Ramble Reports for August 2021

Trains, Planes and Snails

Michael and Glyn’s Midweek Ramble 11 August

Leaving the NT car park we walked past Chedworth Roman Villa, under a disused railway bridge and up a path through woodland of beech and oak to the plateau and the lost wartime airfield of RAF Chedworth.

Following the perimeter track of the airfield we crossed a stile and proceeded to the point where the two former runways crossed. Here the leader gave a history of the airfield, its short operational life of only 4 years, and its eventual demise and return to farmland. Crossing the perimeter track we approached Withington woods passing the now long abandoned airfield communal buildings.

Entering the woods we skirted an isolated cottage and ventured deeper. Now long ago the Romans introduced large snails for food and they still populate the woods today. Walkers were challenged to see if they could find any of these snails and eager eyes did find some, which were photographed but not eaten.

The tracks through the woods were well waymarked and emerging from the wood we were greeted with stunning views of the Cotswold rolling hills and the village of Withington hidden amongst the trees. This was the perfect spot to have our first break.

Following the trail across the fields we arrives at Withington and proceeded to make our way through the village, crossing the river Coln and having a group photograph taken.

Leaving the village we passed the brick piers of long removed railway bridge. A feature of the walk was the route crossing over and under the path of the former railway which used to bisect the area.

At a large, but still intact, railway bridge, the leader gave another brief history; this time about the railway. Through the arch we took a path between sloping fields and the river, re-crossing the Coln, then via a field and quiet country road we again entered into the wood and made our way back to the Roman Villa for lunch.

After lunch we followed a tree lined path bounded by Chedworth woods on one side and pasture and a meandering stream on the other. Young pheasants played hide and seek with us. Through an unnoticed entrance we climbed a path to the heart of the wood following a gentle inclined path to above the trees and into fields ripe with wheat and barley. The path taken eventually led to a ridge way (Monarch’s Way) which provided panoramic views of the quintessential Cotswold village of Chedworth nestling in the Coln Valley. Parting from the ridge we descended past fields and woodland back down to the villa.


Total length 11.2 Miles

An Olimpick Ramble

Geoff & Pat’s Short Ramble 18 August

When everyone had arrived, still in separate cars being wary of Covid, we filled the main road in Willersey. The weather was kind to us and it remained warm and sunny throughout.

We set off past the 12th Century Church of St. Peters. Then a gentle climb to the 13th Century church of St. Nicholas at Saintbury, over pasture with sheep grazing, before a steeper incline to Dover’s Hill, where we were rewarded with lovely views. Two professional artists were recording the view using acrylics, both very good.

The hard part was now done and we continued round the hill, which is the site of the Cotswold Olimpicks. They were started in 1622 by Robert Dover, a local lawyer, when sword fighting and horse racing were included in the events. The Games are slightly tamer today, however, with Shin Kicking, Morris Dancing and Tug of War.

Our route then led us downhill, through the pleasant Lynches Wood, on to Weston-sub-Edge, past another village church, St John the Baptist and St. Lawrence, with its Lych Gate erected as a memorial to the men of the village who died in both World Wars. The site of an old Manor House was clear to see with the moat and fishponds, all now dry.

On our walk we twice crossed Buckle Street, an old Roman Road, part of Icknield Street which runs from Bourton on the Water to Templeborough in South Yorkshire. We continued over farmland to return to Willersey where most people stayed to enjoy a pleasant lunch at the New Inn.

Pat & Geoff

5.8 Miles


Geoff & Rachel’s Sunday Ramble 22 August

After welcoming Andy on his first ramble as a club member we set off NW to Grafton Wood, negotiating the first of what was to be several ‘tricky’ stiles.

The boundaries of this ancient woodland have gone unchanged since at least 1700. The wood is a remnant of The Royal Forest of Feckenham, which covered much of this part of Worcestershire in the Middle Ages. Unfortunately, we didn’t see any Brown Hairstreak butterflies or Bechstein’s bats, which are found in the woods, but we did hear a noisy jay nearby.

Once out of the wood, we crossed rough pastureland towards Dormston. After crossing a paddock with a few frisky ponies and crossing several more challenging stiles, we arrived at St Nicholas’ Church, where a coffee stop was enjoyed in beautiful sunshine and peaceful surroundings.

After a while, we joined the Millennium Way. Crossing uneven ground, Alan told us it was all that is left of a Plague Village. The ancient streets are still visible in the contours of the land. After several more ‘double stiles’ we arrived at Flyford Flavell to enjoy a leisurely lunch at The Boot.

Mike and Val joined us for the afternoon, and we set off in the opposite direction to the morning’s walk, heading SE towards Abberton, on the Wychavon Way.

In the distance we could see the tower of Abberton Church. Originally, the church had a spire, but in 1962 it was removed as it was in the flight path of Pershore Airfield. After the airfield closed, it was agreed that the spire would be rebuilt, but this was structurally impossible. A sum of money, equivalent to the cost, was donated to the church by the MoD and is known as the Spire Fund. It is used for the upkeep of Abberton and several other local churches.

After a short refreshment stop at Bishampton Church, the paths became a little more demanding, as crops had either not been harvested or had been harvested and the fields (and footpaths) ploughed up!

Clear views across farmland to Bredon and the Malvern Hills were appreciated as we crossed open pastureland back to Flyford Flavell, where we negotiated two final stiles (making 31 in total) before taking a narrow footpath back into the village.


Morning 6.2 Miles Afternoon 6.8 Miles

Hailes Stone Monument

Carl & Pam’s Evening Ramble 27 August

Sixteen ramblers assembled at Hailes Church to enjoy the last evening ramble of the year. The church was built to service the Abbey and is unusual in that it is not dedicated to any Saints. With such a high number of new members walking for the first time, introductions were made for everybody. I won’t list all names here but welcome to all who joined us for the first time.

After a brief description of the route, including a reminder about a steep section, we set off along the road to Salters Lane. Picking up the Winchcombe Way we followed good field paths towards Wood Stanway before following the Cotswold Way and the start of the steep section.

A break was taken at the top of the hill to admire the views towards Bredon and the Malverns beyond. Although it was cloudy the views were still far reaching. We then continued along the Cotswold Way towards Stumps Cross and Campden Lane track.

Passing Beckbury Hill Fort a quiz was set to guess the purpose of the stone monument. Some sort of drinking fountain seemed to be the general consensus. It is actually used to mark the spot where Thomas Cromwell reputedly stood to watch Hailes Abbey burn during the Dissolution of the Monasteries.

We then continued along the Cotswold Way past Hailes Fruit Farm and back towards the church. By now dusk was approaching and the tree enclosed path running alongside Hailes Wood was starting to get quite dark giving the impression of a night walk (now there’s an idea, anybody up for that?).

After the walk a number of the group retired to The Pheasant Inn at Toddington for a well-deserved drink and some food.


4.7 Miles