For this walk we used: Pathfinder Guides – The Cotswolds (Published 2009) Walk 9: Brimpsfield and Syde. Distance: 5.5 miles
This walk takes you through some beautiful countryside, through attractive meadows, and along woodland tracks. There has been a significant amount of rainfall this winter, so we encountered a lot of mud and some flooding which made it hard going in places. This walk would be more suitable for the summer months.
We parked at the village hall in Brimpsfield, Gloucestershire, and walked towards the war memorial. In a large field in the middle of the village there we some Gloucester Old Spot and Pot Bellied pigs, and chickens happily roaming about. I had no idea Gloucester Old Spots were so big, they are absolutely enormous. A lady brought a bag of fruit a vegetables to feed the pigs. As soon as they heard the rustling of plastic, they were off in her direction like a shot! They can run incredibly fast. We stood for about 10 minutes to watch the spectacle, before realising we’d better get on as it was already almost midday. We always aim to get an early start on our walks, but rarely seem to manage it.
It wasn’t long before we turned onto Brimpsfield Park drive which had lovely views across fields decorated with brightly coloured Pheasants. We joined a bridleway at the end of the driveway which led us into woodland. We could hear bubbling streams almost everywhere we walked, and the tracks soon became quite muddy. The Foxes must have been having a feast, as it was like a Pheasant graveyard with bones and remains scattered everywhere.
At the end of the woods, the stream we had been following gushed across the pathway, but we did a small detour and found a little grassy bridge where we could cross over it. On entering the long meadow it became clear that there was extensive flooding. We were almost going to turn back and abandon the walk altogether at this point, fearing that the floods may have been worse later on. It was impossible to reach the next stile, but we climbed over a metal fence higher up the hillside to assess the situation.
Once over the fence we could see that it was possible to continue as we could safely walk across the grassy mounds along the edge of the flood water, and if necessary climb further uphill. So we carried on. It was at this point, that we missed the left hand fork at a footpath junction. Perhaps it was concealed by the water, or maybe we just weren’t expecting there to be a footpath up this steep hillside, but either way we didn’t see an obvious path. We reached the end of the meadow, realising we had gone wrong.
We should have turned back on ourselves up a wide grassy path towards Syde, but at that moment we were suddenly unsure. I felt a bit on edge with the flood water, and not having done this walk before I didn’t know how difficult the rest of it would be. I was concerned about time, as I knew it would be dark at 4.15pm and although I always carry a head torch, navigating through flooded woods in the pitch dark is actually a situation I want to avoid! Perhaps I’m boring, but I like feeling safe.
So we crossed a very squelchy patch of mud and two stiles to a house, which led to a narrow tarmacked lane. There were no signposts, so we continued down the lane until we saw some. My navigation skills are ok but not brilliant, so as we stood on the side of the road, I got cross with the guide book, then panicked slightly, then calmed down and got out the OS Landranger Map. After a few minutes I had pinpointed our exact location on the map, and we took a short cut up the lanes to Caudle Green where we were able to pick up the way from the guide book again. So we missed out the ‘Syde’ bit of the walk altogether. It may have been just as well as we were limited on time. We will do this walk again later on in the year, and try to find the elusive footpath to Syde.
After the village of Caudle Green, we entered a field which led us back into woods once again. The path descended to the bottom of the valley, where we followed it through beautiful, peaceful woodland for several miles. Although very muddy, we were lucky that the track was above the level of the stream so we didn’t have any further problems with flood water.
We were less than a mile from the car when it began to pour with rain. We walked along a well used bridleway next to Longdole Polo club. It was getting muddier and more slippery by the minute, but we made it back to the car 20 minutes before sunset, and treated ourselves to a well deserved flask of hot chocolate.
Although this walk was tricky in places due to bad weather, and we managed to go off route slightly, we loved it. The woodlands had an ancient, magical feel about them, and there were some beautiful views.
Our rating: 5/5