A Pick 'O Grass In The Hill Fort

The Date: 16th March 2011.
Location: " The Dog Inn " Old Sodbury
Conditions: Grey/ Misty  4 - 6 degrees, Dry.
Purpose:  " Cotswold Way Circular Walk 11 ' Old Sodbury - The Hill Fort and Church .'
Distance: 2.5 Miles.

The walk starts from The "Dog Inn '' on the corner of the busy A432 Chipping Sodbury road; which the walker must take care crossing over. Once across, rather than follow the opposite road, up towards Old Sodbury village, take a left and continue through the gates of a drive passing two cottages and a barn; usually containing cattle and onto a field. Crossed diagonally to reach a kissing gate and right upwards to the Church, which hugs the summit of the slope.



 This rather elegant array of ancient  crosses greets the walker as the church is reached.





This fascinating, medieval church and churchyard, richly deserves  your attention, before you continue.
Further details and pictures can be found via a previous posting. " A Tale Of Two Churches: Radar Views." 18/03/ '10.


Once through the churchyard, the walk proceeds up a path to the left of the village primary school, which leads,eventually to a grassy field which looks over the valley below. The path fringes the trees to the left and has an almost meditative quality, usually  embracing a deep quiet.

After a kissing gate , the route turns right and rises steeply through the trees until the spatial grounds of the Old Sodbury Hill Fort are reached.
This Iron Age Fort according to the Way Guidebook " has widely spaced double ramparts and encloses an area of over 10 acres ( 4 hectares ). " (p. 118). It apparently was also used to shelter Edward 1V before a decisive battle of the War of the Roses in 1471.

Some indication of the size of the ramparts can be gleaned from this picture I took looking up at the trees at the perimeter.



Near where I took the above shot , I spied some farm buildings and some horses grazing.




I  subsequently wandered over the ditch  to the inner ground of the fort and sat down to eat my sandwiches and drink my coffee. After a while I looked up and found to my surprise the big chestnut horse eye-balling me. He had led the others up the slope between the ditch and into the enclosure , and when he realized I had no grub, he walked forwards to join his companions to take a pick of grass.




As I watched this peaceful scene, in front of me, I mused, how in bygone days, this very space would be thronging with noise, people, horses, tradesmen, buildings and the smells from all the cooking going on.

Refreshed I walked on to the far left corner of the fort and followed the path through a kissing gate, to walk down a wooded track to finally, arrive at a small orchard, in which I saw some guinea fowl.



Passing out of the orchard onto a road, where one turns right, to walk down for about a quarter of mile.

Here the walker leaves the Cotswold Way, at a kissing gate with green circular sign on the left side of the road.
This needs to be looked out for, otherwise the walker will reach  Little Sodbury and then have to retrace his/her steps.

The route back after leaving the Way is a flat straight walk, through fields, until the Way is rejoined near the farm buildings, from whence the journey started.

In conclusion, this is an excellent short starter walk, which reveals some of the pleasures to be had in walking the Cotswold Way.


Ciao4now
Ck.

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