"A poor life this if, full of care, we have no time to stand and stare" - William Henry Davies
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I had not heard of Brockhampton before, until a Facebook friend posted some rather pretty pictures of a walk she had done (with her dog) which incorporated this village, so I thought I would take a peek; and I was not disappointed.
The village lies within the parish of Sevenhampton which comprises of 2 villages, this one and, not surprisingly Sevenhampton. The villages lie within the Cotswold Hills either side of a valley through which the River Coln flows and the valley is considered an area of natural beauty. Having completed this walk I hereby bear witness to this statement.
When I first set off I was grumbling about the fact I was on tarmac. The road was very narrow with no verges to speak of, for a small stretch at least, and was therefore not entirely dog friendly; nor for that matter very human friendly if you came face to bumper with a boy racer bombing around country roads. There were various signs along the way referring to incidents where dogs had been worrying sheep with lambs so asking you to please keep your dog on a lead; warning of ewes with lambs; and finally a sign advising that the hens had been let out of their hutch so please keep your dog on a lead. You get the picture. However, first off nobody said all of these walks had to be dog friendly; it's my site and I can do what I like. What's the point of having a paw-rating if they are all going to be rated the same? Secondly, the part of the road with little or no verge was only about a 5 minute stretch and I got the impression it didn't see an awful lot of passing vehicles. Thirdly the views were gorgeous pretty much straight away. I very quickly started enjoying the scenery and drooling over the Grange, a gorgeous property sat overlooking this:
This was followed by a stroll across farmland that contained the idyllic pond, complete with geese and ducks.
I was soon dropping down into a wooded area where the birdsong was simply lovely. There were the usual voices to be heard, together with the melodious Song Thrush. I spied one Song Thrush on the path ahead but could not get a picture before he disappeared into the trees. As I began the slightly steep climb away from the trees, followed by a couple of riders on horseback, I heard a cuckoo in the distance. These birds have been on the decline for some years now so I made sure I logged my "sighting" with the RSPB upon my return.
In case you hadn't gathered yet, this is a walk that requires your dog to be on a lead for the lion's share of the 4 miles and up until this point the walk had been entirely on road, albeit very quiet roads. The next stage of the walk moves onto a Byway which, apparently, is an ancient drover's track. Here I passed a bungalow with beautiful gardens that were extended by the sprawling countryside surrounding it. What a spot! The views here are extensive. About halfway down this byway, there is a sign which asks that you keep off the wildlife margins so any idea of letting your dog off the lead here must be put away. There were plenty of butterflies on display, mostly Orange Tips but also Green Veined Whites, Large and Small Whites and Peacocks. A Buzzard was circling to my left whilst a Pheasant squawked off to my right and a rabbit hopped on to the wall to my side and jumped down into the neighbouring fields.
It felt like this walk was full of different rooms: the village sat in beautiful countryside at the start, the wooded area full of birdsong, the ancient drovers' track with far-reaching views and next a room full of bluebells.
And finally a ford glistening on the road as you enter the village of Sevenhampton. You can't beat a ford; it even trumps a stile for me when it comes to country walks.
Actually, not quite finally, because, as I paddled in the ford - it's obligatory - I spotted the next route I was going to take following the trickling brook, part of the Coln I believe, meandering between small stone cottages, with overgrown borders that spilled into the waters. I was instantly transported into a Thomas Hardy novel, almost believing I might see Tess or Gabriel Oak sauntering by. It really was like stepping back in time. So picturesque.
All in all I thoroughly enjoyed this walk - a visual feast. I will be returning, without Monty to enjoy another wander back through time without worrying about logging the route and checking my map.
Well it’s officially a Pandemic and the world has been turned upside down. I have managed a couple of butterfly surveys up Bredon Hill since lockdown rules were lifted slightly, but my other survey site, namely Highnam Woods, is still not open. This week I decided to revisit one of my website walks and chose Brockhampton/Sevenhampton as a friend of mine recently posted pictures of her walk in that neighbourhood and it whetted my appetite. It was only about 6 weeks later in the year than my previous visit but the “rooms” had changed quite considerably. No longer a wood full of bluebells, but a wood with a smattering of wildflowers carpeting the floor beneath a canopy of greenery bathed in glorious sunlight. Nature had taken its paintbrush and added a border of meadow flowers to its canvas between the path, the fields and the vista beyond. Walking down the ancient drover’s track there was layer after layer of textures and colours to my left and right. I tried to capture this in photos but nothing did it justice – especially tricky to convey the grasses gently swaying in the breeze in a still photograph.
Also a slight change to the wildlife I saw on this visit. The rabbits hopping down the lanes at the start of the walk were replaced by a hare on this visit. It always surprises me how huge these creatures are - magnificent. Just captured him as he made his escape. A juvenile Pied Wagtail bobbed up and down on the path ahead of me, finally posing on the wall for me to take a picture. No Orange Tips and Green Veined Whites on this occasion, but this gorgeous Silver Washed Fritillary - look out for a flash of brilliant orange. It will either be a Fritillary or a Comma. Also Red Admirals, Skippers, Small Tortoiseshells, Meadow Browns + Ringlets. And finally I sat on the grass by the alluring wee ford in Sevenhampton + watched a familly of Grey Wagtails skipping in and out of the water. Just delightful.
This really is a very enjoyable and easy walk in a very typical Cotswold setting. The walk on tarmac at the start was longer than I remembered and about 3 cars passed me, all driving very sensibly as I would imagine it is only locals who frequent these lanes. I was bathed in green light the length of this section and, as before, birdsong is all you can hear. The village of Sevenhampton with its delightful ford and glistening brook towards the end of the walk never fail to bring me joy - simple things. I was reprimanded by a local lady who stopped to chat for including her beautiful village on a walking website as she wanted to keep it a secret. Very wise.