Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Cotswold Way - Day 1 - Chipping Campden to Stanton

This is the first sign that you see in Chipping Campden for the beginning of the Cotswold Way.  This assumes that you are walking it from North to South, which seems to be the preferred way.  After all, everyone knows North to South is always downhill.   From here it's 102 miles down to Bath.  I am attempting it in ten (easy?) stages.  The first is the ten and a half mile schlep to the village of Stanton.

As everyone is bored of hearing by now, this has been the wettest blah, blah, since blah.  I woke on Thursday to heavy rain and puncturing anxiety fuelled dreams, I heard a good deal of rain in the night too. Yet just five minutes before I park the car, it stops raining and I have a morning of walking in cold and misty conditions - as you can see from the photo below that is taken at Fish Hill,  But I'm not being rained on. 

As a result of all this mist, I miss out on some great views which the guidebook assures me are there.  Broadway Tower, the second highest point of the Cotswolds, is not as easy to spot as it should be and so I don't stay and linger there, preferring to get down to Broadway itself for lunch.  Broadway is every bit as delightful as expected (almost as nice as Chipping Campden) and while eating the most expensive panini and coffee I've ever had, I speak to my favourite parishioner on the phone to tell her I am on my way, in one piece, and dry.  At which point, of course, it starts to rain. 

Telephone boxes in Broadway, notice the wet pavement!

I'm not too disheartened by the rain, I'm more concerned that the town seems full of shops that sell antiques rather than useful items like Mars bars and newspapers.  Besides, I have done most of my walking for the day.  It's 6 miles from the start to Broadway, so the perfect place to get lunch and rest a while before the last four and a half miles to Stanton.  

Well, there are several reasons for what happens in the afternoon.  It could be because I lose concentration.  It might be that I have my hood up and my head down and so miss some markers.  It might be because I am trying to keep my book dry (a losing battle) and so don't want to pull it out of my pocket too often. 

As a result I get lost, not once, not twice, but three times.  The first doesn't cost me much extra mileage but the second one does.  And I can't turn around once I know my mistake, not through male pride but because I have been bitten by a dog and there is no way I am retracing my steps to go and see him again! 

I am bitten by a collie near Manor Farm - walkers beware - despite being on a public bridleway.  The wrong bridleway admittedly but I am definitely on a public path.  He breaks the skin but doesn't leave a mark on my trousers and I swear at it.  (This being the part of the story that my kids can't get over, but then I realise they don't tend to hear me swear.  Which is a good thing.) 

It shakes me up a bit, and after a error in navigation in the final field I need to cross (for which I hold the book responsible this time) the pedometer tells me I have probably walked the best part of seven miles on this afternoon leg rather than four and a half.     

It is with great pleasure and some relief that I check into The Old Post House in Stanton, getting a lovely welcome.  I wash my kit, get a shower and drink a lot of tea.  I'm quite tired at the end of today but, on reflection, the fact I have walked around 13 miles shows that I can.  The legs of the journey that are supposed to be that long don't look so daunting now.  Assuming that I don't get lost, of course.     


  1. Steve, we adore the photo of the old Post House in Stanton - sorry to hear you got bitten by a (farm) dog, its happened to us on walks, we find carrying a good stout walking stick helps keep animals like this at bay...

  2. Hi Steve
    I am sorry that you got bitten by the dog , it is a bit funny though (from someone reading this !! not from your perspective)

  3. Hi Steve. I just stumbled across your blog after getting bitten quite badly (trip to A&E, tetanus jab, antibiotics) on the calf muscle by a collie on Sunday night, where you were I think.
    I have reported it to the police and it is now formally being looked in to. The farmer was so aggressive and threatening when it happened, he needs controlling as much, if not more, than the dogs do.
    Do you think you would be able to pinpoint on Google Maps where it happened to you?
    Many thanks in advance. Simon