A First World War Remembrance Walk
|Length||17.7km (11 miles) or 19.4km (12.1 miles) if you take the “higher route” from Adelstrop to Chastleton|
1:25,000 Explorer OL45 The Cotswolds
1:50,000 Landranger 151 Stratford upon Avon and 163 Cheltenham and Gloucester
Some gentle climbs, 3/10
Main walk: height ascended 192m; descent 153m.
If you take the higher and longer route from Adelstrop to Chastleton this increases the overall walk’s toughness to 4/10 with the height ascended 302m and the descent 213m.
This Cotswolds walk is best done in “high summer” - late June to mid August - when there is maximum daylight (and hopefully sunlight!) to enjoy the dreamy Cotswolds landscape of flower-filled meadows, gentle hills and picturesque villages and churches. After periods of rain some paths and fields, particularly before lunch, will be boggy so this walk is best done and appreciated after a spell of dry, sunny weather. The walk is not recommended for autumn or winter.
The walk first follows paths across fields near the river Evenlode and then passes through a number of lovely Cotswolds villages with its centrepiece a visit to the idyllic hamlet of Adelstrop, immortalised in the poem “Adelstrop” by Edward Thomas who died at the battle of Arras in France in 1917.
Your recommended pub stop the Fox Inn at Lower Oddington is just 5.7km into the walk so you will have 12.0 km to complete after lunch (or 13.7km if you do the longer route from Adelstrop to Chastleton.).
Jane Austen visited Adelstrop House at least three times and it is thought her novel Mansfield Park was inspired by the village and the surrounding area.
The walk is on the Oxfordshire/ Gloucestershire borders and a long way from London and as you will not start walking until around noon (but earlier if you take the 9.22 Sunday train) you should prepare for a long day (12 hours) as there is much to see and enjoy. Allow at least 5 hours for walking and 3 hours for meals and sightseeing/resting. On a Saturday you could aim to to arrive at Moreton in Marsh around 6.30-7.00pm. This will leave time for a drink/snack before catching the 7.45pm train arriving at London Paddington at 9.29pm, or if you want a meal you can catch the 8.43pm which arrives at 10.38pm , still with plenty of time to get late tubes, trains or buses.
Kingham station is a fair distance from the actual village. The walk starts by crossing fields and woods close to the river Evenlode before picking up a quiet tarmac lane (Church Road) en route to Lower Oddington.
On this lane you pass the beautiful St Nicholas Church which should be open and a visit is highly recommended. The Norman south aisle probably represents the original nave. The church was all but abandoned among its fields in 1852, and has been little altered since. It has medieval wall paintings of the Doom on the north wall of the nave, dating to the early 15th century. They were whitewashed over in the English Reformation and conserved by Eve Baker from 1969. Scenes depicted include the Acts of Mercy and the Seven Deadly Sins .
A typically attractive Cotswold village which with Upper Oddington forms the parish of Oddington. You can find a wealth of history and detail about the parish here.
This isolated, small village is renowned for its beauty and the fine walks in the surrounding countryside. It is a perfect spot to linger and rest or for a period of quiet reflection. As you leave Adelstrop on the shorter route to Chastleton you will pass a bus shelter with a station seat and the old station sign. The poem Adelstrop is inscribed on a small plaque. All signs of the original station, closed in 1966, have disappeared.
St Mary Magdalene Church in Adelstrop was largely rebuilt in the mid 18th century but has a 13th century chancel arch. The renovation was sympathetically done and the church has a much older feel. See here for more details and the connections with Jane Austen.
The village has been immortalised by the Anglo-Welsh poet Edward Thomas in his short poem “Adelstrop” published in 1917 which describes an unscheduled stop at the village railway station in June 1914. The poem captures a feeling of peace and serenity on a warm and sunny English summers day just weeks before the carnage and slaughter of World War 1 and the subsequent unfolding horrors of revolution, economic collapse and genocide of the 20th century.
As such the village has become associated with an idealised, dreamy memory of the Edwardian English countryside and its “endless summers” with the poem one of the most popular and loved in the English language.
Edward Thomas enlisted in 1915 and was killed in 1917 aged 39 at the battle of Arras leaving a widow and four children.
The text of the poem can be found here
Chastleton House and St Mary’s Church, Chastleton
This is a Jacobean country house owned by the National Trust and a Grade 1 listed building. The village and the house have informative entries on their Wikipedia pages. In summer Chastleton House is open in the afternoons until 5pm but access is limited and you will have to pay if you are not a National Trust member – see here for more details. When the house is open the adjacent church should be serving refreshments; a welcome and delightful stop before you set off on the 7.7km stretch to Moreton in Marsh.
The last lovely Cotswold village you visit before your walk ends at Moreton in Marsh. You pass its village green which is a fine place to stop and rest before the final 5km leg of the walk to Moreton in Marsh.
Moreton in Marsh
A bustling market town with many buildings in the Cotswolds style. Its High Street - just 5 minutes from the train station - has hotels, pubs, cafes and antique shops and a highly recommended fish and chip shop.
Lengthening the walk. You can add 1.7km (1.1m) to the walk by taking the “high paths ” from Adelstrop to Chastleton. This is a lovely scenic route and makes the complete walk 19.4km (12.1m) and the overall toughness 4/10.
There are no written walk directions to shorten the walk. If you bring the relevant OS map and/or use a GPS device you can bypass the pubs at Lower and Upper Odddington and take a slightly shorter route (1.4km) from Bledington Heath to Adelstrop via Daylesford
You could call a taxi from Moreton in Marsh at the Fox Inn to take you to Moreton in Marsh or Kingham.stations.
Direct trains to Kingham are on the First Great Western service from London Paddington to Hereford. Moreton in Marsh is one stop further along from Kingham
Buy a day return to Moreton in Marsh. A network rail card will significantly reduce the cost of your ticket and you can get even better details if you book ahead via the web.
On weekdays and Saturdays take the first train after 10am. On Sundays you can take the first train after 9.30 or a later one at just after 10.30am.
There is one train an hour on all days to Kingham with a journey time of around 90 mins.
On weekdays and Saturdays there are hourly return trains from Moreton in Marsh to London Paddington at varying minutes past the hour until just after 21.30.
On Sundays there are also hourly trains at between xx:09 and xx:13 mins past the hour with the latest train at just after 10pm. Journey times vary between 100 and 120 mins back to London.
Your lunch-time pub is the Fox Inn at Lower Oddington (01451 870555) which is 6km into the walk. This beautiful Virginia creeper clad, Cotswold stone Inn, with flagstone floor, beams, open fireplaces and collection of antiques does pub classics and a la carte. It has a large range of fine wines and a selection of real ales. The pub is around 5.7km from the start of the walk so you should reach it around 1.30pm if you have taken the train after 10am. Meals are served until 2pm. You must book ahead preferably a few days in advance. It will be busy on summer weekends.
The cost of main courses is high but the quality is excellent. You can get a decent starter for around £7. A possible plan would be to bring some snacks, have a starter at the pub and then have a meal in Moreton in Marsh. Fish and Chips at the Mermaid Fish Bar (see below) should be around £5-£6.
An alternative lunch pub is the Horse and Groom at Upper Oddington 01451 830584). However this option takes you off the main route (see directions below) and adds about 2km (there and back ) to the walk.
This quintessential Cotswolds stone Inn dates back to the 1580s and has cheap sandwich menus and lunches (£7-£8) as well as a range of local and regional ales. Again it is a good idea to book ahead.
Check out the web sites for the two pubs as menus and choice of beers and wines will change regularly.
The approach to Adelstrop and the hamlet itself would be perfect spots for a picnic lunch. There are also excellent picnic spots on either of the routes between Adelstrop and Chastleton.
When Chastleton House is open on summer afternoons the adjacent St Mary’s Church should be serving light refreshments; a welcome break in the long afternoon stretch of the walk. This café run by volunteers provides teas and other drinks and delicious home-made cakes which they will wrap up for you to consume later in the walk. There is some seating available and you can enjoy your break resting among “the tombstones” in the idyllic church grounds.
Chastleton House opening times can be found here The cafe should be open at the same times.
The Church and House are around 5km from the end of the walk.
Moreton in Marsh High Street
Sadly, by the time you finish the walk all the cafes and tea shops in the High Street will probably be closed but there are several decent town centre pubs where you can get light refreshments and a reasonable evening meal.
Bell Inn (01608 651688)
Black Bear (01608 652992)
Swan Inn (01608 650711)
White Hart Royal (01608 650731)
For a cheap evening meal you can get superb fish and chips at the Mermaid Fish Bar in the High Street. Open every evening except Bank Holidays.
After the walk, we would love to get your feedback
Out (not a train station)
Back (not a train station)
National Rail: 03457 48 49 50 • Travelline (bus times): 0871 200 22 33 (12p/min) • TFL (London) : 0343 222 1234
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Full directions for this walk are in a PDF file (link above) which you can print, or download on to a Kindle, tablet, or smartphone.
This is just the introduction. This walk's detailed directions are in a PDF available from wwww.walkingclub.org.uk