LEJOG Middle England

View North from near Lansdown battlefield

Day 17 to Old Sodbury

So after 16 days in the South West (see previous web page) I start the Cotswold Way  and what I have termed Middle England.

A dramatic change in the weather, a vast improvement. Out over the golf course collecting some trigpoints along the way. Coffee and pastries brought to me on route, courtesy of family friend Emma. Across the site of The Battle of Lansdown, great views to the North East. After that the climb up Greenway Lane is steep. Cold Ashton was lovely.

16.5 miles today,  261 miles total. Bright but cold very slippery underfoot.

Day 18 to Dursley

A gentle enough start but the ascent soon mounts up. The Somerset Monument is much larger than I expected. The section from Kilcott Mill to Alderley is particularly lovely. After that the ascent to Wortley Hill was brutal. By Wotton Under Edge the Cotswold character is established. Another climb to Stinchcombe Hill. How many climbs was that today?

16.3 miles today, 277 miles total. Bright with a cold breeze.

View NE to the Escarpment from Cam Long Down

Day 19 to Painswick

The busy streets of Dursley are quickly left behind and all is soon peaceful. Cam Long Down has an airy feeling and is a great view point but it’s all over too quickly and there is a sharp descent before the re-ascent to Uley Bury. This is to become an all too often repeated feature of The Cotswold Way. Its then quiet walking until Long Barrow where it’s busy around the car park. Its easy going all the way to Stroud. Ascending next to a vineyard, agricultural practices have varied a great deal along the route. The route through Standish Wood is a real unspoilt gem leading to great views at the Topograph at Shortwood and then the trigpoint at Ring Hill. A gentle descent to Painswick.

17.1 miles today, 295 miles total. Bright and breezy but cold

Doverow Hill topograph near Shortwood
View SW from Ring Hill
Brockworth Wood

Day 20 to Crickley Hill

The ascent out of Painswick feels steep this morning but I am soon at Painswick Beacon another great spot with distant views and a trigpoint. Its a quiet morning with just the occasional dog walker. The constant  series of ascent and descent seems more emphasised than yesterday. Cooper’s Hill is worth the effort though. Birdlip Hill and Crickley Hill are busy with those who have driven out for a short walk and by now the views are rather dominated by sprawling Gloucester and its  industrial sheds. 

A short day 10.1 miles, 304 miles total. Very cold and bright at first but by afternoon its warm.

Cleeve Hill near Cross Dyke

Day 21 to Winchcombe

After the short day yesterday I set off early, but the temperature has dropped overnight, the wind has increased and its overcast. Crickley Hill is quiet this morning, yesterday’s visitors have disappeared. The ascent to Leckhampton Hill comes early and the later section is very gentle. The views are changing and Cheltenham now dominates the middle distance. The brightly decorated trigpoint is not to my taste. The steep descent through Lineover Wood is followed by an equally steep ascent along the edge of Dowdeswell Wood. After that its a long gradual ascent to Cleeve Common. A short diversion to trigpoint at the summit at 330 m and then over the common to the other trigpoint at 317m. Heading South for a while now the views of Cheltenham are left behind as are the steep wooded valleys of The Cotswold Way so far. The rolling open hills are refreshing change. After Belas Knap Long Barrow its a long gentle descent to Winchcombe. Its a lovely town, to my taste the nicest of the Cotswold towns visited so far, strikes a nice balance.

17.6 miles today, 322 miles total. Cold wind of the morning became a warm breeze in the afternoon.

Broadway Tower

Day 22 to Chipping Campden

To Chipping Campden. A gentle start across the fields to Hailes, the a steeper climb to the intriguing monument near Beckbury, soon on the descent to the rather over manicured Broadway. Then its uphill again to the iconic Broadway Tower. After that its gentle going all the way to the end of the Cotswold Way at Chipping Campden. It seemed a rather nice place in the sun, but in the evening shade all that Cotswold stone felt rather oppressive.

17.4 miles today, 339 miles total. A lovely sunny day.

Bideford on Avon

Day 23 to Alcester

Leaving Chipping Campden it’s a little difficult to find the start of the Heart of England Way. Eventually on the route and under a neglected Leylandii hedge this feels a little like a poor relation to the Cotswold Way of yesterday. Descending towards Mickleton I can immediately sense a change, the soil is different, less brash, the topography is different, more rolling. After Mickleton it’s different again, we are on clay now. Meon hill dominates the view ahead. Dorsington is a place for those in to thatched roofs. At Barton the Cottage of Content is a quaint little pub, would describe it as eccentric if it was a person. The flat ground is easy going after the on off the escarpment games of the Cotswold way. Soon in Alcester without it seems a great deal of effort.

Day 24 to Balsall Common

Leaving Alcester past the church everything seems gentle today. The wind has dropped overnight to almost nothing, there are lingering wisps of morning mist. The sun is hazy and I am soon at a trigpoint without realising there is a small hill. Even the dew is gentle this morning. Soon at Round Hill and then at Henley in Arden, leaving over the earth mounds of Beaudesert Castle I remember walking in the opposite direction on a Heart of England LDWA walk. At Finwood Bridge I join a canal and soon pass the M40 and in no time it seems am at Magpie Lane on the outskirts of Balsall Common.

Day 25 to Whitacre Heath

Joined by my good friend Mike this morning, shortly we are alerted by a tractor driver that there is a path closure ahead due HS2 works, no advance signage or notifications. At Berkswell, St John Baptist church is an attractive and somewhat unusual building. We stop at the coffee shop for the best cup of coffee so far on this walk and admire the views of the church with stone of mixed colour. The route wends its way through open countryside to another church and eventually to Meriden. I leave Mike here and continue on, the countryside here exceeding my expectations. Crossing the M6 there is a change, crossing neglected farm land is more challenging though things improve again after Shustoke.

16.5 miles today , 390.9 miles total. Warm and sunny all day.

Bridge near Drayton

Day 26 To Lichfield

A crisp start. Am soon at Kingsbury Water Park, and then quick progress along the canal to the unusual bridge near Drayton. The route over Gorsey Hill is a delight though I am a little anxious about the next section as HS2 crosses my route. Crossing the A5 I am on light land again, the route undulates and I am soon in Lichfield and make my way to the cathedral as an arbitary end to the day. The last few days on the Heart of England Way has been a pleasant surprise it threads its way around the towns and only on a few occasions has there been distant traffic noise.

16.1 miles today, 407 miles total. Cold at first then warm and sunny.


Day 27 To Abbots Bromley

Soon out of the lovely town of Lichfield, Gentleshaw Hill gives a break from the fields then at Wandon I leave the Heart of England Way and soon start the Staffordshire Way. At Colton the church is nicely set off by daffodils, as I progress North they always seem to be just coming in to flower. A coffee shop at Abbots Bromley provides a relaxing end to the day.

16.3 miles today, 423 miles total. Dry and overcast.

Day 28 to Alton

The Staffordshire Way soon leads out across Bagshot Park. Then from New Thorntree farm it’s a latticework of small fields which take time to navigate. Near Knightsland Farm there’s a sow on the drive but soon safely past. From Uttoxeter it’s over the flood meadows and up to Sidford Wood the later following the River Dove to Rochester. Past the JCB headquarters and the climb to Alton is hard work after so long on relatively flat land.

15.2 miles today, 438 miles total. Dry and sunny morning, overcast afternoon, starts to rain just before the end of the walk.

Daffodils along Caldon Canal

Day 29 to Leek

I never like starting a walk with a descent but the climb back again from near Lord’s Bridge is gentle and sandy. The short walk along the summit to Stoney Dale affords some nice views. The Caldon Canal gives brisk progress, Flint Mill one of the highlights. The Leek branch is different in character, nicer still.

15.3 miles today, 453 miles total. A few wintery showers.


Day 30 To Springfield Farm.

Following the leet all the way to Rudyard. It’s easy going with little navigation required, similarly along Rudyard Lake. Shortly after Rushton Spencer I leave the Staffordshire Way and join the Gritstone Trail. After a short section on the Dane Valley Way it’s over Barleigh Ford Bridge and a gentle ascent to the ruins at Dumkins. At Minn-End-Lane it’s a long climb to the dizzy heights of 386 m, the highest for some time. In Cheshire now. Best of all a home cooked meal courtesy of Andrea.

11.8 miles today,  465 miles total. Sunny but cold.

Tegg's Nose

Day 31 To Bollington

Back up on to Minn End Lane then over on to Croker Hill, surprised to see dairy cows up here. The descent over Fox Bank is more interesting. The section along Meg Lane End gives good views of Tegg’s Nose but I still “can’t see it”. It’s predictably busy around the country park then quiet again until Kerridge Hill. Great to be joined by brother Robert for some of today.

11.8 miles today, 477 miles total. Sunny but cold.


Day 32 To Hollingsworth

Still on the Gritstone Trail it’s a long ascent to Sponds Hill but great views all round. All that effort is quickly given up again on the descent to the E2 ELDR or the Peak Forest Canal towpath. At Marple a flight of 16 locks is an impressive sight. Then after Ethrow Country Park another ascent only for a further descent. After Broadbottom it’s the Ethrow Goyt Valley Way Tameside Trail to Hollingsworth.

14.8 miles today, 492 miles total. Slightly overcast, very windy.

Took no pictures so this one from a previous day.

Day 33 To Diggle

It’s a miserable morning so I take a low route to pick up the Tame Valley Way near Millbrook. I follow this for most of the way to Diggle.

9.6 miles today, 501 miles total. Rained all day.