Cotswolds 2012

hiker
Typical view in the Cotswolds

The Cotswolds is an area in south central England containing the Cotswold Hills, a range of rolling hills which rise from the meadows of the upper Thames to an escarpment, known as the Cotswold Edge, above the Severn Valley and Evesham Vale. This area was designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB)

2012 JULY 07 SATURDAY > DAY 01 WOODSTOCK & BLENHEIM PALACE
Arrival at Heathrow Airport, London after overnight flight from Toronto.  Blenheim Palace, was the home of the Dukes of Marlborough and birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill. His gravestone is in the nearby village of Woodstock. We toured Blenheim Palace. [2017 Brochure] [Location: Google Maps] Overnight at The Court B&B, Chipping Campden. [The Court, Chipping Campden, Calf Lane, Chipping Campden, Gloucester GL55 6JQ 01386 840201]. Dinner was at the Red Lion Inn, High Street, Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire.

Blenheim Palace Grounds

Blenheim Palace Grounds

Garmin GPSmap CSx

2012 JULY 08 SUNDAY >> DAY 02 MICKLETON to HIDCOTE WALK
The circular route included optional visits to two National Trust Properties, Hidcote Manor and Kiftsgate Court Gardens. The loop walk was about 10 km. Hidcote Manor is located at 52.083860, -1.743747 and Kiftsgate Court Gardens is less than 1 km from  Hidcote Manor at 52.085682, -1.751485. Check bottom of this web page for downloading the GPS track for this walk.

GPS Track of Walk in Google Maps

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Which Way?
William Shakespeare, Bard of Avon

2012 JULY 09 MONDAY >> DAY 03 STRATFORD-UPON-AVON
This non hike day consisted of a guided tour of Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, England. It included shopping and optional attendance (extra cost) at an evening performance by the Royal Shakespeare Company at the Swan Theatre. Overnight at The Court, Chipping Campden.

Anne Hathaway's Cottage & Gardens

Anne Hathaway's Cottage & Gardens

2012 JULY 10 TUESDAY >> DAY 04 WALK from WINCHCOMBE to CLEEVE HILL
The Winchcombe Way is a 68-km (42-mile) figure-of-eight trail centred on Winchcombe. The waymarked trail is designed to show walkers the hidden gems of the northern Cotswolds. The landscape constantly changes and reveals historic houses and provides spectacular views. Winchcombe is known as the walking capital of the Cotswolds and with "Walkers are Welcome" status Winchcombe sits at the intersection of the Cotswold Way, the Gloucestershire Way, the Wardens Way, the Windrush Way and the Winchcombe Way. We did a 10 km linear walk on part of the Winchcombe Way. We walked from Winchcombe, Cheltenham (51.948089, -1.975321) to Cleeve Hill area (51.938298, -2.027912) via the Belas Knap Long Barrow (51.927545, -1.970508) a restored neolithic burial ground with a false door, thought to be dated from around 3000 BCE. Check the History of Belas Knap Long Barrow, English Heritage website. Our luggage was transferred to The Old Brew House, Cirencester [5-7 London Road, Cirencester, Gloucestershire, GL7 2PU; 01285 656099]. Check bottom of this web page for downloading the GPS track for the walk(s) we did. Some online resources: 1) Winchcombe to Belas Knap walk PDF map (an 8.8 km loop), 2) National Trails: Cotswold Way Circular Walk: 4 from Winchcombe and Belas Knap, 3) Winchcombe Way Ordnance Survey Map - view and print off detailed OS map, 4) Winchcombe Way Open Street Map - view and print off detailed map, and 5) GPS Cycle and Walking Routes. Check bottom of this web page for downloading the GPS track for this walk.

Which Way?

Lunch

2012 JULY 11 WEDNESDAY > DAY 05 TOUR of OXFORD COLLEGES
Oxford University has 38 colleges. It is the second oldest surviving university in the world and the oldest in the English-speaking world. One of our hikers was the lady in the green jacket (picture below). She was born, raised & educated and in England but lives & works as a physician in Canada. Her brother (seated to the left in the picture) is a professor at Oxford University and acted as our expert tour guide! The picture was taken at the end of our tour when she thanked him for the personalized tour. Overnight at The Old Brew House, Cirencester.

Which Way?

2012 JULY 12 THURSDAY > DAY 06 BIBURY LOOP WALK
A pleasant level, 10 km loop walk starting from the village of Bibury at about 51.75936, -1.83408 and ending at about 51.75744, -1.83060. Bibury is described by William Morris as ‘the most beautiful village in the Cotswolds". The village boasts a Saxon church and 16th Century cottages. The walk was on farm tracks and country lanes. We spent the night at The Old Brew House, Cirencester. Check bottom of this web page for downloading the GPS track for this walk.

Below is part of the pathway in front of the Bibury cottages.

Cotswolds Bibury Cottages

Cotswolds Bibury Cottages

2012 JULY 13 FRIDAY > DAY 07 WALKABOUT in CIRENCESTER
We visited street and antique markets in Cirencester in the morning followed by a walk in the grounds of The Bathurst Estate & Cirencester Park, family seat of the Earls of Bathurst. Overnight at The Old Brew House, Cirencester.

Roman ruins near Church of St. John the Baptist, Cirencester

Roman ruins near Church of St. John the Baptist, Cirencester

2012 JULY 14 SATURDAY > DAY 08 BIRDLIP to PAINSWICK
A 14 km, linear walk from Birdlip (51.82761, -2.10860) to Painswick (51.78601, -2.19488) along part of the Cotswold Way. It included a visit to Great Witcombe Roman Villa in the care of English Heritage (51.82681, -2.14740) near Coopers Hill Farm and the Cheese-Rolling area at Cooper's Hill (51.83173, -2.15723). The Cotswold Way enters Painswick Golf Course at about 51.810775, -2.182870 and shortly thereafter is the Painswick Beacon at about 51.807552, -2.192719. To get to the Painswick Beacon you have to leave the Cotswold Way since the Beacon is on the Wysis Way. The Wysis Way and Cotswold Way intersect at about 51.804322, -2.193168. After visiting the Beacon we continued southward on the Cotswold Way to our terminus (51.78601, -2.19488) for the day in Painswick. During this last segment there is a hamlet or district referred to as Paradise (51.799456, -2.189824). It was named by Charles I when he visited during the English Civil War. While Royalists were encamped in Painswick, tradition has it that King Charles went up to the Beacon Hill and, seeing the beautiful valley to the east said, "This must be Paradise". Since then that valley, and the hamlet on its western side to the north of Painswick have been called Paradise. Some online resources: 1) OS Map of Painswick Beacon, 2) Check the WHOLE Ordnance Survey Cotswold Way map located at  GPS Cycle and Walking Routes it shows details like Paradise. Overnight at The Old Brew House, Cirencester. Check bottom of this web page for downloading the GPS track for this walk.

Birdlip > Painswick

Rain the day before created a few muddy spots.

2012 JULY 15 SUNDAY > DAY 09 PAINSWICK to RYEFORD
This walk was about 15 km and was a continuation of our walk yesterday. We started at the Ramblers' Parking Lot (51.793398, -2.192826) in Painswick. Later in the day we were picked up by Dave in the Wycliffe College tennis court parking lot (51.742217, -2.277482) just off the Horsetrough Rondabout (51.741420, -2.276850) between Ryeford and Stonehouse. This segment of the Cotswold Way included Haresfield Beacon and Standish Wood, in the care of the National Trust. At Haresfield Beacon (51.778322, -2.261826) we came upon the trigpoint (Triangulation Pillar 3627) - hopefully this Google Maps link will provide an excellent view of the view we experienced. About 1.4 km after Heresfield Beacon we arrived at the Haresfield Topograph (51.774086, -2.250479). Here is a Google Street View link of the topograph. The topograph is about 400 m up from the Standish Wood Carpark. On a clear day these highpoints provide wonderful views with Bristol (Englnd) about 45 km away and Cardiff (Wales) about 75 km away with the River Severn between. Jan and I found these spots of special significance for us. My father (born 1898) and his parents lived in Bristol before emigrating to Canada a few years before World War I. Also, Jan and I, on our first trip to the U.K., had spent the night at an interesting B&B in Chepstow, Wales after our walk back from Tintern Abby. Overnight at two locations: Church Farm B&B [Hartham Corsham nr. Chippenham Wiltshire SN13 0PU, UK Telephone: +44 (0)1249 715180] and Pickwick Lodge Farm B&B [Guyers Lane, Corsham, Wiltshire, SN13 0PS, UK Telephone: +44 (0)1249 712207]. Extract from Costwolds accommodation guide: "The farmhouse (Pickwick farm) is a picturesque Grade II Listed building which was built in 1650 and extended in Victorian times. It is said that Charles Dickens was so inspired by this beautiful Wiltshire village that he named his first successful novel, Pickwick Papers, after it." Check bottom of this web page for downloading the GPS track for this walk.

Painswick > Ryeford

Day 11

2012 JULY 16 MONDAY > DAY 10 BATH
A day in the city of Bath, a World Heritage Site where we did as we pleased and explored. Some of us chose to do the official tour of the baths and found it worth the cost. Most of us preferred the Audioguide so we could proceed at our own pace. In addition to the tour of the baths, a few of us went on a walking tour of Bath. That tour was excellent. We had a very professional and knowledgeable gentleman as a guide. Overnight at The Old Brew House, Cirencester.

Bath

Bath

2012 JULY 17 TUESDAY > DAY 11 CASTLE COMBE LOOP WALK
This loop hike was through the valley of the River Brook starting at the 14th Century Market Cross in the village of Castle Combe. The surrounding hills were occupied by ancient Britons, Romans, Saxons and Normans. This walk was about 9 km on farm and woodland tracks and country lanes. Rumour was that trolls resided under some stone bridges in this area and there might have been "a reasonable Pooh Sticks bridge". Reference: The walk file: Castle Combe, Wiltshire by By Angus Watson. Hmmm ... we did not see trolls. Overnight at The Old Brew House, Cirencester. Here is another online resource for this walk by AA - Castle Combe and By Brook. Check bottom of this web page for downloading the GPS track for this walk.

Market Cross, Castle Combe

Market Cross, Castle Combe

Lunch

Lunch

2012 JULY 18 WEDNESDAY > DAY 12 STONEHENGE, SILBURY HILL, AVEBURY & LAYCOCK
The walkabout visits to these historic locations were superb. If you are not familiar with the background to these sites, I suggest you do some background reading beforehand. Here are only a few online resources: 1) Avebury - A Presentation from the Past; 2) Avebury - English Heritage, 3) Avebury - National Trust, 4) Avebury - Wikipedia, 5) Silbury Hill - Wikipedia. For example, before going to Avebury I suggest you check Silbury Hill near the Avebury Henge. The Hill was constructed between 2450 BC and 2350 BC. This big mound was built mostly of chalk rubble, naturally covered with turf. It is a prehistoric artificial chalk mound and is about 40 metres high. It is part of the complex of Neolithic monuments around Avebury, which includes the Avebury Ring and West Kennet Long Barrow and is the tallest prehistoric human-made mound in Europe and one of the largest in the world. Overnight at: Church Farm B&B [Hartham Corsham nr. Chippenham Wiltshire SN13 0PU, UK Telephone: +44 (0)1249 715180] and Pickwick Lodge Farm B&B [Guyers Lane, Corsham, Wiltshire, SN13 0PS, UK Telephone: +44 (0)1249 712207].

Stonehenge, Silbury Hill, Avebury & Laycock

1) Stonehenge audioguide 2) Roadside stop at Silbury Hill 3) & 4) Stone circles at Avebury 5) Laycock Abbey (Harry Potter) 6) Scones & cream tea in Laycock

Neolithic monuments around Avebury

2012 JULY 19 THURSDAY > DAY 13 NARROWBOAT CRUISE
This was a very leisurely cruise on a traditional English narrowboat along the Kennet and Avon Canal stopping at a canal-side pub for lunch (at our cost). Note that we had to operate our own narrowboat & this is not somethibng that all groups may wish to do. Canal and River map. Overnight at two locations: Church Farm B&B [Hartham Corsham nr. Chippenham Wiltshire SN13 0PU, UK Telephone: +44 (0)1249 715180] and Pickwick Lodge Farm B&B [Guyers Lane, Corsham, Wiltshire, SN13 0PS, UK Telephone: +44 (0)1249 712207].

Narrowboat

2012 JULY 20 FRIDAY > DAY 14 HOMEWARD BOUND
After breakfast at the Church Farm B&B and Pickwick Lodge Farm B&B Dave drove us to Heathrow Airport where we said our goodbyes to him and caught our flight to Toronto.

GPS Tracks of Six Cotswold Walks

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GPS Tracks for Download

CotswoldsAllSixHikes.gpx OR CotswoldsAllSixHikes.kml <<< these files contain all six of the hikes for the excursion described above
CotswoldsMickletonHidcoteLoop.gpx OR CotswoldsMickletonHidcoteLoop.kml <<< one hike only Day 02
CotswoldsWinchcombeWay.gpx OR CotswoldsWinchcombeWay.kml <<< one hike only Day 04
CotswoldsBiburyWalk.gpx OR CotswoldsBiburyWalk.kml <<< one hike only Day 06
CotswoldsCastleCombe.gpx OR CotswoldsCastleCombe.kml <<< one hike only Day 08
CotswoldsBirdlipToPainswick.gpx OR CotswoldsBirdlipToPainswick.kml <<< one hike only Day 09
CotswoldsPainswickToRyeford.gpx OR CotswoldsPainswickToRyeford.kml <<< one hike only
CotswoldsWayPoints.gpx (gpx only) - POINTS format for whole trail & may be outdated
CotswoldsWayRoute.gpx (gpx only) - ROUTE format for whole trail & may be outdated
CotswoldsWayTrack.gpx (gpx only) - TRACK format for whole trail & may be outdated
Other Resources >>> If the next two links are outdated, check GPS Cycle and Walking Routes for up-to-date links.
Cotswold Way Ordnance Survey Map - view and print off detailed OS map
Cotswold Way Open Street Map - view and print off detailed map