“Ups & Downs and Many Ways around Winchcombe”!
Geoff & Pat’s Midweek Ramble 06 November
We set out of town on the Winchcombe Way leading to the Cotswold Way and Gloucestershire Way. The group were soon climbing to the top of Salter’s Hill, which felt like the top of the world, to enjoy a short break with a panoramic view and surrounding hills in the distance.
Our next stop was at St.Kenelm’s Well which some walkers had not seen before. St Kenelm was a King of Mercia and a Martyr. The Well dates from AD819 and is one of the springs which arose along the route when the saint’s body was carried from Clent to his shrine at the Abbey by monks from the Mercian capital, Winchcombe. We walked down to Sudeley Castle and had lunch at the Corner Cupboard pub.
The afternoon ramblers were reduced from 17 to 11 and we set out on the Isbourne Way, then through Corndean Farm and up to the Cotswold Way leading to Postlip Hall. This Grade 1 listed Jacobean Manor House was established as an interesting co-housing community of eight families. We rejoined the Isbourne Way and followed a quiet route past fishing ponds to Postlip Mill, the old water powered paper mill and then along the River Isbourne to return to the town.
• Distance walked: Morning 5 miles – Afternoon 4.7 miles.
Geoff & Pat
“Water, Mud and Stock Fencing”!
Alan & Pauline’s Short Ramble 13 November
Recent bad weather did not deter 23 ramblers from gathering at ‘The Wheatsheaf Inn’ in Badsey and our reward – a bright, sunny morning. After welcoming guest, Pam Simkin, we set off along snickets and village paths, heading for Blackminster. Here we encountered an awkward stile* where one of our members managed to get a foot stuck between the wood and some stock fencing and had to be dragged free. Leaf-laden paths brought us to Aldington where we crossed Broadway Brook on a narrow bridge, with floodwater rushing inches below our feet. Passing various ‘hovels’, constructed in the flourishing era of market gardening in the Vale, we noticed flood levels marked on the one and realised that, where we stood, we would have been chest-high in water in 1998 and totally submerged in 2007!
We took our coffee break at Wickhamford Church, visiting the Sandys tombs and Washington gravestones. Preparing to set off, a head count revealed that Glyn was missing. He was nowhere to be seen. A quick phone call to track him down found him answering from home! Having slowed down to take a phone call in Badsey and missing the twists and turns, he had been left high and dry! In her defence, Pauline had mistaken Robert for Glyn (seen from behind as her responsible role of back-marker dictated!) – the same sort of height and build, red jacket, taking photographs. Leaving Wickhamford, Alan pointed out a series of gates and kissing gates, installed by the ERC Working Party. After slipping and sliding our way along two muddy bridleways, we were soon heading back for lunch; joined by Heidrun and Glyn (all was forgiven!). After the deluge in the days before the ramble and the torrential rain the following day, we were certainly blessed with a window of good weather.
*Footnote: By sheer coincidence, the ERC Working Party has since been tasked with replacing this very stile with a gate.
• Distance walked: 5.3 miles
Alan & Pauline
“Slipping and Sliding around Severn Stoke”!
Peter, Rachel & Geoff’s Sunday Ramble 24th November
What can one say but mud, mud and more mud albeit made easier by the good company and chat that always accompanies our rambles. Starting from the Rose & Crown car park in Severn Stoke, we paddled across a very waterlogged footpath to Knight’s Hill and took a five-minute diversion to look at the water raging from the sluice at Knight’s Hill Lake. Onwards via the village of High Green to Croome Park where we admired Croome Court in all its glory with swans showing off by swooping over and into a very full lake.
After a refreshing coffee break in the Rotunda where a little Christmas tree had been placed to remind us of what is to come, we squished our way to the edge of the estate where a miniature mountain (if that’s the right word) of foam had accumulated by the footbridge over the brook , washed down from the adjacent soggy meadows.
Geoff gave several renditions to help us on our way including Singing in the Rain – of course – but surprisingly, not Mud, Mud, Glorious Mud! Onwards over less soggy fields and a bridge crossing of the busy M5 to Kinnersley whence, more mud, churned up by horses, impeded our final descent to Severn Stoke where Frank Round joined us for an excellent lunch at the Rose and Crown.
Slightly less mud was encountered in the afternoon, most of the walking being done on what was officially a road but appeared to be more of a farm track, to Birch Green and Kerswell Green where a pony was fed with sliced apple thoughtfully provided by Val (Wood) before she left us after lunch. The return route through open countryside provided views over the flooded Severn Valley to Cliffey Wood on the far bank and the already failing light made for an atmospheric finale before an early return home allowing plenty of time to scrape mud off boots and bodies.
• Distance walked: Morning 6.3 miles – Afternoon 4.2 miles.