The Cotswolds are a collection of tiny villages to the north of Bath, built from beautiful stone and surrounded by farms and farmland. We arrived in Moreton – in – Marsh, whose street crossing signs bespoke its most prominent residents: “ELDERLY PEOPLE” and “WILD FOWL.” And we found the Bell Inn, which is said to be Tolkien’s inspiration for the Prancing Pony.
Public footpaths are abundant here, designated by little arrows attached to fence posts, tree trunks, and garden gates, often leading you right through the gardens themselves to be waved at by cheerful country folk.
In Stow – on – the – Wold, Karen ate too much chocolate and Ryan sketched the Royalist Hotel (my phone just tried to auto-correct that to Royalist Hot Dog), the oldest inn in England, circa 947 AD. Just think, that was still 500 years before America was even a bun in Spain and England’s oven.
Another bus ride delivered us to Bourton – on – the – Water, which quickly became our new “if we don’t come home, this is where you’ll find us” town. Quaintest of the quaint, Bourton – on – the – Water is bifurcated by a stream, stitched with bridges, and descended upon by dogs and mallards.
Harry Potter Time!
While visiting many of the beautiful villages of the Cotswolds, we found ourselves apparating into the town of Mould-on-the-Wold, a small wizarding village where Dumbledore grew up. In the late 1800’s, Dumbledore’s sister Ariana was attacked there by three muggles who noticed her magical abilities, and persecuted her for it. Because of this violent attack, Ariana refused to use her magical abilities from there-after. Due to this lack of magical practice, Ariana’s magical abilities built up, causing violent magical accidents to occur. After such events, her father attacked the young muggle boys and was sent to Azkaban shortly after. After this affair, Kendra Dumbledore relocated her family away from the Cotswolds to Godric’s Hollow where Ariana was kept hidden to hide her disability.
Also, records show that troll specialist Gondoline Oliphant was clubbed to death by trolls while sketching in 1799. Karen warned Ryan to be more vigilant while sketching, but Ryan seriously doubts a troll could sneak up on him.