Thursday, June 7, 2012


I set off from the Portcullis Inn at Tomarton at 7am into moderate gale armed with a packed breakfast and litre of orange juice (the Landlord said he didn’t get up till 9am).
I made good progress across the fields to Old Sodbury. As I walked past the Dog Inn (where I’d considered staying) I spotted a very comfortable looking Village Hall. I decided to investigate and found it unlocked. It was warm and spacious and had toilets and showers. To think I could have camped there the night for free with the pub just down the road.

I continued on up to magnificent Sodbury hill fort further north. It was so huge it was difficult to capture on camera.

Further north I deviated away from the fields onto a B road to make faster progress and was glad of it because of the many lovely old buildings I passed. I stumbled upon the National Trust property of Horton Court and wandered into the grounds in spite of it being closed today. Some National Trust staff kindly let me stroll round and take photos. I must remember to discover its history.

Much of the day was just a trudge through the rain, but I had my thoughts to keep me company.
Just north of Wotton-under-Edge I passed three couples heading south walking the Cotswolds Way as part of an organised tour (no backpacks) and we chatted on features and accommodation options up ahead which they said were scarce and pricey.

After a short climb I found the monument to the Battle of Waterloo, then a further climb to the monument to local boy William Tyndal (BA Oxford 1512) who translated the New Testament into English (so people could actually read it). The German Emperor burnt him at the stake for his trouble for this and for one other religious thing or another. I would have climbed the spiral stairs to the top for a better view except the view from the ground was rained in so I passed, not needing the exercise especially.

As I approached Dursley I took a shortcut through a dense forest that had dozens of unmarked footpaths going off in all meandering directions. I learnt to navigate with map and compass today finally, what with the tree and cloud cover causing the GPS to give up on telling me where I was.
As I came down out of the forest I came onto the main road heading north west into Dursley. I was intent on pressing on northeast a few more hours to Uley and beyond, to whatever lean and expensive accommodation pickings presented themselves. I was definitely not camping tonight. Seeing Dursley not too far off I decided to head for the shelter of its nearest pub to make some phone calls for accommodation ahead. The pub mentioned another pub nearby that did accommodation.
Dursley is a pretty town with a lovely market square building (with an interesting history), a pedestrian mall with views of the wooded hills above from either end, a swimming pool and a huge supermarket which sold wine, baguettes and custard cream biscuits. It sold other stuff too.
The Bell Hotel offered a semi en-suite room for £24 including full English breakfast. All thoughts of trudging on another few hours into the driving rain evaporated. The landlord was the exact opposite of the landlord of the previous night and he immediately qualified as my best friend (my apologies to now diplaced best friends). The room was enormous with twin beds, a Digital TV that worked, free wifi and everything else one could expect for far more. The landlord also made his drying room available to me noting the miserable wet condition in which I arrived. I expect he even laid on the two hours of bell ringing in the church across the road for me. And the chippy several doors down.