We set off on Saturday morning with high hopes for a lovely day, strolling through the countryside from our character cottage in Blockley. We stopped first at the local cafe/shop to buy a recent map of leisure walks in the area and set off, with some instructions from the owner on where to access the beginning of the walking path.
The walk we had planned offered much promise. We had chosen to go to the old market town of Chipping Campden walking through country lanes and fields, and that is how the walk began. We wandered through wheatfields, dotted which beautiful large red poppies, climbed over stiles, looked at the farmland vistas, stepping carefully over blackberry and nettle bushes – I felt like a character in a Famous Five adventure, minus the lashings of gingerbeer!
Then came our epic fail – between the four of us, we completely misinterpreted a turn on the map and we ended up on a quite busy road, which we discovered as we progressed further, was heading us in completely the wrong direction towards the A44. With Map Reading 101 clearly not our best subject, we retraced our steps back to the bridle path where we assumed we had made the wrong turn. We could see the path we wanted to take quite clearly on the map, but it simply wasn’t there, so we took to the busy road again and headed in the opposite direction. It was a long walk, and often times hazardous as there were no footpaths, only mown edges for us to leap onto when cars were approaching.
We managed to confirm with a passing cyclist that we were heading in the right direction, and soon we were walking into pretty Chipping Campden, two and a half hours late, and having walked about 10 kms further than we had planned – but it was worth the trek. It is a beautiful town – picturesque, pristine and pretty, with some spectacular thatched cottages and amazing gardens.
We headed straight for a pub for a much-needed meal – it was tasty and good value, and we followed it up with scones topped with clotted cream and jam – delicious! After a little exploration of the town, consensus was that we should not attempt a return to Blockley on foot, so we found a private taxi and were soon back at the cottage.
Dinner was at Lower Brook House in Blockley, a very ambient hotel and accommodation, where we had almost chosen to stay instead of the cottage. The dining experience was a step up from the previous evening’s meal. We received a warm welcome from the very efficient host and were offered a seat in the comfortable lounge for an apéritif. The dining room was elegant with quirky decor, the food was well presented, and all bar one dish (a lamb curry which was average), were high quality. It was a very satisfactory way to end a day, which had been much more of an adventure than we expected…