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As I enjoy my ‘average day’ pottering around the Cotswolds (my wife likes to describe it as ‘swanning around the Cotswolds’) I often come across examples of what the Cotswolds was once like before the arrival of the big 4×4 motor and other more recent innovations and 21st Century gizmos. Obviously there are many pubs with long histories and likewise historic buildings across the region, but what about some of those unique events that have become part of the fabric that is the Cotswolds. Morris Dancing, of course, cream teas, yes, these are here, but they are everywhere in the UK. Here are some of the best examples that came to mind.
Ploughing Matches!At various times of the year you will find numerous activities taking place that would make you question whether you are indeed in the 21st century. A classic example are the various ploughing matches that take place in local areas at certain times of the year. While the National Ploughing Championship is held somewhere different each year, you can catch the local matches taking place at the Fairford, Faringdon, Filkins and Burford Ploughing Society if you are in the right place at the right time. Hazel here in our Manor Cottages’ office is running the event (last weekend in September each year), so if you want the inside line, pardon the pun, then Hazel is your lady!
Fancy some dangerous running?But there is more to this stranger side of the Cotswolds than you might think and I’d say it is probably my favourite bit of Cotswolds madness; where else in the UK could you run down a near vertical hill, chasing a piece of cheese which is rolling down to big hedge – all in the name of fun/sport!? If you head to a certain infamous hill called Cooper’s Hill on the Spring Bank Holiday in May, you’ll have a chance to see dozens of people who should know better hurtling downhill after a cheese. This year the holiday and the event should take place on Monday 4th June, as the Bank Holiday has been moved in honour of the Diamond Jubilee. Make sure you catch it – or perhaps even enter with the chance of catching the cheese itself! Interestingly such is the notoriety of the ‘chase’ it made the national news thanks to the need for ambulance, health and safety et al! You can stay at our holiday cottage that backs on Coopers Hill, the lovely Haybarn Cottage, which sleeps 6 people.
The last couple of years have seen unofficial races taking place and it looks as if 2012 will be much the same. If you want to see the race this year, keep an eye out for news nearer the time.
2012 OlympiksI can safely say that when Seb Coe and David Beckham went to win the Games for London they weren’t aware of a more Olympiks which happens each year at Chipping Campden. This is another age old event that is associated with the Cotswolds, formally known as Robert Dover’s Cotswold Olimpicks. This takes place on Friday 31st May this year, starting at 7.30pm and running into the evening.
You can witness such delightful events as shin kicking and backswords at the Olimpicks – events you won’t see at the London 2012 Olympics when it gets underway just a few weeks later. Other delightful events to take place on the night will include the famous welly wanging and tug o’war. It may seem difficult to believe but the Cotswold Olimpicks first got underway back in 1612. This was the year that Robert Dover started what would become a long held tradition. He may be surprised – and rather pleased – to see it is still continuing today. It was the subject of a BBC TV programme last year, with Rory Mcgrath taking a good kicking with nothing more than a newspaper and straw in his socks to protect his legs! Needless to say he didn’t last long
If you have been to one of the above and have a tale to tell or you know of a better event that illustrates the Cotswolds even more, then write to us, tell us and we’ll get more people to enjoy it!
AccommodationSo when you decide to visit the Cotswolds you should definitely see if you can time your visit to take in at least one of these classic and time honoured events. But remember they only touch the surface of the wide range of events of this kind that are dotted all over this area all year round. When you visit the Cotswolds and stay in a Cotswolds country cottage you will be close to all kinds of traditional happenings that make this part of the country what it is. Don’t miss out on the fun!