Statistics: 11.7 miles, ascent approx. 1000′, descent approx. 1000′.
Upon waking I could hear steady rain on the window. This day we would get wet! So, all wrapped up in rain gear, we began the walk at the Cotswold Way stone marker that is just outside one end of the Market Hall.
Walking through town after leaving the marker, we passed by some lovely homes before reaching the trailhead where we met many other hikers also planning to make the trek to Bath. Once on the path, we slogged through
Dover’s Hill is a wide open, grassy area where the view must be phenomenal on a clear day. I imagine on a beautiful day this would be a great picnic spot; numerous picnic tables were placed along the path. Soon we were walking next to acres of yellow rapeseed fields which brightened the gray day.
Continuing, we walked down what is known as Mile Drive both next to and directly through cultivated fields, which by this time were a sea of mud. With each step, my boots became heavier and heavier with the messy, sticky mass.
Relieved to see the pouring rain reduce to a drizzle, we pushed back the rain hoods and could take in the views a bit more clearly. Next we were greeted by the Norman style Broadway Tower which was designed by James Wyatt in 1798. Yellow primroses were scattered all around the surrounding hillside, making for a pleasing view.
Descending from this tower through blooming hawthorne trees and wildflowers, while encountering herds of small, leaping lambs, we entered the charming village of Broadway. These streets were lined with attractive buildings made of the local, honey-colored limestone. At the town center was a wide open lawn area surrounded by shops. This was a perfect time to stop, dry off and have a cup of tea and a pastry.
Leaving Broadway, we climbed a steep trail that at the top gave us a splendid view back toward the Broadway village nestled at the base of the hill.
The afternoon was spent ambling through expanses of wild garlic blooms and bluebells before steeply descending via a slick, muddy path to the little village of Stanton, described in travel books as the quintessential, perfect English village.
We had scheduled a ride from Stanton to our night’s B&B, the New Forge House, in Toddington (a nearby town off the trail). When originally planning the trip, I had been unable to reserve a B&B in Stanton; Toddington was the best alternative. Since we arrived a little early in Stanton, we decided to visit the 12th-century church in the heart of the town. When chatting with the locals at the church, we discovered why the local B&B’s were filled: an episode of “Father Brown” was due to be shot at the Old Post House just up the street the next day.
After thoroughly enjoying Stanton, we called our B&B host, Clare, in Toddington to come and fetch us as planned. She met us at “the cross” in the middle of Stanton’; this cross has been a meeting place for centuries.
Her B&B was lovely with comfortable rooms and