The Cotwolds is the name applied to a region of England, a hilly area (though the highest hill barely reaches 1000 feet) running approximately southwest to northeast through six counties, particularly northern Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, and southern Warwickshire. The northern edge of the Cotswolds is marked by a steep escarpment down to the Severn valley and the Avon, but there is no such sharp demarcation to the south.
The underlying rock is a yellow limestone, and the area is characterised by attractive small towns and villages built of this local stone. The area is particularly good for sheep grazing: in the Middle Ages, the Cotswolds were extremely prosperous from the wool trade. Some of this money was put into the building of churches, so the area has a number of large, handsome "wool churches", built, naturally, of Cotswold stone.
Typical towns in the area are Stroud, Burford, Chipping Norton and Stow-on-the-Wold. The Cotswold village of Chipping Campden is notable for being the home of the Arts and Crafts movement, founded by William Morris around the beginning of the Twentieth Century.
The Cotswolds were designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in 1966, and this designated area was expanded in 1991 to 2046 Km2