Cotswold Way, part 3 – Cleeve Hill to Ullenwood 12 1/2 miles (20km)

Another crisp and sunny day. Blue sky, fresh breeze. Perfect walking weather.

Picked up the trail exactly when I finished last time, near Cleeve Hill Golf Club… the markers are pretty visible, most of the time, there are a lot of different paths and it’s not always obvious which one to follow, but if you miss one you’re certain to find the next one a little bit to your right or left.

At the top there’s a marker for the highest point of the Cotswold which is still not very high… but it’s always good tick that off, right?

The walk today was always in nature, no cute villages (lucky you no history then!) but it was very varied and very beautiful. Once on the common you turn slightly right into the nature reserve on the side of the hill, the view of Cheltenham and further afield the Malvern Hills is pretty something.

The path takes you through some woodlands and then down almost to the bottom of the hill…

… then a little on the road and for the longest time on a deliciously flat and narrow path, between hedges and pretty walls…

You can see the Leckhampton Hill up in the distance in the above photo… and that’s pretty much the straight line I took. It just took a while to get there…

Not long after the gate the trail reach the top of Dowdeswell Wood, the path is really well maintained and this time of year is full of Allium Ursinum (I’m showing off… wild garlic…) and it’s stupendous… plenty of bluebells too.

Take care when crossing the really busy road over to Lineover Woods and take a big breath because the path is…. steeeeeeep. Or maybe I’m just getting old…

… it’s a brand new path… last winder this was a mudslide!…

Once you get to the top and catch your breath, the wooden path is glorious… at one point you’re out on the edge of the escarpment once again and the views are immense…

… then quiet fields, I didn’t meet many people on this walk a part on a few hotspot when it was quite crowded frankly!…

… and after another busy road crossing (near Sevensprings)… I finally got to Leckhampton Hill. I’d had enough of steep climbs by this stage… but needs must, so on we went. (Royal ‘we’, nobody wants to come with me on these walks…)

You can now see Cheltenham from the opposite side, and way back centre is Cleeve Hill. The great circle of life…

And then just like that, you’re on the last stretch, up the road, past a spotty horse, through some woodlands and some fields and you’re at Ullenwood, where you get to call you lift to pick you up because you’re tired and your feet hurt.

n all honesty I didn’t enjoy this stretch quite so much. Perhaps it was because I had walked lot of little bits of it before and it didn’t feel like an adventure… more like work! Perhaps it was the lingering headache… let’s just say I look forward to pastures new! The actual walk was really beautiful, I realise how much now looking at the photos… so don’t discount it!

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