In Walks

Winchcombe Welcomes Walkers

A Spring in your step

The days are drawing out and that urge to get outdoors, breathe in some fresh air and see if nature has started to spring into life strengthens. Rummaging through the drawer I find my woolly gloves and hat, both buried deep and ready to be worn.

Boots on, wind proof jacket on, we are ready for exposure to the winter sun and some vitamin D. With our trusty Ordnance Survey 1:25,000 map; a little dog-eared after years of prising in and out of pockets we set off for one of our favourite walks from Winchcombe.

We head up Sudeley Castle driveway admiring the almost forgotten rural craft of hedgelaying in progress. This was developed to make hedges stock proof and comprises of cutting almost through the stem and laying the hedge at 45 degrees. On the opposite side of the driveway lays a hedge done earlier like those cooking programmes.

We bear off the drive, past the play fort thinking how great it would to be a child again running around the turrets and along the zip wire. We head past the Dungeon Tower of Sudeley Castle, the remains of the original castle slighted in 1649. Across the sheep pasture, with sheep grazing on the new growth of grass after all the rain. The well marked path leads us along field boundaries up to a quiet lane which we follow to arrive at Sudeley Hill Farm.

The finger blade points uphill, a deep breath and off we go. The clean country air penetrating deep into the lungs, the blood pumping around the body making you feel as warm as toast. There is a sense of exhilaration, an upsurge of well being and before you know it you have arrived at St Kenelm’s Well.

High overlooking Winchcombe nestling beside some trees with a slight forlorn look sits a Victorian building protecting the well from the elements. Red Kites fly overhead keeping guard. We follow the track past pheasant pens before heading to the rare breed pig pens housing mainly Gloucestershire Old Spot sows with the odd sow looking like a Tamworth. There are lots of surprises on this walk.

The climbing is complete and we can relax as we head downhill with beautiful views ahead of small woodland copses randomly situated in a mosaic of small fields. Across the Sudeley Valley the horizon is dominated by Cleeve Common, to the left is situated the Belas Knap Long Barrow teasingly hidden by the trees of Humblebee How.

It dawns on you that from the flank of Dunn’s Hill where you are situated you can see locations covering thousands of years of mans activities. The Neolithic Belas Knap, the Roman Wadfield Villa, 15th century St Peters Church and Sudeley Castle.

You realise how Winchcombe is surrounded on three sides by hills and some great walking countryside. We continue down the slope with sheep grazing and Winchcombe beckons us with plenty of pubs and cafes to refuel.

This walk can be downloaded from:St Kenelm’s Well - Winchcombe Welcomes Walkers




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