The day’s statistics: 10.75 miles, ascent 1460′, descent 1069′.
Sarah and Nick served us a tasty breakfast in Blair House’s very pleasant dining room. This morning my mother joined us for the first of our day’s itinerary. (As planned, June would be shadowing our path through the Cotswolds, travelling by car and enjoying the countryside, then meeting us for the evenings.) We walked to the south end of Winchcombe and up the hill to Sudeley Castle, a 15th-century castle that replaced an earlier 12th-century edifice. Katherine Parr, Henry VIII’s widow, lived here until her death. The castle is grandiose and impressive and the gardens are still maintained in an immaculate condition. Some portions of the property incorporate ruins from the earlier castle. We toured both the house and the grounds for a very enjoyable morning.
After our tour and bidding good-by to my mom, we rejoined the Cotswold Way which began a long, steady climb through a grassy hillside dotted with resting sheep.
As we ascended, we had a view of the castle and Winchcombe behind us before emerging into woods. At the top, we were greeted with the Neolithic burial mound containing Belas Knap Burrow. Dating back about 5,500 years, Belas Knap Burrow is 178′ long, has five entrances and at least 38 people were buried here.
Back into a forest, we were treated with hillsides covered in bluebells.
When we popped out of the forest, we realized that – as planned – we had walked in a large U and now, once again, had a view of Sudeley Castle and Winchcombe! Another familiar sight was fields filled with sheep, these obviously recently shorn.
Cresting the next hill, Postlip Hall came into view. Postlip Hall is a medieval hall that was updated in 1614 in the Jacobean style.
Walking along a lush wooded path behind Postlip Hall, our path along the Way was soon to head up Cleeve Hill.
At the crest of Cleeve Hill was Cleeve Hill Golf Club. Not only were the views
Walkers were welcome to stop in for refreshments so we took advantage of that offer not realizing that we were just minutes away from our B&B, Cleeve Hill Hotel. Finally arriving at the hotel, our gracious host,