What a treat to spend Easter Sunday hiking in the deserted eastern part of the Cotswolds. The golden yellow of the rapeseed fields was harmoniously complemented by the cloudless blue sky.
It was a fairly gentle walk full of features associated with the Cotswolds and the English countryside: luscious green rolling hills, streams, farms, plenty of varied stiles, sheep, ancient churches and picturesque cottages made of the Cotswolds stone. Of the stone’s colour, Priestley wrote:
The truth is that it has no colour that can be described. Even when the sun is obscured and the light is cold, these walls are still faintly warm and luminous, as if they knew the trick of keeping the lost sunlight of centuries glimmering about them.J. B. Priestley
The stone is Oolitic Limestone, formed during the Jurassic period (206 to 144 million years ago), when the Cotswolds were covered in sea. Like most other sedimentary rocks, limestone is usually composed of sand-sized grains (‘oolites’), most of which are skeletal fragments of marine organisms such as coral. You can read more here.
The old village of Sutton Under Brailes has a medieval church. It has a welcoming sign offering free refreshments to visitors because there are no shops in the village. It’s a similar vintage to Notre Dame. I looked at its wooden joists ruefully when we entered the church.
The walk was from the AA website, starting in Upper Brailes. I mapped it out on the ViewRanger app and extended it from 8km to 15km to include some of Shakespeare’s Way. This had the accidental advantage of allowing us to go to the Cherington Arms, a fine country pub with a spacious garden.
Like most of my walks, the route is here.