Friday, 9 December 2011
Wednesday, 7 December 2011
The weather forecast was grim, but we piled on extra layers of thermal clothing and headed for Dursley, Gloucestershire anyway. Nothing was going to stop us walking the newly established Korea friendship Trail that circumnavigates the summit of Stinchcombe Hill.
The Trail, which follows a Cotswold Way three mile circular walk is one of the world's first such trails - and what a first!
Old Spot Inn for a hot beef sandwich and half a pint of real ale. This is one of those traditional boozers which really knows what hospitality is all about. Pythius was made as welcome as we were, the food was great and beer local. Had it not been getting late and dusk was threatening to settle, I am sure we would have settled in for the afternoon and gone on enjoying the intimate atmosphere of this fantastic little pub.
Tuesday, 4 October 2011
|Nympsfield - The Rose and Crown|
We had travelled more than 50 miles to get there, but be assured the effort was worth it, as the The Rose and Crown, Nympsfield, transformed us into the magical world of Ambridge, a village familar to BBC Radio 4 listeners. Nympsfield is a charming little Gloucestershire village located six miles south-west of Stroud on the path of an ancient Roman Road. Ambridge however is situated in the fictional county of Borsetshire and can be visited nightly at three minutes past seven by tuning into Radio 4. So what is the connection? Why was I so excited to be sitting in the main bar of the Rose and Crown, a 400 year old pub built from Cotswold stone, which dominates Nympsfield's main street? Think Brigadoon and you have the answer. Brigadoon was the Scottish village in the musical of that name, which came to life once in every 100 years. Nympsfield is the place that transformed itself into Ambridge for just one day. July 6 1985 to be exact. When dusk settled that day, and the 800 year celebrations commemorating the appointment of the first vicar of the parish were over, the residents removed the signs they had put in place for the day everything went back to normal. The sign of The Bull was taken down and the pub became the Rose and Crown once more, the Ambridge Village Store sign was removed, so was the Gray Gables name that had been stuck to the entrance of local convent. All that remained at the end of the day to remind the residents that they had lived in Ambridge for just 24 hours were the memories.
One visitor that day was my friend the late Mollie Harris who played the Archer's character - Martha. She and other Archers characters had been invited to join in the celebrations, and add an air of authenticity by entering the village on a horse-drawn brewery dray. She mentioned this visit in her book The Magic of the Cotswold Way. It was for her an unforgettable memory.
It was for Pythiu, Uncle John and me too. The Rose and Crown, with its small restaurant at the back and its rustic feel, hop flowers decorating the beams, could have easily been the Bull. Indeed I half expected to be asked if we wanted a pint of Shires - but we weren't of course, though we were served by a charming young woman who brought water for Pythius without being asked.
Perhaps the thing that sets the two pubs apart is the Dog's Dinner Menu Board by the bar. I doubt The Bull would have offered a Good Boy duo twist, a pig's ear or a Pedigree pouch of chicken, lamb, rabbit or beef. Pythius ordered a pigs ear and loved it. He has never been offered choice from a dog's menu before. It made him feel very important, so did the locals congregated by the bar sipping their real ales. They called him a splendid Border collie, tapped him on the head and watched him eating his dog's dinner. It was all great fun.
It was whilst taking a small detour to view the Mansion, which is only open to the public a few days every year, we met up with the most delightful couple, who like us, were enjoying the peace of this glorious park and admiring the wonders of this unfinished masterpiece. How I would like to give you their names, but am ashamed to say I lost their email address. It's my hope, that on reading this they will make contact again.
Living with her is not always easy - it is fun though and I must admit the joy she seemed to get from sitting in that pub was something I couldn't deny her. Besides, this pub had a dogs dinner menu. Fancy me, a Border collie being offered lunch! That has NEVER happened before. And the walk, short though it was, took us through the most beautiful wooded countryside full of glorious smells. I had the time of my life in that lovely park. I just wish Helen had chosen the seven mile walk rather than the short one though, then I would have seen the lakes and perhaps been given the chance to swim. Oh well, I guess I can't have everything.
Wednesday, 14 September 2011
Prestbury - the Plough Inn - Three and a half mile circular walk
Perhaps we shouldn't have chosen Pestbury, near Cheltenham for our walk as my Border collie Pythius doesn't like ghosts and this delightful little Cotswold village is reputed to be the most haunted place in England, but we took him anyway. We even left him standing outside The Plough Inn, Mill Street, at the point where the ghostly galloping horses are said to pass by. Poor little lad, he just stood there waiting for something to happen - but it didn't - so we all went inside for lunch.
Although the main bar of this 17th century thatched pub has a great olde-wordly atmosphere we ate in the garden which judging by their accents and well-cut garments, was filled with members of the Cheltenham set. The food was freshly cooked and scrumptious and served by a charming young barman who kindly checked to see if Pythius would like a bowl of water. Several of the men-in-suits smile at Pythius when he curled in a comfortable position under the table while we ate. It proved a very friendly pub.
Having parked the car in a free car park just off Mill Street and close to the pub, we turned right into a small road called The Bank and right again into Mill Street, then turned left until we reached the B4632 , then left again, walking for about 100 yards until we spotted a stile and Way marker the other side of the road. Despite being a B road, the B4632 is busy. Crossing demands vigilance, a tight dog lead and loads of patience., but we made it and having climbed the stile we followed a well worn track and headed for Queen's Wood which is straight ahead and easily spotted. The path alongside the wood now bears slightly left when it reaches the third field. Long horned cattle and loads of sheep will greet you as you pass this way. Before reaching the main road again we stopped to admire Cheltenham's famous race course which comes into full view on the left.
After crossing the last stile next to the main road (one of three that had an ingenious dog-friendly entry, operated by pulling up a plank of wood to enable dogs to clamber through) we faced the daunting task of getting safely over the road.
The medieval buildings of the De La Bere Hotel, which dates back to 1486 and is reputed to be haunted, now comes into view. One look and it is easy to see why. It is a magnificent old building but definitely looks rather spooky.
We followed Southern Lane, turning left after about 200 years into a field, with the hotel on our left. Keeping the hedge on our right we followed the track to a bridge-stile and eventually a minor road that was to finally lead us back to Mill Street.
Pythius Says: Once we got back to the village Uncle John and Helen dragged me through the streets, first stopping to view the Old Post Office which is now a news agents where a poltergeist is said to move things about. They then went on to the Old butchers Shop which is supposed to be haunted too. Anne Good Close was next as a little old lady is supposed to peer out of he windows. At each building they commanded me to sit and just watched so see if my fur went all prickly. But it didn't. There was no ghostly figure dressed in black in the church yard, no galloping horses outside the pub - nothing at all. I was however slightly concerned about the horned cattle we passed when walking towards the wood and the young bullocks we met towards the end of the walk, well the best said about them the better. Gosh Helen is a wimp! The pub was fine, I was welcomed and offered water - so all was well.
Monday, 18 July 2011
You will discover Church Handborough when travelling a minor road between the villages of Eynsham and Long Handborough. Small though it is, Church Handborough does boast a great pub and a superb church that dates back more than 900 years. The magnificant spire of St Peters and St Paul is so tall and majestic it can be seen for miles around so walkers never get lost when exploring this area as the spire acts as a beacon, guiding you back to The Hand and Shears which stands directly opposite the church. The pub is now in good hands. Sadly this hasn't always been the case. Over the past decade it has had several licences - each promising that they will run it as it has never been run before. Unfortunately this doesn't happen, they stay for but a short time then vanish leaving the locals waiting for the next one to take over.
|Delicious fish and chips|
Sunday, 17 July 2011
Wednesday, 13 July 2011
Pythius and I joined Uncle John on a trip into Gloucestershire and the idyllic little grey stone village of Slad, which was immortalised by Laurie Lee. It nestles in the folds of the Slad Valley just north of Stroud and about eight miles from Gloucester.
The valley is one of those remarkably beautiful finger valleys that radiate from Stroud. The undulating landscape calls for considerable effort as you climb the hills, but be assured it is well worth it.
You approach Slad from the tree lined B4070 which passes through the village. The Woolpack inn stands right in the centre, close to both the old school building with its adjoining school house and the church.
And for your dog an impressive stainless steel water bowl, filled to the brim sits outside the main door.
The walk can begin by checking out Rosebank Cottage where Laurie Lee lived as a child. It is just a short walk north of the pub, though unfortunately it is not fully visible from the road.
Walk a little further until you arrive at a right hand turning which will lead you to the pond that features large in Laurie Lee's book as this was the pond in which 'poor Miss Flynn's' naked body was found floating, her hair stretched out white in the water'.
Pythius at the pond
About an eighth of a mile up this path you fill find another path crossing this way, which is easier to manage though do watch out for gnarled tree roots that can cause you to trip.
This path finally bears left and leads to to the first yellow Way sign - it is slightly faded now and points across the first of many fields and meadows you can now explore.
As there are several footpaths in this area, you can, should you wish now walk where you will, remembering to keep the village of Slad on your right hand side.
Your return to the B4070 and the pub is just a matter of taking anyone of the footpaths on the right hand side when you are ready.
Tuesday, 12 July 2011
Monday, 4 July 2011
When our rusty old mini turns off the A361, two miles from Burford and through the gates of the Cotswold Wildlife Park , Pythius shows distinct signs of excitement. His ears go up, his tail wags and he starts to prepare to get out of the car even though it is still moving. Keeping him calm at this stage is difficult for despite having to be kept on a lead throughout his visit, it seems to rate as one of his favourite places.
Friday, 24 June 2011
Perhaps you would like to know that Helen and I took part in the first Witney Book festival last week - what fun we had. It was the first festival that Witney has ever staged, but be assured it will not be the last!
We were allowed to give our talk in the Tap Room at Wychwood Brewery where our guests were offered glasses of Oxford Gold, Hobgoblin and several other very tasty beers brewed by Wychwood, which stands in the heart of Witney. They were given a tour of the brewery too, though sadly I wasn't allowe to join that as I am a Border collie. If you arrive at this attractive little market town first thing in the morning when the wind is in the right direction you can smell the aroma of malt wafting through the town.
We were offered this space by the brewery because they respect my knowledge of a good brew and the fact I am a member of CAMRA. I am also a member of the British Beer Writers Guild, because I help Helen write our books, which as you can imagine is something I am particularly proud of. Some people laugh and shake their heads in disbelief when I tell them this - "How can a Border collie write a book?" they say. I don't even bother to answer that question, because I know and Helen knows just how much I contribute to our books, particularly Paws Along The Way which was published a couple of weeks ago.
If you would like me to appear at your book festival do contact Helen on firstname.lastname@example.org - we make a great double act.
In the heart of the Cotswolds close to the picturesque villages of Stanton, Snowshill and Stanway you will encounter the Snowshill Lavender fields which, at this time of the year stand out on the rolling landscape as a large patch of mauve, interspersed with stripes of soft lilac, pink and white, It is a breathtaking sight.
The lavender plants that covers 53 acres and grows on free draining limestone were first planted in the year 2000. Now rows of 250 different mature lavenders stretch more than 70 miles if you walk up and down each one of them.
The wonderful thing about these glorious fields is that well behaved dogs such as Pythius are allowed to take the walk too providing they are kept on a tight lead and do not get too close to the plants.
The 250 different varieties of lavender are now coming into bloom and beginning to display their deep purple flowers subtle blues and even soft pink and white blossoms. Their combined aroma is overwhelming.
Because lavender is known to have a soothing effect - not just on us, but dogs too - we were amused to watch Pythius' reaction too its fragrance. He stopped walking for a moment, looked around him, sat down then sat besides the flowers swaying gently from side to side, a calm soporific smile on his face.
Indeed he was reluctant to leave. It really was amusing, I have never seen him look so contented. It was all I could to to control my urge to laugh, but one must never laugh at a dog, as most dog lovers know. They can't cope with it.
|Helen and Pythius in lavender field|
Sunday, 29 May 2011
|Third Paws Book - now published and available.|
This book is another collection of dog-friendly pubs and walks in Oxfordshire and the Cotswolds, that should delight walkers who enjoy taking companionable walks with their dogs and relax in traditional pub that serves tasty food and fine British ale. The walks are not long, some are only a mile or two though some allow you to walk as far as you wish before turning round and heading for home.
Some of the Ways featured in this,Helen's third book, are ancient trade routes dating from the Roman period or beyond. Many such as the Windrush Way, The Oxford Green Belt Way and the Warden's Way, however have been created quite recently and link old routes with bridleways and footpaths. There are times when you may find yourself walking two ways at once, particularly when travelling along routes such as Shakespear's Way, which joins paths that Shakespeare may have taken when journeying from Stratford-upon-Avon to the Globe Theatre, London.
Although Helen has written a great deal of the book, Pythius-Peacocke has his say too, adding little comments and details that only a Border collie would notice.
Oxford artist Sue Mynall brings extra life to the book with her superb sketches that highlight those special moments that cry out to be shared.
|Pythius looking for Cotwold stories|
Friday, 22 April 2011
I am not going to bother to write about the pub that served us lunch this time, Yes it fed us as such, but the food was just fodder and nothing worth writing about. I'd rather talk about the countryside we travelled, though I doubt I will be able to do justice to the beauty that surrounded us as we walked a valley floor thick with wild garlic, primroses, cowslips, bluebells and dandelions. (I mention the dandelions because they added a deep depth of yellow that contrasted wonderfully with the delicate white flowers of the wild garlic).
|Wild garlic in abundance|
We were visiting Ozleworth, which I guess would be classified as a hamlet if it didn't have a church. Ozldeworth stands 18.5 miles south of Gloucester and 20 miles south west of Cirencester.
Apparently there was a time when a large community lived in Ozleworth valley, working on the mills powered by the Little Avon River - now all that's left to suggest this land was once quite heavily populated is just a small row of cottages, a manor house and a small Norman church.
Actually that suited us well - we chose this walk because we wanted to get away from the Easter traffic, holiday makers and all that Bank Holidays represent.
We couldn't have chosen a more perfect place. It was so silent that not even the gentle drone of a light aircraft flying overhead could be heard. Only song birds and the buzzing of bees broke the silence. It seemed apt that the name Ozleworth was originally the name for an enclosure frequented by blackbird as there were certainly loads of blackbirds here, woodpeckers too.
|Photographs don't do the valley justice|
This walk, which took us down rutted tracks, bridleways and the edge of established woodland, through which a small stream flowed gently through the landscape. It was so picturesque that Uncle John, Pythius and I kept stopping to take in the view, and listen to the silence.
|..and the sky was blue - the weather fine.|
As to directions, let me just say that you start and end at map reference ST792934, which offers space to park the car besides the road in the middle of nowhere. A waysign points to a wooden gate on the left which directs you to the Church bridle path.
Take that path keeping a well constructed (smart/posh) metal fence on the right until you come to a metal kissing gate, that lets you into a field, and down past the remaining cottages of Ozleworth. Several sheep and their lambs were there when we walked that way, so Pythius was firmly fixed on his lead until we got through and onto another bridle path on the left.This took on a glorious circular path, so clearly marked with yellow arrows we didn't get lost, eventually finding ourselves back at that kissing gate again. This is a walk that should not be hurried - the Ozleworth countryside is too glorious to pass through at speed.
What fun we had, gosh what a lucky dog I am, even Helen joined me in the stream now and again, while Uncle John watched the little black tadpoles with waggly tails swimming round and round in circles in the shadows under the little wooden bridge. I think this was the most beautiful walk I have ever shared with Uncle John and Helen. I won't comment on the pub, because as Helen remarked, it wasn't that special. BUT the walk - well it was out of this world! Helen says we can return in the autumn when the colours are changing. I'd like that.
|We both played in the stream!|
Friday, 25 March 2011
With some excitement Pythius and I handed in our completed manuscript for Paws Along the Way to our publisher Jon Carpenter, Wychwood Press, last week. Now we wait for him to contact us, checking this, that and the other He has very exacting standards and will not tolerate sloppy work, or silly mistakes - which is what makes the books he publishes so special.
To celebrate this moment, Uncle John and I took Pythius to Humblebee Wood, which lies about two miles from Winchcombe. This wood was walked by Tolkien just before he wrote Lord of the Rings, which intrigued me. I imagined it would be filled with gnarled old trees and harbour an air of mystery. It didn't. The trees were spindly and without character and there was nothing mystical about it that could be linked with Lord of the Rings. The only positive thing about this walk was the breathtaking view of Winchcombe when seen from high on the hill at the edge of Humblebee Wood
|Humblebee wood and cottage at top of hill.|
We were about to turn and find a pub where we could have lunch when I spotted it! A NEW WAYSIGN, and when I say NEW, I mean just that! A NEW WAY that we had not explored and even worse, included it in our new book about Ways that Jon Carpenter is processing even as I write.
|The new pale green Way sign for Gustav Holst Way|
I think it is called Sod's Law! We scoured the maps while working on Paws Along the Way, attempting to include every Way that crossed Oxfordshire and the Cotswold's - then a new one creeps up on us just a week after the book is finished.
The walk, named after the composer Gustav Holst, is 35 miles long and cut into chunks of 6 to 8 miles each. It begins at Cranham which represents this great composer's childhood and concludes in Wych Rissington where he worked later in his life. The walk was devised by Brian Carvell when he was a Trustee of the Holst Birthplace Museum. Apparently the walk will be formally opened later in the year, once all the signs are in place.
Obviously we will explore this walk and tell you more about it once it is established. Actually Uncle John and I are rather looking forward to walking this Way with the sound of the Planets singing in our heads as we follow in Gustav Holst's footsteps.
Having returned to Winchcombe after our three mile walk to Humblebee Wood and back, we drove to The Craven Arms, a 16th century Inn nestling in a backstreet of the charming little village of Brockhampton, near Cheltenham. And what a find it proved to be. We were served by the charming Lucy who made Pythius comfortable immediately,
|The charming Lucy at the Craven Arms looks after Pythius.|
We ordered baguettes which were Delicious and stuffed full of freshly sliced ham and mustard. It is one of those lovely little Cotswold's pubs that also offers its guests a beautiful garden in which to sit and admire the view. Perhaps we would have done that if it had not been so cold and the fire in the main bar so welcoming.
I am not sure why they both got into such a flap when they noticed a new way sign, but they did.
The pub was great, that lovely Lucy kept coming over to check I had everything I needed... what more could a chap ask for?
Thursday, 10 March 2011
The Feathered Nest Cotswold Inn at Nether Westcote, that stands mid-way between Stow-on-the-Wold and Burford, looks rather like the house that Jack built from outside, but when you walk through the door into the first of many small intimate areas all beautifully furnished, it is obvious this is one of the most stylish pubs for miles around. And the view! Gosh, even on a cold grey day when the sun hides behind the clouds, it is stunning. The inn looks down on the Evenlode Valley with its undulating landscape scattered with dwellings built from the honey coloured Cotswold stone that marks this area out as both enchanting and unforgettable. Some describe this view as one of the most beautiful in the country.
|The Feathered Nest Inn, Nether Westcote - Unforgettable!|
As Auntie Liz had badly bruised a toe last week, the long "Paws" walk we usually enjoy after a good meal every Thursday was not possible. This was unfortunately as The Feathered Nest is close to the Diamond Way, The Oxfordshire Way and the D'Arcy Dalton Way. There is also a public footpath close to the Inn which leads you right down to the bottom of the valley and Westcote Brook - what more could anyone ask? Having discovered just what a gem this pub is - we will return as soon as Auntie Liz can walk comfortably again, and enjoy one of these walks, which I will write up soonest.
|Friendly staff - great beer!|
|Cosy, intimate and friendly interior,.|
|Home cooked Cotswold pasty - delicious|
When Auntie Liz ordered a Cotswold pasty for her lunch she was warned all the food is freshly cooked and it would take at least 20 minutes - which as far as we were concerned was fine. The atmosphere was so relaxing, the wood burning fire so warm and snug. the staff so friendly, we would have been happy to have waited even longer.
Our food (I ordered fish and chips) arrived served on rustic wooden plates and was absolutely delicious.
Gosh what a terrific lunch!The beer was great too - we drank a local Hook Norton Brew.
This inn has become so popular, do phone and book a table if you aim to visit during the weekend.
I still can't believe it. When we were settling at our table and I was adjusting my paws so that they were comfortable, the lovely Amanda Timmer, who runs the inn with her husband Tony, came up to me, patted my head, talked to me for a few moments then handed me a carrier bag filled with "Doggie Goodies".
|Pythius inspects the contents of his Green Fields Doggie Bag.|
What a lucky dog I am.
Friday, 25 February 2011
The Inn at Fossebridge, as its name suggests, nestles besides a bridge in a dip on the A429 (Fosse Way) that passes through the Coln Valley, just three miles out of Northleach, four miles from Bibury or 6 miles north of Cirencester. Its close proximity to Chedworth means it is also but three miles away from one of the most spectator Roman Villas in the country.
|The Inn at Fossebridge|
It's no wonder that the Romans chose to settle in this area - even during the winter months the Coln Valley displays a breathtaking and haunting beauty, which remains gloriously unspoiled.
The Inn dates back to the Georgian period and stands in 4 acres of a mature garden in which a small lake sits in the centre. The river Coln acts as one of the garden's boundaries.
|The Inn's glorious garden and lake|
Describing The Inn at Fossebridge without resorting to superlatives is impossible. This remarkable inn is not only one of the most friendly establishments I have ever visited, it is professionally run too. It is indeed a true country retreat, offering guests a chance to step back in time, enjoy old fashioned hospitality, and fine food. Auntie Liz and I were much amused to note that there is an old sign above the main bar DATING BACK TO 1945 advertising DAVID CAMERON BREWERS! I wonder if our esteemed leader knows that there was a brewery of this name?
|David the friendly barman|
It goes without saying that Pythius was made really welcome, and that a large bowl of cold water is placed by the side of the bar for visiting canines. He was allowed to roam the inn's lovely grounds too. If I was award wining stars, this inn would get five out of five.
The walk was so easy - having walked round the grounds and admired the swans, with our back to the inn, we used the left hand side exit from its grounds that led to a minor road. Having crossed the road we followed the directions of a waymarker and climbed a wooden stile that led to a large field. This is really all a walker needs to know. This two mile walk is well signed throughout, not just with waysigns but with well worn paths that suggest hundreds of feet have walked this way often.
Strangely, although we were passing an undulating terrain, the walk seldom presented an uphill challenge, nothingwas strenuous, which means that providing walkers can manage to climb the wooden stiles (some of which are quite high) it is an easy walk. When the roofs of a few houses finally come into view, you will arrive at the last stile on the way out. Having climbed it, you find yourself in a grassy passageway which suggests you are walking through someones garden. Worry not, you are simply taking a short green lane that leads to a minor road. Place the dog on the lead at this point and on reaching the road, turn left, walking but a few yards to a waysign on the left which takes you back the way you came, but on a quite different path, and this time alongside the small stream that trickles through the valley. Gosh how the dog loved the stream, with its crystal clear bubbling water.
The path eventually leads you to a large meadow and a stile in the far left hand corner which takes you onto the A429 and just a stones throw from the inn, which stands on the left.
There were no livestock in the fields the day we walked, but I am told that sheep graze here during the summer months, which means there will be times when the dog must be kept under close control.
|Pythius - Border collie - having fun|
What can I say? Like Helen I rate both the pub and the walk amongst the best ever. The pub was so friendly, the grounds simply glorious and the walk - well that was out of this world. I was exhausted when I got home, but I was also a very, very happy dog.
Thursday, 17 February 2011
Lechlade is one of those idyllic little Cotswold towns that is still firmly set in the middle of the 20th Century. It is also a gloriously watery place as its here that the River Coln and Leach join the Thames and where tourists can make river trips on the luxury Thames launch Inglesham throughout the summer season.
The launch takes its name from a nearby hamlet where the 13th century Church of John the Baptist can be found.
I mention this church because by making a short detour you can incorporate a visit to this remarkable unspoilt building, which I promise is well worth the effort.
|Look at the layers of wall paintings! Aren't they amazing?|
It was the layers of wall paintings that date from the 13th to the 19th century,that intrigued me most - the 17th century box pews and pulpit are pretty impressive too.
We were also thrilled to discover a Saxon carving of Madonna and child. The fact that this church has remained virtually unaltered since the early 16th century makes for a never to be forgotten experience. Pythius sensed it was a special place that had to be respected too.
But you don't get to the church until you are half way through the walk which begins by taking a path to the right, having walked along Thanes street past the Black Cat Tea rooms and the amazing Christmas Shop that remains open throughout the year. A sign on the left hand side of the road indicates that you have reached a path that will take you to the Round House, River Thames and Canal, all reached by taking this narrow secluded little path that runs alongside a small stream, and into a series of meadows, linked by some of the wackiest wooden stiles I have ever seen.
|One of many wacky wooden stiles along the way|
Unfortunately Pythius did find the exit from this bridge rather difficult. He did eventually manage it, but only because Uncle John encouraged him to do one of his impressive doggie jumps that have got him out of trouble many times.
This is where we made a detour across the meadow to the right and visited the church, before returning to the river, where Pythius was able to run up and down the bank and dive in and out of the water as we headed back to Lechlade and the Riverside pub where we stopped for lunch. And yes Pythius was allowed to join us for lunch. This pub is very busy during the summer months as you are able to sit outside enjoy all that the River Thames offers, including swans, ducks and loads of boats.
One of the most memorable things we encountered on this walk were snowdrops.
An abundance of snowdrops decorated the river banks, the church yard and several other places along the way. They filled our hearts with joy as they signified the beginning of Spring. A truly wonderful sight.
|The first signs of spring|
Yes, Spring is on its way, I can feel it, smell it even. This lovely walk enabled me to run free, dart in and out of the water and visit a very impressive old building, without bumping into a single hazard, for there were no sheep, horses or cows in the fields and the river bank offered loads of places where I could jump in without finding myself in deep water. BUT (Yes, there is always a BUT) during the summer months much of this changes as livestock can be found grazing several of the fields we walked this week.
Saturday, 5 February 2011
|Pythius has already packed his suitcase|
Obviously we had to find a dog-friendly place where Pythius could run free and enjoy all the doggie activities he has come to expect over the years, which include dog-friendly beaches, wood and river walks and a garden he can run around in before going to bed.
We finally decided to book a luxury dog-friendly cottage at Helsbury Park, North Cornwall, which is close to Bodmin Moor and a spectacular South West Coastal Path, that will turn "walkies" into a real adventure. The cottages stand alongside a 100 acres of back garden, so there is space in abundance for everyone.
As the accommodation has a five star rating, and provides me with the chance to kick off my shoes and put my feet up in front of a roaring fire, or wallow in a steaming bath after a long dog walk to the river and back, it offers absolutely everything that humans need too.
|Spacious kitchens and dining areas make these cottages special.|
What can I possibly say, except that I am really, really excited. We won't be going on holiday until the autumn, but that doesn't matter, it gives me something wonderful to look forward to.
|Look at that wonderful space!|
Gosh isn't this exciting, particularly as Dog Walkie maps are supplied, which means that the girls won't get lost (as they usually do) when we begin exploring.
Apparently Helen got the information on Helsbury Park by going to: http://www.helsburypark.co.uk/