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.

Beginning marker of the Cotswold Way

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 mud until we reached Dover’s Hill, named after a Captain Robert Dover. On this hill in 1612, Captain Dover began what he named “Olympick Games,” consisting of leapfrog, skittles, wrestling, and shin-kicking! Over the centuries these were sporadically observed but have now become a regular event in the Cotswolds, including tug-of-war, shin-kicking and similar competitions attended by thousands from the region.

Dover’s Hill

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.

Rapeseed in full bloom

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.

Mile Drive

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.

Broadway Tower (center left)

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.

Church of St. Michael in Stanton

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.

The cross or meeting place in Stanton

Her B&B was lovely with comfortable rooms and bath. A local pub was just a few minutes away for dinner; our first day on the trail was complete!

One thought

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.