This is a circular walk starting in the Cotswold village of Hillesley. The route takes you up the Cotswold escarpment, over fields, through quiet lanes and valleys, to the villages of Alderly and Wortley, before returning to Hillesley. The Cotswold's are a range of hills that rise from the Severn Valley. The “Wolds”, or rolling hills, is an AONB in the west country of the UK. Here the past is evident in the many honey coloured stone villages and farms.
Calculated time is computed with the distance, the height difference, and an average speed of 2.2 mph. For an intermediate walker, this time includes small breaks.
(D/A) The walk starts from 'The Fleece Inn', Hillesley (ST769 896). Turn left into Chapel Lane. Continue up the lane, passing several houses, to a kissing gate. Go through the gate, into a field.
(1) Continue along the left-hand boundary hedge to a kissing gate, go through the gate into a field. Continue along the right-hand side boundary hedge, and into a wooded area - Mear's Plantation (See notes). Continue upwards through the wood to the top of the track (approx. 250 m)
(2) At the top of the track turn right (ST773 892) and follow the wood boundary until it joins a field. Follow the left-hand boundary hedge to the end of the field. Do NOT follow the track around into a second field. Look for a wooden stile on your right. Cross over the stile onto a narrow path bounded by a field fence on the right. Follow the path past a house - Splatt's Barn (ST770 888). At the end of the barn turn left onto a track running alongside a wood. Continue along this partially made up track until it meets a road – High St.
(3) At the meeting of the track and the road (ST771 880) turn left and follow a broad track for approx. 45m, then turn ½ left and follow a track between hedgerows. Continue along this track – the Monarchs Way, as it begins to go downhill through woods (Splatt's Wood and Frith Wood) and into Long Combe. The Monarch's Way route runs down the left side of Long Combe. Follow this route until it exits, via a gate, onto a road - Kilcott Road (ST 785 892) is part of the Cotswold Way
(4) Turn left and continue along the road, passing several houses and cottages along the way. After approx. 0.75Km look for a 'fingerpost' waymarker on a verge on your right, at the entrance onto a lane, indicating the Cotswold Way (ST779 897). Turn right and cross a bridge over a stream. Continue along this lane for a further - 180m approx. At the end of the lane (ST781 898) there are two gates, pass through the wooden gate on your left and continue along the track through several gates to the village of Alderley.
(5) At this junction (ST769 908) turn right to continue along the Cotswold Way, past houses, to a road junction at the end of this road. Cross directly over the road into Winter Spring Lane. Follow the surfaced portion of Winter Spring Lane for - 40 m approx. Stay on the left side of the lane. Look for a Cotswold signpost footpath marker post, as the lane begins to bear right (ST771 910). Follow the footpath downhill.
At the bottom of the hill, the path turns left and crosses a stone bridge. Follow the path through a gate and into a field, continue ahead into a larger adjoining field. Turn ¼ right, look for a short footpath marker post approx. 20 m to the right of a single telegraph post. Use the footpath marker post as a guide to cross the field to a kissing gate (ST767 916). Go through the gate onto a road – Hill Mill Road. Turn left and follow the road down past houses, to the Alderley Road.
(6) Cross the road to a large wooden gate (ST765 916). The gate is opened by pressing a button on the left side of the gatepost. Pass through the gate onto a gravel driveway. The gate closes automatically. This part of the route is across private property (See notes). At the end of the driveway, there is a small grass bank with a stile, on your left, at the top. Cross over the stile into a field. Turn right and continue along the top edge of the field (approx. 90 m), to pick up a footpath that runs diagonally down the field (ST764 916) to a gate.
Pass through the gate and follow the hedge-line downhill to the bottom of the field to a 2nd gate. Pass through the gate onto a private drive. (See notes) Turn slightly left, look for a bridge over a lake. The route continues over the bridge, and up steps cut into the bank on the far side, leading to a stile at the top. Cross over the stile (ST764 912) and into a field beyond.
(7) From the stile (ST764 912) continue ahead, following a line of young trees to a copse at the far side of the field. Cross into the copse via a stile. Follow the footpath through the copse to a second stile. Cross the stile into the next field. Follow the boundary fence round to the right and downhill, to a bridge, over a small stream. Cross the bridge and follow the footpath round to the left through a small copse to a wooden stile. (See notes)
(8) On reaching this wooden stile, do not cross over it, but turn ½ left and walk approx. 18m to a wooden bridge over a stream. Cross the bridge and continue ahead to a wooden stile. Cross over the stile into the field beyond. From this stile walk forward on a bearing of 157° Grid (Sees notes) to a stile and plank bridge that gives access to a large adjoining field. Cross into this field; use the footpath if it has been reinstated, if not walk on a bearing of 165° Grid (See notes) to waypoint 10.
For an alternative route (See notes.)
(9) Turn ¼ left at the corner of the field, and follow a footpath to a stile (approx. 50m), cross the stile into the paddock. Follow the footpath across the paddock to a stile. Cross over a wooden stile onto a road, (Alderley Road), turn right and follow the road back to - The Fleece Inn, Hillesley (230m approx.).
D/A : mi 0 - alt. 351ft - Start - The Fleece Inn - Hillesley
1 : mi 0.12 - alt. 384ft - Through Mear's Plantation
2 : mi 0.36 - alt. 564ft - Splatt's Barn turn
3 : mi 1.23 - alt. 581ft - Onto the Monarchs Way
4 : mi 2.52 - alt. 272ft - Lower Kilcott
5 : mi 4.07 - alt. 331ft - Alderley
6 : mi 4.93 - alt. 243ft - Wortley
7 : mi 5.31 - alt. 194ft - Rose Hill School
8 : mi 5.63 - alt. 197ft - Muddy Corner
9 : mi 6.12 - alt. 312ft - Paddock corner
D/A : mi 6.39 - alt. 351ft - Finish - The Fleece Inn - Hillesley
Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.
The 'Somerset Monument', known locally as Hawkesbury Monument, can be seen from this waypoint, standing on the top of the nearest Cotswold ridge. The Monument was built by Lewis Vulliamy in 1846 to commemorate General Lord Edward Somerset, the soldier son of the 5th Duke of Beaufort, who had served with distinction at Waterloo. The tower is approximately 30.5m (100ft) high.
The first keeper of the monument was Shadrack Byfield, a one-armed veteran of the Anglo-American War of 1812, whose memoirs of that conflict have achieved a measure of fame.
The Monarch’s Way, a 625-mile long-distance footpath in England that approximates the escape route taken by King Charles II in 1651 after being defeated in the Battle of Worcester. It runs from Worcester via Bristol and Yeovil to Brighton on the South Coast.
The Cotswold Way is a popular long-distance walking trail, that runs between the market town of Chipping Campden in the north, passing through the towns of Winchcombe, Dursley and Wotton-under-Edge, before ending in the Georgian city of Bath in the south. The trail is 102 miles (164 km) long, and runs for most of its length along the Cotswold escarpment.
Typical of many villages in the area, Alderley has an entry in the Domesday Book of 1086 with a total population of 16 households. The village also boasted as having two lord's plough teams, 7 men's plough teams, 12 acres of meadows and a mill.
In the 16th and 17th centuries, the village contained a number of woollen mills, and Samuel Rudder states that Alderley had been home to the clothing industry for hundreds of years.
Alderly House, is a 19th-century neo-Elizabethan manor house, designed by Lewis Vulliamy, and built for Robert Blagden Hale in 1859-1863. The house is located on the site of an earlier Jacobean country house-built c. 1660. St Kenelm's church stands in the grounds of Alderly House. The church of was rebuilt in 1802 in the Gothic style, but the tower dates back to c.1450.
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