UK Mountains Walking, Mountaineering and Equipment Reviews
Dumbleton to Winchcombe: Total Mileage: 10 miles

Parking up near the Village Hall in Dumbleton we picked up the Way where we left it last time. Walking out of the village, the way heads out across a field left of the route that the Winchcombe Way takes which is directly straight ahead. Shortly the main road is reached and crossed almost directly to follow a driveway down to the farm. The route goes left around the farm buildings, slightly differing from the guide route that describes the path as going through the middle of the farm. This is slightly confusing until the mill is spotted and the description starts to make sense again. Following the hedge and guidebook, there is further confusion as the route angles across a ploughed field with no signage (until the far side). We walked around the edge, but it wasn't until we got to the far side and the signpost that we were confident of the route.

Dumbleton Church

A short road walk soon yields to fields again but quickly reaches the main Toddington to Broadway road which is followed into Toddington, then left and past the Steam Railway station to descend steps into a field where good views of the station and steam trains can be had. The path is obvious here and follows the line to Didbrook where another short road section leads through the Hamlet to once again enter fields. Following good tracks, Hailes Abbey and Church are reached. The church is very old (10th Century) and in fact, older than the Abbey by about 100 years, and is in much better condition, the Abbey now ruins was the victim of Henry VIIIs disolution in the mid 1500s.

Hailes Abbey

Exiting Hailes along the same route that the Cotswold Way takes, which is opposite the church, another field leads to a road which is part of the old Salt Way and the first and only climb of the day. Steadily upwards for a mile or so onto the ridge where views of Cleeve Hill, Worcestershire and Gloucestershire open up. Having gained all of that altitude, it is steadily lost passing as it does, the small building of St Kenelms Well on the way to Sudeley Castle and Winchcombe.

Commemorative plaque inside the Well

It looks in a pretty sorry state with the door broken and a general neglected feeling about it but is well worth a detour to see the actual well inside and a number of plaques on the wall commemorating the building and St Kenelm in general, plus just behind it is a picnic table where we stopped for lunch, although only briefly as it had started to snow! Continuing down, Winchcombe looks very close, but the Way is not done yet and a circuit of Sudeley Castle follows, which is actually a really nice way to finish, finally emerging into Winchcombe on a narrow side street. Up the hill and onto the main road, St Peters Church and the finish are less than five minutes to the left.

St Kenelms Well

All done. It is a lovely walk with some great views and whilst it follows, crosses and passes many other long distance paths; Gloucestershire Way, Cotswold Way, Winchcombe Way, Isbourne Way, Wardens Way, Wychavon Way and probably others, it retains an identity of its own and is well worth the effort of doing it.

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