For this walk we used: Pathfinder Guides The Cotswolds (Published 2009) Walk: 22. Stanton, Stanway and Snowshill. Distance: 8 miles.
The walk began from the free car park in Stanton. We passed through here on the Cotswold Way National Trail last year, so it was no surprise to see lots of backpackers and DofE students milling about. We followed the still familiar route along the Cotswold Way towards Stanway where almost immediately we were rewarded with effortless views to the west of rolling green hills, fields and woodlands. We soon reached the village, and stood for a while to admire the magnificent gatehouse to the 17th century Stanway House. We continued on towards Stanway Watermill, where a large group of walkers were resting in the shade underneath a tree. The watermill isn’t mentioned in the guide book, but it is now a fully restored working flour mill. Its massive 24 foot overshot waterwheel is the 8th largest waterwheel in England, producing stoneground Cotswold flour from wheat grown less than one mile away on the Stanway Estate, which was established in the 8th century.
After following the footpath through an orchard, we emerged onto a busy road and turned off the Cotswold Way towards Lidcombe wood. From that point onwards we had the Cotswold hills to ourselves. It was a steep and muddy climb up through the thick woodland, but we didn’t mind because it was wonderfully cool underneath the trees. Once we reached the top, we stopped for lunch perched on our tripod stools on a small farm track.
After devouring a chicken & chorizo pasty, I felt a bit sleepy, and lazily thought “The route is more or less straight on now until Snowshill”. As a result we missed a left turn and went completely off course. I suddenly wondered what those trees were doing there, and realised we’d gone wrong. At least I didn’t panic! I worked out where we were, and spotted a bridleway which would get us back on route without having to turn back up a very steep field. For some strange reason Suzy doubted my ability at this point, but I assured her I was 95% certain of where we now were 🙂
We were back on track within 10 minutes, and not far from the village of Snowshill. Suzy was hungry again, so we stopped to eat two tins of mackerel, and some more crisps. Some sheep in a nearby field were looking very interested in us. I think they were admiring our tripod stools.
After Snowshill village there were incredible views of Broadway and the Vale of Evesham beyond. I think we went slightly wrong again near Buckland Wood, perhaps because the footpath was fenced off forcing you to walk in a particular direction across the sheep field. I’m not too sure exactly, but we avoided a wrong turn down the Winchcombe Way, and found the correct right-hand turn towards Laverton further along the track. I enjoyed the route downhill along a pleasant sunken track. The tall grasses were swaying in the breeze, and the view was still beautiful. A natural spring trickled out of the hillside, making the rocks very slippery, and I thought for a while about how precious those natural springs are. We turned left, crossing a small wooden footbridge, before making our way across peaceful meadows and back to Stanton.
This is a delightful route through some of the best of the Cotswolds countryside. Snowshill and Stanton are two of the most beautiful Cotswold villages, and we loved revisiting the section of the Cotswold Way between Stanton and Stanway.
Our Rating: 5/5