The Cotswolds are famous: a representation of traditional rural life nestling in the very heart of England. The history of the Cotswolds is steeped in rich tradition, culture and archaeological interest. The name ‘Cotswolds’ is thought to be a combination of two very old English words – ‘Wolds’ meaning gentle hills and ‘Cots’ meaning sheep enclosures. The picturesque countryside and hills are crisscrossed with dry stone walls, hidden river valleys, quaint market towns and historic buildings of all kinds. In 1966 it was designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), the largest in England and Wales. The history of the Cotswolds is both varied and fascinating. There is evidence of settlements and burial chambers dating back to the Neolithic age. There are also remains of Bronze and Iron Age forts and Roman villas, settlements and roads. The Cotswolds were also strategically important during the Civil War, and it was the site of the very first battle. The area is also famous for its Limestone and golden coloured Cotswold stone, still quarried today and was known to produce some of the best wool in Europe during the Middle Ages. The first Neolithic visitors came to the Cotswolds in about 3500BC. There are monuments to their way of life everywhere, from long barrows and burial tombs to stone circles, standing stones and ancient mosaics. Those interested in Archaeology will remember these headlines from ten years ago “archaeologists discover 6,000 year old barrow in the Cotswolds”. This Barrow is believed to be 1,000 years older than Stonehenge, and the huge mound is now being excavated. Immerse yourself in the Cotswolds life and explore the Archaeological sites, Museums and historic buildings or just admire the beautiful villages and stunning countryside.