The Cotswold Way
110 Miles from Chipping Campden to Bath:
Day 5 Kings Stanley to Wotton-Under-Edge (15 miles)
If I could only choose one section of the Cotswold Way to do again, it might be this day from Kings Stanley to Wotton Upon Edge. It was undoubtedly another hard stretch with a lot of climbing up and down, but I think it might have been the prettiest.
Of course there are so many variables. The rain had made everything shine, but now the sun was out and the sky was blue again.
We were getting nearer to the end of our walk so I was trying to slow it down, not wanting it to be over too soon.
It’s so strange to look forward to and train for a walk for so long, and then all of a sudden it’s more than half way over.
The days fly by, while the steps go only one at a time.
Our steps took us up the hill from The White Heart to rejoin the trail and climb through a wood to Coaley Peak.
As you near the top of the hill, there are old iron age forts left in the ground. Actually we saw loads of these on The Cotswold Way. There are lots of historical markers showing you where and how people lived ages and ages ago. It’s one of the draws of this trail for folks.
As you walk the ridge, you can see where you’ve come from and where you are headed. There are several bigger towns that you never go through on The Cotswold Way, but that you can see from these hilltops.
We climbed all morning, mostly separately. We opted to spend the morning walking on our own and then meet up in Dursley for lunch, which is the first town we came to on this day.
I was still tired from the march in the rain, so I stopped often when the views were lovely.
You could see the little white specks of sheep in the fields below and also as I looked at the map, I could see we would be circling the ridge, dropping down, and then climbing right back up again.
We descended from Coaley Peak through a wood.
We even passed a few limestone cliffs.
The trees in this wood seemed like they were just about to start walking on the path themselves, leaned in as they were towards the trail.
When I finally got around to the hill I had seen earlier, it seemed much further to climb than it had from so far away.
But eventually I made it up. I even turned around and walked backwards for about a third of it.
Thankfully, it was the final hill of the morning, and lunch was not far away.
I found Kandace at a cute cafe in the middle of town, where we rested for a while and refueled.
Dursley is another cutie town that we could have easily spent a little longer in, but we headed on after our lunch.
More beautiful field crossings.
The climbing was a little more gradual and spread out after the steep morning hills.
For much of the afternoon, we could see the Tyndale Monument in the distance as it got closer and closer.
At one point the trail went right through a tall overgrown rapeseed field.
You had to walk right through the rapeseed. We were both already having some allergy issues since it was May and everything was in bloom, so we dug out our face masks, which we had not yet used on this trip, and put them on to walk through this field.
You could see the line of the trail lightly through the field, but at some points the plants came up over our heads.
It seemed like this field swallowed us up and spit us out on the other side.
We were covered in little tiny yellow petals.
The next village we came to on The Cotswold Way after Dursley was North Nimbley.
It’s another one-street town, but very cute.
I think maybe I aspire to one day have “The Street” as part of my address.
We climbed up through another forest after North Nimbley.
When we emerged from the trees we were finally on the hill with the Tyndale Monument.
We had been watching it all day, so it only seemed fitting to climb to the top.
It was built in 1866 honor of William Tyndale, who did an early translation of the New Testament into English.
He was born nearby.
We were rewarded with beautiful views of the surrounding valleys and villages.
You can clearly see The Street of North Nimbley below.
From the monument, we descended into Wotton-Under-Edge.
This was one of my favorite towns we passed through, and again we would have happily spent longer here.
We stopped in a pub as soon as we got into town, and then afterwards we made our way to our hotel, The Swan.
At this point we were less than an hour away from Bristol, so Simon and Taido drove over to have dinner with us. It would be our last night sleeping on the trail as the next day we would be so close to home that it would have been silly not to sleep there.
We ate a (final) yummy pub dinner at The Swan with Taido and Simon, and then we loaded them up with everything we didn’t want to carry the next day and sent them on their way.
We went for a quick wander around the town (again, a walk on a walk) before heading to bed.
As we walked, we talked through our strategy for the next day. Since we would be sleeping at home the next night, we were going to walk as far as we could and then call Taido to come get us.
We had 32 miles left of the trail, so we figured we could knock out at least 20 of those miles the next day.
Our thinking was that we would just go for one big push and then on Saturday, we would have an easy day.
Taido and Simon were planning to hike our final stretch into Bath with us on Saturday. Then Kandace would be heading home on Sunday. (How did it go by so fast?)
We popped into the pub for one final nightcap before our last sleep in a Cotswold village.