For this walk we used: Pathfinder Guides – More Cotswolds (Published 2015) Walk 9: Miserden and Winstone. Distance: 5 miles.
This is an interesting walk which includes two attractive Cotswold villages in Gloucestershire, views of the Frome Valley, delightful woodland paths and Miserden Park lake.
We parked on the roadside in Miserden village near to the Carpenters Arms pub. Almost immediately we went the wrong way along the cobbled path. Whenever I read a guide book I always take the directions literally, so when it said “after a few paces branch left by a stone cottage” we did. One, two paces, left turn. What the book really meant was turn left after about 30 paces. We soon realised our mistake, and were on our way along a pretty enclosed path with an old stone stile at the end. These aren’t a particularly rare sight around the Cotswolds, but I still always get really excited when I see one and usually have to take a photo.
As we entered Miserden Park there were lovely views of Miserden Abbey and the Frome Valley.
We rested for a while on a wooden bench to admire the view, and share a turkey and ham pasty. The sun began to shine, and we watched a Heron take flight across the water. It was a special moment. The lake was so still and peaceful. We were the only people there.
Next we headed up a steep, rough track through the woodland and out onto a long tarmac drive which led us to gates beside a lodge.
There we saw a couple of old staddle stones, which are sometimes known as mushroom stones. They were originally used in England as supporting bases for granaries, hayricks etc. They lifted the granaries above the ground to protect stored grain from vermin and water.
Nowadays, I think they are just kept as ornamental features. They look quite magical covered in moss.
Ahead lay the village of Winstone, where the church dates back to the time of the Norman Conquest. Unfortunately, we were running out of daylight hours, so we took a short cut along the narrow lane to Gaskill’s Farm. We will have to explore Winstone another time.
We climbed another stone stile to encounter a flock of free range turkeys in the farmyard. They began squawking at us to make it clear we weren’t welcome. Turkeys are rather larger than they appear when you see them in plastic packaging in a supermarket, so we hurried away across the yard. Of course we went in the wrong direction, but with a compass reading and a small detour around the back of some farm buildings we were soon back on the right track.
The sun was starting to set and we were eager to get back to the car before dark. I was carrying a head torch, but navigating in the dark is definitely a last resort. We hurried on through pretty woodland. Startled Pheasants hastily flew out of the undergrowth and away through the trees. The sunlight made the winter grasses look like spun gold from a fairytale.
The last section of the walk involves retracing your steps down the steep track through the woods to the lake. From there it is a strenuous climb up forest tracks and across the field to a lane and then the enclosed pathway leading back to Miserden. We made it back to the car in good time 🙂
Our Rating: 5/5