The Cotswolds make up a large and rural area, easily divided between
North and South. In the North are low, rolling hills of sweeping fields, thick hedges and yellowstone walls
and houses. In the South the yellowstone walls and houses are augmented by skimpier hedges and rather higher,
sharper hills that break up the sweeping fields. Instead of rural villages clustered in a dimple of hills,
there are rather more industrial affairs clinging to steep hillsides around the Golden Valley. High above
the escarpments, wild and isolated landscapes of rockier ground slope away into Wiltshire and South Gloucestershire.
The industrial villages and wild landscapes make the area sound rather
barren, but it is in fact anything but. The industrial villages are deftly set in sylvan valleys, with scattered
fields and twisting lanes. Away from the main hub at Stroud, the deep valleys spread a soft blanket of
relaxing air across all - a quiet and soothing environment, barely disturbed by the passing motor-cars. The long-
abandoned Thames & Severn Canal wonders up towards the head of the Golden Valley in an aura of hushed twittering,
stroking leaves and silently flowing water.
Up from Stroud head valleys to Painswick and Slad. This is Slad. It was
home to the novellist and poet Laurie Lee, who wrote of his childhood experiences in Cider with Rosie.
Book and valley are curiously in tune. The idea of sitting under a haywagon drinking cider seems entirely
reasonable, surrounded by trees, below a back road and miles from a town that is isolated in a valley miles
from anywhere else...