For those who are unaware of English Heritage, they are an organisation who is known officially as the Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission for England. They are a public body sponsored by the Department for Culture, Media, and Sport and are best known for the care of the National Heritage Collection of monuments and historic sites. They are also guardian of public archives containing 12 million photographs and over half a million objects.
The collection includes everything from prehistoric stone circles to a nuclear bunker. Famous landmarks Hadrian’s Wall and Stonehenge are overseen and the archive includes an eclectic mix where you can see the Duke of Wellington’s boots and Charles Darwin’s diaries. In all English Heritage, have over 400 locations that are preserved to tell England’s history.
English Heritage helps people understand, enjoy and value the unique heritage of England. Gloucestershire is blessed with sixteen English Heritage sites covering a large amount of history from ancient times, through the Roman occupation, medieval and industrial era.
Gloucestershire’s Natural Heritage
The county of Gloucestershire is a glorious tract of England where hills to the east and west descend to the River Severn flood plain. Lands above the scarp slope known as the Cotswold Hills have scenic views amongst the best in England. Along this scarp slope lay several long barrow tombs form Neolithic times
In this article, we look at the English Heritage sites that can be visited easily from your base at Cooks Green Cottage – your home from home holiday cottage in Gloucestershire. We have covered the more ancient sites you can visit which can be combined with some lovely walks.
Ancient Visitor Sites
Near Cheltenham on Cleeve Hill lays Belas Knap Long Barrow, a sizeable Neolithic burial chamber. Believed to date from 3800 BC this tomb housed 31 bodies in the chambers. Between 1830 and 1865, the skeletons were recovered from this sixty yards long tomb. Completely restored, admission is free to this fascinating piece of ancient history.
Further ancient long barrows can be found throughout the county namely Notsgrove Long Barrow east of Cheltenham, Nympsfield Long Barrow, Uley Long Barrow also known as Hetty Pegler’s Tump.and Windmill Tump Long Barrow.
Roman Visitor Sites
Cirencester is home to the second largest Roman amphitheatre in England. It housed 8000 spectators who would enjoy the events that took place there such as bull baiting. In the 5th century, it was fortified against attack from the Saxons. Today the spectacular earthworks can be seen where the amphitheatre stood.
Great Witcombe Roman Villa
The Great Witcombe villa was built in an unusual place for the times but it is believed it could have been home to a cult of water nymphs and as a shrine to water spirits because of the profusion of natural springs and brooks in the spot. The sumptuous villa was built around 250 AD and the remains today feature a bathhouse and water spirit shrine.
Anglo Saxon Visitor Sites
In 780 AD King Offa, King of Mercia built a boundary ditch that passes through the west of the county. From here, fine views can be seen of Tintern Abbey in the valley below.
Medieval Visitor Sites
The Dominican Blackfriars friary in Gloucester is among the most complete buildings of this type in England. English Heritage is undertaking a project here to convert a section of the building into a performing arts centre.
In England, we are very fortunate to have bodies such as English Heritage and National Trust to look after our heritage and preserve it for future generations.
Visiting such ancient historical sites reminds us of the circle of life making us more aware of the world, and mindful of the environment. Speaking of environment, you really will not find anywhere more charming and comfortable to stay than Cooks Green Cottage – your haven at the end of a day exploring the rich ancient heritage of Gloucestershire.