Tuesday, February 16, 2010

What has Jane Austen and JK Rowling got in common? The Cotswolds.

In an earlier post I mused about where old Fleet Street photographers go after a lifetime recording the news for our breakfast table reading. Usually they follow the same passion that got them into photography in the first place. Dave Hill continues his crusade to picture the four corners of the globe and its denizens. Clive Limpkin, after years on the frontline trouble spots, crosses India to record that sub-continent for his brilliant books.

Paul Felix is another of those dedicated snappers who filled our newspapers over many years but never strayed from his first love, photographing The Cotswolds.

To celebrate his love for the area Paul has now produced a website where you can keep up with Cotswold life and experience the beauty of all its seasons.


For those outside England The Cotswolds is a range of hills in west central England, sometimes referred to as ‘the heart of England.’ It is 25 miles across and 90 miles long and is designated as ‘an area of outstanding, natural beauty.’ The name in olde Englishe means ‘sheep enclosure in rolling hillsides or a ‘wold’ and it has stunning villages with wonderful old names like Chipping Norton, Moreton-in-Marsh, Stow-on-the-Wold, Shipston-on-Stour and Wotton-under-Edge.

It also has its share of famous names. J.K.Rowling was born at Chipping Sodbury.

Gloucester Cathedral’s atmospheric cloisters were used in the filming of her Harry Potter movies.

Jane Austen lived in Bath from 1801 to 1806. The historic city is reflected in her novels, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion.

William Morris, one of the leaders of the 19th century Arts and Crafts Movement was greatly influenced by the Cotswold countryside. He died there at Kelmscott Manor in 1896 and the area still buzzes with artists and craftsmen to this day.

The Cotswolds abounds with medieval Castles, 16th century Manor Houses and Abbeys that survived Henry V111’s Dissolution of the Monasteries, all built from the yellow, Cotswold limestone. Oxford’s spires mark its eastern boundary line.

Paul Felix has photographed The Cotswolds life for thirty years. If you see a beautiful, pastoral scene in a book or a calendar, chances are it’s by Paul Felix and he has a huge library of pictures, old and new.

images top to bottom:

Thatched cottage in Shottery, once the home of Shakespeare's wife, Anne Hathaway.

New Place, Stratford-upon-Avon, where Shakespeare died.

Abbey Church at Tewkesbury, reflected in the River Avon floodwater.

Yew Trees around the parish church doorway in Stow-on-the-Wold.

A field of buttercups at Broadway on a Spring day.

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