A Christmas walk has become an essential part of the festivities Graeme & I enjoy and a ritual we really look forward to every year. There is something very satisfying about getting out in the fresh air, enjoying our beautiful Gloucestershire countryside and walking off all the turkey and chocolates.
Our Christmas pressies had their first airing, new walking socks for Graeme from Blacks and a new Joules scarf for me! We decided to take a packed lunch with us, yummy turkey and homemade cranberry sauce pumpkin bread sandwiches and of course we popped in a few Celebration chocolates – how could we leave them behind.
This year’s 10 mile walk started at Whiteshill, taking the narrow lane up to Ruscombe, admiring the lovely cottages and view on the way and then up the steep lane called The Throat and up across the field and into Randwick Woods. This climb is a strenuous short & sharp hike which certainly gets your heart racing however fit you may be!
On this occasion, we took the upper track out towards the Haresfield Beacon carpark to have a sneaky peep at the Alpaca grazing in the field but the lower Cotswold Way trail has some spectacular views and a bench if you wish to stop and enjoy the scenery and views out towards the river Severn.
On arrival at the busy beacon carpark we doubled back on ourselves and took the road up towards Stockend Woods and followed the upper trail to pick up the official Cotswold Way track. Unusually for this time of year we were blessed with perfect blue skies, 6 degrees and no wind at all – absolutely perfect for walking and taking photographs.
After crossing the road onto Edge Common, we stopped to admire the views over to Painswick and also the cows grazing. The path down to the A419 was rather slippy and we were very glad to have our waking boots on. In the Summer the common is adorned with wild flowers and if you are lucky you will see some rare and beautiful orchids.
Now it would be rude not to stop whilst passing to sample Graeme’s favourite pint of Uley Ale at the Edgemoor Inn and they welcome walkers too so a brief interlude was in order. Apart from his favourite Old Spot Beer, on offer was a Christmas special called Severn Bore which went down very well! The Edgemoor has an excellent menu which we have sampled many a time and can highly recommend but on this occasion it was just a quick stop for a drink.
We followed the Cotswold Way all the way to Painswick for around 2 miles and then left the trail at this point. If you are in Painswick you have to spend some time looking around. It is such an adorable Cotswold town. Start by taking a look at St Mary’s Church and it’s famous ninety nine yew trees. Originally the town grew on the wool trade, but it is now best known for its parish church’s yew trees and the local Rococo Garden which is lovely at all times of the year but famous for it’s spectacular snowdrop display depending on the weather in January/February.
The town is mainly constructed of locally quarried Cotswold stone. It’s narrow streets and traditional Cotswold cottages and shops are delightful at all times of the year and beautifully decorated at Christmas time. We found some old stocks at the rear of the church which we had not seen before. Here’s a picture of Graeme trying them out!
If you fancy a coffee or a light bite to eat we would recommend popping into the Patchwork Mouse or Oliva’s Deli. The Falcon Inn is a good place for a meal, drink and the also offer accommodation. Whilst passing, we also liked the look of the Painswick Hotel which offers excellent accommodation, afternoon teas and has a delicious breakfast, lunch and evening dinner menu. We would like to visit and review it in more detail but for those looking for a more refined fine dining experience the Painswick Hotel looks great.
From the centre of town we followed Tibbiwell Lane down to the bottom and then picked up the footpath which can be found on the right and followed it across to Stepping Stone Lane. After the steep climb we picked up Wick Street which took us all the way back to Stratford Park in Stroud and the Callowell track back to Whiteshill. We had a lovely day out and just arrived back to see the spectacular sunset.