The frosts have been heavy and widespread recently, but that didn't stop us getting out to new parts of The Cotswolds on the weekend. This time? Bibury to play the tourist at Arlington Row, then on to Burford to warm up in a cafe and poke about browsing the high street.
Like most Cotswold stone villages, Bibury has its history entwined with the wool industry. The river Coln (and the stream from the Arlington mill) babbles past the most picturesque cottages, all higgledy piggledy and as quaint as they come!
The cottages of Arlington Row (above and below) were built in 1380 as a wool store and then later converted to weavers cottages in the 17th Century.
They looked like a magical fairytale land with the frost covering them.
The swamp-like land adjacent to the cottages is called Rack Isle, it separates the cottages from the mill. It has now been turned over to wildlife preservation. It is seasonally flooded to provide natural habitat for water birds and meadow plants. The name 'Rack Isle' harks back to its industrial past as it was the land used for hanging the wool to dry. If you look hard enough, you might be able to spot some wooly sheep in that patch of lovely midwinter sunshine on the hill behind the cottages.
Although Bibury was frost encrusted, there are signs of spring beginning to emerge. I almost walked straight past these snowdrops pushing through the frozen earth at the doorstep of one of the cottages. I am glad they caught my eye though. I have been eagerly anticipating snowdrops blooming in England. They're a different cultivar to the snowdrops we have back home in Australia. These particular ones are slow to open and keep that perfect elongated 'drop' shape as they defy the frosts and freezing temperatures. They look slightly forlorn, but I find them really enchanting.
I wish I had some on my doorstep.