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An 11 mile walk near Cirencester

Walks in the Cotswolds An eleven-mile walk - that’s quite a long way - But it’s not too far to manage!

We assembled near to Sapperton Church in the Cotswolds, by ten in the morning – a hint of rain in the air, but a forecast of dry weather for the day, - and so it was!

A friendly and well-informed leader briefed us on the plan of the walk – 11 miles in distance to be covered, and back to the cars by 5pm – (with the option of a pub lunch at half time).

There was a good turn out of twenty or so folk, kitted out in good walking boots and suitable clothes for the ‘challenge’. As an experience the day went very well and no problems troubled us although you always need to take wet weather clothes with you, and for this a small backpack is a practical help. Extra things, like a bottle of water and small snack, a map or other information can be taken if important to you, however, the leader and the ‘back marker’ would both be your guiding lights and ‘know’ the area and routes well enough so that maps are not essential for all.

Starting the walk from Sapperton, countryside views and statue found in St. Kenelm church

During the first hour we set off from Sapperton and walked through Oakley Woods to Coates, much of all this is a part of the Bathurst Estate. The very process of walking is relaxing and what with chats en route, the miles rolled by more quickly than expected. The mini halt at Coates Church was an opportunity to drink some water, nibble a health bar and to briefly scrutinize the gargoyles, the windows, and the architectural styles of the ancient church.

Our next stretch of walking took us to the ‘Thames Head’ – designated by an inscribed block of stone, but - not a lot of water was visible. The ‘source’ of the Thames is of course, a ‘source’ of debate, but the nearby Inn – The Thames Head provided solid evidence that we were ready for food and drink to enjoy. - Very nice too!

After the break we set off to investigate the site of the vanished village of Hullasey, the faint remains of former dwellings lost in a small tangled wood of trees nearby.

We then went on through Tarlton, and on to The Tunnel House Inn, situated just above the entrance to the local landmark, the Coates Portal of The Sapperton Tunnel (The Thames and Severn Canal). Lots of facts and history to research here for those interested, and more photographs to take if that is your delight.

Informative talks by the Cotswold Voluntary Wardens throughout the walk.

The walking thereafter, presented a few gentle inclines, some more wooded areas and open fields – all pleasant and rewarding to see.

Back by five and we gave our thanks to our leader and offered small donations to the little tin box to boost the upkeep funds which help to maintain the countryside for all our benefit.

After removing muddy boots and cooling down a bit it was an added bonus to visit the Sapperton church of St Kenelm. Extraordinary Jacobean woodcarvings on the pew ends, and grandiose 17th Century tomb sculptures set in each of the transepts were the first things to catch the eye, but obviously there is much history here to research for those wanting to know more.

With the drive home I thought of nothing better than a nice cup of tea and a hot bath to complete ‘a good day at the office.’

Richard Worth
Explore Gloucestershire
10 August 2008

  • Difficulty: Easy going
  • Length of walk: 11 miles
  • Type of walk: Circular
  • Location: Three miles west of Cirencester
  • Ordnanace Survey Ref: Landranger 163: Cheltenham & Cirencester
    Grid Ref: 0395
  • This great Gloucestershire walk was one of the organized walks by the Cotswold Voluntary Wardens.
  • A list of these walks is in the Cotswold Lion (Free paper)

Wonderful Cotswolds scenery and wildlife during the walk


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