After the success of a family weekend with my mum and sister walking the Cotswold Way by train last year we decided to add some more miles to the cache and take a step closer to completing the whole path over 3 weekends.
After our escapades with public transport on the last section adding considerably to our weekend mileage we elected to get Dad’s taxis to drop us directly on the path and pick us up where we had officially finished when we were heading north. This was a wise move as our actual miles on the path for this section were considerable.
Saturday took us from the market town of Chipping Campden, through estate land to Broadway, then on to hamlets such as Stanton before a final almighty hill on the way down into Winchcombe and our bed for the night. Overall it was a really enjoyable days walking. The bulk of the refreshment stops were early on and thankfully we took advantage of passing right outside the gorgeous Broadway Deli which provided us with a much needed second coffee and a take away lunch. After Broadway the trail continued to be a little hilly but had great variety passing over chalky grasslands, through woodlands and rural communities full of villagers tending to their well manicured gardens.
At the end of 17.5 miles I think we were all glad to arrive at our accommodation for the night – The White Hart in Winchcombe. I was really pleased to see they offered ‘walkers rooms’ which had comfy beds with luxurious linen but a shared bathroom They were reasonably priced and we also enjoyed their food and beer before an early night. We noticed people were having their luggage moved between hotels and walking in the day, for us though, no need. Walking the path over a series of weekends dispatched with the need to carry multiple changes of clothes.
Sunday started with aching limbs and an enormous hill which two out of our party (myself included) found pretty challenging. Thankfully after this hill things levelled out somewhat and the day saw a lot of agriculture, a few main roads and a never-ending view of Cheltenham first from Cleeve Hill then Leckhampton Hill and finally from a lovely nature reserve tucked in by the A417. There were no refreshment stops on this days walk so we were glad of a few snacks purchased in Winchcombe before we set off. It was another long day and at times did seem a bit of a slog. Being in constant view of Cheltenham yet moving at a walker’s pace meant the miles didn’t seem to be going by as quickly as on other sections.
This section definitely felt like more of a physical challenge than the previous but that may be a case of looking back with rose tinted glasses at our previous weekend!
Certainly walking 35 miles over two days felt like quite an achievement. Completing this section now means we have walked nearly 2/3 of the trail. It is generally recommended to walk the whole 102 miles in 7-9 days. I’m hoping with a bit of determination we can see off the final 40 miles over a weekend next summer. If we manage it, it will be the second of Britain’s long distance footpaths that I have completed with my mum (read about the Norfolk Coast Path here). I hope there are many more to come!