Locations: Stow-on-the-Wold, Lower & Upper Slaughter, Cotswolds, England, UK
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There has been a lot of winter weather around me in the past few weeks, so today I'd like to bring you with me on a beautiful walk through the English countryside. On our trip last summer, my travel companion and I rented a car for a few days so that we could drive from Bath up to the Cotswolds. That was definitely an adventure in itself! Before I share my afternoon walk, let's hop in the car and check out our beautiful B&B.
We planned to pick up the car bright and early Monday morning... but didn't realize it was a bank holiday. We arrived at the car rental office before 9 and had to wait until 10, but luckily for us there was a lovely canal with a lock right across the street. With the sun shining brightly down on us after a day or two of rain in Bath, we both lay back in the grass and enjoyed a book until we could be on our way.
My friend had control of the driving and took to it like a natural!
The drive from Bath to Stow-on-the-Wold is only about 1.5 hours, but we decided to take a detour to try to stop in a few quaint towns along the way. Had we left at 8am like we had originally hoped this may have been a lovely idea... but sadly by the time we reached the picturesque Bibury with its famous row of weavers cottages, there was already a line of tour busses practically as long as the town. Content that we would get our fill of quaint during the rest of our time in the Cotswolds, I snapped one picture of the main sight and we kept right on driving. My friend was an amazingly good sport about letting me take pictures of everything all the time, so definitely a big thank you to him for that!
When we first pulled up to our B&B, I was exited to see not only the classic quaint country house, but a beautiful garden as well. We stayed at the Little Broom B&B in Stow-On-the-Wold and couldn't have been happier with our choice. We stayed in the "apartment" room to have a bit more space, but there are rooms in the main house as well, and all include the full english breakfast experience. All in all, we highly recommend this B&B and its lovely host Brenda to anyone coming to the Cotswolds!
My friend had planned ahead to make an afternoon tee time at a local golf course, so I took some time to explore the garden before heading off on an afternoon walk.
Little Broom is actually located in Maugersbury (a collection of houses a little south of Stow), but there is a very convenient road straight from the B&B right into town and the walk is only about 10 minutes.
Before I started my walk in the countryside, I stopped into a store in town to grab the Ordinance Survey OL45 map. If you like maps, the OL series are definitely for you, since they show every town, road, and walking trail. The OL45 covers the Cotswolds, and it was very handy to have when we explored with the car the following day. It also covers all public rights of way, so I could be sure that even if I was walking across someone's field, I was allowed to be there.
Before I headed off on my walk, I wanted to stop by St. Edward's church to see this door and it's flanking yew trees. Nature definitely has its own plan sometimes, but luckily it worked out for this church!
After exploring downtown Stow and grabbing a quick bite to eat, I made my way to the trail leading to the Slaughters (yes those are a pair of actual villages). I proceeded to walk across a lot of fields and through quite a few gates. Thanks to all of the wonderful public rights of way, each gate had a helpful marker to keep me going in the right direction.
Sometimes the only indication you have that you're headed the right way is a lightly trodden track running in what you hope is the right direction. It's the little things like that that just add to the adventure!
After many fields and a few cow crossings, I made my way to Lower Slaughter. The first thing I did was make my way to The Slaughters Country Inn for a nice pint of cider. I was tempted to sit inside and enjoy this beautifully patriotic couch, but the call of a table in the sunshine pulled me to the garden instead.
Lower Slaughter is a quintessential Cotswolds town, with the yellow stone and a small stream running through. I met the couple walking on the right side of the above photo along the pathway from Stow to Slaughter and had the pleasure of watching their puppy frolic in the stream. I'm not sure if he had figured out if he loved or hated water yet, but it was adorable seeing him try!
After enjoying my drink at the Inn I made my way to Upper Slaughter. There isn't much there to really outdo the views in Lower, but the beautiful manor house along the pathway there definitely caught my eye. According to the sign it's actually a nice restaurant so that will have to go on the list for next time.
There were signs for a Tour de France type cycling race that would be coming through many of the cotswolds towns, so all of the houses back in Lower Slaughter were decked out with flags and banners to celebrate the occasion.
After many hours of walking I made my way along one more path to meet my friend in Bourton-on-the-Water so he could drive us back to the B&B to wash up before dinner.
Once back at Little Broom we took a quick nap before heading into town for dinner. We must have napped a bit longer than we thought, because by the time we got to town most places were either full or weren't serving dinner anymore. (It wasn't that late, it was between 8 and 9. Keep that in mind when dining out in the Cotswolds, plan to go earlier!) Whatever our fate, it brought us to eat at The Old Butchers, which was delicious and just the ticket after a very long day.
After dessert we made our way back to Little Broom and hit the hay early to prepare to get up early the next day for our drive around the Cotswolds. Stay tuned next week for that post, and if there are any garden lovers out there I definitely have a stop for you!
Date & Locations: Monday, 29 August 2016 - Bath to the Cotswolds, England
Photos taken with: Nikon D5300, Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 10-24mm f3.5-4.5 Lens (Rented from BorrowLenses.com), Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm f1.8 Lens