SWC 288: The Grand Moreton-in-Marsh Circular via the Escarpment T=SWC.288
Distance: 26.5 miles or 42.6 km for those more metrically minded – with options to shorten – see suggestions below and walk instructions for ideas.
The GPX/KML route is now available on the walk's page.
Difficulty: 10 out of 10 (8 out of 10 for the Shorter Circular Walk and taxi-assist options)
Train: Take the 8:18 AM
Great Western Hereford train from London Paddington,
arriving at Moreton-in-Marsh at 10:01 AM. Return trains from Moreton-in-Marsh are at 19:44; 20:43 and 21:52. Buy a day return to Moreton-in-Marsh (covered in the Network Southeast)
I imagine many people are tired of hearing about this ambitious new walk
– well the time has come to give it its debut
and give the instructions a final check! The full main walk is a long and demanding journey – but well worth the effort – as you cover vast and interesting territory in an area little explored by other SWC walks. The route begins gently crossing fields to Longborough where the tempo increases with the first gentle climbs and descents to reveal stunning views far and wide. After lunch, our adventure takes us out to the Cotswold escarpment
with even more grand views and passes through three classically bucolic Cotswold villages – Stanway
(with Stanway Manor
. In addition to the great views and charming villages, the walk also captures some of the “working” side of the Cotswold by passing through a race horse training facility and by a Cotswold stone mine and lavender fields. There is a slightly shorter alternate ending in Broadway
via Broadway Tower
, but this will require arranging a taxi to meet you in Broadway to return to Moreton-in-Marsh. More information and the walk instructions can be found here
Timing to complete the full circuit (between 10:01 AM and 21:30) will be tight – so it is important to keep an eye on the time. As a rough guide – you should plan to be leaving the following places at the following times (or consider calling a taxi to meet you in Blockley in the evening): Ford – 14:45; Stanton – 17:00; Snowshill – 18:20; Blockley – 20:20.
A great option for a shorter more relaxed outing
, would be to take a taxi to Longborough
(10 pounds -- ask to be dropped at the pub and pick-up the instructions at point 13.a or ask to be dropped at the top of the hill past the pub and pick up at the “small triangular green” reference in the same instruction point) and arrange for a taxi to meet you in Blockley
at the Great Western Arms at 20:00 or 20:30 (also 10 pounds). This would give a total walk of 19 miles/30.57 km and includes all of the highlights of the walk
. The walk instructions include some other taxi-assist options, as well as, numbers for various taxis services in the area. If planning to use a taxi for any part of the trip – book ahead.
For something even more relaxed, the Shorter Circular Walk
via Longborough is 12.5 miles/20.11 km and is also very nice (essentially the former SWC 115 via Longborough) – but does miss the excitement of the escarpment. You should take a later train for this option (9:19 or 10:18 am).
The recommended lunch pub is the Plough Inn
(01488 668 326) in Ford
(10 miles/16.09 km into the walk), a 16th
century inn serving traditional home-cooked food. I have made a booking for 13:30. For anyone starting from Longborough, they should call ahead and advise of numbers for a 12:30 arrival time.
For those doing the Shorter Circular Walk, you should plan to eat at the Coach and Horses in Longborough. Please note that there is an opera at Longborough this afternoon – so the pub may be busy – best to call ahead.
If arriving in Snowshill before 17:00 with enough energy for a 500-meter (there and back) diversion, tea can be had at the tea room at Snowshill Manor
(entrance to the tea room requires either NT membership or the purchase of a garden ticket). If arriving at Snowshill at 18:00 – you could make a brief stop at the Snowshill Arms
before continuing on your way. Do keep an eye on the clock as you will need to leave Snowshill by 18:20ish to return to Moreton-in-Marsh for the last train – unless you have arranged a taxi at Blockely or elsewhere!
Moreton-in-Marsh also has loads of post walk refreshment options, including a good Indian (Hassan Balti) that does take-out for the train.
Enjoy the walk!