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This is an archive of walks done by the Saturday Walker's Club. You should only need to use this page if the SWC website is down.

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Saturday, 24 November 2018

Merriment and Christmas Market in Moreton-in-Marsh to Blockley

SWC 115:  Saturday Walk Moreton-in-Marsh to Blockley via Chipping Campden and Dover’s Hill T=SWC.115

Distance:  14.5 miles or 23.3 km for those more metrically minded for the full route via Dover’s Hill (roughly 2 miles; 3 km shorter if opting for a Broadway map-led ending); 12.2 miles or 20 km omitting Dover’s Hill; 9 miles or 15 km if sticking with the original route by-passing Chipping Campden and Dover's Hill

Difficulty: 5 out of 10 (on average)

Train:  Take the 8:22 AM Great Western Moreton-in-Marsh train from London Paddington, arriving at Moreton-in-Marsh at 10:00 AM.  Return trains from Moreton-in-Marsh are at 18:48; 19:47; 20:48 and 21:56. Buy a day return to Moreton-in-Marsh. For those wishing a later start/shorter walk, you could take the 9:22 and catch a taxi to Paxford (roughly 12 pounds) where you will have a reasonable chance of connecting with the early starters en route or do the original shorter route by-passing Chipping Campden.  The return trip will require a bus from Blockley (16:35 or 18:08) or Broadway (17:53) to Moreton-in-Marsh to connect with a train back to London.

This walk is slight twist on the old classic Moreton-in-Marsh circular via Paxford and Broad Campden. The instructions for this original walk have now been fully written-up and include routing through Chipping Campden (a pearl of the Cotswold) and Dover’s Hill along the Cotswold escarpment (traditionalists can also stick with the original route).  Many thanks to the brave group that test drove the new routing option via Chipping Campden and Dover’s Hill in the Spring as a map-led excursion – their feedback was very helpful in finalizing the instructions….

Typically, done in the height of summer, I thought it might make a nice change to try this walk during late autumn, as the villages are preparing for the festive season. In fact, Saturday is the day of the Moreton Christmas Market and I believe Broadway may well have some nice seasonal lights. More information on the walk can be found here. The new instructions (under the "via Broad Campden tab") and gpx file are now available.  Please note that the ending to Broadway is map-led – essentially following the well-marked Cotswold Way from Dover’s Hill for 3 miles to Broadway Tower (and 1 mile further down to the village).

The recommended lunch pub is the Eight Bells (01386 840 371) in Chipping Campden (8 miles/13 km into the walk), a traditional inn serving innovative home-cooked food. However, there are various other options available in Chipping Campden. For those doing the shorter walk, the Churchill Arms in Paxford and the Bakers Arms in Broad Campden are the traditional points of call.

Tea or stronger stuff can be had at the Café or Great Western Arms in Blockley or various locations in Broadway. 

Enjoy the walk!

1 comment:

Walker said...

What kind of nutcases get up for an 8.20am train to do a 14 mile in the Cotswold's on a grey winter's day?. Well, seven assorted nutcases, is the short answer, and one (me) who had intended to get the train an hour later but had woken at 6am and not been able to get back to sleep. One did get the later train and met up with us mid-morning and one sister of one of the walkers joined us by car. So n=10 in all.

Those of us on the 8.20 enjoyed a nice ride on the new hybrid trains, which charmingly switch from electric to diesel traction mid journey without you even noticing. (Conversation with an Onboard Train Manager on the way back revealed that this transition could be done without the train having to stop). The 9.20 was a slam door, possibly the last one that will feature on an SWC walk...

On arrival we had a long walk across hill and dale under w=very-grey skies, but apart from a brief shower at the start it did not rain and the ground was minimally muddy. There were some dribs of autumn colour and the landscape had a wild beauty under the lowering heavens.

Still, it was nice to descend to Chipping Camden with its grand church and have a cosy lunch at the Eight Bells. During this we discussed afternoon options, and then on climbing Dover Hill with its fine north-westward views we discussed them again, and opted for the map-led ridge route to Broadway because it was shorter and because moonlight walks looked unlikely. Having never done it, I thought this was a very fine route, with a wonderful descent from the Broadway Tower down to the twinkling lights of the plain.

They say the lights are always bright in Broadway (had to get that in) and certainly it looked very pretty with all its trees bedecked with illuminations for Christmas. We got there at 4.55pm and about four different tea rooms closed in unison at 5pm, a fact which discomforted no one but me. I got a takeaway tea in my reusable mug and the others went to the Swan Inn.

We then got the 5.50 bus, forming the entirety of its clientelle, I think, and landed up in Moreton-in-Marsh at 6.15pm in time to see the Christmas market being packed away. But there was a Tesco Express to provide us with alternative sources of seasonal cheer (hummus. tortilla chips, some kind of red liquid that seemed popular) which we consumed on the train home.