Another weekend, another good forecast, and another in what is rapidly becoming a series of walks-we-have-done-before-but-in-other-seasons.
This time we headed for the Cotswolds, and a spin round the villages of Daylesford, Lower Oddington, Adlestrop and Chastleton. We had first done this circuit last November, on a crisp, frosty morning bathed in bright sunshine, and had enjoyed it so much that it immediately joined our roster of “regular” walks, ie: those that you can go and have a great time doing anytime of the year, whatever the weather, with great views and plenty of points of interest along the way. A “classic”, if you will.
With route finding honed and the rough edges now polished, the circuit comes in at 8.75 miles, with little other than gentle ascent and descent involved. Details of the original attempt can be found:
Today’s weather was much more of the late summer/early autumn variety: bright blue skies filled with white fluffy cloud predominated, with the temperature settling somewhere around the mid-teens of Centigrade. It was nigh on perfect, and far too good an opportunity to miss.
|In the grounds of Daylesford Hall
We set off across the grounds of Daylesford Hall to the accompaniment of a helicopter landing somewhere close by. As mentioned in the last report, the farms hereabouts are not your usual scruffy muck-holes. It’s often said, “Where there’s muck there’s brass”. In these parts the muck comes from horses, and instead of covering the farmyard it’s on the fields fertilising the crops. Horses and organics: looks like there’s plenty of brass in that!
|Huge "horses head" sculpture. Because they can, I suppose ...
Leaving the estate, we passed the Daylesford Organics farm shop, and picked up a route past St Nicholas Church towards the twin villages of Upper and Lower Oddington.
|Looking back over the Daylesford estate
|St Nicholas Church
A spell of road walking followed, but in these quintessentially Cotswold, chocolate-boxy villages there is much to look at and enjoy. And, if your timing is right and you are thusly inclined, there are two pubs offering drinks and lunches to take advantage of.
We approached Adlestrop across the estate grounds, and climbed gently into the village via a tree-lined track. We stopped at the church for lunch and a good look round. Of course, Adlestrop is immortalised in Edward Thomas’ poem of the same name (see previous report), but it is the name, the (now defunct) station and the surrounding countryside that is remembered, rather than the village – which is a shame, as it’s a fine village, typical of the area, and with some fine houses.
|Adlestrop churchyard: dark clouds brewing
Crossing the fields towards Chastleton, we stopped to pick blackberries. This year we’ve found brambles weighed down with fruit, but much of it seems destined not to ripen. So we took advantage where we could, and filled our empty sandwich box to brimming.
All through the morning the cloud had been building. Whilst ahead of us the blue sky/white cloud combo suggested waterproofs might not be required, behind us dark skies told a different story.
By the time we reached Chastleton, it was time to don jackets. The last mile or so was a wet affair, but it didn’t dampen our spirits. Whether this weekend marks the last throes of summer or signals the fledgling days of autumn, it doesn’t matter – in truth, we were just happy to be out.
After the walk, we popped in to Daylesford Organics for a bit of food shopping. Make no mistake: this is not your average farm shop. Besides the usual organic fare – meats, vegetables, etc, - there are a variety of organic drinks (including beer and cider) plus a range of breads and cheeses too. Expensive it may be, but is it worth it? One bite of Adlestrop cheese on Spelt Sourdough bread tells me it is!
Like with this walk, sometimes simple and uncomplicated things are the best.