Couldn't resist this!

Locally made breads are plentful and usually make a spectacular display

Recycling

A chinese restaurant and a fish and chip shop occupying historic buildings

South end of High Street

The Nags Head pub

Another of the six or eight pubs along the high street

Three Tuns pub

Bluebell pub

Commuter train station

Completely unmanned station with frequent trains into Birminghan and it's suburbs

Train arrives

No railroad personnel beyond the driver

Train departs

More recorded announcements but no personnel

Here is a very informative site for Henley in Arden with some worthwhile pictures.

Barton under Needwood

The last stop on our journey to Burton on Trent was at Barton under Needwood in the county of Staffordshire. Barton lies in the Trent valley, an important strategic and commercial channel in the midst of English industry. In about 1775 the Government authorized the construction of the Trent and Mersey canal to connect those two rivers in order to support the transportation needs of the burgeoning industrial revolution. About the same time, James Watt was unveiling his original steam engine but the canal system was king for another 75 years or so before being losing out to rail transport.

Although Barton is only a few miles from the large local city of Burton on Trent it has successfully retained its rural charm and, at 5,000 inhabitants, serves as a bedroom community for both Burton and Lichfield. We decided to stay at the Shoulder of Mutton (a pub) especially after we determined that steak and kidney pie was on the dinner menu. The weather remained resolutely drab with considerable fog. Following are some pictures of the area.

Shoulder of Mutton pub

Another traditional pub struggling to adapt to the drink-drive laws and make it as a licensed restaurant

Welcoming saloon bar

Dinning room

Where we ate our steak and kidney pie followed by treacle tart

Traditional English signpost across from the Shouler of Mutton

St James Parish Church

Built about 1553

Another Barton pub

... and another

... and another

Chernobyl Shrub?

If you're going to have a shrub, have a big one! Must be a dog to trim.

The Bridge Inn

Just a mile or two out of Barton, one of many pubs on the Trent and Mersey Canal

Trent and Mersey Canal

Passes by the pub. Two working narrow boats are moored for the night

So next to Burton on Trent and more relatives...

 

 

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