In the book I read this past summer about the Cotswolds (
Slow Cotswolds: Including Bath, Stratford-on-Avon & Oxford by Caroline Mills), the author described Blockley as one of the best examples of a Cotswold village, from its variety of buildings to its church to the landscapes surrounding the village. Brett and I took two walks through the village (about two miles each) in two different directions last week to begin to get to know our home base for the next three months.
Looking out over Churchill Close, the town green, to hills and pastures for both cows and sheep. The dry-stone wall topped with stones set on their sides surrounds the common.
The cars on the street contrast with the massive size of this old elm tree in Churchill Close.
The Northwick Bowling Club sits in the center of Churchill Close, in the center of the village.
Many of the graves in the Blockley Church cemetery are hundreds of years old, and the stone worn to where nothing can be read. It’s not a museum though – newer, more recent graves exist as well.
The original church is Norman, built in 1180, and the bell tower at St. Peter and St. Paul Church was added in 1725. The bells are rung throughout the day, and on Thursday evening we had a nearly hour-long concert.
Blockley Church is open to the public and was far less austere inside than we imagined, with beautiful stained glass windows, statuary, and memorials to past residents of the area. The blue hymnals were a Christmas gift to the church in 2009. The light from the big windows (14th century) on the south side of the church light up the church nave during the day.
Down a winding lane off of the high street is the old mill, now converted into a private residence. The home includes quite a bit of protected land around it.
The Old Mill is adorned with several types of roses, and the scent was intoxicating as we walked by.
Slabbed wood on the gable of the Old Mill’s woodshed.
Blackberry vines along the roads were loaded with fruit, although the ripe berries we tried weren’t especially sweet. We’d love to go back and pick but are not sure whether the vines are on private property or not.
Brockley Brook runs through the town, although in some places it’s been covered over by roads.
Lower Terrace is a series of old connected apartment buildings built in 1851. They have been renovated and all look to be in use. I’m curious about what the low buildings between the larger apartment buildings were used for.
This house sported a (very accurate) sundial on the front of the house over the door.
What was formerly two attached homes has been converted into one large modern house. Yellow Cotswold stone (limestone) is a signature feature in the area as are stone or slate roofs.
Renovation of old buildings can be seen throughout the village. In some cases, an old house is torn down and the stone re-used to build a new house, but the yellow limestone is also still being quarried.
Another view of the hills from the Blockley Churchyard. From here it’s just a short distance to our cottage.
We have already fallen in love with our little village, with its “peaceful nature and beautiful buildings.” I know there are many other charming places in the Cotswolds, but I can’t think of a place I’d rather call home for the next few months.
Laura & Brett
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14 thoughts on “First Walks Through Blockley”
Just beautiful! It looks like Miss Marple could turn the corner at any moment. 🙂
It does, doesn’t it? It’s almost like walking through a picture book at times.
Breathtaking! I would guess that you’ll be out for a walk every single day once you are fully settled in. How can anyone not love that scenery?
We try, although the weather hasn’t always been accommodating (for example, it’s VERY windy today with rain threatening – a good day to stay indoors). We are blessed with beautiful views of the hills from our upstairs windows.
It really is. Before coming here I didn’t think I would enjoy it as much as I do already. We’re looking forward to getting out and exploring more of the area.
Beautiful pictures, I don’t see any yards. Do all the houses open directly on the street or are there some hidden courtyards?
Lots of houses here do have yards, and most are beautifully landscaped. Many though are behind walls they’re sometimes difficult to see. Most don’t have a front yard though – yards (“gardens”) are in the back.
It’s just so beautiful there. Very picturesque! I love the history – it always makes me realize how very young the US is by comparison.
Old cemeteries fascinate me. My DD and I visited the Old Cemetery in Southampton and this is my all time favorite epitaph (so far…ha!): “She hath done what she could.” What more can anyone ask? LOL.
Your pictures are wonderful, as always. Thanks for taking us along.
Thanks, Laurel! It is more picturesque and more beautiful than I imagined. The church here in Blockley is fascinating. I snap pictures every time we walk through the churchyard, and am looking forward to poking around inside some more in the future.
Thanks for all those great photos–what a beautiful village! So are you going to learn to bowl at the bowling center? Do you have a “local” yet? Staying there for so long will let you get involved in village life, which will be fun. Maybe you’ll learn how cricket works–it’s such a mystery to me! Are you planning to go to Bath, or have you been? One of my favorite places with lots of fun stuff to do and see.
Blockley is really so much more beautiful than we imagined – we had no idea. No “local” yet, at least not one we drop into regularly but we did like the Great Western Arms and plan to go back Everyone here has been very friendly and helpful. No cricket here though – just the bowling (whatever that is).
We are in the process of planning a driving trip down to Devon and Cornwall, with a stop in Bath on the way – we plan to spend a day and a half there before heading down to Cornwall. The car rental is in Oxford, so on the way back we want to stop in Salisbury and visit the cathedral.
A few recommendations for Bath – If you are looking for a place to stay the Apple Tree was a very nice B&B when we were there. It has since changed owners (and was updated which might mean it might be more pricey). But right down the street is the Royal Oak (8-10 Summerlays Place) which was ‘our’ pub when we were there. If you are looking for a unique dining experience check out Yak Yeti Yak which serves Nepalese food.
I checked out the Apple Tree Inn but they are booked for the days we’ll be there. But, the area is lovely and I appreciate the suggestions for the pub and restaurant. We’ll be staying two nights in Bath – I’m really looking forward to our visit!
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