Day 3 (Chipping Campden)
We began with a full English breakfast. Jane's breakfast was superb! She then gave us suggestions of several things to do and places to visit.
We began with another walk through the town, stopping in at the Guild in the old silk mill, where we chatted with the silversmith and saw her lovely work. We visited an old/used book store and wished that books were not so heavy to transport home! Next we walked up to St. James Church, the local Anglican Parish Church. We discovered the oldest headstone was 1674 (it is along the entry walk), and the doors and some parts of one wall date from the 14th century. Inside it is not ornate, but really nicely done. The wooden sections of the ceiling are from the 15th century, and one of the oldest crypts was found to contain the remains of a knight from the 13th century.
We met the church organist, who was preparing his music for the big weekend, with Good Friday and Easter services, and their Bishop would be preaching. We'll be attending Easter services in Wales, so we'll miss the events in Chipping Campden.
We walked back to the B&B and picked up the car, then drove to Dover's Hill, which overlooks the valley. On a clear day, they say you can see Wales. There is a topograph which points out many of the towns, as far as 30-40 miles away. It is quite a view! Since it was overcast, we could only see the towns up to about 10-15 miles away.
Next we drove to Broadway, a beautiful little town, much like Chipping Campden, but with a more polished look to the shops along the main road. We saw some men putting a new thatch roof on one of the shops, and admired the many wonderful old buildings.
Then we went on to Stow-on-the-Wold, passing through Moreton-on-Marsh, both lovely old towns, with lots of shops, antique stores, pubs, etc. By the time we reached Stow, it had started to rain, however, so we went into a shop or two, then had a quick walk around town, and decided to drive to Stratford-upon-Avon. There we saw, to no surprise, that everything seemed to be called, "Shakespeare This" or "Much Ado About That". We saw the church where they claim Shakespeare is buried - a tour guide said Shakespeare was concerned the church would move his bones to make room for future burials (as was done in those days), so he paid a lot of money to be buried inside the church, and some 17 meters deep.
From Stratford we plugged "Snowhill" into the GPS. It had us galloping cross-country in no time - first on a two lane highway, then a smaller two-lane road. Before long we came to an intersection, where the far side looked like a driveway - barely large enough for one car to pass, and the GPS voice chirped, "Proceed straight". Straight it was - what is known here as a single road - a one lane road, on which you are expected to drive at least 40-50 MPH. They have slightly wider spots in the road every 1/4 mile or so, so one car can wait while an oncoming car passes. The guidebooks wryly comment that "you may have to reverse direction to allow an oncoming car to pass." Yes - did that!
We found Snowhill, a wonderfully old and tiny town, mostly restored and preserved by the National Trust. Tiny streets, with cars parked in the traffic lanes, so that what was originally not quite wide enough for two, with a car parked in the lane is only theoretically large enough for one!
Since we were starting to get hungry, we decided to make for Ford, where our hostess had told us to try the Plough (a pub) for a meal. It was a good recommendation. We shared a salad with a wonderful Roquefort dressing and a meat pie with mushrooms and chips (steak fries). It was an excellent meal.
After the meal we set the GPS for "home" and it started us out through Ford, then onto another back country road. Soon we were on another "single road", racing along in the pitch darkness, bright lights on, trying to see the hills, turns, animals, walls, and oncoming traffic. It was exciting.
Our hosts had thoughtfully planned a route for us to Aberystwyth, where we will head tomoorow, since they felt we were planning a route that was much longer, but the length wasn't justified by the scenery. In other words, they recommended a shorter and prettier route. That sounds good, so we'll try it tomorrow.