Cottages near the Stroud Valleys
Discover stunning views across the Five Valleys
Over millennia, five rivers and their tributaries have carved their way down through the Cotswold limestone plateau to form the beguiling Stroud Valleys, converging on the market town of Stroud – recently voted by The Sunday Times as ‘The Best Place to Live in the UK 2021’ – and famed for its farmers’ market. The valleys are topped by breath-taking common land, including Minchinhampton, Rodborough and Selsley Common.
The power of the water made the Stroud Valleys (also known as the Five Valleys) an important wool and cloth manufacturing base, with the fast-flowing rivers providing power for the mills and clean water to wash the wool. A handful of handsomely renovated mills and their tall chimneys are all that’s left of the milling industry, providing landmarks in the wooded valley bottoms, notably along the River Frome, the Nailsworth Stream and the Toadsmoor Brook.
The two most populated valleys are the Chalford valley, running from Sapperton to Stroud, and the Nailsworth Valley, running through the eponymous town of Nailsworth renowned for its award-winning restaurants, pubs, cafes and artisan producers. The three other valleys are the Painswick Valley, centred on the historically affluent town of Painswick (also known as the Queen of the Cotswolds), the Slad Valley, the setting of Laurie Lee’s Cider with Rosie, and Cam Valley surrounded by the southern edge of the Cotswolds with the towns of Cam and Dursley at its centre.