The delights of the Cotswolds / by Neil Alexander

Coats of arms of two renowned Chipping Campden families; the Gloucesters and the Gainsboroughs, Chipping Campden

 This weekend just gone, my wife and I took the opportunity for a well overdue weekend away and headed down to the Cotswolds for a couple of nights. As usual, it was beyond my abilities to travel without a camera, so in the interests of marital harmony I travelled light - just my Billingham 550 packed with two D300s, a 17-55mm f2.8 and a 70-200mm f2.8. Unfortunately from a photographic standpoint, the conditions weren't ideal. Early Sunday morning was the only time the sky wasn't completely overcast, so I made the most of it, and that's when I made the majority of these images.

National Trust Chipping Campden Market Hall dating back to 1627

Cotswolds Considered to be, by many, to be one of the most beautiful areas in England, the Cotswolds, with its unique stone-built heritage, gently rolling hills and broad valleys is dotted with historic market towns and small sleepy charming limestone villages. The region covers 790 sq miles in the upper part of South West England and is the country's largest officially designated "Area of Outstanding Beauty". Being "typically English", and where time has stood still for over 300 years, the area makes an ideal destination for any discerning visitor.

Broadway - Jewel of the Cotswolds

Broadway A delightful little village, often referred to as the "Jewel of the Cotswolds" lies beneath Fish Hill on the western edges of the Cotswold hills. Its wide High Street lined with tall horse chestnut trees contains a mixture of period houses and picturesque honey coloured Cotswold stone cottages which have lured visitors for centuries.

Buckland Manor, Cotswolds

Buckland Manor Going as far back as 600AD records show that a house stood on this lovely Gloucestershire hillside spot. Reckoned to be worth £9 in the Doomsday book, the estate passed into the hands of the Gresham family in 1536 and was eventually converted into a luxury country house hotel in 1981. One of the finest manor houses in the Cotswolds, this privately owned quintessentially English country estate provides a tranquil setting, comfortable drawing rooms, fine dining and a very warm welcome.

Cottage in the village of Buckland, Cotswolds

Cottage in the village of Buckland, Cotswolds

Buckland Manor, Cotswolds

As I said earlier, all these images were shot over the course of one weekend when the conditions weren't great, but I've managed to pull quite a bit back in post processing using a mixture of HDR processing with Photomatix Pro and black and white conversions using Silver Efex Pro 2. You can see more on the full gallery here.