Chipping Campden, Stow-on-the-Wold, Moreton-in-Marsh and in between
It was time to leave the city behind. The English countryside that I had heard so much about beckoned with names that were a mouthful. As I hopped off the train from London at a middle-of-nowhere tiny train station and looked for the bus to Chipping Campden, I wasn’t very sure if I could pull this one off. But when the bus (famous for being sporadic) actually pulled up on time, my doubts melted away and the warmth of the people enveloped me in a new-found countryside confidence.
We meandered five miles into Chipping Campden through winding one lane roads. Instantly, I wanted to grab hold of the green cheeks of these immensely cute hills and give them a good shake, making the sheep on them giggle in glee. Honestly, I could beat a few words to death in this region – cute, charming, quaint, idyllic and warm. It’s no wonder that numerous walking paths are cut into these hills – public footpaths that are allowed to cross into private property through fences, over stiles and past kissing gates. It ain’t hiking; it’s walking. And slow down you must.
But today, I’m going to talk about people.
Ann, Chris and Barry. Ann was at the same B&B, and kindly invited me to join them when I mentioned I was planning to walk to Broadway. This was the first section of their nine-day walk through the region – about a hundred miles. And boy, was I glad for company – they had detailed maps and knew exactly how to read trail markers. Without them, I probably would have taken twice as long and had about half as much fun since I would have constantly been worrying about my route. Five miles with them was a sweet delight – I heard their tales about long distance walks, got advice about the Lake District and stopped for a “biscuit break” which also involved tea from a flask for Ann. As we sat at a café in Broadway (outside, since we couldn’t take our muddy shoes inside), I marveled at my unbelievable luck – it was turning out to be the most glorious day on the road so far.
Other little people jewels rounded up the Cotswold magic – the best B&B host in four weeks, an older British gentlemen who waxed perfect Tamil from a memory that went back fifty years and a wizened bookstore owner with adorable quotes.
This place was magic, and I can’t wait to come back. Someday.