"A poor life this if, full of care, we have no time to stand and stare" - William Henry Davies
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Painswick, the "Queen of the Cotswolds" epitomises everything your mind might conjure up when imagining a Cotswold village. History oozes from every honey-stone building, from the Norman church to the infamous and numerous Yew Trees. My dad on visiting from the North East one summer drooled at many of the houses and the amazing aspects they enjoyed with a good deal of envy.
I completed this walk on a weekday and managed to park the car by the roadside on the left when coming from Gloucester just after entering the village. However, the car park at the far end of the village is so cheap, easily accessible, and handy for all walks, it is as good a bet as anywhere for parking up.
The car park is on Stamages Lane, post code GL6 6UZ.
The walk is 3.5 miles long and took me about 1 hour and 30 minutes with stops to take pictures etc. It is an easy walk with a very muddy patch in the middle section and dog friendly. The first time I did this walk, on a Wednesday morning, there was not a farm creature in sight in any of the fields, of which there are many. I did the walk again a week later on a Tuesday afternoon and there were sheep present. In other words, do not rely entirely on my observations regarding the presence or absence of farmlife!
I am hoping this is going to be the first of several walks starting from this village. There are other spots along the roadside where you could start a walk in this area, but I feel Painswick is a perfect spot to begin and end a walk as it offers cafes and pubs where a contented ambler can collapse and enjoy a beverage of choice after a satisfying stroll.
If you have parked in Stamages car park, walk to the main road through Painswick and head left. The walk starts on the main road through Painswick just past the very elegant looking, relatively new retirement village.
1. Just past the retirement village which should be on your left, you will see a footpath sign on the other side of the road. Follow the lane which takes you through the rugby club site.
2. Just before the RFC clubhouse there is a yellow footpath sign on the fence. Go left of the hedge and take some steps up to walk past the tennis courts.
3. As you walk around the end of the tennis courts a gate appears on the left. Pass through gate.
4. Bear right initially, but before next gate turn left following hint of a track in the grass heading for far right corner. Here you will find a stile with faded yellow sign. Hop over and bear left.
5. After crossing another stile and through a gate you will reach a narrow lane. You may need to put your dog on a lead here if your canine friend is joining you.
6. Go left and walk about 150 paces when you will see a footpath on your right up some steps. Cross stile and directly opposite across the field you will see another stile. Cross the field over this stile and bear left. Walk through an archway of trees.
7. You will have choices ahead. Take the right hand stile, follow footpath across field.
8. Follow yellow footpath signs through a number of gates and over stiles in a straight line. The last field may contain some sheep.
9. Finally over a stile which is at the end of someone's garden and bear right.
10. Another stile, followed by 2 choices. Take the right footpath, over bridge and follow footpath to the right.
11. Footpath winds through a wood alongside a stream and then up away through a muddy patch, over a stile and out into another field.
12. Follow the footpath along bottom edge of field. Very soon you will see on your right a muddy looking footpath through a gate - ignore this and slightly further along a stile alongside a metal gate. Take this route.
13. More choices - I plumped for the right over a bridge and following the path t'other side.
14. Muddiest section of walk. A constant trickle of water down the path and extremely muddy. A gradual long climb between tall hedges. At top a stile on right takes you into next field. I would take time to stop, look all around and soak in the view.
15. Follow track along top edge of field. Stile in far corner, over and right. Follow hedge to another stile.
16. Bear left up lane to a gate on the right. Through gate and down field. This was full of sheep 2nd walk but empty 1st.
17. Follow footpath signs, through next gate and next field.
18. Exit the field by Park Lodge and follow lane to the right around the lodge. Lane comes out amidst houses and a footpath sign to the right. Take this lane which takes you past the junior school playing fields.
19. Winged it a bit here successfully! The footpath comes out into a housing estate. Bear right to end of cul-de-sac where there is a footpath. Follow the footpath and bear left at the end. On roads now so dog on lead. Lovely views over stone wall.
20. This takes you back onto the main road directly opposite St Mary's church and if you parked in the car park turn right here.