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ladeez of leizure - walking for pleasure

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Blog - Miserden : Friday 1st July 2016

Walk 1 Miserden walk by stream through woods Coots on lake at Miserden

Click here to move to the Walk Instructions

As I passed through the gate at the bottom of the field and turned the corner the bleating melted away to be replaced by rather less strident sounds Mother Nature has to offer  Two of my favourite sounds in particular accompanied me for most of the walk, that of birdsong and the sound of water.

Very soon after leaving the path, enveloped by majestic trees, you will cross slivers of water, either by

utilising the wee bridges that have been erected for this purpose or by simply vaulting over the trickling

threads, before joining the delightful stream pictured here. Stiles, bridges and kissing gates were always

favourite features of walks for me as a child and catching a glimpse of any one of these still awakens a

sense of glee in me. Indeed after following the stream for a few minutes I reached a clearing where I

spied a bridge buried in the undergrowth that seemingly led to and from nowhere; a path presumably

existed once upon a time, now buried under nettles and cow parsley. I was compelled to push my way

through the waist-high greenery to stand on the bridge and as I did so I disturbed a handful of wrens,

who flitted out of their cover and disappeared into the trees. I was very pleased to have risked a nettle sting.

enough for me to identify them as Grey Wagtails once I returned home. A commotion on the water drew my attention away from the fleeing wagtails as my arrival had set a family of coots running off over the pond, honking as they towed 3 chicks behind them. I managed to capture the parents with one of the chicks on film. Before I left this most tranquil of spots, I was witness to an aerial display put on by a group of Swifts, the choreography of which would be the envy of any Royal Ballet production; swooping, soaring, flipping, diving, skimming the water's surface. Just beautiful. There is a bench here if you wish to stop a while longer.

Further along the footpath you come upon a large pond  The colours reflected into the water are glorious. As I walked alongside the still waters I spotted 2 birds on the path ahead, their tails bobbing up and down telling me they were unmistakably wagtails of some denomination. As I drew closer, the birds seemed to emit a peachy glow and I took a quick snap before they flew off. The image was not great quality but was good

I decided to start this process with an old favourite. My husband, daughter and I have completed the 2 mile version of this walk many times because it has a little bit of everything. There’s a mixture of meadows stretching as far as the eye can see, woodlands with meandering paths  interwoven with the roots of trees, water in the form of a stream tinkling by, rivulets running into the sparkling stream and a large languid lake, beautifully reflecting the colours of the surrounding woodland, together with some pretty exciting wildlife if you are lucky. Add to that a picturesque hamlet and a jolly nice, dog-friendly pub at the finish line and you have a perfect short Cotswolds walk.

There had been a good deal of rain in the county in the week leading up to my walk, and in fact whilst I was driving towards Miserden the heavens had opened once again. Fortunately, as I pulled up outside the local pub the sun had reappeared and maintained its presence for the next couple of hours. Thus I was able to enjoy a dry walk in my t-shirt, albeit my shoes were caked in mud by the time I reached the car again as a result of the afore-mentioned week’s rainfall. The woods in particular were extremely muddy but it was always possible to select a slightly less shoe-sucking route by circumnavigating the offending areas.

Walking towards the first of many gates, I spotted a sign for Lynn’s homemade jams and chutneys. Had I had some pennies with me I would have been tempted to drop some in the honesty jar and partake of some of her homemade conserves, but unfortunately I was penniless; you may want to consider keeping some loose change in your pockets.

The first field I entered at the beginning of the walk was full of sheep, so if your canine friend is accompanying you, he/she will have to be kept on a lead at this point. When I say full of sheep I was having to pick my way through them on the path, I slipped on the droppings that covered the tarmac nearly ending up on my tush and the cacophony of bleating filling the air was resounding. I don’t remember there being this many animals on previous visits, but it is fair to say that animals are always present so the lead is a must.

A short but testingly steep climb  leads you away from the pond and after negotiating another gate and crossing a field you enter the narrow alleyways of Miserden once more. On this occasion however, I took a turning I had not taken before and created a walk encompassing a further   1 1/2 miles. The path I chose took me through further woodlands and despite being alone, no dog, no conversation, he saw and heard me before I did him. I heard movement to my left which definitely came from something larger than a squirrel. I looked round to catch sight of a deer before I heard him bark and then speed away. So exciting to share fleeting moments like this with such beautiful creatures. We have seen deer once before on this walk so it is not  beyond the realms of possibility that if you do elect to try the walk you may also enjoy a brief encounter.

I walked on into unknown territory, briefly hitting a road but quickly finding another footpath via one of the many gates on this walk that simply proved too difficult for me to open, forcing me to climb over them. The sound of pheasants is clearly audible as you climb upwards. As I mention within the instructions for the walk, I then came upon a footpath that was so overgrown it is clear no one walks this way very often, either due to the impossible gate mechanisms or simply because it has not made it on to the pages of any walking books yet..... until now. I felt quite pleased with myself at having found it and even more so when, stepping out onto the lane at the other end, I  was greeted with a 360 degree view of meadows and fields of corn as far as the eye could see.  The path was bordered on either side with violet blue cranesbill set against the soft pale green of the fields beyond. A pretty picture indeed.

meadow cranesbill by field (2)

Another gate to negotiate and then a short walk on quiet roads with not a car to be seen. The roads took me into a pretty little hamlet called Sudgrove where I passed a quaint stone cottage advertising 4* self-catering accommodation. I thought it a beautiful setting for a short, peaceful getaway. After passing more similar cottages, imaginatively named Sudgrove Cottages, I came across another footpath through a gate and into a  field where there were a number of sheep once again. Dog walkers would have to reattach their leads at this point. At the top of the field another gate leading to a pathway that offered more views over a low stone wall across the landscape and better still ahead I could spy a stile,  oh joy! Actually a choice of gate or stile, but no contest for me, the stile wins hands down. Beyond this a pretty stone cottage which prompted an attack of house envy before I rejoined the road and ambled back to my car. The pub was by now open for lunch but as I mentioned before I was penniless so the hospitality of the inn would have to be enjoyed on our next visit.

 

FOOTNOTE:

I have just reread this blog after now completing a number of other walks and it struck me that I almost sound like I know what I'm doing. I remember feeling quite smug as I climbed into my car, congratulating myself on what a great idea this was and how much I had enjoyed my walk. If you read on you will come to realise this was a one-off, never to be repeated, without-incident-sunny-day-stroll belying the mayhem that was to follow. To put it bluntly, it all went to sh*t after this one, excuse the language Timothy. Don't get me wrong, I still think it's a good idea and I believe I am plotting some canny little walks, but the blogs have taken on a more comical, slightly less pompously smug tone due to the fact it turns out I'm a disaster area! Please do read on............

Blog - Miserden : Monday 30.10.17

Miserden Autumn colours reflected in lake

Revisited this walk on a beautiful, sunny, autumn day so thought I would share some of the pictures I took and also comment on a couple of changes since I last put pen to paper............. just look at this spot!!! The lake at Miserden.

Miserden weir Miserden Woods

So it seems either someone connected to Miserden Park estate has been reading my website/blog (unlikely), or coincidently a lot of things I made note of in my previous blog have received attention. For instance, I wrote "I spied a bridge buried in the undergrowth that seemingly led to and from nowhere; a path presumably existed once upon a time, now buried under nettles and cow parsley." On this visit, all of the undergrowth had been cleared away so that the bridge now sits proudly over the stream and can be accessed without the danger of a nettle sting. It still leads to and from nowhere however.

I wrote in the Walk instructions "When I did the walk this gate was chained shut, but I was able to duck under the fence to its left which has a large open gap." They've filled the gap!!! I still managed to climb through the fence and Dave climbed over the padlocked gate but it is not ideal.

bridge 30.10.17

I wrote "I then came upon a footpath that was so overgrown it is clear no one walks this way very often, either due to the impossible gate mechanisms or simply because it has not made it on to the pages of any walking books yet." Guess what, they have cleared the path.  Whatever the reasons 2 of the 3 changes are an improvement albeit the third change is annoying. Lovely walk though finished off with a pint and a tuna melt baguette with chips at ye old hostelry. nom nom