This is one of the loveliest places on earth, and I saw more bluebells than I possibly may have ever seen before in my life, making Saturday a very happy day.
And of course, the train in Cam & Dursley took me to Bristol for the night.
The lane alongside the farm I am working on, full of daffodils:
The sun on the fields of rapeseed and the Tyndale monument in the distance (I was heading there by a slightly circuitous route):
Edbury hill (the one hill I didn’t climb):
The skies were amazing over the new fields.
I came into Kingswood, a lovely village complete with the ruins of a Cistercian monastery, though the principal thing left standing is the 16th Century gatehouse:
A bit tricky there, getting onto the right footpath, but I managed. Sadly it took me up a hill (there are a lot of hills):
and down again to Wotton-under-edge, which I also loved.
This truly beautiful church:
The Parish Church of St. Mary the Virgin is the town’s most important architectural feature. It is framed by trees and possesses a fine late 14th century tower. Although there was certainly an earlierSt. Mary’s church in Wotton-under-Edge church, the present building is no earlier than the 13th century and was consecrated in 1283. The whole church was by no means complete at the time of its consecration and reflects many structural changes over the centuries. The base of the tower, which has a notable peal of eight bells (cast in Gloucester in 1756), is of the early 14th century, while the upper stages form an admirable example of Perpendicular Gothic architecture of the late 14th century. It is described by David Verey in Pevsner’s Buildings of England (Gloucestershire: The Cotswolds): “It is one of the most splendid Perp towers in the county”. The South porch, which bears a sundial and has a priest’s chamber above, contains a restored 13th century doorway leading to the interior.
It is indeed beautifully austere inside, wide and full of light. The town is also home to the ancient Ram Inn, with many a claim on the title of most haunted inn in Britain:
It is a truly wonderful old building, its front door and window many feet below the surface of the road, I did not feel any evil exhalations, but some believe the devil himself lives here, along with twenty or more ghosts. I am more afraid of strangers than ghosts, so I did not knock on the door and ask for a tour.
From here I started walking along the Cotswold Way, it was most beautiful and most wonderfully marked as well, which is always a pleasure after the wrong turns that always arise trekking across fields. Yet another hill is climbed to get onto it properly:
And then began the bluebells, bluebells and more bluebells. Like woods, I find them so utterly beautiful yet also so very hard to photograph. None of these pictures really does them justice.
They are almost best captured in the distance, like a blue haze seen between trees.
I love bluebelled hazes and roads not taken…
On and still on to Blackenbury Camp.
I found this online from the Archaeological Handbookof the County of Gloucester, by George Witts [published by G. Norman, Clarence Street, Cheltenham, n. d. (1883)]
No. 13. — Blackenbury Camp.
This stands on Westridge Hill, in the parish of Wotton-under‑Edge, and two miles south of Dursley. It consists of two banks and a ditch, running across a promontory of the Cotswold Hills, having an entrance at each end. The area enclosed is eight acres, and the measurement along the mound is about 800 yards. Rudder says this which called “Becket’s Bury.” Scattered all over the plateau of Westridge, adjacent to the camp, were found innumerable pit dwellings. Some of them were very large, being from 20 to 30 feet in diameter, and seven feet deep. Upwards of 600 small pits have been counted in the immediate vicinity; better, although they were found close up to the entrenchments of the camp, not one has been observed within the fortified area.
See Rudder’s “History of Gloucestershire,” p847.
Also “Archaeologia,” vol. XIX, p166.
Also “Proceedings Cott. Nat. Field Club,” vol. VI, p217.
I did not know to look for pits!
It is a lovely place.
From here I walked to Tyndale’s monument. William Tyndale (1494-1536) was born very near here, and the first to translate the New Testament into English — this was heresy in his day, and he fled England for Germany (Hamburg it was said, for a while at least). He was caught in Antwerp, and sentenced to burn at the stake, though ‘mercifully’ strangled before the fire was lit. His translation was first printed the year he died. I got to the tower just as the buckets of rain began to come down. I was planning on climbing it anyway, and the view did not disappoint despite the number of stairs, to the Severn and across to Wales.
From the monument I continued on to perhaps my favourite place on the walk, a deeply worn part of the track that feels truly like an ancient way between the towering trees.
From there down into Dibley, I didn’t make it to Watery Bottom
But down a lovely track and the light was glorious on the rain falling nearby:
as well as the next damn hill I was about to climb.
A look back at the monument — you can see it for miles, and at night it is lit up beautifully.
Then up a hill, down a hill and into Dursley. I was so ready to be done, so so ready. I hadn’t quite realised it was over two and a half more miles along a busy road through Durlsey and then through Cam and then a little stretch of countryside to get to the train station and then back to Bristol for a night.
Back to the farm now. I caught three lambs today! Somehow, someway we are going to spend Wednesday catching sixty.