The Severn Valley has its origins in the hilly countryside around the town of Tewkesbury. It extends south-west through the shifting sands and flat grasslands of the Vale of Gloucester then broadens as it slides past the Vale of Berkeley and on toward the Atlantic Ocean. The River Severn has one of the largest tidal ranges in the world. Dominating these flat planes is the ancient and historical city of Gloucester with its magnificent cathedral as well as busy port. East of Gloucester the landscape turns towards the woodlands of the Cotswold Hills. Wool production and stone quarrying provided the Cotswolds with their distinctive character as well as the basis of the area's economy with. During the 16th and 17th centuries it was the centre of England's wool industry with the fine manor houses and churches which characterise Cotswold countryside being built on the profits of the wool trade.
The source of the mighty River Thames lies three miles south of Cirencester at a spot appropriately called Thames Head. Nearby lies the beautiful Cotswold Way, a 100 mile trail through splendid countryside. The area generally is great for touring not only because it hosts numerous country lanes but also because around every corner lies some beautiful landmark, village or natural place of interest. The western borders of the county are dominated by the picturesque Wye Valley with its wooded hills that flow towards the Royal Forest of Dean, an ancient royal hunting ground as well as a naval timber reserve. Today it offers the visitor a rich and varied landscape to explore. The forest covers some 27000 acres containing an estimated 20 million trees comprising of a variety of trees, though mostly mostly oak and beech. It also boasts rich wildlife.