Pretty English villages part 1

England may not have the most extreme scenery when compared to New Zealand or Canada, but what it does offer is green and gentle beauty. I have previously written about some of the best pubs in Dorset, and some amazing countryside areas in England, but this article will focus on some peaceful and gentle villages to visit that really sum up the calm existence that England is known for, and where to find them.

Castle Combe - Wiltshire

This little village has won multiple awards and recognition, all centered around the peaceful and beautiful nature of the place. Located in Wiltshire in a national Area of Outstanding Beauty, Castle Combe only holds about 400 people, and most of them live in honey coloured stone houses, made of distinctive Cotswold stone. This is the kind of village that makes a perfect stop-over in the middle of a journey, and a detour here to visit a pub garden or sweet cafe is well worth the time.

Somewhat ironically, the village also hosts the Castle Combe Circuit, which was one of the most important motor racing circuits in the UK, just outside the tiny village. I said 'was' because in 2005 the residents and locals complained of the noise from the louder Formula Three and British GT championship cars and so they were banned from racing at the circuit.

Castleton - Peak District

I'm incredibly passionate about the outdoors of the UK, and the Peak District is one of the finest examples of this. Rolling hills, steep slopes and the occasional craggy mountain, this is a paradise for lovers of quiet and gentle natural beauty. The little village of Castleton, set in the hillside, is home to around 700 people, and is the starting point for some of the most stunning walking routes in the country. It is overlooked by Mam Tor, and the Bronze Age history you can find there. The village is also overlooked by an 11th Century castle and these two landmarks provide the perfect backdrop to this small but powerfully beautiful village.

The majority of visitors here come for the walking, hiking and climbing in the area, but there are also plenty of people passing through who visit the picturesque pubs, the sweet little tea shops and the great local restaurants. There are even several caves you can visit, with four in particular called Blue John Cavern, 'Peak Cavern, Treak Cliff Cavern and Speedwell Cavern that have been prepared for visitors and made safe and fun to explore.

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