Millie & Suzy

Follow our walking adventures around the Cotswolds & beyond

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Cotswold Way National Trail Hall of Fame

Cotswold Way

We were excited to learn that we would have the opportunity to enter the Cotswold Way Hall of Fame if we managed to complete the National Trail. We downloaded and printed out our completion cards from the website, and got them stamped at various points along the way. We collected our stamps from tourist information centres and post offices.

As well as being entered on the website, you also receive an embroidered patch, or brass and enamel pin badge which says “I’ve walked the Cotswold Way”. We opted for the pin badges (They cost £15 for 2).


I joke that it was the thought of the pin badge that kept me going, but it is partly true. I love badges and really wanted one.

Walking the Cotswold Way was a wonderful experience, made truly unforgettable by the genuine kindness and warmth of the people we met along the trail. At times it was hard going, and we did almost give up, but it was all worth it in the end. Not just for the badge, but for the memories.



The Cotswold Way National Trail. Painswick to Bath: Day 6 – Day 10

Cam Long Down

Cam Long Down – September 2015

We had more days of rest than we needed but we didn’t want to arrive in Bath on a Friday or Saturday night when the hotel prices are higher. Also travelling home on a Sunday was no good as the buses don’t run from the railway station to our home town. I was eager to get going again, and it was difficult being patient.

We ditched a lot of gear from our backpacks, including all of our cooking equipment, before returning to the trail. Even the mini playing cards didn’t make it 😦 we were ruthless. Every gram you take away makes that backpack more bearable.

We continued walking from where we had left off in Painswick. It was a beautiful day, and we enjoyed the views from Haresfield Beacon as we sat down on a bench to eat our chorizo and cheese baguettes. This was familiar territory as we’d already walked some of the sections around here.

Camping at Thistledown Farm near Nympsfield

Camping at Thistledown Farm near Nympsfield

On day 7 we continued on to Cam Long Down, which was one of my favourite places along the trail. The hill was steep but we loved the wonderful 360° views. It wasn’t much further from there to Dursley where we were glad to find that there were plenty of places to get food! That night we stayed at the Black Horse Inn at North Nibley, instead of camping on the grounds of Nibley House as we’d originally planned.

The Tyndale Monument at North Nibley

The Tyndale Monument at North Nibley

We left the village early, and saw the Tyndale Monument in the beautiful morning light, its cross was shining brightly. There was nobody else around, and it was magical. We climbed to the top of the tower, up a spiral staircase of 121 steps, but it was worth the effort as the views were amazing.

Wotton-under-Edge is only 2 miles from North Nibley so we were in good time for our best breakfast of the trail at The Edge Cafe. We had poached eggs on toast with bacon, and great coffee. After tackling a challenging hill up out of Wotton-under-Edge, the walking soon became surprisingly easy along farm tracks and lanes. We passed the Somerset Monument, but it is privately owned so we were unable to climb its tower.

On reaching Horton we stayed at Oakfield Farm campsite. The grass was so well kept it was like camping on a tennis court. We could see the Somerset monument in the far distance and could hardly believe we’d come all that way.


A pleasant view across farmland from Horton Fort

On day 9 we walked from Horton to Cold Ashton. We got caught in heavy rain that morning and our shoes and boots were drenched and uncomfortable. The walk through Dodington Park was very peaceful, so it was a shock to suddenly arrive at the noisy section that crosses over the M4 motorway. We passed through a seedy car parking area, hurrying on as quickly as we could through the woodland and out across the fields again.


The final descent into Bath through green fields

On the last day my feet were pretty sore, but this time it was the balls of my feet rather than my heels. I felt as though I was walking on burning hot coals.

The way to Bath was prettier than I’d imagined, and it wasn’t too steep a descent. The guide book made it sound like Everest. However, the last bit of the walk through the city was really steep, and we weren’t prepared for that as we thought we’d done it! We met a man who had walked the Camino de Santiago (500 miles). It is beyond me how people do it. I sat down on a bench to apply talc to my feet and change into dry socks. I hobbled into Bath, it wasn’t quite the glamorous ending I’d wanted it to be.

We turned a last corner, and there was Bath Abbey in all its glory illuminated in the sunlight. I felt quite emotional as we approached, but I kept a stiff upper lip. After all I am British 😉

Bath Abbey, and the end of our 102 mile journey

Bath Abbey marking the end of our 102 mile journey

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The Cotswold Way National Trail. Chipping Campden to Painswick: Day 1 – Day 5


Our first day of walking was just 6 miles from Chipping Campden to Broadway. I was looking forward to the views from Broadway Tower, but it poured with rain all day and when we got to the top of the hill the view was a total white-out. We decided to have a cream tea in the cafe before continuing on to Broadway village.


Broadway Tower – August 2015

There were no campsites in the area so that night we stayed at the Horse and Hound Inn, a beautiful old pub with plenty of character. We spent hours unpacking our backpacks and making sure our equipment and clothing was dry. It wasn’t exactly the easy start we had anticipated.

The following day the weather was looking better. We enjoyed the walk through the stunning Cotswold landscape, and made it to our campsite at Hayles Fruit Farm before the farm shop closed at 5pm. The afternoon sun had been almost too hot, and I was craving a bottle of their chilled apple juice. We were tired and we’d only walked for 16 miles, I wondered how on earth we were going to manage 102 miles.

In the morning we woke up bright and early, but it took 3 hours to pack up. I had packed our bags originally as Suzy was working, and as a result she wasn’t familiar enough with how to pack things away, or where things needed to go to fit into our relatively small 36L bags. It was a bit of a disaster actually, as we didn’t leave Winchcombe until 12.30, and only just made it to our campsite near Dowdeswell before dark. We went to the Co-op supermarket in Winchcombe to pick up some supplies, and they didn’t stock any of the things we had planned to buy. What didn’t make matters easier was that the aisles were so narrow we could barely walk up and down them with our backpacks on. In the end, Suzy waited with our bags while I desperately tried to search for suitable backpacking food for several days as the next shop along the trail wouldn’t be until Painswick. I was getting really fed up and I bought sparkling water by mistake, so we had to go back to get still water.

Later on that afternoon we were walking on Cleeve Hill near Cheltenham, and the weather began to look pretty dark and stormy. It was a bit scary, but we were tired and already hungry, and that can play tricks with your mind. Suzy panicked and started crying. OMG this was ridiculous, we were only on day 3, and not far from home! We ate some M&M’s and beef jerky, and I tried to be reassuring. I was scared too, but I pretended to think it would all be fine. We went the wrong way at a disused quarry because someone had turned the metal finger post so that it pointed in the wrong direction, so it was another 2 hours before we made it to Colgate Farm. We pitched the tent just in time before the rain started. It was a relief that there were some other people staying there: a Dutch lady who was doing some circular walks from her car, and two Irish lads who had walked from Bath to Dursley and then given up. They’d travelled by bus to Cheltenham instead.  We were relieved that it wasn’t just us finding it difficult.

It took longer than we thought it would to reach Seven Springs where we were able to get a hot meal at the “Hungry Horse” pub. As we approached I saw the Cheltenham to Cirencester bus, and I wanted to give up and go home. We felt better after eating, so we decided to carry on.

Camping pods at Ullenwood

Camping pods at Ullenwood

That night we stayed in a wooden camping pod at Ullenwood, which saved us from having to pitch the tent. The pods are located on the grounds of the National Star college, which helps people with disabilities. The place had a special feel about it, very modern and leading edge. We enjoyed our stay there.

It was day 5 and my heels were getting sore so I applied duct tape, and we set off for Painswick. The walk that day was beautiful through ancient woodland, but very hilly. We rested at the top of Cooper’s Hill the site of the annual cheese rolling event. Some American hikers were worried about whether or not they would make it to Painswick before dark, but they were reassured when we said we were staying there too.

Resting at the top of Cooper's Hill

Resting at the top of Cooper’s Hill

Painswick is at the half way point of the Cotswold Way National Trail. It is a lovely town, with interesting little streets and restaurants. For the first time we felt as though we were on holiday instead of a gruelling SAS exercise. However, the next day we decided we needed an unplanned break. The decision was final when the small breakfast offering arrived at our B&B, and I knew we would be in for another day of hunger.

We got a bus home to Cirencester and rested for a few days before returning to the trail. We considered giving up, but this was something we really wanted to achieve and we weren’t going to be beaten that easily.