Cotswold Way

Day 8 – 11th May – Tormarton to Bath – 17 miles

Our last day and we were keen to get going. So after an earlier breakfast we were off by 8.30 and headed down to the village. The route again does one of its stupid loops here, taking you around to the church rather than just going along the road for a couple of hundred yards – we took the short cut.

We were soon walking over the M4 and it was very blustery, having to hang on to our caps or else they would have taken off over the bridge. We cut up through a farm and walked along a new dry stone wall that must have cost thousands and taken months to build as it went on for some considerable distance. The walking was easy and fast and having passed the wind turbine we were very soon at Dyrham where we could see Dyrham Park house through the gates. The path took us across fields and undulating countryside until we entered a wood where there was a message box and a seat. We read the messages but then continued on as we had decided to stop once we had got our supplies from the petrol station at Pennsylvania. This was probably one of the longest stretches we did without stopping for rest or food, although tired the weather wasn’t as hot and there was a cooling breeze. The petrol station had everything we needed and so suitably provisioned we headed off to Cold Ashton where we hoped to find a seat. Eventually we did but it was rather exposed and so we put our fleeces on and had a worthwhile stop in comfort.

Dyrham Park


Cold Ashton

We had over 10 miles to do so being very mindful of having to get our train at around 6pm we set off once more. It was steeply downhill past a plant nursery and then across some fields before a steep pull up the side of the hill. Looking over we could see some silaging going on in the distance, with tractors and trailers bumping over the ground at speed to keep the forager going. It took me back to my farming days and was probably one of the best things we used to do each year, great fun. We set off again and we were soon at the Battle of Lansdown battlefields with its monument. More of interest to Rachel was the Avon Fire & Rescue Brigade HQ but unfortunately for her there were no dashing men in uniform about. We crossed a bit more of the battlefield before entering a golf course and decided that a food stop was required. We sat on a wall and shortly afterwards a couple walked past that had been in the pub the previous night. We noticed that they had the same guide book as us so we assumed that they were doing the whole walk as well although only carrying light day packs.


Monument to Battle of Landsdown

View from Lansdown battlefield

Suitably refreshed we set off and passed some large metal sculptures which were quite good, if you like that sort of thing, before heading towards Bath racecourse. We still hadn’t seen Bath so to get to the racecourse without seeing the city was a little strange. After following the contours of the field we reached the viewing point and there below us was Bath, the end of our walk. I didn’t feel any great joy or sadness; it was just the next target to get to. So off we went downhill and then along a chalk track to the outskirts of Bath. It was quite a long descent and took longer than we thought it would. But soon we arrived at a playing field and took the opportunity for one last stop before the road walking that was to come.

The path down to Bath

We had already been pre warned that the sign posting in Bath is very poor, I would say non-existent. Our guide book didn’t show the road we should have gone up properly and there were no signs either, so we went wrong. We had already seen that the correct path takes a silly steep loop around the top of Bath only to come back on the road we were on, so it seemed ludicrous to spend too much time trying to find the right path. Consequently, we carried on and ended up at Royal Victoria Park and Royal Crescent using our phone GPS and map. It annoyed me that right at the end when you are tired and just want to complete your journey it is all too easy to go wrong doing needless loops where there is a perfectly good pavement. I have now checked where we should have gone and it confirms our thoughts on the day. There is no sign post and it is a pointless loop – National Trails take note.

Royal Victoria Park

Royal Crescent

We gently made our way to the centre and at around 4pm we made our journey’s end, outside of the Abbey. It was very busy and so we took some quick photos and then found a seat to decide what to do next. As quite often happens, it was a bit of an anti-climax as the purpose of each day has just been taken away – there were no more miles to do. Inside you just think, OK, what next. Well for us it was to find the station and then what and where to eat.

Bath Abbey

Journey's end

Mark at the end

Rachel at the end

We went into McDonalds and had a hot chocolate (perhaps in need of a sugar rush) while we worked out our plan. In the end we went to M&S and bought a bottle of wine, doughnuts and apple turnover and then returned to McDonalds and promptly fed our faces with the finest they had to offer. Our conscience was pretty clear. We had spent most of the week eating the right sort of foods to get us through each day, so a lapse on the final day was well overdue. Besides, we both struggled to remember the last time we visited the ‘golden arches’, so a bit of a ‘treat’ really. I was all for drinking the wine out of the bottle but Rachel suggested that this was a bit tramp like so I asked McDonalds for a spare cup which they duly gave, mind you I didn’t divulge the reason I needed it. Rachel had kept her cup which had had her tea in it, so we were all set for our celebratory party!

We made our way to the station and waited for our train to arrive, which it did on time. Having found our seats we settled down with the celebratory bottle of wine, leaving our dessert until later on as we were feeling rather full, in that bloated, fast food sort of way. People in the seats behind us were clinking bottles of something and our neighbours across the aisle remarked on it and said that they had the right idea, loud enough for all to hear. Therefore I said to her that if she thought we were drinking something from McDonalds (bearing in mind the cups we were drinking from were plastered with McDonalds logos) perhaps she should have a look inside. After also providing proof of the bottle as well, she thought we had done rather well and had a chuckle but I think her and her companion felt rather left out all the same.

The new McDonalds milkshake - wine flavoured!

We reached London Paddington and did the same journey that we had done a week earlier in reverse. Remarkably, the same band was still playing jazz on the tube, even at 8pm. We boarded the train at London Victoria and set off southwards where en route we piled into the doughnuts and apple turnover. We had left it a bit vague with our son as to when we would get back home so we walked from the station all the way home which meant we had walked just over 20 miles all told. Just as we got to the entrance to our close, our son was coming out in his car to pick us up from the station, which was a kind thought. He knew roughly when we were hoping to get back so was just going to sit and wait. Aah don’t you just love ‘em! Thanks Dave!

Emptying our backpacks for one last time was easy and speedy. All clothing straight in the wash, backpacks in the loft and camera and camcorder left out ready to download to the PC. After doing our ablutions, a single malt was the final thing to complete our day, or was it. A few moments later Freedie the cat strolled in and looked at us as if to say, ‘and where have you been’ – yep that completed our day, and, our walk.


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