Ramble Reports April 2024

Cotswold Village Experience

Clive’s Midweek Ramble – 10 April

We gathered under the clouds at the Rissington Road Car Park in Bourton-on-the-Water at 9.30. The main discussions on arrival were the impending weather and how to operate the parking ticket machine.

After a brief walk down the main street in Bourton, we passed by the church onto the Wardens Way, which we followed along the mainly flat and well-maintained path to Lower Slaughter. Pausing for a photo opportunity and an encounter/photo swap with some tourists, we moved round to the old mill, pausing again to study the giant Kenwood Chef and discuss what it might have been used for.

Moving on through the valleys and a bit of mud, we progressed to Upper Slaughter and continued along the Wardens Way. Slaughter is another word for a marshy place, not anything sinister. Despite the drizzle, the views were inspiring as we continued down to lunch at the Black Horse in Naunton where the 13 slightly damp souls were fed and watered by the very efficient host. During lunch, the heavens opened and miraculously closed again (mostly) for the afternoon return to Bourton.

This is where the mud started in earnest as we followed the path down to the River Windrush and across open fields to the woods before the final stretch down to Bourton. The woods were quite muddy and slippery in places but we struggled through, stopping at a tunnel under the disused railway which originally ran from Cheltenham to Banbury and was closed in 1962.

The final stretch meandered down to the main road and the last stretch through the village and back to the car pack and home. We were a bit damp but luckily the forecast heavy rain kept away.

am 6 miles approx., pm 5 miles approx.

Springtime in the Teme Valley

Phil & Carol’s Short Ramble – 17 April

Twenty five members met at St Peter’s Church, Martley, on a fresh spring morning, with both the threat of rain and a heat wave making a choice of suitable clothing a bit of a lottery.

After skirting around Chantry High School and playing fields we made our way along quiet lanes and farm tracks, through a farmyard and across arable land. Crossing another lane we entered waterlogged grassland, and through an orchard, where, sadly, the blossom was still a few days away from bursting into flower.

Following a sharp climb we arrived at the top of Rodge Hill, joining the Worcestershire Way. Here we stopped for a break overlooking the scenic Teme Valley

We then came down from the Ridge, down a steep bank, across a busy road and to the banks of the River Teme.

Leaving the river bank, an alternative footpath was chosen as we entered the woodland of Kingswood Common. Here, the Ramble became a Scramble as several fallen trees blocked the very muddy footpath, and much initiative was shown by all to circumvent the obstructions.

We eventually made it through, and returned safely to the car park with no further adventures. Twenty three members then enjoyed a leisurely lunch at The Talbot, Knightwick.

Carol and Phil

6.8 miles

Wonderful Weethley Walk

Michael and Carl’s Sunday Ramble – 21 April

After a group photograph we set off on the walk along Weethley wood the air had a nip in it but it was clear, bright, sunny and dry. The bluebells were out and the opportunity was afforded to take pictures as we walked.

The original route had been altered, circumnavigating the hamlet of Abbot’s Morton to avoid difficult to navigate paths and instead leading us across open fields with views of the countryside and along an enclosed wooded footpath.

Re-joining the original route through ancient woodlands and rolling countryside we arrived at Wood Bevington Manor, now being redeveloped as luxury housing, for our picnic lunch.

Continuing, we were on the look out for deer which run across the open fields seeking cover in the woods and were rewarded with a herd darting across the ridge of a field but too quick to take a picture.

Weethley Church was open and inside we had the opportunity to admire the stunning stain glass windows. The church occupies a prominent position giving panoramic views.

Proceeding across the Ragley Hall Estate on mettled roads and along wide field boundaries we completed the circular walk back at the lay-by.

Considering what the weather had been like recently we could not have picked a better day for walking. This is a walk definitely worth revisiting at some future date.

am 7 miles; pm 5 miles

Sodden in Spernall

Carl’s Evening Ramble – 26 April

This was a ramble intended to combine a number of different walks around the Spernall area of the Heart of England Forest. After a few wet days (what a surprise!!) 23 ramblers gathered at the car park for Hayden Wood. After a brief warning about mud en route (again, what a surprise) we set off on a short road section with the need to cross a narrow road bridge. As you would expect the road was quiet until we need to cross the bridge and then traffic appeared. Everybody stood aside to let the traffic past and no ramblers were lost in the process.

We then turned left to follow the Arden Way along the side of the river Arrow. This gave Alan and I a chance to try a new toy – 2 way radios. These have been purchased to see if communication can be improved between walk leaders and back markers. They seemed to work well.

Upon reaching the Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary we passed through the cemetery and onto permissive paths around Studly Thorns and College Woods. This is also gave us views of Studley Castle. This is also where we came across the first of the mud. Not too bad at this stage. We then headed towards Morgrove Coppice and encountered our first serious mud after crossing a footbridge. Unfortunately, the ground was still very sodden and we were ankle deep for around 100 yards or so. Fortunately, the ground dried out and became firmer under foot.

After Morgrove Coppice we picked up the Millenium Way and followed it back to our starting point. After the ramble a number of the group retired to the Barley Mow in Studley for some well deserved refreshment. For anybody wishing to explore the area, a number of walks can be found on the Heart of England website. Just wait for drier weather!!!


5 miles