Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Cotswold Way - Day 2 - Stanton to Winchcombe

The night before I set out I have a great steak at the Mount Inn at Stanton, washed down with a couple of pints.  On the table next to me I get talking to a couple of Canadians, mother and daughter and it turns out that despite not seeing one another, yesterday we set out about five minutes apart and finished within about half an hour of each other.  But then they didn't get lost.

At breakfast the only other guest is a recently retired woman who is starting her retirement walking the Cotswold Way in the opposite direction (South to North).  Which means that this morning will be her final leg.  She notes that because everyone else is walking it the 'right' way, she gets to meet other walkers about every hour and has had good chats along the way.  And it's the people that she remembers most about the walk, not the scenery - which is probably quietly profound.  Even more amazing that this is the first thing she talks about before telling me of the time she came face to face with a deer as she lingered in a wood, they just gazed at one another for ten minutes before the deer got bored and wandered off.  

Today the walking is a much easier 7.5 miles and it's made easier by the fact that my friend Nigel joins me.  Walking with someone is definitely a plus, especially when they bring you sandwiches and buy you tea and cake later as well.      

The first village that we come across is Stanway, and this is a picture of their cricket pavilion, set on saddle stones and with thatched roof.  It was a gift from JM Barrie, he of Peter Pan fame, who was a cricket fan and local to the area at one time.  It's a beautiful setting to play cricket in, set in a private estate and surrounded as it is with sheep grazing.  

After that there is some steeper climbing to be done and it's pretty thick with wet mud too.  For the only time over the two days I take off a layer of clothing, though this is down to the effort of the climb rather than any sunshine.    

Again the view from the top is reputed to be great and although visibility is better than yesterday, the mist is still rolling in.  This picture is quite nice though because it shows the medieval ploughing humps which are a feature of the area.  I have little idea what these are and will need to Google them.    

Nigel photographs a sheep, who was looking none too impressed throughout the experience. 

Our arrival at Hailes Abbey is the highlight of the walk for me today.  It's very quiet and still and we are the only visitors in the time we are there, which is probably why the woman running the centre is so keen to talk.  She is very entertaining and we have an interesting conversation on the similarities between Benedictine monks and Buddhists (her choice of topic).  It was brilliant to be able to photograph the Abbey with no-one else around.    

From there it is a pretty straight forward 2.5 mile walk into Winchcombe.  Even then though, my feet are feeling it a bit, so I am not unhappy to reach Winchcombe and be bought tea and cake.  We have some time before our bus arrives and so plan to check where the bus leaves from, finish the last few hundred yards and take a few pictures around the town.   However, the timetable at the bus stop doesn't match the information I have downloaded and it seems that the bus doesn't go back to Stanton as we wished. 

We are rescued by the friendliest butcher in the Cotswolds, who confirms our predicament and offers to ring for a taxi for us.  He explains that there used to be two taxi firms in the town and that when one of the men retired, young Steve took over and the butcher liked to put work his way.  Within about three minutes young Steve is outside the shop in his taxi, ready to go.  Young Steve is at least sixty but we are very grateful for his services. 

It is only later that I realise that I haven't actually finished the days walking.  I probably only have another five minutes walking to do to complete the second stage but I haven't done it yet.  I need to start at the butchers when I resume the walk in Winchcombe.  I'll probably be buying a pork pie or two as well, just to be friendly. 


  1. Well done, Steve, keep going! Lovely photos in spite of the rain! x

  2. Dear Steve,

    I came across your blog via Google Alerts. I’m so glad you are enjoying the Trail and wish you the best of luck for the rest of your adventure. I was also wondering if you were aware of the Cotswold Way Hall of Fame. In a nutshell, in return for a short description and a photo, people who complete the Cotswold Way are eligible for a completer’s badge or patch and an official certificate. Visit the and click on ‘planning a trip’ for further details.

    James Blockley, National Trail Officer, Cotswold Way.

  3. cheers Steve - looking forward to some more photos

  4. Thanks James, just back from two more days, glorious weather for it, updates to follow.

    I did know this, thanks to your website actually, so am collecting stamps on my way. Seeing some great places and meeting some very friendly people - thanks you and your team for all your good work.

  5. Hi Steve, I did the same walk last week. What a wonderfull walk. And when I arrived at Winchecombe, I had lunch in the Lions Inn and had a great lunch with a wine or two. I can recommend it to anyone ending his or hers walk in Wynchecombe.
    Bert (Holland)