Cotswold Way, Day 2 Wood Stanway to Cleeve Hill

Day 2 of 8 of the Cotswold Way is a wrap – well actually Day 3 is too but I am catching up on posts now that we have some ‘decent’ WiFi…

We left the Wood Stanway Farmhouse and the most adorable B&B host Maggie (above) around 830 to start what ended up being a 26km and over 9 hour walking day. To be fair, some of that time was spent doing some enroute or just off route touristy stuff not all walking-walking.

Day 2, here we go … we started out at about 830am and covered some great distance at 26km in total, that includes meandering around some tourist spots!

First tourist spot: just as we approached the Hailes Abbey ruins at 10am (directly on the trail) they were opening their doors for the day! We popped in, explored the ruins (pretty much had the run of the run of the place), had a bit of a break and accidentally did a wine as mead tasting. The mead was so fantastic we now have a bottle and it has become our ‘check in and a wee dram on ice to relax the muscles’ routine!

Here are some of the pictures of Hailes Abbey – founded in the 1200s and largely destroyed during grumpy Henry VIII’s Suppression of the Monestaries campaign.

From there we were back on the trail (one of us a bottle of mead heavier) and made it way to Winchombe. This is a decent sized town so we were able to pop into a pharmacy (for sports tape for my foot) and a great little bakery for a to-go lunch.

Second tourist spot: we took said lunch over to Sudeley Castle (our next tourist spot, just a 20min walk off the trail) and had our lunch siting in a fantastic shaded grassy spot on the grounds. Such a fantastic break on a hot day!

After some eats and cool down, we explored the castle grounds, ruins, and the estate house that has some royal peeps still residing in it to this day. The grounds featured a co-exist outdoor exhibit so you may see a few very large animals made out of natural bits and bobs that are not part of the usual look/feel.

We left Sudeley Castle at about 2pm (we wandered for about an hour) to start the last leg of the journey to Cleeve Hill at the Rising Sun Hotel. The day was smoking hot by now and it proved to be a pretty hot, hard slog up and out of Winchombe. The first steep (and I mean steep!) hill out of town was a doozy – when I am tired I count my steps to distract myself – it was 807 direct sun, steep uphill steps up ick. We felt like donuts in a deep fryer! Thank goodness for the forest walk sections.

Bonus tourist stop: before our decent (that also included some steep climbs ugh) into Cleeve Hill the trail took us right past Bella’s Knap Long Barrow. Which today looks like a large grassy mound but is actually an ancient burial that includes at least 14 skeletons, pottery, bones of animals and more. You can see a couple of the sealed stone entrances still.

By the time we got to the Rising Sun Hotel we were knackered. A cold pint before showers and supper was in order! Nothing better than feet up, cold pint in hand and chatting through the day’s events and photos. Especially when you have 9.5hours of walking to chat through.

We had supper right in the hotel bar (delicious Steak and Ale pie by the way) and all of us turned in pretty early after such a long, great day!

Brandé

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