Stow on the Wold - a Cotswold gem
Stow-on the-Wold is a small market town in the Cotswolds region of England. Its high position, overlooking beautiful countryside, and its attractive old architecture make it a tourist hotspot.
Stow-on the-Wold is the highest of the Cotswold towns standing exposed on 800 feet high Stow Hill at a junction of seven major roads, including the Roman Fosse Way, so it has always been an important trading centre.
The vast Market Square testifies to the towns former importance. At one end stands the ancient cross, and at the other the town stocks, shaded between an old elm tree. Around the square the visitor is faced with an elegant array of Cotswold town houses and shops.
At the height of the Cotswold wool industry the town was famous for its huge annual fairs where as many as 20,000 sheep were sold at one time. These fairs originated from charters granted by medieval kings from 1330 - so these fairs have a very long history.
Many alleys known as tures that run between buildings into the market square were used in herding sheep to be sold.
As the wool trade declined, people began to trade in horses. The practice continues, although the fair has been moved from the square to a large field just outside the town. It remains popular, with roads around Stow blocked by the extra traffic for many hours.
Stow is an important shopping centre and has many fine Antique shops, Art galleries, Gifts and Crafts and is a centre for Walking the Cotswolds countryside.
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