Today’s statistics: 7.2 miles, 760′ ascent, 1228′ descent.

This day began with a yummy breakfast which included homemade granola and jams prepared by our host, Lindsey, at Cleeve Hill Hotel. Then, to return to the Cotswold Way, Lindsey directed us to a short cut, bid us good-bye and we were on our way. The short cut took us straight up the hill behind the hotel to the top of Cleeve Hill and the Cleeve Hill Golf Course.

The Cleeve Hill Hotel as seen from the Cotswold Way

We walked along the course, skirting its many pits, cliffs, and valleys.

Cleeve Cloud above Castle Rock

Cresting the final hill we observed Cheltenham in the distance.

Cleeve Hill Golf Course with Cheltenham in the distance

We could just make out the famous racecourse and steep chase course in Cheltenham.

Cheltenham racecourse and steep chase course

At this point, the path descended through hawthorne clumps with a lovely chorus of birds chirping their morning songs. We even heard our first cuckoo.

Descending from Cleeve Hill

Groups of runners displaying racing bibs began to pass us. We found out that we were right in the middle of a four-day, 100-mile event, The Cotswold Way Challenge. As the runners passed us, we shouted out our words of encouragement while we continued the walk. A cute little pony and his buckskin horse buddy ambled over to the fence to say hello, looking for non-existent treats.

The countryside views were delightful as we walked along the edge of the woods.

The rapeseed was in abundance across the fields which made a stunning landscape.

rapeseed fields

One of the pleasures of walking in the spring is the profusion of wild flowers. As we neared Charlton Kings, we were amazed to see and smell acres of wild garlic.

wild garlic

After reaching the A40, we left the Cotswold Way and turned toward Charlton Kings where we were to stay for the night. Along the way, we stopped in at Dunkerton’s Cider Mill for coffee and a snack. As it turned out, we returned here to pick up picnic supplies for dinner, since the local pubs were either fully booked or closed due to the chef’s illness.

Our hotel for the evening was the Charlton Kings Hotel. The hotel staff could not have been more helpful and attentive, but the hotel itself, although clean and comfortable, was in need of a little “spiffing up”.

Charlton Kings Hotel

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