Walking in the Cotswolds

Withinton Woods

Shortly after we moved to Orchard Cottage, I bought Tim and I the Pathfinder Guide’s book of Cotswolds Walks. The intention was to get out every weekend for a long walk in the hills. Well, we moved here over a year ago and it was only three weeks ago that we actually got out on one of these walks. And now it feels like we’re full steam ahead.

Three weeks ago we did a 5 1/2 mile loop around Buckholt Wood and Cooper’s Hill, site of the infamous cheese-rolling competition. Two weeks ago we did a relaxing 6-mile circuit around crazy-beautiful Bibury. Finally, last weekend found us a little north of Cirencester on a 9-mile loop through Chedworth and Worthington.

Looking over Withington and Woodbridge

The book claimed that the three focal points of the walk were the two villages and the Chedworth Roman Villa, “the finest of a number of villas in the Cotswolds”. That may be true, but when we got there, we were put off by the “cafe” that was really just a tea-dispensing machine, not to mention the cheesy Roman centurion re-enactor and the £6.50 entrance fee.  The Roman Villa will have to wait for another day.

As for the villages of Chedworth and Withington, they were indeed ridiculous in their prettiness. You could practically smell the wealth bleeding from the Cotswold stone. And even though it was barely 9am, I was still tempted to pop into both of their perfect English pubs for a pint. But I managed to stay on track (mostly because the pubs were still closed).

Chedworth

I’ve discovered that there are different types of walkers in this world: some like villages, others like beaches, others like rolling vistas, and others live for the lunch break in the middle. Me, I like trees. And the forests we covered on this walk were the highlight of the day.

The coniferous trees in Withington Woods somehow reminded me of my bike ride through Wisconsin.

Coniferous

Meanwhile, the mixed woodland in Chedworth Woods was like something out of a fairytale.

Chedworth Woods

So three weekends in a row of walking and I’m looking forward to the next. It reminds me: I have a hiking pack I haven’t used yet and the summer is fading fast. I sense some camping in my future. Wild camping – yet another reason why I love living in this country. That and big giant snails:

Biggest snail ever

5 thoughts on “Walking in the Cotswolds

  1. Dottie Shaw

    How I’d love to be a cricket on your backpack along these trails, Monica. Just the most beautiful sights to behold! And that snail, slime in all its glory oozing forth as it climbed UP that bark. Wonder what snails do at the top of a tree or shrub? Bask in the sun? Is there sun?

    What I love about the woodland paths is dirt underfoot. Walking on pavement will soon tire these middle aged legs and leaves aches where memories once lingered. But to walk in the woods, along crooked winding dirt paths seems somehow effortless. Have to watch for tree roots and puddles and holes, but that’s part of the fun.

    Today Steve and I walked through our modest woods to escape the beating rays of the sun. We ventured off the main path and discovered many trees lay ripped and tattered on the ground from the last storm, blocking our way at times. We had to leave the little path to hike through the forest floor back to the main path. I pointed out poison oak and poison ivy patches to Steve, too late… but he threw his pants in the wash as soon as he was home. They dried in the sun in 30 minutes! Gotta love those performance fabrics!

    Anyway, loved this post…..

    Reply
  2. Stu H

    Great article Monica! I’m looking to move Northwards in the next month but would definitely be up for some wild camping around the area before autumn.

    Reply
  3. Monica

    Performance fabrics are great, huh? :) Not much poison ivy here – just a lot of nettles. I like walking on dirth paths and grass, too. This walk actually involved lots of lane walking, which is ok. But walking in the grass is much nicer… though not so effortless when you’re wearing heavy hiking boots. Gotta support those ankles, though. ;-)

    Stu – where are you moving up north? Have you been wild camping? Any idea where’s good?

    Reply
  4. offmotorway

    I'm afraid I can't share your love of the snail (there are so many of them in our garden I sometimes feel besieged by them!), but do share your love of walking in woodland. Mind you, I also like the lunch in the middle, nothing beats a good country pub!

    We wild-camped once, on the coast in Ireland, and I seem to remember being terrified all night of being swept away as the wind howled around us!

    Great post, great photos!

    Reply
  5. Monica

    I recently heard that the giant snails were brought over here by the Romans 2,000 years ago. Crazy. And I have to agree – a good pub is always a welcome find. But sometimes harder to track down that I'd hoped for. Thanks for the props on the post and the photos!

    Reply

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