For this walk we used: Collins Short Walks in The Cotswolds (Published: 2014) Walk 3: Chedworth Woods. Distance: 3.25 miles.
This is a shorter version of the Chedworth and Withington walk, ideal if you only have a couple of hours, or if you would like to combine it with a visit to Chedworth Roman Villa.
After driving through some stunning countryside between Cirencester and Chedworth, we parked at the free National Trust forest car park near the Roman Villa. The view across the valley was so lovely, that we decided to eat our lunch in the car. This would be a great car-picnicking spot for rainier weather. We had Teriyaki glazed chicken, a green bean salad, and courgette omelette with red onion chutney. It was delicious! We aren’t always quite so well prepared.
We set off along a quiet track which soon ran alongside the River Coln. I am particularly fond of this river. It reminds me of my friend who was born, and for most of her life lived in the Coln Valley. The flowing water makes me think about the continuation of life, and that thought feels comforting. At the end of the track there is an old Cotswold stone farmhouse with a superb view of the valley. What a wonderful place. We stopped for a while to take it all in, before climbing steps into the shaded woodland. Bluebells were just beginning to appear, in a few more weeks the forest will be bursting with colour.
We entered a valley with a wide track running through it. If you are lucky you can sometimes spot large Roman snails in the damp grasses. These ancient Chedworth woods were here before 1600 and as a result are rich in wildlife, flora and fauna. Bluebells, Primroses, Wood Spurge, wild strawberries & Ramsons (wild garlic) can be found here. There are also many woodland birds such as the Tawny Owl, Blackcap, Nuthatch, Woodcock, Wood Warbler and Wren.
We emerged into a newly planted crop field. The sky was a deep shade of blue with fluffy white clouds and seemed to go on forever. We joined a quiet lane for 1/2 mile, before turning right on to the Monarch’s Way. We said hello to some walkers who had just climbed up the steep hillside from Chedworth village. The Monarch’s Way descended back down a steep rocky track towards the woodland. An elderly man was walking up the path at the speed of a very nimble mountain goat. He was red in the face and sweating, but looked used to it. We carried on cautiously, occasionally slipping on the loose stones.
The path returned to the wood where bright yellow Primroses greeted us on grassy banks. It was a delightful end to a magical walk.
Our Rating: 5/5