The Cotswold Way (Part 3)
Saturday, May 25, 2019, from my journal: “Wotten-Under-Edge to Old Sodbury. The terrain today wasn’t as picturesque and involved a lot of stretches across flat cropland, but then there was Jane’s Magic Woods...” And how magical they were, we discovered, as we passed through a copse of giant beeches that seemed filled with a quiet knowing.
The thing about a long hiking trip is the pace, the getting-away from such modern things as pavement and motorized vehicles. Even walking past grazing pasture animals and across bland cropland is delightful to me. One can still smell the earth, witness the bright spring flowers along the edges, the vivid greens of the crops, and hear the gentle breezes and birdsong.
In Old Sodbury, we stayed snug and comfy at the The Dog Inn. Our room was one of five in the back of the old building, strung along the frame of a former bowling alley, we were told. True to its name, many dogs joined their owners in the pub and dining room that evening.
The infamous English weather had held up so far, but went from cool and windy to cold and blustery the following day. We finally broke down and donned our raingear against a healthy drizzle (Bob called it a mist—we nitpicked the terminology). Either way, we got wet, but not sodden, so it could certainly have been worse. Our destination that day was the appropriately-named Cold Ashton. There, thankfully, our B&B owner had turned on the heat and arranged a lovely meal at a farm nearby, there being nowhere to eat otherwise.
Our final day was beautiful! At the end, we descended into our final goal of Bath, where we re-encountered civilization (and crowds). We traversed the expansive Victoria Park and rounded a corner to see Bath’s famous Royal Crescent, foregrounded by one of the final way markers for the Cotswold Way. In quick succession (and while dodging unaccustomed traffic), we came across more important landmarks: the Circus (a historical round street of three-story townhomes built in the mid-1700s); Jane Austen’s house; the Royal Mineral Water Hospital; and, finally, the ceremonial ending of our journey in front of the Bath Abbey. Adjacent to the abbey, the Roman Baths are said to be among the most-visited of tourist attractions in England. The public square was very busy with buskers and tourists.
So we headed to a pub to fortify ourselves for the final 400 meters (uphill!) to our wonderful, and final, B&B. From my journal: “It has been a LOT of convivial fun!...and we agreed that the four of us are excellent colleagues on journeys like this.” Indeed.