Day two and I’m thinking “how many days did I sign up to walk?!” I feel surprisingly good considering I spent a night tossing and turning until 3 o’clock in the morning. At that time I took half an Ambien to get a few hours sleep until my alarm went off at a 7:45. Although I must admit I never woke up to the alarm I awoke to the sound of rain falling on the rooftop.
Today is my long walk. A choice between 11 miles going up a steep climb to Cromwells Treetop fortress or shorter route of 9 miles to finally reach Broadbrook. Being the purest I have course had to go the long way. It was more a matter of living with the regret should I have taken the shorter route.
I began the day all energetic until the wind started and hair quickly reached back into a ponytail. The walk remained easy as I traversed small country lanes and discovered milk service still occurs.
The nominal entrance fee to the abbey was worth envisioning what life would have been like back in the 12th century.
It was now time to choose the long or short route. The long route involves a steep climb to Beckbury Camp a total of 11 miles for or a shortcut eliminating the steep climb and reducing the walk to 9 miles. I of course being into self punishment took the longer route.
After stopping at a local farm stand for farm made cheddar I proceeded up the slope. What was described as an ancient Cistercian monk lane 1/2 mile long seemed like miles long with an 8 to 10 degree torture slope through what may have been a lovely wood.
However, after finally leaving the wood and crossing a few fields you’re greeted with the view above. See those trees on the right? The camp memorial is at the top of a very steep path. Seriously steep. Thankfully I only had to climb up but once there the views!
From Beckbury Camp the walk was an easy stroll through several fields with amazing guess into the villages below. The only struggle were the winds and an indecisive rain. One moment it’s brilliant blue sky with puffy clouds while the next it’s a drizzle.
The fields appear as vast grasslands dotted with flowers and the distant bleating of sheep.
Eventually I reached a field with horses. Three very large and interested creatures. As I stopped to take ones photo another came sauntered over.
I love horses but they’re bigger than me and I definitely can’t run! I’m just happy to be going downhill for now. Don’t worry, there’s more uphill ahead.
So far the horses have been the first animal to approach. Let’s hope that continues as this was signposted a few fields later.
The walk continued through an orchard, perfect fields, English cottages and a manor or two.
I’m At times the path was along tracks, village lanes and defined trails. At other across fields and slightly trampled grass.
Even simple fields were breathtaking and the weather fantastic. While hills were sometimes your enemy the views from the top always worthwhile.
There were more quaint village churches and even thatched cottages. Seriously! Thatched cottages.
My B&B is Dove Cottage, a small pristinely run 16th century cottage. The welcome is warm, hot water plentiful and bedroom charming.
For dinner I choose a rabbit loin and tureen appetizer aling with a side of buttered greens and less with summer peas.
Tomorrow I’m off to Chipping Campden.