I have lots of photos to share in this post. I walked close on 20km yesterday and my body isn't happy with me. Last night I felt I may have pushed myself too far, but luckily I'm feeling OK today.
But back to the beginning. I was up early to avoid the breakfast rush. The service here is fantastic and I filled up on a hearty breakfast to give me fuel for the day ahead. It was a grey morning but I expected that to clear. After spending a bit of time making plans and downloading timetables I made my way to the station. On the way I passed my first squirrel of the trip. But he was too nimble for me to catch with my camera.
I bought a Cotswolds Discoverer pass which is a really cheap way to get unlimited train and bus travel within the Cotwolds. Unfortunately you can't use it until after 9:00am so my enthusiasm to get to the station was somewhat wasted. In the end I caught the 09:24 Hereford train to Moreton-in-Marsh.
I visited Moreton-in-Marsh on my trip last year but only on my way elsewhere. This time I saw a bit more as I made my way to the start of my walking trail.
In the Cotswolds, as with all of England, there are public footpaths which are signposted walking trails through the country. They're really easy to follow and, as you'll see from the photos, they take you through all types of terrain. I found some great maps of the footpaths in Moreton-in-Marsh. You just need to keep following the markers.
The start of the journey took me through some beautiful wooded fields.
I came across this little farmhouse early in the walk.
The winding paths enticed me onward.
In Kent I saw huge expanses of bluebells but didn't manage to photograph any. I made sure I captured the few I saw on this walk.
After about an hour of walking I approached Blockley.
The buildings in the town were of the typical honey coloured stone of the region.
I stopped for lunch in a little cafe before continuing my walk. Between the fields there were usually gates but sometimes there were stiles like these.
As I headed out from Blockley towards Broad Campden I reached this field and my one and only lost moment. The field is quite steep and when I reached the top the gate looked different and had no markers. Every other gate so far had been clearly marked so I worried that I might have headed in the wrong direction. So I walked all the way around the perimeter of the field looking for another exit. When I got back to the start I came across a group of walkers coming down the field who confirmed that the gate I first encountered was the exit after all. And when I got through there were markers just past it!
I passed another farmhouse on my way.
Just under an hour after leaving Blockley I reached Broad Campden. I visited this little town last year and it has some beautiful little cottages. I didn't take many photos as I had taken so many last year.
From Broad Campden it was only a short walk to the larger town of Chipping Campden. I wasn't the only walker.
Walking through the streets of Chipping Campden to the centre of the town, I came across some more beautiful houses.
Finally I made it to the main street. It's hard to get a picture of the street without cars but I managed this angle.
I took the Cotswolds Way out of Chipping Campden on my way to Broadway Tower. This bird house high on the side of a tree caught my attention.
As I reached the top of a hill outside of the town I came across this man leaning against the wall painting. I first saw him from the other side. I would have liked to take a portrait photo of him but didn't have the courage to ask. I settled on a more anonymous shot later on.
From Broad Campden I started to encounter sheep on my journey. And usually very vocal sheep.
There were some stunning views from Dover Hill.
This letter box was a flash of red in an otherwise verdant green lane way.
Then more beautiful vistas.
Sometimes the foot path went around the edges of working fields. Other times it went right through the middle.
Or through woodland.
Towards the end of my journey, when my legs were cramping and aching, I reached one of my destinations - Broadway Tower. The tower is a folly, meaning a building constructed for no particular practical purpose.
Despite feeling that my legs might give away at any moment I couldn't resist the urge to climb to the top.
And the view made it worth the pain.
From the tower it was just over another mile to my final destination - the town of Broadway.
And through fields of sheep.
Broadway is a beautiful town. Had I reached it earlier (with fresher legs) I would have loved to explore but my legs and back were really in a lot of pain. My plan was to catch a bus back to Moreton-in-Marsh but I had about 45min to wait. I headed in to the Lygon Arms for a well deserved pint and a rest for my legs. By this time it was coming up to 6:00pm.
As I waited for the bus I noticed this fellow "hanging around". I assume he was lost and waiting for his owner.
I caught the bus back to Moreton-in-Marsh. I had planned to catch an earlier bus which would have connected perfectly with a train back to Oxford. But early on I realised the walk was going to take longer and I made the conscious decision to maximise the walk rather than rush to meet a schedule. The downside was that the bus I caught did not connect with a train and I had another hour to wait. In need of some warmth and comfort I stepped into the Redesdale Arms for a lovely Steak and Ale pie for dinner.
When I finally got back to the hotel in Oxford I immediately slipped into a long hot bath to smooth my well earned aches and pains. After a grey start the weather had improved. For much of the walk I was comfortable just in t-shirt without my jacket. I even caught a little bit of sunburn when the ferocity of the sun caught me by surprise.
Finally, here's a map showing the towns I visited.