Dovers Hill - Cotswolds Travel Guide
Fine views can be found on the outskirts of Chipping Campden from Dover's Hill. On a clear day one can see for miles over the Vale of Evesham. This natural amphitheatre is owned & managed by the National Trust since 1928. There is a small carpark or for those staying in Chipping Campden it is just a short walk (1 mile) along the Cotswolds Way footpath. The hill stands at a height of 754 feet (230 metres) with splendid views over the surrounding Cotswolds countryside. This is the site of one of the Cotswolds most unusual traditions, the Cotswolds Olympicks! Dating back to 1612 & celebrations of the Cotswolds Olympicks & the Shuttlebrook Wake still taking place each year on the Friday & Saturday, following the Spring Bank Holiday.
The Cotswolds Olympicks began due to one man, Robert Dover a local lawyer in Chipping Campden with the approval of the then King James I. The intention was to bring communities together with celebration & activity, including horse racing, wrestling, hare coursing (now illegal) & dancing. Favoured by all how visited where two particular challenges, the first 'single stick fighting' & the second 'shin kicking'. The more enthusiastic of contestants for the shin kicking contest, would 'harden-up' their shins before the game, tactics would include, bashing their own shins with planks or in extreme cases....hammers! The Shuttlebrook Wake, which takes place on the Saturday following the games, is a colourful fair, parade & stalls lining the streets of Chipping Campden.
It isn't hard to imagine that this hillside would make the perfect spot for fortified refuge / settlement, if you follow the escarpment right, away from the carpark you will come to the remains of an iron age hillfort. The earthworks can still be seen & check out the view it is the perfect spot to exploit a rise in elevation for defensive advantage.
The most widely known folklore tale surrounding this beauty spot is the 'White Lady of Dover's Hill'. An ill-fated love match between two waring families during the time of the English Civil War. This story has a hint of Romeo & Juliet about it...The young adults, known as Sir Roger & Beatrice came from rival sides, one family were Royalist, the other Parliamentarians. Despite their differences the young couple met & fell in love. They would meet on the hillside, Beatrice would wave her cloak to signal the coast was clear & Roger would ride to meet her. However Beatrice's brothers found out about the meetings, Beatrice was sent away & the brothers kept her cloak. They lured Sir Roger to the meeting point using this lovers cloak & killed him. Beatrice was said to have gone mad & when she died her apparition was said to be seen forlornly waving her cloak in the hope of being united with her young love.
If you would like to stride out to Dover's Hill from Chipping Campden, simply walk up Hoo Lane, which will turn into the Cotswolds Way footpath & will take you the short (uphill) walk to this fantastic viewpoint.
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