Statistics: 10 miles, ascent 1085′, descent 963′.

As we headed out of Old Sodbury, we did not realize what treats were in store for us this day! We weaved around Old Sodbury to avoid the morning traffic on the very busy A432. After crossing a few fields, we were delighted to come upon the estate of Dodington Park.

Near the entrance to Dodington House

Dodington House and the park are owned by the Dyson family (yes, the vacuum cleaner people) and our path went directly through this gem of a landscape. The park was designed in the mid-eighteenth century by Capability Brown, a well-known landscape architect at that time.

Dodington Park

Tormarton was the next village that we encountered. An attractive hamlet, it has as its center the historic, Norman St. Mary Magdalene Church.

St. Mary Magdalene Church, Tormarton

Just out of town we crossed the M4 motorway, one of the major traffic arteries of the UK – a reminder of the busy lives we had left behind 13 days ago as we began this walk. We hurried past the motorway to return to the comforting, tranquil countryside. Our path directed us on a route that passed an attractive working farm, Lower Lapdown Farm.

Lapdown Farm

The Way once again presented us with some lovely views.

Views along the Way

The rolling hills, dotted with cows and buttercups – an ideal pastoral scene.

Pastoral scene along the Cotswold Way

Around noon, we were surprised when we arrived at Dyrham House and Deer Park, not expecting anything as grand as this. Entrance to the park and exterior areas was free, although there was a charge to enter the house, which we did not visit. The property is run by the National Trust, which usually includes a small tea shop with snacks on their properties, when appropriate. Dyrham was no different and our timing was perfect for lunch.

Dyrham House and Park

After lunch, we spent a relaxing hour wandering the gardens before continuing our trek. The parklands lands surrounding the Dyrham House were also very enticing.

Dyrham Park

And the lush views just kept coming…

Near Dyrham

Throughout the remainder of the afternoon, we walked by wild flowers, through open fields and over rolling hills before arriving at our lovely B&B, Whittington Farm in the tiny hamlet of Cold Ashton.

Whittington Farm

Our host, Janet, greeted us warmly, and served us a scrumptious afternoon tea in her rear garden.

Afternoon tea at Whittington Farm

A pleasant stroll around the farm revealed an old church that was just outside the farm’s garden wall, with a tower dating back to the 14th-century. We discovered that generations of the Whittington family had been buried there.

The Holy Trinity Church Cold Ashton

Although we had made dinner reservations with the only restaurant in the area months ago, the owner had not entered our booking into her reservations calendar. (Another instance of the value of carrying confirmation documents on such a trek.) She felt so badly about it that she drove us into another town, Marshfield, to the Catherine Wheel Pub for dinner and then returned to retrieve us. Dinner was delicious and we visited Marshfield, which we otherwise would not have seen!

Dining room at Catherine Wheel Pub, Marshfield

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