Heritage & Stories
Our human story and the landscape of South West England are entwined, people have been leaving their mark here for nearly 10,000 years.
With our foot notes in your trail we help you to uncover the stories, history and myths.
From the magnificence of Stonehenge to the humble rural church the South West has history at every turn. Through the Neolithic age, to the Bronze and Iron ages the South West was well populated and you can see surviving barrows, hill forts, monuments and ancient trackways.
In the Roman times The Cotswolds & Bath became a wealthy and important area of the Western Roman Empire, today you can trace ancient Roman roads, explore ruined villas, and the temples and bath houses in Bath.
Following the Romans the story of life is dotted throughout the landscape from the Saxons (8th century), Normans (11th century) and into the later Medieval period (15th century), there’s much to explore of this time from villages, castles and ancient churches. Not forgetting the Renaissance, the English civil war, the Georgian’s and the Victorians.
Each of your daily trail cards include our foot notes to point out and tell you about interesting or important history you encounter as you walk.
Here are a few suggested example itineraries to get you started:
In southern England there’s a village every few miles and each has its own story to tell with farms, schools, pubs and churches. For over a 1000 years the life of the community has revolved around the church, where the community gathers, from summer fetes and weddings to welcoming new life and saying goodbye to those who have passed away. The buildings, memorials and art are a little glimpse of that history.
The Normans were the first to be big castle builders, looking to secure their newly conquered territory, These were hastile built mounds and wooden structures, small military garrisons. Over time local lords amassed more power and castles became the fashionable accessory.
In Wiltshire you will find England’s only hexagonal castle, built in the 14th century, today it is the most romantic ruin in the landscape. Although it took heavy fire during the civil war much of it remains explorable today. And in Somerset you can explore another dramatic ruin of a 14th century fortified mansion occupied for 300 years by the Hungerfords.
The Cotswolds wool trade
It may seem difficult to imagine today, but in the 15th century the market town Northleach was at the economic hub of Europe. And all because of one thing – wool from the Cotswolds sheep. As the wool trade began to develop in the Cotswolds so the importance of this region began to grow. In medieval England wool powered the economy in the same way the industrial revolution was to do four centuries later, hence the ‘golden fleece’.
Somerset is the land of mystique, through the mists of time (or is it the cider?). The ‘levels’ are mysterious and iconic sites like Glastonbury rose from this marshy water landscape. Foot Trails Myths & Legends trail explores this land, Arthur, Lady of the Lake, the Fisher King, myths will resonate as you go. Rural pagan symbols collide with the growth of Christianity too, with the green man of the wood, chalk giants and more.
How do our trips work?
Typically you stay for 2 nights at each selected country inn with a different and varied walk each day. It allows for a little less packing & moving on, and a little more exploring like a local. Luggage transfers are included when you hike to your next country inn.
Your itinerary consultant is here to guide you through creating and arranging your Foot Trail. Simply get in touch below to start a conversation.
Like to find out more?
To find out more and request an example itinerary for one of our trails, just pop your details in below or give us a call on +44 (0) 1747 820626.