As you would guess, the itinerary of a garden tour includes lots of gardens, but every once in a while it’s exciting to do something a bit different. On the recent tour of the Cotswolds, our guide, Ian, suggested a visit to Broadway Tower, a Capability Brown folly on the second highest point of the Cotswold escarpment, 1024 feet above sea level.
Completed in 1798, the Tower was designed by renowned architect James Wyatt with an eclectic mish-mash of elements including turrets, battlements, balconies, and gargoyles. In fact, it has everything an American tourist could ask for on a first-day out in England, complete with a gift shop on the ground level.
Long before the Tower was built, the location was a vital communications center known as a “beacon hill,” where messages of urgency could be conveyed by lighting a fire that could be seen for miles around.
Later, during the World Wars, the Royal Observer Corps used the Tower to track enemy planes, and during the Cold War they constructed a nuclear bunker where they could report nuclear attacks.
Here are a few of the amazing views from the tower today…
And here’s a good part of the group, with smiles…and are those shopping bags I see?
Another important part of a tour is the accommodation and in the Cotswolds we were fortunate to stay at The Wood Norton, a boutique hotel built as a hunting lodge for European Royalty in 1897. I can’t imagine anything more perfect–the rooms were lovely and comfortable, the food (and wine!) outstanding, and the staff superb in every way.
Here’s another handfull of views we all came to love…