Let me start by saying this is one of the best trails that I have ever done, save it for a warm, sunny day, take a picnic and enjoy it. Fine views, lovely countryside and several fine examples of Cotswold villages.
For this trail, we parked in the National Trust car park at the far end of Snowshill, it may be some way from the first cache on the series but it’s a perfect place to start. From the car park we enjoyed the walk through the village, passing the village pub and the church along the way, it is a wonderfully well preserved Cotswold village.After walking through the village we were soon on to the Snowshill Scramble trail, no.1 was a nice quick find to start with. I always love my trips to the Cotswolds and right from the off I had a very good feeling that series was not going to disappoint.
From no.1 it was a gentle walk up the road and past a guest house with painted sheep in the garden and real sheep in the fields penned in by traditional Cotswold dry stone walling. After a short walk along the road, we turned onto a track and were soon out in the Cotswold countryside. We somehow managed to completely miss a gate or stile onto a footpath and had no way of getting out of the field, apparently this is quite common according to a passing horse rider and to prove the point a mountain biker appeared behind me wondering where she had gone wrong!
We found our way back onto the correct path and then turned into the wood where Pip could run off the lead for the first time on the trip. I had to hang back a bit and let a muggle get ahead of me, something that I found I had to do quite a bit throughout the walk; it seemed like the sunny weather had bought everyone out!
The next section of the trail was up hill and by the time I reached the top, I was really feeling quite warm and I was a little out of breath but the reward was some nice view. Another quick find at the top before entering Lidcombe Wood meant that at this stage we had found 7 caches .
After picking up the “Twill Surely Rain” cache on the north side of the wood, we had to double back to pick up the trail through the wood from the Northwest corner through the South West corner. It was a gentle downhill trek which was a little slippery along a sand and stone path.
The peace was quickly shattered by the banging of the hydraulic ram that is used to power the fountain at Stanway House, I can’t believe that they can’t make a quieter one! Fortunately the noise from the pump soon disappeared as we walked along the bridle way and uphill again. There were more fine views across the valley and Papermill farm, on the way we passed the outflow from the pool in Lidcombe Wood that used to feed the former mill on the Stanway estate.
Eventually, we left the wood and walked down B4077 a short way before picking up the Cotswold Way National Trail at Stanway. We passed through a very unusual carved swan kissing gate at the approach to the village, the first one I’ve seen quite like this. The sun was shining on it which had brought out the ladybirds, at least a dozen of them.
Stanway is a lovely village typical of the Cotswold but the 17th Century Stanway house and neighboring church dominate the village. We continued through the village and into parkland, which would be a nice place to stop for lunch but not for us, although we did have to take a seat to let some very sloooooow muggles pass us so we could retrieve the cache. Its lovely parkland and the views got better as we walked up the hill.
We followed the Cotswold Way taking in the fine views until we reached the village of Stanton another good example of a Cotswold village, there was also a nice looking pub here that looked very busy. From Stanton we briefly left the Cotswold way and embarked on a mile uphill climb, which seemed to go on for longer but we did get to see some of the best views of the series.
The final stretches of the trail were all downhill and yes some more fine views over Snowshill village. This trail took so much longer than I had planned for several reasons, firstly the views, which were fantastic, then there were the Cotswold villages of Snowshill, Stanway & Stanton, which were so interesting. Thirdly, the muggles, which were so plentiful, the change in weather had most definitely brought them out and finally, the tricky hides, of which there were several. Save this series for a nice day, take a picnic and enjoy it. This is one the best walks for a while.
EveryTrail – Share your Geocache Trail and morehttp://www.everytrail.com/trip/widgetimpression?trip_id=1468847