Monday, 7 May 2018

07/05/18 - All around the Wolds from Andoversford

Distance - 11.5 Miles
Geocaches - 2
Walk Inspiration - Trail Magazine Route
Pub - Royal Oak, Andoversford, Otter Bitter

Would you believe it?  A bank holiday Monday and the weather is beyond gorgeous.  Having burnt my neck on yesterday's geocaching trip in Warwickshire, I am forced to wear protection in the Cotswolds.

Flaps Down
Flaps Down in the Cotswolds
Its OK though.  No one knows me in Andoversford.  I've not even heard of Andoversford before and I thought I knew the Cotswolds like the back of my hand.  This is a tiny village on the outskirts of Cheltenham that's self sufficient.  It has a pub.

I head west, making steady progress through very boggy horse fields to make a climb of Kilkenny Hill.  Sounds more Irish than Gloucester, but fine views are available of the county capital.

Ascending Kilkenny Hill
Marching up Kilkenny
Early Views to Gloucester
Gloucester in the really far distance

This walk provides a circuit of the Coln Valley.  The walk is evenly split - when you've had enough of the amazing views, you drop into Withington Woods for some bluebell infused shade.  You cannot help but smile when you're sharing the route with squirrels, deer herds, the odd rabbit and unidentified birds of prey circling overhead.  Out for four hours and I see a grand total of two walkers and three horse riders.

For the Views
Oh... and Sheep of course
Withington Woods
Bluebell Woods of Withington

Time the walk correctly and you could have a two pub walk.  Withington Village is handsome, containing some fine buildings - including an impressive church and one of the most idyllic pubs I've stumbled upon.  I can see this being a base for a future walk.

Withington Church
The Mill Inn, Withington
The Mill Inn, Withington

Out of Withington and a climb from the beautiful Coln valley floor.

Coln Valley
Coln Valley Floor

Water reserves expire a mile from Andoversford, which means I burst into the bar of the Royal Oak in a fashion not observed since Alex Guinness in Ice Cold in Alex.  The Oak has not been in the CAMRA Good Beer Guide for at least a couple of years but it looks like they used to have a good relationship.

Royal Oak, Andoversford
North Cotswolds CAMRA POTY - 2016
Royal Oak, Andoversford
Classic Cotswold Boozer

In another pub, lunch would have been a fish finger sandwich but here, it was Cod Goujons, with a choice of ciabatta or brioche bun.  I might of been out of my depth with the cuisine but I know my way around the bar.  An Otter Bitter could only be improved on a day like this with a water chaser.

An Otter with a Water Chaser
Two Drinks Mappiman

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