Walking the Cotswold Way part 2: Broadway to Stanway

Spirits high, even on a grey day

Spirits high, even on a grey day - Credit: Archant

We made easy work of the Cotswold hills, despite the damp grey day, as we started the second part of our Cotswold Way walk.

Luckily no one fell over, but I was ready in case they did!

Luckily no one fell over, but I was ready in case they did! - Credit: Archant

Low cloud and a vague mist was in the air as we dropped a car off at Stanway in the morning, before returning to West Lane to continue our walk. The path rose steeply above West End lane, and soon we were walking on the top of the hills overlooking Buckland. Later in the spring, the area is well known for its cowslips and early purple orchids, but now the ground is dormant from the winter. The path passes Shenberrow Hill, the site of an Iron Age hill fort where pieces of pottery, a bronze bracelet and bone needles were found when excavated in 1935. It looked now like a large collection of grass-covered low humps. Going was soft underfoot and I was glad I had bought my walking poles, but even they could not save me from the ankle-deep mud in parts of the walk. Surprisingly no one fell over, but it was a very near thing, and I had waited, camera poised, to capture the moment.

After pacing through the village of Stanton, we huddled under the branches of a tree in the small village green, damp soggy sandwiches in hand as Smyly’s race horses, with their red and black livery fresh from the Cheltenham gold cup, passed by. We had decided against going to The Mount, the local pub for refreshment, but as the drizzle increased we wished we were snug and dry.

Smyly's Race Horses exercise after Cheltenham Races

Smyly's Race Horses exercise after Cheltenham Races - Credit: Archant

Stanton is a collection of 16th century cottages and the reason it is so beautiful is all because Sir Philip Stott, who came to Stanton Court in 1906, found the village neglected and spent the next thirty years of his life restoring it. It feels as you walk through the village that you have travelled back through time, very few cars, no yellow lines just an incredibly well kept village with no glaringly awful extensions.

We had walked six miles as we entered Stanway. The last bit between Stanton and Stanway had been easy walking through meadows and then finally the parkland of Stanway House, where long avenues of stately oaks and chestnuts trees, had welcomed us. The Jacobean gatehouse with its gables adorned with scallop-shell finials stands proudly out in this small village. In almost 1300 years ownership the manor house has changed hands only once, apart from by inheritance, and the whole village, manor house, tithe barn, 13th century water mill, 12th century church and cottages felt under the spell of another time with an air of feudalism; it would not have surprised me to see the Lord of the Manor ride past.

Muddy boots from the walk

Muddy boots from the walk - Credit: Archant

Back at the car, as we changed out of our boots and ate Sara’s home-made cake and drank mocha chocolate, we wondered if we might, instead of getting fit, actually put on weight during our walks!

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Read part one of Sue’s walk, Chipping Campden to Broadway.

For more from Sue Wise, visit her website www.thelensmen.co.uk

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