The village of Chedworth lies about 10km North of Cirencester, and it is delightful spread across the valley; its biggest claim to fame these days comes from the 1700yrs old Roman Villa about 1.6miles to the North. Chedworth Roman Villa is now looked after by the National Trust and it’s currently still closed, but watch this space, it’s on my list of places to check out! You can take the girl out of Italy, but you can’t take Italy out of the girl and it’s frankly shocking that I haven’t seen something built by my ancestors in the 30 years I’ve lived in this country.
We – as in the husband, Murphy the Spaniel, Ancient Lilli and I – parked the car along the road by The Seven Tuns pub, sadly still closed and headed straight up towards the St Andrew’s Church, a grade 1 listed building, originally built by the Norman and subsequently expanded and various part rebuilt. I miss pubs. I miss country pubs. I miss pub lunches. (I miss someone cooking food for me and not having to do the tidy up… let’s be honest).
Moving swiftly on… the trail we followed today was once again found on the app All Trails, I have downloaded other walking/maps apps and will be testing them soon, but I’ve been using All Trails for a few months and it never failed me, as a matter of fact it has given me the confidence to explore so many new places I never would have tried otherwise.
The one we took begins at the back of the Church – as shown here by Murphy, ever helpful (not), and climbs uphill through a field, and passes a farm and a superbly kept cricket ground, it then turns right down a farm road. The fields either side are fenced off, but we thought best to keep Murphy on a lead, if you have a well behaved dog it might be ok., but you are walking through a private farm and there are a lot – A LOT – of cows around. We haven’t and didn’t dare letting him loose. He’s daft enough to climb the wall and start running among them. AND there was also a small wood used to breed pheasants… need I say more?
We were walking at the top of the hill at this moment, and the path was nice and flat. We think we lost the proper public footpath, or perhaps it wasn’t as well maintained by the farmer as it should have done, but you can see the road ahead you need to get to, so it was ok. It was a shame the weather was grey, although mercifully the rain held back. The landscape is so open, gently undulating, fields of different colours, some of them a fresh green, some others ready to be sown. White clouds of hawthorns. Trees waking up. And space. So much space to breath and a vast sky.
At the other end of the fields we entered a beautiful conifer wood… and inhaled the perfumed air, freshly cut trees and pungent resin…
The Roman Villa is easy to find – you walk down the other side of the hill at this point – and looks beautifully maintained there are toilettes and a cafe and we’ll definitively be back, for now it’s all locked and close so we could only peek over the hedge, which is difficult if you’re as short as me, so no photos). To continue on the trail simply follow the tarmac road downhill from the Villa till you get to a big gate on the left that says Private/footpath only. It’s an easy wide path (unpaved road?) for a while and this is the only negative thing I can say about the walk… the first bit is not that interesting, the conifer wood part is gorgeous, if you can get to see the Villa it’s a huge bonus… but there’s a lot of ‘road’ walking… I prefer my walks to be more rural, away from tarmac… Still, the views are pretty and very ‘Cotswold’.
Once through the gate you walk along a picture-perfect stream on your left and woodland on your right (FULL of pheasants… poor Murphy he was going ballistic on the lead… the smell must have been driving him insane…). I half expected Mr Darcy to come galloping down the path on a horse… alas no…
The trail loops back right and climbs back up to the top of the hills, it crosses wide open fields and presents another totally different landscape. From here it’s just over a mile back down into Chedworth. Murphy finally had his mad running moment. All was well again in the world.
Murphy's view: this could have been the walk of the century if the humans had kept me off the lead. There was the biggest hare in the world in that big field after the cows, ffs!! And let's not mention the pheasants... so.many.big.fat.juicy.pheasants... it was tragic to be on the lead. My blood pressure was sky high, and frankly I don't know what the big deal is about chasing birds... isn't it my JOB??? When they did release me I made the most of it and to be fair - don't tell them - I had fun... but I'm still cross and that is why I'm sticking my tongue at them. I heard chats of 'more training'... brain washing is what I call it!