For this walk we used: Pathfinder Guides – The Cotswolds (Published 2009) Walk 18: Haresfield Beacon and Standish Wood. Distance: 7 miles.
This is an interesting walk with spectacular views from Haresfield Beacon on a clear day, and sheltered woodland paths. It begins at the Shortwood National Trust car park. (It’s free to park)
The first half of the walk was reasonably straight forward and easy to follow. We saw two Roe Deer in the bank above the lane near to Tump Farm. One was quite inquisitive and came closer to have a good look at us before retreating gracefully into the undergrowth.
After crossing the meadow diagonally towards Stoneridge Farm, we crossed the road and watched a large herd of Alpacas in a field. There do seem to be quite a few Alpaca farms in the Cotswolds now, but it is still a more unusual sight than cows or sheep. We continued along the lane towards Randwick, but the right hand turn into Standish Wood was a little unclear as there was no sign for “Park Bungalow”. We passed one public footpath, a path into Standish Wood, and then took the second pathway into Standish Wood.
The route soon re-joined the Cotswold Way, and after about 500 yards, headed off to the left to Randwick village. The road was narrow and quite busy with traffic. In future, I would avoid leaving the Cotswold Way and miss out Randwick altogether as it is far more pleasant and safer walking through the trees. We entered the village looking for the footpath opposite the telephone box, passed the Vine Tree Inn pub, and walked quite a way down the steep hill until we realised the telephone box has been removed! So we hiked back up the hill again. To be fair, the book did say the telephone box was before the pub, so we shouldn’t have carried on, but we missed that bit of the text until it was too late. So to clarify when you are pointing down the hill it’s on the right before you get to the pub.
It was all good until the end of the walk, but the final description of the route is quite poor. It seems as though it has been cut short to keep it on the same page. I’d rather they took up less space quoting the verse that is inscribed on Cliff Well, than exclude clear instructions about how to get back to the car park. We were in Standish Wood, not too far from the end of the walk, and the book states “climb steeply back up to the starting point.” It was actually a little more complicated than that, as there were suddenly a number of pathways leading in different directions and we weren’t sure precisely where we were on the OS map 😮 Anyway, we took a left turn along the Cotswold Way, followed it along for a while, and then turned left again signposted to Haresfield Beacon. This led us back to the Shortwood car park.
The final description in the guide book should be a bit more detailed, and we weren’t keen on walking along the road to Randwick, but we absolutely loved the magnificent views from Haresfield Beacon.