On the Way to the Chimney
On my latest walk along the Way I ventured from Dowdeswell to Leckhampton Hill . It was only supposed to be a short walk (4.7 miles) but it turned out to be one of the most strenuous as it climbed up to the escarpment overlooking Cheltenham.
The view from Pic 1 was taken from a welcome bench , situated at the top of a steep climb.
The great thing that I am discovering from walking the Way is that exertion always brings compensations.
None more than this walk where the views from the escarpment were stupendous.
The wildlife to was varied and numerous. Picture 2 shows one of the lovely butterflies seen on the walk.
Near the beginning of the walk was Lineover Wood , one of the woods managed by the excellent Woodland Trust. Here were left on stiles poetic couplings along the route.
According to my guide book they were written by Tom Clarke , who has also left messages in the woods of Penn and Coaley.
I am trying to find out more regarding Mr. Clarke , who at this present time seems as elusive as his words.
The walk finished at the Devil's Chimney (picture 3) , an isolated pinnacle of rock left as a monument to the days of quarrying.
One minor carp , at this point , as should be evident from the above photograph , the suggested finish to this walk left one still , above routes back to terra firma and thus one had to scramble down a rocky incline , cross a minor road , then scrub land , before arriving in the unmade residential Pilford Road , which in turn lead to The Old Bath Road with bus stops available to progress to Cheltenham town centre.
This little exercise added a further twenty minutes or so to the walk , and so upon reflection I would advise finishing this part of the Way before the 'chimney at Severn Springs , where the walker meets the main Cirencester to Cheltenham Road and allows easy access to buses and car parks.
Finally a pat on the back to Mr. R. Cox of Langett Bungalow , situated at Dowdeswell , who runs The Cotswold Way Oasis , which sells souvenirs of the Way including maps and certificates , a welcome outpost indeed.