For this walk we used: AA Pub Walks & Cycle Rides – The Cotswolds (Published: 2005) Walk 14: A Circuit from Bisley. Distance: 5.75 miles.
The weather has been so stormy that this is the first guidebook walk we’ve attempted since January. With floods and gale force winds, we finally gave in and decided to take a break until the Spring. So after 8 weeks of not very much walking at all, we were really excited to get started again.
This walk began at Bisley, which is a pretty Cotswold village. Although it’s not very far from Cirencester, we’d never been there before. We parked in George street near the old village lock-up which was still in use until 1850. The streets were quite narrow, so we were careful to watch out for fast approaching cars whizzing around the corners, but it wasn’t long before we were walking on quieter country lanes and across fields.
After Rectory Farm, we missed the stile as there was a horse and rider blocking the way. We were baffled for a few minutes, until I took a compass reading. I’m often embarrassed to walk across private land, even though I know it is a public right of way. We crossed over the stile, trying not to look too apologetic, and walked diagonally across the paddocks.
We reached the hamlet of Bournes Green, and sat down on a bench to eat our Scotch eggs. The view was delightful, and the sound of bubbling water from the stream made it all seem very peaceful. Behind us a little girl was happily playing in a cottage garden. It reminded me of my childhood when it was considered safer for us to play outside. Although I lived on the outskirts of town, in Cheltenham, I still managed to find and cherish nature. I played for hours in woodland brooks and grassy meadows. I explored country lanes and remember long summer days with birds chirruping and the heady scent of Elderflower in the hedgerows. It gave me a taste of freedom and adventure, that many kids never get to experience.
We continued on to the villages of Oakridge, Far Oakridge, and along a track to Waterlane. The countryside here is very attractive, lovely green fields with miles of charming Cotswold stone walls, and mixed woodland in the distance. After passing Limbrick’s Farm we decided to stop for a snack of green olives and ready salted crisps, and try out our new tripod stools. They are pretty small, but light enough to carry without really noticing, and at £1 each from Poundland they are a bargain. They do actually work, and are comfy enough to sit on for a short break.
We climbed a grassy bank and crossed a ploughed field before entering woodland. We could see the effect of the storms here as a huge tree lay uprooted. An icy wind blew and I was very glad I had brought my winter hat. We walked along the base of a shallow grassy valley, passing some lovely natural ponds, before crossing the stream and heading uphill to Heyhedge Lane which led us back to Bisley.
This was an interesting, easy walk, which we thoroughly enjoyed.
Our Rating: 5/5