My feet carried me up over the escarpment and down through Broadway , then up and down again into the tiny village of Stanton. Broadway may be picturesque and the most photographed town in England, but Stanton is by far the most beautiful village I’ve seen so far. While Broadway’s High Street is an antiques shopper’s Mecca, Stanton’s (unmarked) High Street is a garden enthusiast’s paradise.
There are few cars visible in Stanton, and every building oozes history and character, as if it is still the nineteenth century , or longer ago. As elsewhere in the UK, nearly all the electrical lines are buried out of sight, and signage is discrete, or missing altogether. This village has thatched roofs, ancient timbers, and vines as thick and sinewy as a steeple jack’s forearm clinging to the facades of buildings.
People told me I would be blown away by the prevalence Of small farm here, and I am. I think they have it right here, where houses are clustered, the hedgerows are a wild tangle, the sheep do the mowing, and every field edge, lane and walking path is flanked by rampant growth of wild flowers and brambles.
At Broadway Tower, a folly built in 1800 by a wealthy man, I had my first taste of local Cotswold ice cream. The tower houses a nifty little shop that sells mostly local souvenirs. Though small, the shop had a full wall of preserves on every flavor, needlepoint pillows and a diminutive freezer containing Winston’s Cotswold Ice Cream. As is my tradition, I had vanilla, which had that creamy texture that coats your tongue and informs that real heavy cream is the main ingredient. I sat on the ground with my back against the tower’s base and savored not only the ice cream, but the panoramic view and sunshine.
It was blowing a real gale on the tower hill, and much of the Way has dried up some. Out of Chipping Campden I passed nine hundred local school
children walking the opposite direction. Luckily this occurred where a bridle path ran parallel to the walking path for
a long distance. It was quite a horde!
It must have been the day for dairy. at Broadway Deli I found cheese from the UK and bought a slab of cheddar , a crusty roll and some fresh figs. On the hills between Broadway and Stanton I found a tiny section of wall with its pointy top knocked off, and had a picnic.
On the downhill into Stanton I caught up with the dreaded mud, but this first leg was quite dry overall and the sky was filled with puffy clouds, the sun was in and out, and the rain remained to the north.
My bones and muscles ached so much when i arrived at Shenberrow Hill that I took four ibuprofen, had two half pints of hard cider, and took a hot bath before and after supper. I suspect I’ll sleep like the dead again tonight.
I had dinner with a couple from Copenhagen who are staying at Shenberrow Hill as well. We went to Mount Inn, which is right uphill from where we are staying. The Inn has an eclectic menu including locally raised organic meats, but I ordered vegetable curry, and as usual, forgot to ask about the hot pepper. The curry was delicious, but so hot I could only eat half. Probably it was mild by other’s standards!
The photo uploads may not be that good. It’s hard to tell on the iPhone. I suspect that the app doesn’t render the reduced images very well, so
my apologies. There is not much else I can do.
I awoke this morning to the sound of thunder in the distance. Today’s walk is shorter by three miles. I’ll prepare myself for rain and mud in hopes that this will keep me dry and upright.