Les@A Tidewater Gardener recently issued a challenge – go for a walk, starting from your front door, and post about it, before Winter officially ends on 19th March. I’ve really enjoyed the walks from other people’s front doors that have resulted from this, so as soon as we finally got a sunny day I set off with my camera. I figured I would take you to my allotment and back, but the long way round to give you a feel for the village and surrounding countryside.

Wickwar Walk Start

Its not the most promising start, just an alley between the houses in our cul-de-sac. My route snakes through another alley in the estate until I get to this rather lovely old coachhouse.

Coachhouse

This is the first glimpse of the old Wickwar. My route takes me right down the aptly if somewhat boringly named “Back Lane”, which runs parallel with the High Street and used to mark the western edge of the village. (The forsythia is for Mike…)

Forsythia

Back Lane
Cotswold Edge

At the end of the lane I always at least glance right, which is the first glimpse of Cotswold Edge. This is the escarpment that marks the western edge of the Cotswolds proper. I never really think of myself as living in the Cotswolds, as the term conjours up images of the chocolate box prettiness of The Slaughters or Moreton-in-Marsh. Wickwar isn’t like that, for all that pretty much all of the buildings on the High Street – and many in the surrounding area – are Grade II listed. Officially though, this is the Cotswolds.

The Buthay Pub
Buthay Sign

Turning my back on the view my route takes me up to the High Street, and the local pub. Yes, I live in stumbling distance of it! A sign of the times, it now offers free WiFi alongside the locally brewed ales and home cooked food. The pub was recently taken over after a long period of caretaker landlords, and the new owners are very committed to making the pub the centre of village life again. They are running all sorts of activities, including exercise classes and during half term a children’s cinema. We thought we were going to lose the pub altogether, so we are thrilled to have such enthusiastic people in charge of it. The name comes from the nearby Buthay or archery practice ground, where the archery Butts were.

Old Rectory

This rather lovely building sits at the only major road junction in the village, and is the old rectory. Half is now a rather swish private house, the other half (which used to be the Sunday School) is one of the community buildings in the village. I once went to a rather strange Tai Chi class there where the teacher made me stand in a different place because she said my Chi was too negative and could badly affect my fellow classmates! Granted I was depressed at the time, but really…

First Glimpse Of Church

My normal route to the allotment would take me off left here, but instead I headed off right and got my first glimpse of the church through the trees. The church itself, like so many old churches across England, is sited on the highest point in the village.

From this direction the approach is via a steep track edged by lime trees. In mid Spring the effect is of a lovely lime green tunnel, but currently the trees are bare and the suckers have yet to be trimmed back. I expected to see lots of lesser celandine and perhaps even the first of the wild garlic, but it was just leafy growth.

It did make me realise how woefully ignorant I am when it comes to identifying native flora though – what does the frothy foliage by the celandine leaves belong to?

Base Of Church Trees
Identification Required

As the avenue of lime trees gives way to the start of sunny sheltered slope of the graveyard, primroses and snowdrops appear.

Churchyard

Primrose
Snowdrops

I like the fact that the graveyard is not kept immaculately clipped, and the wild flowers are allowed to spread at will. In summer there are wonderful butterflies, but despite the warm sun I didn’t even hear a bee.

Holy Trinity Wickwar

Holy Trinity parish church is 12th century. It isn’t particularly special in any way, in fact it is very similar to the parish church in the village I grew up in, but I rather like it. It sits well in the landscape, not at all posh, like the village, but solidly built and very, very English.

The modern part of the graveyard is on the other side of the church, on an open hillside with wonderful views over the Cotswold Edge. This also gives a rather fine view of the local brewery, a subject close to my heart…

The Old Brewery

Wickwar Brewery is a big local success story. It only started in 1990, in a much smaller building now used as the brewery shop. It moved to the old Arnold Perret & Co. building pictured above in 2004. The local pub sells their delicious – and award-winning – beers, as does the shop. Sometimes supporting your local businesses is a real pleasure ;-)

Track From Church
Tree Silhouette

The track back down from the church is often lined with celandine at this time of year, but apart from the occasional flower, this time it was pretty bare. I did notice a distinct green fuzz to the silhouettes of some of the trees though.

Lesser Celandine
Lesser Celandine

I was somewhat taken aback to read that Lesser Celandine is also know as pilewort – I’ll leave you to look up why if you wish to know more…

Gate In Wall

Crossing the main road out of the village my route took me to one of the more exclusive areas. The road is lined with substantial stone-built houses on large plots. Enticing gates offer glimpses of large kitchen gardens. Immaculate yew hedging tops beautiful old stone walls. I’ve always been rather envious of the lovely orchard.

Immaculate Yew
Orchard Gate

The verges were decorated with snowdrops very much past their best, and the main colour came from the blue sky, dogwood stems, lichen, and the unexpected sight of a cow wearing green eyeshadow…

Dogwood Stems
Lichen
Cow With Eye Shadow

Turning my back on the rather beautifully restored old hunting lodge, a stile took me in to the grounds of a set of barn conversions. The weeping willow with its curtain of brilliant yellow reminded me of my childhood, when I loved to run through the one grown by our neighbours.

West End House

Weeping Willow
Willow Curtain

The public footpath runs alongside a small lake that must have one of the largest butyl liners money can buy! The owners have never planted it up, which is a great shame. Mind you, I dread to think what it would cost, and I’d not want to be the one responsible for splitting the Irises! It does have an Island that always has ducks nesting on it, usually hosts a couple of swans, and they have planted hundreds of trees around the sides. Currently the only residents appear to be a pair of Canada Geese.

LakeCanada Goose
Enticing Bridge

Over the rather enticing little bridge the path crosses a field and drops in to the top of the Community Orchard and then the allotments.

Allotments

A brief chat about how early to plant out potatoes and how to combat the slugs, and I headed off down the track. This passes the small industrial estate, which may not be the prettiest areas in the village but is certainly one of the most important. I also rather like the fact that a group of office workers take a daily lunch break walk around the allotment field. Not a bad place to be able to escape the workplace for.

Back Of Old Rectory

Past the rookery and I am back to the High Street, standing behind the Old Rectory again, and almost home. A round trip of around 2 miles that reminded me of how lucky I am to live here. I suspect anyone who has reached the end of this post deserves a prize, I got a little carried away, but hey, its good to love where you live! Pop over to Les’s blog to take some very different late winter walks.

76 thoughts on “Wickwar Late Winter Walk

  1. You live in a beautiful and picturesque part of the world Janet! I enjoyed reading this and looking at your photos. Living out in the country one day is something to aspire to ;)

    1. Hi guys, glad you enjoyed it, I am really lucky in where I live. I’ve never regretted moving out of the city, despite having loved being a city dweller for many happy years. Good luck with you own move as and and when things slot in to place.

  2. Janet, I loved walking about with you in your village in an area I long to visit again. Your descriptions and pictures make me feel as though I were there for a little while – it’s marvelous to live in a place that is pretty, but not a chocolate box. Your chi seems just fine to me!

    1. Hi Cyndy, glad to have given you a little dose of the Cotswolds, however second hand! Even more glad you think my chi is OK ;-)

    1. Hi Mark. Walking around with the blog post in mind made me even more appreciative. I am very lucky. Comfort yourself with the thought that you appear to live in a slightly milder area, and are hence a couple of weeks ahead of me in your garden!

  3. What a delightful walk! As an anglophile in a state known for its anglophilia, I really enjoyed it, and you gave a good sense of what it must be like to live there. I have only been to England once, and did travel through the Cotswolds, making a stop at Hidcote Manor where we had the rain soaked garden to ourselves. I hope you had a well-deserved sample of the local brew after this walk, and by the way, I think your chi is fine like it is.

    1. Thank you Les! I did indeed have a bottle of their rather tasty ‘Banker’s Draft’ – their take on the banking crisis, and rather more appetising I might add ;-)

  4. This was like a story book tour. The old buildings, churches, taverns, cemetery, and grazing cow where all so idyllic. I loved seeing your town and countryside.

    1. Hi Donna, good, that’s what I was after! Glad you enjoyed it. Am still confused by the eye shadow on the cow though – presumably some sort of treatment for an infection.

      1. Yes, the cow did look as if its chi was poorly.

        Walking along with you, in fine weather, taking time to admire wonderful old buildings, and a few flowers – thank you.

        1. Hi Diana, delighted you enjoyed the walk. If you thought the chi of the cow with eye shadow looked a little “off” you should have seen the bad tempered black one she was sharing her field with…

  5. Hi, Lovely photos, a very nice walk! Sadly the views here are not so quaint but certainly breath-taking in their own right as a cityscape instead.

    Btw, I think your mystery is Herb Robert – wild Geranium. That is if I’m looking at the correct plant!

    1. Ooh, Herb Robert! That makes sense, thanks Liz. And don’t you live in Sheffield? Spectacular city with all those hills.

  6. What a lovely walk through your village Janet. I thoroughly enjoyed it. It makes me miss living in Europe, the winding roads through the village, the farmer’s fields just outside of town, the local church in the center, and all the wonderful buildings- each with their own story. Thanks for a great walking tour of your area.
    I too like the graveyard left to the wildflowers in the spring.

    1. Hi Janet, so glad you enjoyed it, particularly as you live in such a beautiful area for a walk yourself.

  7. What an absolutely beautiful place and at a lovely time of year just as spring is starting …I thoroughly enjoyed it…you brightened my day…I would take a walk around my neighborhood, but you would see newly built houses and piles of snow…not much to see so maybe a walk to some lovely parks and areas in spring from area of the world…that I can do…

    1. Hi Donna, glad to have brightened your day a little, the snow must be getting a bit much by now. I’d love you to take us on some walks in your local parks though – come Spring! It will come…

  8. Ive always loved the English country picturesque scenes with interesting historic buildings, rolling hills, lakes, or just the trees and plants in the surrounding areas. You are so lucky to live in that part of the world Janet! Thanks for the lovely walk!

    1. You’re welcome, glad you enjoyed the dose of English landscape. I am indeed very fortunate.

  9. Oh my mercy Janet, this is simply charming! I dearly love it, and thank you for taking us along on your walk out to the allotment. A great idea too…I may have to do the same later on this week.

    1. Hi Hanni, do please do take us walkabout with you, I love seeing more of where people live and garden.

  10. janet how wonderful to see where you are, what a great idea. I might do a walk too -I’ve a fair way to get to any gardens but not impossible!! I might need a shore walk as well to be truly representativeb:) and maybe a seal!! Xx thank u what a lovely village

    1. Hi Fay, no gardens necessary, Les’s rules are very flexible, but yes, please do take us walkabout along the shore and perhaps inland too? I always love getting a dose of sea air, or at least the pretence of one. My tomato seeds are all up now so I am just trying to decide what to sow next…

    1. Hi Elizabeth, thank you, glad you enjoyed it. I don’t think it can be feverfew, the leaves don’t look quite right, feverfew leaves look as if they have quite smooth lobes (if that’s the right word), plus this is growing in a very shady spot, and I think feverfew likes lots of sun? Thank you for making me look it up though, I’m starting to learn a little more. I’ll just have to pop back with my camera when its in flower.

  11. It is like a walk out of a story book Janet! So different from my own experience and a joy to tag along. Not too long at all and well worth the time. Your chi seems spot on to me!

  12. What a beautiful walk! I adore all the stone buildings. What a wonderful historic place – thanks for the bit of history you included. Interesting that the large pond needed a liner! I also enjoyed seeing the allotment. Looks like you have great soil there. Thanks for taking us along with you.

    1. Hi Holley, thanks for dropping by, glad you enjoyed the stroll. I was surprised by the liner too, I would have expected them to use clay mud puddling, and leaving the liner exposed won’t help it last (UV damage). Still, rather a great feature and it is fun to watch the bird life it attracts.

  13. How many times do I have to click my heels together to wake up in your town instead of mine? How beautiful!! Maybe the mystery plant is chamomile.

    1. :-) If you find out I’ll happily put you up for the night while you work out how to get back! I love chamomile, but I’m pretty sure this is growing in a spot that gets far too much shade for chamomile to survive. Herb Robert looks the best match so far – I do love this bloggers plant identification network!

  14. I so enjoyed talking this walk with you and seeing the picturesque area in which you are so lucky to live. I agree with Cat- your chi seems spot on to me too!

    1. Hi Jennifer, delighted you enjoyed the walk – and that you think my chi is ok!

  15. Thank you for sharing your walk with us, certainly took me back to when we lived in a small village on the Thames and could take walks directly from the house. you’re right too, to appreciate where you live now and not just think of somewhere in the past that you loved. I think your chi must be good now because you live in the present and enjoy it for what it is. You shouldn’t mind what your teacher said though she was only thinking of others. I imagine you with quite a strong personality and so might have spread negative chi. I used to do tai chi and miss it a lot, you’ve made me think thatI must try and start again. Christina

    1. Hi Christina, you seem to have me bang to rights! No one ever accused me of lacking personality. I do take issue with how the teacher handled it though – to call out someone clearly miserable who was seeking something to help manage a difficult situation and make them feel even worse for spreading the misery around was pretty rough. Much better to have taken the trouble to approach and quietly say her piece. We found another class and I loved it – and benefited greatly. And no one seemed to be damaged by my bad chi ;-) I do agree about the benefits of living in the present though.

  16. Yes, you’re absulutely correct, the teacher handled the situation very badly and there is no excuse for that, I’m so glad you found a class that helped. Christina

    1. I miss it, we’ve not been since we moved back here post Anglesey, but great teacher. Looked like an East End thug and moved like a ballet dancer. Good luck finding a class to join nearby.

  17. I enjoyed having a virtual wander around your village. It sounds like you’ve got a great landlord in the pub now, involving the whole community in events.

    1. Hi Jo, yes, they are full of enthusiasm and ideas, I hope it pays off and earns them enough income to mean they can stay.

  18. Janet, Les didn’t half come up with an intriguing idea for us to post about. You haven’t half done it justice, I loved the walk in which you have taken us, your English village is beautiful, as for the so called teacher and his remarks in front of the other children, well words fail me. I live at the edge of the city, a turn to the right takes us to a reasonably minor road with a row of old cottages travel a further 150yards and it is chaos, a dual carriageway which is very often gridlocked. Fortunately if I turn right we are in the countryside, not much to photograph though just fields which eventually does take you to beautiful countryside. We are in a bit of a quandary at the moment, our daughter who lives in a village in Cheshire with our seven year old grandson is pushing us to sell up and move down there, seems like she thinks we are near our dotage and will need their help.

    1. Goodness Alistair, with everything you have put in to your garden I can only imagine how hard it would be to give it up and start over. You don’t come across as someone in their dotage, but I can appreciate that your daughter might want you closer. On the up side, Cheshire is beautiful and very fertile… Good luck working out what to do. And although going left doesn’t sound much fun going right does, and I bet you would find all manner of interesting things as you looked in the hedgerows and fields. Do share it with us.

  19. I have enjoyed your walk to the allotment Janet. Funnily enough I did a similar post last year or it could have even been the year before on my walk to the allotment. It was at the same time as year as the forsythia outside the allotment gate was in flower :) Our walks are of a similar distance too but yours looks infinitely more tranquil and picuturesque. Glad to hear that your local pub is proactive in developing community activities. I am off to tai chi later this morning ~ the attitude of your former instructor has upset my chi!

    1. Hi Anna, I will have to hunt down your allotment walk post. Sorry my (albeit only for one session) instructor has upset your chi, enjoy rebalancing it!

    1. Hi Sarah, it was doubly wonderful because it was the first sunny day for weeks!

  20. Wow, what a wonderful part of the world to live and garden in. Living on the edge of Gloucester we’re not too far from proper ‘countryside’ but I’d love to be living in a proper village somewhere… ahh dreams… ;)

    1. Hi Paul, I know what you mean, we used to live in Bristol, and it was only moving out here that got me in to gardening at all, I’d always been in flats! Thanks for dropping by.

  21. I so enjoyed this walk with you, Janet! You live in such a beautiful area. I’m always struck by the beautiful old buildings in the UK. Here in the US, anything over 100 years old is considered old, and so often they are demolished in the name of “progress.” I had to chuckle about your Tai Chi class–I’m off to Tai Chi myself this morning, and while I’m sure I’ve brought some negative Chi to class on many occasions, my instructor is too kind to mention it:)

    1. Hi Rose, I am delighted you have a kinder instructor than we encountered! I smiled at your description of anything over 100 being old in the US, although I’ve seen some beautiful “old” buildings in the States over the years – and the occasional genuinely ancient Indian settlement.

  22. Janet, Such a wonderful walk confirming all my stereotypes of how quaint and beautiful England is. I have to say that wifi in the local pub does not fit with those stereotypes–it should be filled with local farmers who wouldn’t touch a computer with a ten foot pole (is that an American expression?). Got a good laugh about your Tai Chi class—how rude! Thank you so much for sharing this, Carolyn

    1. Hi Carolyn, sorry about the WiFi ;-) I got talking to an ancient gentleman lacking most of his teeth up at the allotments not long ago. He didn’t really want to talk about veg, instead he told me all about the electronic music he creates and how he now had a domain name and wanted to set up his own website to promote it! I think ten foot pole works just as well over here, but there again I used to work for an American company so may have just picked it up that way…

  23. This is the loveliest walk I have ever been on, without expending any effort. But seriously you live in a beautiful village and conjures up feelings of romance and old world beauty. I barely noticed the plants because the architecture is so stunning. To think you see it every day. I envy you.

    1. Thank you, what a lovely comment – putting the post together helped me take a fresh look at it all and really appreciate my luck.

    1. Our own snowdrops are a work in progress, more a slight freckling of white than a carpet. Give us time…

  24. Beautiful photographs and a lovely place to live. You have done your village justice with those photo’s. I’m not surprised you’ve had so many lovely comments.
    M x

    1. Hi Maureen, thank you for leaving your own lovely comment! It is a good place to live.

    1. Glad you had fun taking the virtual tour Anne – I agree, it is a great idea, I’m hoping Les will do it at other times of year too, and that more people will join in.

  25. Fantastic idea and such beautiful photos of lovely views! I also live within crawling distance of our village pub, I can see the roof from the garden ;)

    1. Hi Karen. Proximity to a good pub is an excellent feature! Why not do a post-tour of your own patch and add it to Les’ collection?

  26. What a fascinating walk and what lovely and interesting photos. No wonder you have received so many comments! You live in a very scenic area Janet. That is such a great idea too. I will have to give this thought and come up with somewhere interesting to walk before the 19th March. I don’t have an allotment, but I do walk down to the sea, so thats an idea (I can always take photos of the seaweed). Its the houses that are so interesting – what lucky people to live in the Old Rectory. A beautiful post Janet, well done. Ronnie

    1. Thanks Ronnie – and yes, do please do a walk to the sea post? The one thing I miss, living here, is easy access to the sea.

  27. I just found Les’ Winter Walk Challenge and I’m loving this. It’s so great to see everybody’s neighbourhoods. Having never been to England I loved the chance to see the different architecture and old buildings as well as seeing that your village also hosts farm animals. Thanks for the tour.

    1. Isn’t it a great idea of Les’? Hope you will join in, I too love to see around other people’s neighbourhoods. Glad you enjoyed the virtual stroll round mine – and yes, lots of farms around here, many very close or even within the village. Good for fresh eggs and manure!

  28. I love this idea, it’s brilliant! Will definitely try and do this for my part of the world before the 19th.

    Your village looks lovely, exactly the sort of place I’d like to start my family. I did a section of the Cotswold Way back in February, and had a great time. Unfortunately it was quite misty, but we still wandered through some very picturesque places.

    Thanks again!

    Jono.

    1. Hi Jono, glad you are going to join in the fun! Cotswolds are rather lovely, not sure I could handle full-on Cotswold prettiness, this is just about right for me. Good luck finding the right place to start your family.

  29. what a lovely stroll! i feel refreshed and full of good chi already.
    your “immaculate yew” photo is my favorite of the bunch. thanks for sharing your part of the world with us.

  30. Hi Janet: I didn’t catch your walk when it was posted earlier in the month and I sure did miss out! (Wish I could garden and visit favorite bloggers all day long every day!) I agree with your statement, “Hey, its good to love where you live!” I can see why you do love your locale! What was the story with the green “eyeshadow” on the cow?

    1. Hi! I have no idea about the cow eye shadow, my best guess is that it is some sort of treatment! I know what you mean about wishing you had more time to garden and read blogs – I’ve been struggling to do either these past few days and it makes me cranky…

  31. Hi Janet – what a picturesque neighbourhood you live in! Looks beautiful, “villagey” and safe!! Thoroughly enjoyed my walkabout with you :)

    1. Hi Christine, glad you enjoyed the walk – and yes, it is very safe, happily low crime rate, we are very fortunate.

  32. Hello Janet hope you will forgive me, have used your comment on The Buthay, Wickwar copying it directly into Geograph.com with accreditation. Please let me know if you disapprove. Enjoyed your walk, almost as good as doing it myself.
    Have you come across my name before? Depends how long you have lived in or near Wickwar. (and for how long)
    Best regards

    1. Hi Maurice, nice photograph – and no problem using my text, thanks for checking and for crediting it. Glad you enjoyed the walk! I have come across your name, but am not sure we have ever met. I’ve been living in Wickwar for 16 years now, in Inglestone Road.

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