The pretty river valleys of the Coln, Windrush and Churn to the north and northeast of Cirencester are among the most sought after areas of the Cotswolds. Another is the Cider with Rosie country to the west of Cirencester and north of Stroud not quite as accessible from London, but still very much part of the Cotswolds. Here Savills (01285 627550) have reduced the price of the Vatch House in its quiet hamlet near picturesque Painswick, Gloucestershire, from £1.5m to £1.25m, at which price the substantial, five bedroom Cotswold family house with an acre of gardens and grounds looks an interesting buy.

Stephen Perks of Hamptons has been an acute observer of the Cotswold countryhouse scene for 30 years or more, and not much that goes on there escapes his notice. In addition to his celebrity portfolio, Mr Perks is handling the sale of a number of Cotswold classics from his new Burford headquarters (01993 824546), among them historic Bretforton Manor at Bretforton, Worcestershire, on the western edge of the Cotswolds, five miles from Broadway.

Although of earlier, medieval origin, the manor house, listed Grade II, was mainly built of local stone in 1605 and substantially remodelled in 1877; popular legend ascribes the panelling in the hall to a Spanish galleon wrecked in the Armada.

Impeccably restored by a previous owner, it stands in 7.3 acres of grounds next to the church in the centre of the ancient village, which was owned by Evesham Abbey prior to the Dissolution. Bretforton Manor has four reception rooms, six bedrooms, five bathrooms and a staff flat. Outbuildings include stabling, a dovecote, a cider house and an indoor swimming-pool complex. The guide price is £2.5m.

In contrast, the Chase at Bourton-on-the-Hill, near Moreton-in-Marsh, Gloucestershire, was built in the Arts and Crafts style at the turn of the last century, and extended and modernised by the present owners some eight years ago. It stands in about four acres of wooded, landscaped gardens overlooking the Oxfordshire Cotswolds and has three reception rooms, a kitchen/breakfast room, master and guest suites, three further bedrooms and a family bathroom; there is also an adjoining one bedroom flat and stabling for four horses. Hamptons quote a guide price of £1.95m.

This article first appeared in Country Life magazine on September 15, 2005. To subscribe click here.