Day 61: Chipping Campden – Broadway – Stanton – Stanway – Didbrook – Winchcombe

15.1 miles – ‘wetting rain’ followed by forgiving sunshine.

Broadway Tower

‘Wetting rain’ is an expression my mum used to use. It sounds ridiculous, I know, because rain is intrinsically wetting. What she meant was that kind of rain which is so light that you hardly noticed it at first, so don’t bother to put your coat on, then realise, too late, that it’s heavier than it had felt, and so got home cross and, well, wet.

My impression that I was no longer in The North was reinforced by a man walking his ten dogs, whose accent was definitely a species of West Country, rather than Birmingham variants I had heard as far south as stratford. (I refer to the man’s accent, of course, the dogs barked in pure RP.)

Sheep and Sheep brush.
View northwest near Broadway

It’s hard to overstate how exceptional the small towns and villages are. Houses are all built in the local stone. Many dwellings date back several hundred years – the stone weathers so very well – but even the new builds are of the same stone. It means that each village feels like it has an integrity – and an individuality because the colour varies from place to place.

A lovely specimen copper beach tree between Stanton and Stanway.
Stanway Church
The grand entrance to Stanway house.
Didbrook Church

After Didbrook I sat down to have lunch. The phone rang; it was Guy (he’s the one who writes the Route Beer page on this site). He asked where I was, I explained, and he told me he was just half a mile away.

It turned out he had been stalking me all day. He had wanted to leap out and surprise me. He had set up in a field with a good view of the route he knew I would take and watched out for me with binoculars. Not knowing I had taken two hour-long breakfast breaks, he feared he had missed me, so retreated to a spot he felt certain I would pass. When I still didn’t turn up, he sadly gave up on the surprise element and phoned. If I had but waited another fifteen minutes for lunch his surprise would have succeed.

Never mind. It was a crazy and generous-spirited thing to do and we had a great celebration at The Lion at Winchcombe.

Celebrating an unexpected meeting: Guy, Toby, and Cheltenham Gold.

Comments (4):

  1. Russ

    27 July 2022 at 19:39

    That Cheltenham Gold looks good! Welcome back to The South. We’re looking forward to seeing you soon.

    • Toby

      29 July 2022 at 07:52

      The change in beer flavour was very striking. The Gold had that sneak-up-on-you quality which plays with the taste buds and refuses to let you define it quite.

  2. Julia Bevan

    28 July 2022 at 11:47

    That’s brilliant of Guy! If I hadn’t had my hip op I’d have tried to do the same!
    I have fond memories of Winchcombe, some family friends lived there and we visited occasionally. Hope the weather improves xx

    • Toby

      29 July 2022 at 07:51

      I’m so sorry you couldn’t join me in the Peak District. There’s still the South Downs Way!
      I am stunned by each village and small town in the Cotswolds; the insistence on local stone takes my breath away ever time. So hard to get photos not spoiled by big, ugly cars! XXX


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