For this walk we used: Collins Short Walks in The Cotswolds (Published: 2014) Walk 6: Edgeworth. Distance: 2.5 miles.
We parked near the village hall in a small layby on the outskirts of Edgeworth village. The rain was just beginning again, but we were determined not to be put off by the weather. Sometimes on a day like this it is hard to get going as I always think I’d rather be curled up by a warm fire, but I soon realise how glad I am to be outdoors. As long as you wear the right clothing to protect you from the elements, it can be quite refreshing and I love the sound of raindrops on waterproofs.
We made our way down the lane and across some fields towards Edgeworth’s medieval church with it’s pretty lych-gate. I hadn’t studied the map in much detail and somehow I was expecting part of the route to be the way we had walked before, it’s funny how we are creatures of habit. We turned away from the church, heading down towards a stile. Here the guide book said “go over the stile and head downhill turning right at the iron fence”. We paused for a while and wondered if it could possibly mean down the steep embankment, but the sign indicated that the footpath was downhill to the right through some woodland. We decided to follow the yellow footpath arrow, which was of course the wrong way. We soon lost sight of the trail as it wasn’t well trodden, but kept going until we came to a wire fence with some overhanging trees which made a perfect natural shelter. We opened the Thermos flask of steaming hot coffee, and enjoyed a small cup each with a square of dark chocolate. The narrow river Frome was flowing rapidly with all the rain, crashing against its banks. In the distance we spotted a large herd of deer running out of the woodland and along the valley.
Reading over the guide book directions again, we realised we were meant to cross a stream before walking along the flat valley floor. We followed the winding river back upstream to investigate, and before long saw the yellow arrows indicating the place where we were meant to jump across a smaller stream, with a wooden footbridge ahead. These narrow valleys can be quite disorientating. You think you are on the right path, and before long you are heading in completely the opposite direction. Way marked footpaths which don’t exist on the map are there to make it more confusing, while footpaths on the map sometimes don’t visibly exist on the ground. Note to self: it’s always worth taking a compass reading to get an idea of the general direction we want to be walking in!
Happy that we were now on our way at last, we came out on the road and went through a gate along the bridleway towards Edgeworth Mill Farm. The farm dwellings were quite beautiful, and what a stunning riverside location. We crossed the river Frome once again on an old wooden bridge, and climbed uphill past an orchard and some allotments. I thought how I would love to live here and grow fruit and vegetables, and tend to the black sheep on the hillside. A thin pathway snaked its way through woodland, where we tried to avoid ripping our trousers on brambles as our feet squelched and slid about in the mud. I skidded once on the descent towards Valley Farm, almost falling over. After the next wooden footbridge, we stopped again by the river for some bites of our Cornish pasties and another cup of coffee.
From here onwards the fields were very boggy, our boots were often submerged under water. With any more rain I think it would be too flooded, and we would have had to take an alternative footpath higher up the valley back to Edgeworth. Soon however, we were on Valley Farm’s tarmacked driveway which led out to the public road. We made our way uphill along the narrow road, stopping occasionally at field gateways to admire the view. I thought it might be nicer to walk along a footpath across fields back to the village hall rather than sticking to the road. We climbed a stile and walked in the direction of the wooden marker post to the next field boundary, where, as often happens, all traces of the path suddenly disappeared. A huge tree had fallen in a storm, crushing the iron fence beneath it. We carefully inspected the twisted metal for any signs of what might have once been a gate or stile. There were some remains of what looked like a gate, but it was wrapped in barbed wire, and there was no public right of way arrow. I stumbled down the steep hillside with it’s grassy mounds, to see if there were any signs elsewhere, but masses of overgrown brambles made it difficult to be sure.
The light was beginning to fade, so we decided it was best to retrace our steps back to the road and continue that way back to the car.
This was quite a tricky walk considering it was only meant to be 2.5 miles long, but we loved it and would definitely do this again. I suppose it might be easier next time now that we know the way, and dare I say, I’m interested to explore some of the other footpaths on the OS map in this area. I’m guessing that might take a while though!
Our Rating: 5/5