Sunday, January 19, 2014

Hailes Abbey Walk, Cotswolds

Distance: 5 miles
Start & Finish: Hailes Abbey Car Park next to Hailes Church.
Refreshments: Hayles Fruit Farm on the downhill stretch just above Hailes Abbey.
Parking: Next to Hailes Church
Conditions:  Some muddy stretches with a muddy hill climb (during January at least), pass through fields of livestock including sheep and horses, quite a few horses and riders out on the trails and a number of cyclists on the roads.
The AA Walks guide
Runkeeper Route:  Runkeeper

We had the weekend staying in the White Hart Hotel in Winchcombe in the Cotswolds with the plan of spending at least one day walking in the area, Saturday's weather didn't look great, but Sunday was the day with clear skies and just a little light wind.  After an excellent meal in the White Hart in the evening we were ready to burn the calories off on a good walk.

Hailes Abbey Ruins.
We had picked up a reduced priced box of Cotswolds walking guides, published the AA,  from the Bookshop in Broadway on Saturday and chose the walk around Hailes abbey which is 5 miles.

Parking in the car park for Hailes Abbey, which is under English Heritage's care and unfortunately not open during the winter months but the ruins can be seen without entering the grounds we set off and followed the route.

Didbrook Church.
We had a little confusion approaching Didbrook when the card said cross a style, then another style and a foot bridge, the first style has been turned into a kissing gate and there is a style to the left and another kissing gate straight ahead and no sign of a footbridge.  We opted to take the style and head for the public phone box that marked the road through Didbrook.  The AA have corrected this on their online route guide.

After a while following the road up to Wood Stanway you are joined by the Cotswold way and it is the Cotswold way that you follow all the way back to the Abbey.

Climbing up to the top of the hill, which is muddy going especially with the damp winter that we have, gives you a wonderful view out over the valley and there is even a seat to rest and enjoy the view.

The route follows the top of the hill to Beckbury Camp Iron Age fort and Cromwell's Chair, which is where Thomas Cromwell allegedly watched the destruction of Hailes Abbey.
Cromwell's Chair.

Returning back down the hill past Hayles Fruit Farm, where there is a cafe was down a track that was good underfoot.

Hailes Church.
We had an enjoyable walk in good clear weather that gave us good views.

Retrurning home we stopped at the Fosse Bridge Inn on the Fosseway.

Views of the Valley.