UK Mountains Walking, Mountaineering and Equipment Reviews
Salperton to Stow on the Wold
Lower Slaughter

Picking up from the previous page. After a brief rest at Salperton, I set off up the road and into the Salperton Estate. The path follows through the Estate passing the main house and the Church, then turns left to follow a long drive which eventually becomes more of a bridleway. Arriving at Farhill Farm the path goes off-road and through another large corn field, heading downhill. Through the gate at the bottom, the path turns to the right and then left up a hill. The guide is slightly confusing here, but the left is opposite a small pond and the path goes straight up, not to the right through the gate. Barns at the top of the hill should be aimed at, which turned out to be kennels and of course, as I arrived, the inhabitants made their presence known by barking. How kennel keepers stand it all day I'll never know. Again another long drive eventually reaches a small lane. Turn left, then right and follow the path around Notgrove and yet another Manor House to eventually arrive at a tree lined path. The Gloucestershire Way goes down the middle for half a mile or so until emerging on the road into Cold Aston.

I'd been thinking about lunch and as the guide described a Village Green, that pretty much guaranteed a bench. Cold Aston starts with some houses, then vanishes into fields and finally reappears later. The main village is another superb Cotswold Village with traditional stone and the sound of awfully well to do folk passing the time of day. I spied the Village Green - unimpressively small for such a posh village, but did feature a seat. Unfortunately the seat faced the 'Plough Inn' which tempted me, but I knew a visit there would be fatal if I wanted to finish the day. It was only 11:30 but I'd been walking for over four hours and had not eaten for over five so figured it was okay to stop. As I munched my lunch, it did occur to me that I could get to Stow on the Wold earlier than I had planned so, using the power of the Internet, checked the bus times. A bus left at 14:10 - that gave me 2 1/2 hours to get to Stow - easy I reckoned.

Soon off, the Way follows the road to Bourton for a while before vanishing into a field. The sign is quite overgrown so it needs to be looked out for.

More field and track walking and I popped out at Aston Farm and Mill. Now these were seriously nice places - lovely houses, amazing gardens - a full time job just looking after them I would think - nice work if you can get it. Take care here, there are several paths to choose from, but there is a Gloucestershire Way sign to clarify the route which soon emerges onto higher ground across a couple of open fields before dropping down into the delightful Lower Slaughter with its Mill, stream and incredible church. I followed the stream until spying the church then past that with the church on my right, there is a signpost to the right showing the way.

At this point the Gloucestershire Way and the Heart of England Way share walking space. The GW signs are no more for some distance, but following the HoE signs is suitably easy, although me being me, I always worry I'm still on the right track. The odd GW sign would not go amiss! Mind you, at one point there were signs for the GW, HoE Way and the Macmillan Way and I'd even seen earlier signs for the Windrush Way - no shortage of 'Ways' around here. Just by Slaughter Coppice, there are some farm buildings ahead. The Way goes straight across the field directly towards them, but then veers to the right through a couple of gates. Here it not clear, but aim to the obvious gate at the far end of the field slightly right as you come through the gate. From there it goes left onto a more obvious path and finally to Hyde Mill. Crossing Hyde Mill there is a path to Lower Swell. I knew that wasn't my direction, but couldn't help just confirming - it wasn't! From here it is almost impossible to get lost as the Way passes through Nether Swell Farm. They clearly don't want people deviating!

Gloucestershire Way

Nether Swell is a huge stables. I have never seen so many stables in one place, it must be seriously professional. Once out of the Farm grounds there is a good uphill climb to reach a plateau before arriving at the main road. Turn left and it is a short uphill walk to the Town Centre. I decided the traffic lights would signal the end for today and would also be a good starting point for the next section.

Stow town centre is about 5-10 minutes walk from here and I was soon outside the Library waiting for the bus, I'd made it in plenty of time so sat in the sun and relaxed before catching my bus 'out of here' as Bear Grylls would say.

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