It would be hard to find anyone who has not actually HEARD of the Cotswolds, and for those who have not "DONE" the Cotswolds, it will surely be on their bucket list.
But it seems there are two totally different versions of "doing the Cotswolds", the overly popular one being the one day bus trip from London stopping at Bourton-on-the-Water for selfies with feet dangling in the Windrush and probably with Stonehenge thrown in for good measure. Then the other extreme is the gruelling up hill, down dale two week hike of the full 100 miles of the Cotswold Way.
This Web-App takes the middle ground allowing users to plan their own touring by motor vehicle/foot (or even on a bicycle), as fast or slow as desired, and you may plough straight IN (or above) to the Web-App or read about this fascinating area below.
So first let's do a fun introduction to the Cotswolds AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) using the hyphenated place name method synonymous with the Cotswolds, but with "anatomical adaptions" (in orange except for Bourton-on-the-Water which is already well hyphenated but could be "Bourton-in-the-Ear").
The Cotswolds AONB (in blue/black below) is NOT an English county (although it straddles six of them) but is a shape evolved to "fence-in" locations that are "Cotswoldish" and that has produced a shape looking very much like a Genie, freshly popped out of a bottle/lamp (or the Severn Estuary?) to grant your wishes for a perfect holiday.
The association of locations with the anatomy of this Genie helps to visualise and describe the area and the touring (eg like "The Boot/Toe/Heel/etc of Italy"), for example the 12 Circular National Trails Walking routes (as well as the Cotswold Way itself) which are located along the full back of the Genie from Horn to Foot with "Painswick-in-the-Neck" in the middle (although Pain-throughout-the-Body is the more likely outcome of walking the lot).
The car routes have been arranged to link with the start/end of these Walks, which normally follow the Cotswold Way route for part of their length, giving an opportunity to do "bite sized" sections of the Cotswold Way and, being circular, avoiding the normal logistical hassle with baggage carrying/forwarding involved with walking sections of the Cotswold Way.
But returning to the car routes, the map at the top shows 12 Trips (orange & red for clarity) which circumnavigate inside (but see below) the zigzag Cotswold AONB Boundary, adding their own zigzaging to cover locations in the inner areas.
However the AONB Boundary is not a hard and fast measure of what is "Cotswoldish" and for example Trip 12 travels under the nose of the Genie and is entirely (but marginally) OUTSIDE the official boundary but everything "looks and smells" like the Cotswolds, and as a bonus keeps taking little side trips South to the Thames in some of the most pristine stretches. In this way it provides a link to our Thames Path Web-App which (see History below) is also being revised.
All of the car trips come with custom SatNav routes (both directions) to provide the zigzagging (up to 10 "destinations" per Trip) but if for example you simply want to get to Broadway by the most direct route in order to do the Walking Track to Broadway Tower then just dial in Broadway and forget the zigzagging.
Then to return to the Genie, the Cotswold Way route determines that a great deal of the action happens along the back of the Genie from Horn to Foot as mentioned already and the map below shows the path of the Cotswold Way (in sky blue) at 100 miles, going where no car access is possible in many places, and the route of the Car Trips 4 to 7 (in red this time) at 95 miles as it criss-crosses the Cotswold Way ensuring access to all the start/end points of both the Cotswold Way sections and the Circular Walks.
Then for comparison the most direct road through the Cotswolds (in white) reduces the distance to 64 miles and finally the crow (or wood pigeon perhaps? in green) clocks in at 53 miles.
On the Home Page, instead of Entering the Web-App, you can use the green tab to go straight to Menus for the SAT NAV routes as well as Download and Save Maps in case the mobile coverage is inadequate along the route.
However all of that is but one third of the total of the 12 Trips, so to return to the global account, here is a guide to exploring the individual Trips (once you OPEN the Web-App and select a Trip).
As an example we Select Trip 6 in FRAME 1
First of all there are 13 selections you can make in FRAME 2 that appear (called "mapping") below in FRAME 3 which is most convenient on a phone/tablet (see on left) but (as shown above) can initially be confusing on a laptop as you are not taken to the normal (ie "linking") "somewhere else" (and probably get lost!), but need to scroll down/up. On the plus side the panos/flyovers are of "a very good size", and of course a phone/tablet can be rotated to allow FRAME 3 to fill the screen. So these tabs are:
Notes on each Trip appear as the default in FRAME 3 when you select a particular Trip (in FRAME 1) and can be reinstated using this tab in FRAME 2.
These tabs allow you to view FlyOver Videos (both directions) of each Trip recorded at about 10 times normal speed and about 5,000 feet which provide a spectacular perspective of the Cotswold "Green and Pleasant Land" - but we have yet to find Jerusalem and "if Those Feet" visited Glastonbury then you can search for traces there just 25 miles below Bath-on-the-Foot.
The Google Street View car has taken many thousands of 360 degree Panoramas throughout the Cotswolds and recently Google Trekker has taken more thousands along the Cotswold Way, so these numbered tabs are situated every 2 miles or so in FRAME 2 to act as "Easy Access Entry Points" to get TO these amazing panos in FRAME 3. Once there you can zoom in/out, rotate left/right/up/down or use the arrows to "drive" along the routes - or of course you can "break-out" to Google Maps for more discovery.
These tabs give a graphic representation of the topography along each route and are particularly useful for those planning to use a bike.
Then there are the following tabs in FRAME 2 that take you (ie "linking") to a NEW WINDOW (making no change in FRAME 3).
The SatNav feature has already been mentioned above and is accessed via these tabs (both directions).
This tab takes you to a Google List/Map that has pubs, towns etc that might be of interest, and you can also search there for other places in the normal manner.
This tab lists some accommodation within the local area.
The Circular Walks have been recently made "mobile friendly" by the National Trails folk so we can simply take you straight there via this tab. However when the Trekker panorama exercise was completed for the entire Cotswold Way in 2016 the exercise was not extended to the Circular Walks so with the new technology now available to make "DIY Trekkers" it is hoped panos will start to appear on those sections of the Circular Walks devoid of panos at present.
Covid-19 has produced a whole new lexicon of "things" for the travel industry to attend to, leading to a "new-normal" situation seen as being vital to post Covid recovery, and the list includes "smarter digital methods".
But the new-normal digital challence actually came in 2015 with the Google announcement "go MOBILE FRIENDLY or drop in our search listings" and the industry standard solution over 5 years to date has been to "shoehorn" a wide-bodied site into a mobile with RSD. However that was never going to work for the multi-media intensive sites we were planning so we went back to First (KISS) Principles and came up with the "mapped iframe style" which you will see here where in addition to these hundreds of Google "Entry Point" Panoramas described above, we are able to provide other forms of Multi-Media such as FlyOver Videos, SatNav Routes, Elevations etc.
This solution, best described as a Web-App, simply WORKS on all devices but that is not to say it is better on a mobile than a laptop or vice-versa. It is a "horses for courses" situation where for example if you want the Google Lady to steer you into Chipping Campden then the mobile is the way to go but if you want to properly observe one of the brilliant panoramas and then "break out" to the "blue lines" of Google Maps to explore thousands more, then a laptop is for you.
This revised version is being launched at Xmas 2020 amid Covid chaos, but the revision is only Covid related in that the Author has been prevented from travelling and has some time on his hands, and this Web-App really "deserved" a revision.
To explain "deserved", it was this Article in 2016 that was the catalyst for its development as well as the hundred or so Web-Apps that followed. The Article promised Street View style panos on ALL the UK National Trails by 2018 but of course that ended with the Cotswold Way with less than 10% of Trails completed and no showcasing of the panos at the National Trails site (mainly for the RSD reasons given above but also because of "a bit of politics" best left unsaid).
The Author's main interests were the Thames Path and Cotswold Way, so while waiting for Google to Publish the thousands of panos on the Cotswold Way the Author decided to make this Web-App as Cotswolds-in-the-Car to try out this new format. So it seems only fair to revise it (as Cotswolds-on-the-Tour) to include all the improvements that stemmed from the hundred or so Web-Apps that followed (mainly for the Greek Islands). The Thames Path Web-App is another complete story in itself as it was in the 90% that never got the Google Trekker treatment, but now is also under revision. UPDATE February 2021 the Thames Path revision is now complete.
As mentioned above the Cotswolds Circular Trips have just been added by the National Trails folk (in "non-RSD" format) so they are linked in this new version to the car trips. That leaves Cotwolds-on-the-Foot (Cotswold Way and Circular Trips) also seriously in need of a revision given it was similarly one of the initial five or so, but time will tell if that is to happen. UPDATE April 2021 the Cotswold Way revision is now complete.