June 2, 2013
Finally we were ready to start on the Cotswold Way! We packed our bags and left the larger ones downstairs to be picked up by the baggage transfer service, also making sure that Neil’s car was in the right place so that the people who were going to drive it to Bath could find it. But before starting out on the walk we had to make a side trip to the Ernest Wilson memorial garden. Wilson was a botanist who was born in Chipping Campden in 1876. He travelled throughout China, Japan, and Korea collecting plant specimens for various arboretums. He’s credited with introducing the kiwi fruit and the handkerchief tree to the wider world. The garden was small but beautifully laid out and it was a very peaceful place to visit.
We stopped briefly at Mile Zero, by the Town Hall, then set off out of the town. The first part of the trail had us climbing up to Dover’s Hill, where the Olimpick Games had taken place. From Dover’s Hill we had the same great view as before, since the day was mostly sunny again. Our route had us walking along a pathway which paralleled the road for a while and then went through fields, pastures, and forests with no serious ups and downs. Christine had taken a lower route, so as not to irritate her recently-broken toe, and we caught up with her at the county park at Fish Hill.
Soon we could see the Broadway Tower off in the distance and it wasn’t long before we were there. Contrary to some guidebooks there was a gate which provided access to it from the Way. The tower was built in 1799 as a folly for Lady Coventry, who made sure it was visible from everywhere around it. We didn’t really want to pay the money to go into the tower, but we did have a look around outside it.
As we walked down the hill from the tower a man, having seen the flags on our packs, asked if we were there for the Canadian airmen’s memorial. No, we said, what memorial? Well, apparently back in World War II three Canadian student airmen and their instructors died in a bomber crash somewhere in the area, and somebody was unveiling a memorial to them today, of all days! A couple of fields farther down we ran into a group of people gathered around the back of a truck. They were volunteers who were rebuilding a stone wall which had fallen into disrepair over the years, so we stopped and talked with them for a while.
On we went, down into Broadway. This is a picture postcard Cotswold town, with period buildings all along the high street. At the far end we reached the village green, where we stopped for lunch. It was pleasant sitting on the bench in the sunshine and watching all the people.
After lunch we headed out of the valley and up to the escarpment again, along paths and tracks through farm fields and small woods. The views were really good in all directions so the walk was very pleasant. It wasn’t long before we reached the top of Shenberrow Hill with its isolated farm and started down into Stanton. The descent down to Stanton was quite steep in places, but nothing too bad. We knew that our B&B was “first house on the left” and sure enough, as soon as we reached the paved road, there it was. At first we were unsure if we had the right place because there was no B&B sigh, but the name was correct. Coming out to greet us was a Jack Russell terrier whose name was Master Pip, and following him were our hosts who assured us that we were at the right place.
We had reserved a spot for dinner at 6:30 pm at the Mount Inn, which was just down the road and up the next road. It was the only pub in town, but nevertheless the food was excellent and the view was lovely.