Cotswold Way

Day 7 – 10th May – Wotton under Edge to Tormarton – 16 miles

We gathered everything up and after dropping off the key at reception we started our second to last day. The first stop was the Co-op which is just round the corner and directly on the route. Having topped up with supplies we set off down the main street before being stopped by a woman. Rachel was taking photos and she asked whether we wanted to see the chapel and almhouses through the archway across the road. We would have walked right by if she hadn’t of pointed it out. We set off once more and promptly missed a turn as we weren’t paying attention to the route. A local gentleman told us to go down a short lane that would take us back to the path which it did along the picturesque chalk stream. After the obligatory steep climb we arrived at the road that would take us to Blackquarries Hill.


Chapel in Wotton under Edge


Stream

The path then takes you off the track into a field and then back out again on to the same track about a quarter of a mile further on which seemed bonkers and served no purpose. On re-joining the track we startled a runner that had stopped to water the grass. After he hastily rearranged his equipment and tucked himself back in we passed by with a cheery good morning with maybe the hint of a slight snigger. The good track took us all the way to Wortley and then across fields and along a track to Alderley. Our bodies were telling us we needed a stop and, you guessed it, it was getting very warm. At Alderley there is a church so we thought it would have a seat but when it didn’t we sat on a wall opposite. While there we saw some Americans that had also been staying at the Swan who had caught us up. They had started off just before us but we had overtaken them just outside Wotton, and now they leap frogged us.


Waterfall - sort of!


Church at Alderley

According to the signpost we had covered 5 miles which felt pretty good but the walking had been very pleasant and quite easy. So with a third of the day’s march done we set off again in hot pursuit of our friends from across the pond. It didn’t take us long; they were in a field with a load of cattle taking photographs. We said hello but only got a luke warm reply so we didn’t stop and overtook them and continued on a good path until we met the lane to Lower Kilcott. The lane had fairly high hedges both sides which made it a bit of a furnace as the heat bounced off the tarmac, there being little breeze. We strode out but soon stopped to look at some highland cattle and then we spotted a fox in the same field. Passing a fishing lake we set off steeply off the lane on a track, then through woods until we reached the monument to General Lord Robert Somerset. Back on the road we entered Hawkesbury Upton and decided that another stop was in order so sat on a wall at a bus stop by the Drovers Pool – but there wasn’t any water. There was a lady waiting at the bus stop on the other side of the road and I think she found it rather amusing that we were sitting there with bare feet eating our food. But hey, needs must.


Highland cattle


Fishing lake at Lower Kilcott


Lower Kilcott


Woods


Monument to General Lord Robert Somerset


Hawkesbury Upton

We set off along the Drover’s Road which was very easy walking and we increased the speed despite the heat. There are very few stretches on this walk where you can really motor and increase your average speed. At long last we felt we were making faster progress and consequently we soon found ourselves in Horton having just passed the Millennium Folly. We crossed into a field with sheep in, which isn’t unusual and most of them scattered apart from a ewe and her lamb that stood in our way. As we approached she reluctantly stepped away but was still quite close to us, so very unusual. On reaching the spot, movement caught my eye in the long grass, and there was another lamb, obviously the ewe was trying to protect it which is why she didn’t want to move. However, it was very clear that the lamb was dying, with its eyes rolled back into its head and its legs moving uncontrollably it appeared to be having a fit or perhaps it had meningitis. We could do nothing. There was no obvious farm or any farm workers about. I used to work on a farm with livestock when I first left school, for a number of years, and so my instincts are to stop suffering or help in some way where animals are concerned. I would have preferred to put it out of its misery, which wouldn’t have been a problem, but it wasn’t my place and so we had to walk away leaving it to a slow death. It still bothers me now writing this that we couldn’t have done more, I just hope a fox got it, but we will never know.


Millennium Folly

We walked downhill and then back up again past a fishing lake and soon found ourselves in Little Sodbury. We needed a rest so stopped on a seat just by St Adeline’s church. Our feet were throbbing after our faster walking so again the foot regime worked wonders in reviving us but it was difficult to leave and carry on. But leave we must and off we went up the road. We soon made it to Old Sodbury where we decided to stop again as we were making good time. There was a convenient seat in the church yard overlooking the school and the children were having a PE lesson which was quite entertaining. The views from the church were far reaching which meant that it must be downhill again, which it was, down to the main road and The Dog Inn. We could have stopped but we didn’t (this was the second time in as many days – we were becoming light weights). After crossing a couple of fields we arrived at Coombs End and entered the Dodington Park estate, James Dyson’s UK home. It was a lovely sight, rolling hills with sheep, parkland, water features the lot. However, very cleverly you couldn’t see the house at all, so very private. We were not far from Tormarton now and it wasn’t long before we were knocking at the door of our B&B which was almost directly on the path.


Church at Old Sodbury


Horse


Dodington Park


Dodington Park

Dee was out but her husband Dave was in and showed us to our room. This was to be our last B&B as the following day would see us finish in Bath and then the train back home that evening. We settled in and set about preparing for the last evening meal at the local pub.

After our meal and then returning to the house, Dee had come back from her shopping trip and we had a chat about many things before retiring to bed.


The Majors Retreat

Accommodation – Old Hundred Coach House (B&B)

The room is accessed from the main stairs from their own living room/kitchen area. The room was very small with a large separate bathroom along a short landing. Their main bedroom opened up directly onto the same landing. It did seem a bit strange and a bit off putting going to and fro to the bathroom with the potential of being spotted from downstairs or from their own bedroom. The room could have done with some updating but it did have a welcome tray and there were plenty of cosmetics in the bathroom although the used soap and the nail brush (that had seen better days) should have been removed. The overriding feeling was that the room had been done on a shoestring but having said that it was also the cheapest room of the walk. We asked for a 7.30 breakfast which was a little reluctantly agreed to. The breakfast itself was OK but not as good as some we had. Dee and Dave were fine but when asked to fill our water bottles (which they had agreed to do) Dee completely blanked us and carried on with her drawing at the kitchen table, which seemed rather rude. It was left to Dave to sort us out. We left feeling we (guests) were perhaps a bit of an inconvenience.

Score – 6/10

Evening meal – The Majors Retreat

This was an interesting establishment. It looks a bit rundown from the outside and the inside has seen better days as well. It was already quite busy with several tables already reserved. The owner was a character and had his own sense of humour in a very old school way. He was quite an old chap and obviously very set in his ways in how he conducted the workings of the pub. It was quite entertaining watching him interacting with the customers. The menu was varied with certainly enough choices. All the food we ordered was very tasty and suitably well proportioned. When we asked for the bill he took great delight in telling us in some detail what we would see and where we would go on our final leg. He got his very well thumbed guide book out and showed us alternative paths that were perhaps more scenic than the official route. We thanked him for his advice but ultimately decided to follow the correct trail. It would appear he does this to all the walkers coming through which is a nice thought and well intentioned.

Score – 7/10

 

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