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Sample route guide: Birdlip to Painswick
BIRDLIP TO PAINSWICK MAPS 17-20
For much of the next 6¾ miles (10.9km, 3¼-3¾hrs) you’ll continue along the Cotswold escarpment through a woodland fringe, which opens out occasionally to reveal hillside areas such as Cooper’s Hill (site of the annual cheese-rolling competition, see box p15), and tantalising glimpses north-west to the Malvern Hills. Be particularly careful to follow the waymarked path up here, and not to wander off the edge of the escarpment in misty weather; the rough picket fence would do little to break a fall.
Painswick Beacon, site of an Iron-Age hill fort (see box p122) follows, before you reach one of the trail’s architectural highlights: Painswick. It was east of the town, in the Slad Valley, that the three-year-old Laurie Lee was famously ‘set down from the carrier’s cart’, thus beginning his evocative autobiographical work, Cider with Rosie. While the world has moved on, many of the views along this part of the route are probably little changed – at least superficially – since Lee’s childhood.
LITTLE WITCOMBE (MAP 17a)
A steep walk down from the trail brings you to Great Witcombe Villa (Map 17), which was constructed during Roman times, but abandoned around the 5th century ad. The foundations are still clearly visible, but almost as interesting is an unmown section of grass which in summer yields numerous wild flowers, including the pyramidal orchid (see p63 and photo opposite p64).
About 1¼ miles (2km) from the trail – or the villa – the Bickell sisters have been welcoming B&B guests to Springfields Farm (â˜Ž 01452-863532; 2S/1D; shared bathroom ï‚½; ïƒµ; â“) since the war. It’s an old-fashioned place, warm and welcoming, with a cosy guest lounge, a garden and an excellent breakfast. B&B costs £25pp.
Just a short walk across the main road is the Twelve Bells (â˜Ž 01452-862521, www.beefeater.co.uk; Sun-Thur noon-10pm, Fri-Sat noon-11pm; wi-fi), part of the Beefeater chain. The adjacent Premier Inn (â˜Ž 0871 527 8458, www.premier inn.com; 37D, all en suite; ï‚½; wi-fi) is a dependable choice, with some of the rooms having space for additional children (though not adults). Pricing varies widely, so a room rate (whether one or two share) of £50-100 is just a rough guide. If you book online and well in advance you may pay as little as £29, albeit generally only for a Sunday night, and non-refundable/ amendable ‘saver’ rates are £39. Breakfast – taken at the pub – is all you can eat and costs £6.25 for a continental breakfast, or £8.75 for a full English cooked to order. They also have a ‘meal deal’ at £22.99, which includes a two-course evening meal and drink and an all-you-can-eat breakfast.
Pulhams’ No 852 bus stops here; see public transport table and map, pp48-50.
CRANHAM CORNER AND PAINSWICK HILL (MAP 18 & MAP 19, p123)
Not so much a village as a point on the map where the road to Cranham (and the Cotswold Way) meets the A46, Cranham Corner is nevertheless served by a bus, Stagecoach’s No 61. See public transport table and map, pp48-50. The village itself, almost a mile (1.3km) east of the trail, was a favourite with Gustav Holst (see p105), who composed the music here for In the Bleak Midwinter.
A short walk from the trail on the A46 is the independent Royal William pub (â˜Ž 01452-813650, ï€º www.royalwilliam.co .uk), where a wide-ranging menu is served daily noon-9pm. Take your pick from burgers and baguettes, salads and steaks, and more, washed down with real ale.
Pretty well on the trail, some three-quarters of a mile (1.3km) north of Painswick, is the exceptionally friendly Hortons at Painswick Golf Club (â˜Ž 01452-812180, www.painswickgolf.com; Tue-Sun 10am-4pm approx, depending on golf commitments; wi-fi; ïƒµ). Open for lunch and tea, with real ales, Sunday roasts and gargantuan slices of homemade cake, it has a sunny balcony with glorious views over the Slad valley.
If a spot of wildlife appeals, or a hot drink, Prinknash Bird and Deer Park (Map 18; â˜Ž 01452-812727, www.the birdpark.com; daily Mar-Oct 10am-5pm, Nov-Feb 10am-4pm; £7.80) might appeal. It’s located west of the trail, off the A46, and is home to both deer and an array of exotic birds.
- About the Cotswold Way
- Planning your walk
- Using this guide
- Sample route guide: Birdlip to Painswick
- Stage Map and Trail Profile sample
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