The Cotswolds has really come to life with the arrival of the ‘Great British Summer’. Gardens are in full bloom, walkers are exploring the thousands of miles of scenic footpaths and hospitality venues are once again buzzing with the noise of lively chatter and teacups (or pint glasses) clinking.
With the limestone hills, river valleys, woodlands and honey-coloured cottages glowing in the summer sunshine, we cannot help but reflect on how blessed we feel to live here. But we are most in our element when we can share our passion for the Cotswolds with our visitors.
A guided walk from Moreton-in-Marsh
I recently guided a lovely couple on a 7.2 miles long circular walk starting in Moreton-in-Marsh. Moreton is a small town known for its traditional market which is the largest street market in the Cotswolds. Situated on the Fosse Way Roman road, the town has been a lively travel hub for hundreds of years, and today, with direct train connections to London Paddington, Moreton is often the first stop in the Cotswolds for our clients before they start their tour with us. With a wide selection of tearooms, restaurants and pubs (one of which – The Bell – is considered by many to be JRR Tolkien’s inspiration for the ‘Prancing Pony’), Moreton is an ideal place to refuel before the tour.
An overview of the walk
The village of Longborough
We started our walk to the village of Longborough on the Monarch’s Way which is based on the escape route taken by King Charles II in 1651 after the Battle of Worcester.
Upon reaching Longborough that is nestled on the hill above the Evenlode valley, the striking contrast between the relatively busy town of Moreton and this peaceful village is obvious.
This is not to say that there is nothing to see here. There are a number of hidden gems to discover, such as the longbarrow or Neolithic burial chamber on the hill above the village; St James’ church that dates back to the 12th century; the charming community owned village shop and café; and even an opera house which is a barn converted into a 500-seat theatre, housing performances of the operas of Wagner alongside with other classics.
Bourton-on-the-Hill and Sezincote
After a short stop for some refreshments, we continued our walk towards the picturesque hillside village of Bourton-on-the-Hill via a stunning viewpoint for Sezincote House, a 200 year old palace that is a unique combination of Hindu and Muslim architecture.
Bourton House Garden and the way back to Moreton
Our next stop was the glorious Bourton House Garden, one of the finest gardens in the UK with its colourful herbaceous borders and unusual plants. The 3-acre garden surrounding an 18th century Manor House offers extensive views of the rolling Cotswold countryside. We enjoyed delicious home-made cakes and tea in the Grade I listed 16th century Tithe Barn.
After our visit to Bourton House Garden, we headed back to Moreton through fields and peaceful meadows which was a fitting end to a gloriously sunny walk.
On the way back to Moreton, we passed the 56 acre Batsford Arboretum, home to one of the country’s largest private tree collections and holding the National Collection of Japanese Flowering Cherries since 2002.
I hope you enjoyed another virtual visit to the Cotswolds. We are hopeful that we will get the chance to welcome clients from all over the world again soon, either on one of our self-guided holidays or on our upcoming Scenic Guided Tour in September.
Whilst our guided small group tours offer flexibility at a comfortable pace and the camaraderie of like-minded people from around the world, we understand that many clients prefer the freedom that comes with a self-guided walk. For this reason, we offer private guided walks which may be added to any self-guided holiday as optional extras so you can experience the best of both worlds: the services of a local expert on a walk that is tailored to your interests and walking abilities, and the sense of freedom that only a self-guided holiday can offer.
|Husband and wife team Andrew and Elizabeth Guppy lead Cotswold Walks, specialising in customised self-guided and guided walking holidays in the Cotswolds. Living and working in the Cotswolds is an essential part of what makes their company special. As avid walkers, they can often be found walking the routes with their dog Indie.
Andrew and Elizabeth are passionate about what they do. They strive to take you on a tour that showcases the best of the Cotswolds, from iconic gardens and fabulous local food, to sweeping vistas over the emerald green countryside dotted with honey-coloured cottages. Through careful planning and attention to detail, the mission of Cotswold Walks is to ensure you have complete peace of mind, so you can immerse yourself in the beauty of the Cotswolds and create lasting memories.
Slow Travel Tours is an affiliation of small-group tour operators who offer personalized trips in Italy, France, England and other European countries.