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