via pulchra

Sunday 29 June- Chedworth

Me, Paddy Garcia, Kate Force One, Magic Dave, Burge, Mother of Two and The Boy

IMG_1188An 8.5 mile walk from Geoff’s first book, amazingly as yet unticked by Burge. Like slipping on a pair of old shoes, Geoff guided us around a beautiful walk, only tripping us up occasionally.

We started out at Fossebridge. After a certain amount of faffing (Geoff’s ‘layby’ for parking is now a turning lane on the A429), we headed off through lovely meadows towards Lower Chedworth, then onto a steep lane up into the village- running the gauntlet of some persistent horseflies and taking an antihistamine break. We admired the phonebox-now-library/defibrillator, then returned to a footpath through more meadows.

We enjoyed a circling buzzard and some marvellously entertaining llamas rolling around and frolicking in a field. At this point it became apparent that, as always, I am not in sympathy with Geoff, so the book was handed to Burge for proper translation. Instead of trying to find the route, we walked through Chedworth village until we rejoined it at the Three Tuns.

IMG_1183Quick tour around Chedworth parish church to view the medieval pulpit, then up through the churchyard and some very prominent earthworks to an avenue of beech trees. Then across a slightly confusing set of tracks and beanfields- duly warned by Geoff to watch for unmarked paths- across disused WW2 Chedworth airfield. Something very evocative about the old patches of overgrown runway, helped by model airplane flying around.

IMG_1185By now, the talk was all about lunch, so after a brisk march along a small lane, we turned onto a disused railway embankment/ now nature reserve and picked a spot to eat (avoiding the ‘caution- live archery’ signed areas). A really special spot, high up at birds eye level in the trees. Big eating of tortilla, sandwiches, watermelon, ‘very moist’ cake and coffee.

Remembering at this point that we were up against a hard deadline (Mother of Two to pick up said Two), we soldiered on, past the Roman Villa and then along a private road which came out at a wide valley, with hyperreal green grass, blue skies, white clouds and creamy buildings. Then on through another perfect set of barley fields, horse jumps and fields of sheep before a sharp descent back to Fossebridge.

Those of us not picking up offspring had a pint in the garden of the extremely charming Inn at Fossebridge. Definitely one to return to for Sunday lunch. The Boy navigated us home and we enjoyed some pylon spotting on the way. Pylons of the South West can’t come soon enough for us. We await the ungilded lily.

Overall, a very pleasant, easy walk- didn’t feel like 8 miles at all- with beautiful countryside, great weather, and the satisfaction of one more Geoff ticked off*.IMG_1190

* Even though we missed a bit in the middle, Burge reserves the right to tick it off anyway, if he wishes…


PG36 (intense green)

Sunday 1 June 2014- Kingswood- Ozleworth

Me, Paddy Garcia, Kate Force One and Magic Dave

A Sunday stroll of uncertain route and length (perhaps 6-10 miles?) in Gloucestershire from Kingswood to Ozleworth and back again, through incredibly beautiful valleys and ridges.

Parked the car in Kingswood by the monastic gatehouse ruins, and set off through the churchyard in an easterly direction. There hadn’t been a huge amount of advance planning, the destination being decided by me based on dim memory of previous Geoff walk around Ozleworth.

IMG_1144The route took us along a clear stream (with trout visible) through a deserted trout farm (at Nind), now tiny wildlife haven, into the small river valley that leads to Ozleworth. The countryside was intensely green and lush and satisfyingly free of people, cars or anything else much except fish, birds, livestock and us. And the occasional former barn/ luxury residence. Near Wortley we encountered an enormous bull, the kind that appears in Victorian paintings. Fortunately it was the other side of a gate.

At this point, it started to become clear that navigating with the aid of a 10+ year old 1:50 000 map is not that helpful in a landscape full of residents wealthy enough to get footpaths diverted away from their houses. Very confusing. So we milled around alot, but persevered, eventually giving up near the quite strange Alderley Farm and walking along the road to Ozleworth. Geoff would never have approved.

IMG_1145By this time, the hot weather and late night was catching up with us, but we made it around Ozleworth (more shenanigans with gates and diverted paths, more trout-fishing envy for PG)* and then headed back to Kingswood along the top of the ‘Edge’ (as in Wotton-under-). Enjoyed astonishing hazy early evening views right down across the Severn floodplain. Avoided a tree that had fallen across the road and taken out the phone lines.

Final trot along the road and it was back to Kingswood for a pint in the Dinneywicks Inn. Overall, strikingly beautiful walk, perfect English countryside, and lots of great wildlife- not just the fish and the prize bull, but rabbits, pheasants, herons on the wing and many other birds. Probably longer route and harder work than we intended, but worth the effort. Must buy up-to-date 1:25 000 map!

* Forgot to mention we stopped at the marvellous farm shop in Tortworth on the way, so had emergency pasties at this point.