Before I arrived in the midlands, I made a big list of all the places I could go for a walk on my “free” day (that is, a day where I had no specific plans). However, I threw all of those out when I suddenly remembered that the top of the Cotswolds were within easy reach. The others can wait for another day.
I’m the kind of thrilling individual that owns multiple guide books and walk books, and I have one for England, and another one solely for the Cotswolds. Chipping Campden was listed in the former as being particularly “bucolic” among Cotswolds towns.
Despite my profession involving using words – and lots of them – I didn’t actually know what this word meant but it sounded good. Just to check it didn’t mean the opposite of what I assumed, I looked it up and it transpires that it means “pleasant” in reference to the countryside life. Being a born-and-bred urban mouse, perhaps that’s why I’d not heard of it before.
To my mind, if something is pointed out as being a particularly fine example of an area notable for being particularly fine, it’s worth a visit. Especially when it turns out that it’s only 40 minutes from where you happen to be at that point in time.
Wanting to make sure I crammed in even more goodness, I also chose Broadway to visit on the way – it has a tower just outside it, while the town itself was also listed as being pleasant – if not quite bucolic. A great new word that I feel like I need to use at least a few more times in this post for maximum value. Bucolic.
I arrived first at Broadway Tower, which is described in the guidebook as a “folly” – another good word. I always thought folly meant something foolish – in architectural terms it has a similar meaning in that it’s a building with no particular purpose. In fact, if you look up the term “folly”, you’ll see Broadway Tower listed as an example on the Wikipedia page. How about that.
Next I headed into the town itself, where I enjoyed a walk up and down the lovely high street where I could see the light was already starting to turn golden and pleasing long shadows were starting to appear. For the final part of the trip, I parked up at Dover’s Hill, roughly a mile outside Chipping Campden, so I could walk down into it and enjoy the views along the way. My guidebook had told me that Dover’s Hill is the site of the Cotswolds Olimpick Games – a precursor to none other than the modern Olympics. Who knew?
Fortunately I didn’t have to dodge any javelin throwers as I made my way down to the town, but I did have to navigate my way past some lambs – never a chore. The views across the surrounding hills were also pretty special. Eventually I arrived in Chipping Campden itself to find the place pretty much deserted. I guess by this point it was after 6pm and everything was closed, but to me that just made it even better.
The light was at its best and gave the golden buildings an even stronger hue than they already have. Somebody helpfully left a cute little bright yellow Fiat 500 outside one of the houses too, which was kind of them. Again, I walked up and down the high street looking for little details and trying my best to capture the light.
Heading back I was keen to go a different way to complete a circle, and also take in some of the different bucolic views that the area has to offer. I ended up on a road for a few slightly hairy minutes, but it wasn’t long before I was trekking up a hilly field once more. As I looked back over the town I saw the moon had risen, so I thought I better get on with getting back – after all, I didn’t want to miss Line of Duty.
Distance – 14.22miles (including driving)
Time – 3:05 (including driving)