It is not claimed for my Cotswold village that it is one whit prettier or pleasanter or better in any way than hundreds of other villages in England; I seek only to record the simple annals of a quiet, old-fashioned Gloucestershire hamlet and the country within walking distance of it.
by others, so that by the middle of last century the transformation of three hundred square miles of downs into wheat-growing ploughed fields had been accomplished. It is chiefly owing to the depression in agricultural produce that there are any downs now, for they merely exist because the tenants have found during the last twenty years that it does not pay to cultivate their farms, hence they let a large proportion go back to grass.
But there is one very pleasant walk in that part of the Cotswolds we know best, and this takes you up the valley of the Coln to the Roman villa at Chedworth.
The distance by road from Fairford to the Chedworth woods is about twelve miles; and at any time of the year, but more especially in the spring and autumn, it is a truly delightful pilgrimage.
And here it is worth our while to consider for a moment how tremendously the abolition of the stage coach has affected places like Fairford, Burford, and other Cotswold towns and villages. It was through these old-world places, past these very walls and gables, that the mail coaches rattled day after day when they "went down with victory" conveying the news of Waterloo and Trafalgar into the heart of merry England. In his immortal essay on "The E