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Published: August 27th 2016
Looks like a perfect day for some hiking through the fields and trails of the Cotswolds.
It is such a quiet location we have on the hill above Stroud and serene surroundings with a large grassy area in front of the apartment.
Breakfast in the covered area in front of the apartment is a relaxing way to start the day although we are sure Wendy has other ideas with a walk she has got planned for us.
Gretchen worked with Wendy at the rest home in Matua. However we have had probably more association with Wendy and her sister Sharon through helping them plan their big overseas holiday a couple of years ago which sparked Wendy’s interest to work in England after she returned from that holiday and got saving seriously for the airfare.
We are meeting Wendy in Burford around halfway between where she is currently living and working and where we are.
The drive to get there took us along the A40 where all the picturesque Cotswolds villages are slightly off the main road which is just as well as they would be spoilt for their tranquillity if more traffic than necessary was routed
through them just to get somewhere else.
As it was the main street of Burford with its shops and houses built of the now very familiar Cotswold stone was still busy as we drove through to the free car park behind the village.
Wendy soon joined us and gave us the outline of the hike she thought would be of interest to us as it encompassed all that is the Cotswolds, according to the title from her little book of Cotswolds trails.
We drove back a short distance from Burford to an even smaller and quieter village called Windrush where we parked outside St Peters Church and set off along a lane towards open farmers fields.
One of the great things about hiking in Britain is that the farmer’s fields are basically open as public walkways. Obviously you need to respect the crops, if there are any sown and growing, and also any animals you might happen to come across. We just hoped that this trail wouldn’t take us through any fields with a bull or two in them as Gretchen was wearing a red top!
Across five fields and we came to the village
of Little Barrington. We couldn’t miss the village green as we strode on looking for the pathway that would take us over the Windrush River. After a short diversion we came back to the village and gambled on a lane that although marked looked like it would take us in the direction as described in Wendy’s little book.
And right we were as we passed by the old mill building and across a new bridge over what was more a stream than a river and into another field where there were some cows, not bulls as far as we could tell, far away on the other side.
At the end of the field and through a gate we found a stone wall and perched on it to have our lunch while we admired the surrounding countryside at Great Barrington.
Replenished we picked our feet up and headed up the road past the tiny war memorial still with its commemorative wreaths from the last time there was a gathering to honour the war dead from the village.
The Barrington Estate on our left we were now on a road verge which was just as well as for
the first time on the hike we actually met some vehicles.
Looking through the very grand black painted iron gates into one of the fields of the estate we spotted two herds of deer away in this distance plus what was described as an old stone folly. The classical style folly was built in the 18th
century and really didn’t have any particular purpose other than to be decorative and to show off the wealth of the estate it is built on.
Off the road verge and back onto farm fields again although this time it was a farm track that ran alongside fields were crops had been growing but were now laying fallow ready to be turned over for perhaps a green crop to be ploughed in before the winter arrives.
This was the only part of the 7km trail that had a few ups and downs and they were slight compared to trails we hiked in the Dolomites and Germany.
Our direction changed towards the homeward path and after we took a short diversion that turned out to be the long way home we diverted back to the trail we should have been on
and were soon back at Windrush after a pleasant walk in the countryside in comfortable temperatures.
The walk certainly had shown off all that the Cotswolds is about, village greens, Cotwolds stone buildings, open farm fields, quiet little stream and peaceful countryside all around.
We drove back to Burford for a well earned English afternoon tea of coffee and scones with jam and clotted cream at a tearoom called Huffkins that has been around since 1890!Wendy had been here before and her recommendation worked out as a perfect finish to the day.
We said goodbye to Wendy at the car park and retraced our steps for a good part of the journey home until we reached the M5 the major road south through Bristol, not that we wanted to go that far. Why Serena didn’t simply take us back the same way we went to Burford is unclear and just one of those vagaries that a GPS can turn up sometimes.
We finished off the day with a quiet night in taking in some more of Coronation Street on TV despite the fact that the programme here is about 2 years ahead of what we will
be going back to in NZ.Tomorrow we are off to London and we will be car less!
PS:enjoy Sting as he sings about his love and walking in the gold fields of barley.And I had two lovely ladies to walk with !Enjoy on Youtube as usual.
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