Bourton-on-the-Water

Straddling the Windrush River, five graceful, low-stone bridges built between 1654 and 1953 have led to Bourton-on-the-Water being referred to as the Venice of the Cotswolds. Occupied since neolithic times and located on a Roman road between the  Fosse Way and Templeborough it had, by Norman times, developed along the river, much as it is today. Since its discovery by tourists in the 1920s, tourism has grown steadily until today, the annual number of visitors exceeds the resident population by nearly 1000 fold. An early morning visit is rewarded with an impossibly picturesque image of the quintessential Cotswold village. The Windrush flows tranquilly beneath low, arched stone bridges, mallard ducks dabble in the shadows and reflections of overhanging trees, and the smell of fresh baked bread from the local bakery hangs in the air. As the morning progresses, the village transforms. Locals appear on the streets, shops begin to open, and soon the tour buses arrive. The streets fill with tourists, crowding the shops, obscuring the bridges and views, taking selfies or pictures of spouses and children on each of the bridges, or crowding the outdoor tables along the high street. Even with the crowds, the village retains much of its beauty, and watching the transformation from quiet rural village to theme park is fascinating. Longtime residents decry the increasing commercialization, the crowds of tourists, and the increasing population that now exceeds the nearby market towns of Stow-on-the Wold and Burford. I sympathize, but tourism supports the shops and with them local employment. The local green grocer, cheesemonger, butcher, and ironmonger have been replaced by chains, antiques stores, restaurants, and tourist shops, and homes have been converted to tourist accommodation, but the architecture and setting remain largely unchanged. The bakery is still in family hands, and there is always the early morning smell of fresh baking or late-evening quiet to evoke less congested times.
A Sense of Place:  Travel, Photography, and Photo-art
by David E. Moon
© David E. Moon, 2014  All rights reserved
Slideshow Slideshow

Bourton-on-the-Water

Straddling the Windrush River, five graceful, low- stone bridges built between 1654 and 1953 have led to Bourton-on-the-Water being referred to as the Venice of the Cotswolds. Occupied since neolithic times and located on a Roman road between the  Fosse Way and Templeborough it had, by Norman times, developed along the river, much as it is today. Since its discovery by tourists in the 1920s, tourism has grown steadily until today, the annual number of visitors exceeds the resident population by nearly 1000 fold. An early morning visit is rewarded with an impossibly picturesque image of the quintessential Cotswold village. The Windrush flows tranquilly beneath low, arched stone bridges, mallard ducks dabble in the shadows and reflections of overhanging trees, and the smell of fresh baked bread from the local bakery hangs in the air. As the morning progresses, the village transforms. Locals appear on the streets, shops begin to open, and soon the tour buses arrive. The streets fill with tourists, crowding the shops, obscuring the bridges and views, taking selfies or pictures of spouses and children on each of the bridges, or crowding the outdoor tables along the high street. Even with the crowds, the village retains much of its beauty, and watching the transformation from quiet rural village to theme park is fascinating. Longtime residents decry the increasing commercialization, the crowds of tourists, and the increasing population that now exceeds the nearby market towns of Stow-on-the Wold and Burford. I sympathize, but tourism supports the shops and with them local employment. The local green grocer, cheesemonger, butcher, and ironmonger have been replaced by chains, antiques stores, restaurants, and tourist shops, and homes have been converted to tourist accommodation, but the architecture and setting remain largely unchanged. The bakery is still in family hands, and there is always the early morning smell of fresh baking or late-evening quiet to evoke less congested times.
A Sense of Place:  Travel, Photography, and Photo-art
© David E. Moon, 2014  All rights reserved
Slideshow Slideshow