Statistics: 8.4 miles, ascent 1028′, descent 1475′.

Walking about 400 meters down the road from Birdlip, we rejoined our path. What a glorious morning to be hiking! Once again we were greeted with masses of wild garlic!

Trail below Birdlip

We soon came upon the day’s first sign, pointing us toward the city of Bath.

Not only did we encounter wild garlic but also arrays of violets and busy orange-tip butterflies.

Orange Tip butterfly

Occasionally a break in the trees revealed a grand view of Gloucester and the Witcombe Reservoirs.

The Witcombe Reserviors

As previously mentioned, we often discovered ancient hillforts and today was no exception. After passing the bottom of Cooper’s Hill, we began a 10-minute ascent up that hill to the High Brotheridge Iron Age hillfort. Not only is Cooper’s Hill known for its hillfort, but also for its annual sporting event of cheese-rolling, where a contestant risks life and limb to chase a wheel of cheese down a very steep, grassy hill! The first contestant across the finish line takes home a 7 pound wheel of cheese. Unfortunately, we missed this event by a couple days.

Nearing another town, Painswick, we came upon Painswick Golf Course. The Cotswold Way boldly goes right through the middle of one of the fairways. Golfers stopped to chat with us and to wish us well on our journey. The golf course lies next to Painswick Beacon, where another Iron Age hillfort is located.

Painswick Beacon hillfort adjacent to Painswick Golf Club

Leaving this golf course, we turned towards the lovely, old, market town of Painswick, the end of this day’s walk. Painswick is an attractive, 13th-century town, supported for centuries by the wool industry. At its height, the village had 25 mills powered by the stream at the foot of the town. In the 1600s the Royalists attacked Painswick, leaving cannonball scars on St. Mary’s Church which are still evident today. Graffitti which was left on interior columns of the church by trapped government supporters (Parliamentarians) has also been preserved.

St. Mary’s Church, Painswick

Our well run, lovely B&B, Falcon Inn, was just across the street from the church and was an ideal location for exploring the town.

Falcon Inn, Painswick

We dropped off our packs at the B&B and began our exploration of Painswick. Of course, a fun coffee house, the Painswick Pooch, was a good way to start. We met the pooch and her delightful owners while enjoying our coffee and pastry!

The Painswick Pooch Coffee House

A tourist shop provided a map of the local historical points of interest. St. Mary’s churchyard was filled with many fascinating items. The traditional “lych gate” at the entrance to the churchyard was built in 1901 from timbers recovered from the church belfry roof, which had collapsed in 1883.

Lych gate, St. Mary’s Church

The interesting chest tombs throughout the cemetery are from the 17th-century. The pride of the church is its 99 yew trees surrounding the church which were planted in the early 1700s; the 100th tree was added in 2000.

Yew trees at St. Mary’s Church

As we continued in the churchyard, we noticed this simple (wrought-iron?) but rather haunting WWI memorial.

We concluded that Painswick with its pleasing stone buildings and its interesting history would be a good place to spend a little down-time.


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