The Cotswold Way
110 Miles from Chipping Campden to Bath:
Day 14 Birdlip to Kings Stanley (16 miles)
We woke up to the rain that had been promised. We’d left a window open, so we could hear it falling immediately.
We got up early and had breakfast as early as it was offered, knowing we had another long day ahead of us.
Fortunately, as soon as we walked out of Birdlip, we entered a forest, thick with a canopy that gave us some shelter from the rain.
The rain on the trees made it feel like someone was turning the brightness up on all the color.
We had peekaboo views along the forest trail of the fields we had been walking in, and even they seemed a brighter shade of green.
You could smell the wild garlic as we walked. Or rather, as we marched.
With hats and rainjacket hoods, it was hard to hear one another, so for the most part, we just put our heads down and got on with it, pushing through the rain.
I got out my phone and took all these forest photos in the space of about ten minutes. Then I put my phone away and clicked through some miles.
We emerged soaking wet from the forest mid-morning into the village of Painswick.
It was raining harder than we had realized while covered by the trees, so we hurried through town to find an open cafe.
When we got there, we peeled off all our wet layers and spread them out over our packs to dry.
Then we walked in our squishy wet boots up to the counter to order hot drinks.
Water continued to drip from my hair and boots onto the floor as we stood there ordering.
I had a cream tea (which is tea and scones with clotted cream and jam) and Kandace ordered coffee.
We drank our hot drinks slowly, enjoying being out of the rain. And then we ordered a second round of hot drinks because we just weren’t ready to go back out yet.
We had come seven miles, so we had nine still left to go.
Maybe the rain would let up a bit, we hoped.
When we walked out of the cafe after over an hour, we convinced ourselves that yes, the rain had let up a bit.
We left Painswick as quickly as we’d entered though, not stopping too long anywhere else.
The drizzle continued to fall. It wasn’t a downpour, but it was consistently falling.
Still, we were grateful we had walked so much of the day in the forest. The previous day we had been on ridges and hills, so we wouldn’t have had nearly as much protection from the rain.
We passed the halfway mark of the whole Cotswold Way, so we stopped briefly to celebrate.
Then we carried on through the next field.
And back into the trees for a bit.
The second part of the day had more climbing, so we were glad when the rain finally did let up around 2pm.
We still got the occasional light shower, but for the most part, the rain in the late afternoon seemed to be giving up the fight.
And the clouds blew aside enough for the views to be enjoyable.
We walked through some woodlands and up some more hills.
We were tempted to take a detour to a coffee shop we passed a sign for, but we pushed on.
The final stretch of the day turned really pretty.
There were even spots of blue sky.
After a few chats with some cows and climbing over stone stiles, we finally reached King’s Stanley.
Our accommodation for this night was another village over, in Leonard Stanley, but we had been warned that there wasn’t much there. In fact, there wasn’t much in King’s Stanley either.
As far as we could tell there was a pub (serving only drinks), a small grocery store and a Chinese food take out place.
We opted for Chinese takeout, which we ate at the pub with our drinks.
Then we walked over to Leonard Stanley.
In Leonard Stanley, we were staying at The White Hart, which was located on The Street.
When a town is not very big, I guess the main street can just be called “The Street.”
After we showered, the sun had finally come out, so we went for a walk around Leonard Stanley.
(It’s always funny to go for a walk when you are on a walk. You’re in this little tiny town, so after dinner if the sun is out, you look at your walking partner and ask, should we go for a wander around town?)
There was a really pretty church, and an old manor.
A farm at the edge of town that had this little vending machine selling farm fresh products.
And also, you can fill your bottles with fresh milk. Adorbs.
We didn’t walk too long of course because our legs were ready for a rest.
So we headed back to The White Hart before it was even dark and crawled into our beds.
We were in a cute A-frame shaped room at the top of the inn.
We laughed about the morning in the rain and talked about how amazing it was that our rainy day had so much forest cover.
We were heading onto more hills the next day where we wouldn’t have nearly as many trees, so the weather seemed well-timed.
Kandace and I have walked many days in the rain, and sometimes they come day after day after day. So one day of rain didn’t seem so bad, especially now that it was behind us.
In fact, one day of rain on a long walk helps you to better appreciate all the good weather days.