Monday, September 19, 2016

Naunton to Bourton on the Water - Day 7

Sunday, September 18, 2016
If my trip to Oxford last Thursday brought me in touch with my Alice in Wonderland fantasy, then today's journey took me to "The Lord of the Rings." We ended our day in the village of Stow on the Wold where J. R. R. Tolkien lived for awhile. This door on the side of St. Edwards Church (of England) was his inspiration for entry to the "underworld." The church has parts dating to the 12th century and these yew trees are more than 1,000 years old.

The door is to the left where the large trees are located. Tolkien was said to enjoy wandering these grounds.
We started our day with a hike from Naunton, another small but well maintained rural community.  
Along the way we encountered some "lion" sheep, who had been recently sheared and lost their manes.
They are typical of the sheep in the Cotswolds.
Then we passed a medieval "dovecote" dating from the 15th century.
A dovecote is a structure to house pigeons or doves with pigeonholes at the top to nest. It was an important food source in medieval times.
Our hike today took us across more pastures
And woodlands
And along country roads
and we often followed the Windrush River.
Our first real villages were Upper Slaughter and Lower Slaughter, two interestingly named villages that have been inhabited for more than 1,000 years.

Love the Pooh bears in the upper window.
It was a fairly short walk from Upper to the much larger Lower,
where we stopped in a park to have our packed lunch from the hotel. We also spent time looking around. There was an old woolen mill, now a tea room and gift shop

and several old manor houses now converted into luxury hotels.
After lunch we continued our walk along a stream.
into Bourton on the water.
It is quaint because a stream goes right through the city
and there are a series of foot bridges that cross over. The water is very shallow and there are a lot of ducks.
We stayed here about an hour before our bus took us to Stow on the Wold where we had another hour to shop and to see the Tolkien door. 
Stow is also a very interesting city with some medieval buildings still standing
alongside some dating to the last century.
It is a little larger than many of the cities and I enjoyed taking photos here.

Tonight we had "the Pudding Club" experience. Our hotel is famous for hosting the Pudding Club" every Friday night. For £39, guests are treated to a light meal and then tastings of 7 different puddings. Then they vote on which is the best. This has been going on since 1985 to preserve the English tradition of puddings.  Our pudding choices were "bread and butter," ginger, apple, spotted dick, and chocolate nut. They all come with sauces. No need to tell you my favorite!

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