Tag Archives: Stanton

The Cotswold Way – Stanton to Winchcombe

July 13 – Now I know why old people used to get dowager’s hump – it’s from trying not to hit their heads on ceilings of old buildings intended for people only four feet tall! We had our full English and walked out of Stanton, straightening up as best we could. Only eight miles planned for today, with a tourist stop in the middle.

The first field we walked through had a series of plowman’s humps – perhaps to allow better drainage of water? Not sure, but they were fun to walk across.

Soon we came to the little village of Stanway, where there was a big manor house next to a little church. The church was nothing much inside, but outside it sported some little faces dating from the 1100s.

We climbed a big hill, then rested on a bench. Thanks, Pinky Dickens.

By lunchtime we reached Hailes Church, built in 1149, famous for the medieval paintings on its walls, dating from the 13th century. A gryphon and a basilisk, amid heraldic designs, and some elephant-like creature with wings.

St. Christopher with baby Jesus on his shoulder. His is the largest image.

Saint Catherine.

The hunt.

Stained glass taken from the ruined Hailes Abbey. We saw another piece of this yesterday in another church.

We then walked across the street to see the ruins of Hailes Abbey, built in 1246, and run by Cistercian monks. When King Henry VIII decommissioned the monasteries, taking all the gold and smashing all the saint statues in 1539, the townspeople finished the job by plundering everything worth taking, including most of the bricks. The grass growing on top of the walls is called soft-capping, planted deliberately to prevent further damage by erosion.

The Abbey’s claim to fame was a relic said to contain Christ’s blood, which brought pilgrims and their offerings from miles around.

We ate lunch at the Abbey, then got back on the road.

We walked through our first cornfield. These plants don’t look happy – they need some rain!

Before we knew it, we were in Winchcombe, another historic town.

Tonight we are checked in to a 15th century room, with a bathroom door made for munchkins. Unfortunately, before we could get too comfy, we were told that a plumber was coming over to fix the leaky shower. (This bathroom had been upgraded to reflect the 20th century.) No problem, we went out and had dinner. When we returned, we found that the plumber was gone and the water to our room had been turned off – no sink, no toilet, nothing. The manager apologized and offered us a bottle of wine, saying they had no other rooms available. What?!!!

I’m sorry to say that I went full New York on the poor manager. Within 10 minutes, she checked other hotels for availability (no dice), then called the owner who personally drove in to ferry us to The Lodge – a £275. a night upscale place outside of town that has never seen a backpacker. I’m writing this from my Sleep Number bed with full head raising and reclining features, sipping my sparkling water while my socks dry on the electric towel warmer. Who says Friday the 13th is bad luck?

The Cotswold Way – Chipping Campden to Stanton

July 12 – Look out Gloucestershire, here we come! Breakfasted this morning with a British couple who just completed the Cotswold Way. They pronounced it lovely, but the weather too hot! I’ll take these 70 degree days hands down over any Virginia summer day. Ten miles planned for today.

The trail begins at St. James Church at the edge of the village. It’s a huge church for such a small town, built by wealthy wool farmers and merchants.

The covered market square dates back to the 1600s.

Thatched roofs on our way out of town. I wonder how often they must be replaced?

Misty in the morning.

Through farmers fields – fava beans and wheat.

By mid morning, what ho? A castle?

It was the Broadway Tower, built in 1800 by a rich guy so his wife could view the stars at night. True love. They call it a folly – built to look old, but not really old.

View from the top – kids on an end of term field trip playing soccer. Did you know kids go to school here until mid July? Six weeks holiday for summer.

The tower was used in both World Wars as a lookout post to report enemy planes.

Farewell, Tower! See the little gargoyle on the side?

By lunchtime we reached the touristy town of Broadway, full of tea shops and boutiques. More pretty houses and strange ivy.

We stopped in a church to eat our lunch – shady and quiet. We like that all the churches are open here, and welcome visitors. Here’s the view of St. Michael’s as we left town.

Scenic views in the afternoon.

Here’s something different – anti-slip metal added to the stile steps, and an auxiliary gate for the dogs!

How do you get up on a horse? One step at a time.

You can’t fool me. You are NOT a zebra!

Now we are in Stanton, another lovely old village.There is a very old church here, also called St. Michaels. It has the remains of medieval frescoes on the walls.

A pulpit from the 1300s.

A font from the 1500s, and a piece of old stained glass from the ruin of the medieval Hailes Abbey nearby.

We are staying at The Vine, a B&B in a building that dates back to the 1600s. We are told our room is in the attic. We climb up very steep winding stairs with no bannister, our packs bumping at every turn. We open the door at the top of the steps to find ourselves in…

…a bathroom with a huge tub! Further investigation reveals a bed next door, under the rafters. A very authentic historic and head-bumping experience!