Another weekend has passed and with it, another walking experience amongst Bristol’s Brunel Walking Group. As I don’t visit the Cotswolds too often on my own and can rarely justify the hour’s drive each way when I’m walking solo, I took this opportunity to join a ramble to the east and slightly south of Stroud. No sooner had I arrived at the meeting point in Bristol, I was asked to be an additional driver – it was fortunate then that I’d filled my fuel tank 5 minutes before!
This walk began in an area known as Frampton Mansell, with Aston Down airfield located on the south side of the A419. We were to head north in an anti-clockwise direction towards Edgeworth, which was heavily shadowed beneath the terror of dark clouds…
Weather-wise, my worst ever walking experience took place in the Cotswolds – in fact, I was able to reminisce my recollection of that with another walker on this day. But that was much closer to Cheltenham and, as we all marched along, the darkness continued north at a pace we weren’t going to match.
Fairly soon after, we were making our way through woodland on a path running parallel to the Thames and Severn Canal… Which is pretty much redundant today, judging by the extensive overgrowth in the photo above!
A little further along and we came across the castle-like bridge where we made a brief stop for snacks.
But as we progressed further and through the tress, we came up against a series of obstacles borne of the woodland…
Above, you can see an example of one of the easiest challenges to overcome!
Needless to say, it was quite a relief to find ourselves clear of the trees, even after a rather strenuous uphill climb. Our strife was rewarded with the blessing of the open countryside that unravelled ahead.
We ended up stopping for lunch with a similar view of tranquillity and with the sun beating down on our faces. Sometimes, you have to put your faith in the weather people, in spite of what you can see in a certain direction.
By this time, we were beyond halfway and on our return route to Frampton Mansell.
This walk remained mostly flat and level. We crossed fields full of crops but with clear paths to guide us on our way. Until the final, somehow inevitable ascent, back up to the car park.
From there, we headed in to the village (by car) for refreshment at the local pub.
So, I didn’t take as many photos on this one. It was great to explore such a little-known stretch of the Cotswold Hills. With someone else leading, I was again able to practice sitting back a bit and taking it all in a bit more where as, on my own or ahead of the pack, I’d usually push myself physically. It’s also the best way to be a photographer, as you don’t have to worry about getting in other people’s way!
Thanks for reading.