UK Mountains Walking, Mountaineering and Equipment Reviews
Stow on the Wold to Winchcombe
A long way to the finish

Stow is not hard to get to by public transport, but takes a long time, hence my walk didn't start until 9:00am, almost unheard of! Leaving Stow, there is about a mile or so of road work, made slightly easier by the wide grass verge heading down the Tewkesbury road. Eventually the way leaves the road and crosses a wide field but only briefly to cut off the road corner and soon rejoins it at Upper Swell where some brave road walking is required through the small hamlet and up the hill, to leave the road once again and head down a small lane past the Donnington Brewery, which is just about the perfect location for a brewery, set off the road in some very old Cotswold buildings, it looks perfect. Dragging myself past - despite my late start, it is still too early for a beer - I follow the lane to the top and turn left. This section is a lot of road walking which I normally detest, but it is quite pleasant here and very quiet. Turning into Condicote I decide this will be my first break of the day. It is a lovely village with a very unusual village green. The sun is shining and there is no breeze so it is stifling hot. I manage to locate a shelter with shade and tuck into a snack and drink.

Yet more road and track walking until finally off road again and through some woods which provided excellent, but short lived shade from the hot sun before out again and across more fields. At this time of year (July) the wheat and other produce is growing high which can make the going hard unless the path is a good one. At this point it is good so I can walk along at about 3mph. Good walking brings me to Jackdaws Castle Estate which is a huge racehorse training estate. It takes almost 30 minutes to walk from one side to the other and I can see it stretching out in all directions. I recalled that the Winchcombe Way goes through here as well, but the two paths only meet at Ford on the exit.

Back on the main Stow to Tewkesbury road at Ford, again more nerve wracking walking around corners and up hill to leave the road again, this time to head towards the quarry. Somehow I manage to miss the correct path and head across the top of the ridge. At this point I start to wonder, but having crossed a couple of well-maintained stiles I am not totally convinced I am lost! Finally I realise my mistake and correct it by dropping down a field where I am met by two ladies on horseback who enquire if I am lost (probably a rhetorical question) but I tell them I am in the hope of assistance. It turns out it is their land! Luckily they take pity on me and direct me to the correct route which involves a very overgrown path and their back garden!

A long road walk follows and at the top of the hill I declare it lunchtime so find a convenient stone to sit on in the shade and tuck into my chicken and crisps - very nice it is too! Eventually I get going again and arrive at Lynes Barn, familiar territory as it is on the Winchcombe Way again and also I have cycled around these parts. Finally, off the road again, the route heads into some woods which it follows to a huge Belvedere taking me to Little Farmcote Farm. The Winchcome Way goes left here and my route straight on through obvious gates and a path, rising up through a wood then steeply downhill again. With Winchcombe in sight, I feel this section is at a close, but the Way seems to meander around until finally depositing me in the centre of Winchcombe. With this section complete, I head for the Co-op for water to replenish my supplies which have just run out.

I decided to complete the route to Tewkesbury, which, on balance, was probably not the best idea I've ever had. The report is on the next, and final page.

Condicote Village Green

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