A walk around Biddestone
Were it not for the presence of nearby Castle Combe, Biddestone could have been the tourist honeypot whose picture adorned any number of calendars, biscuit tins or magazine covers of 'Olde England'.
Here we have the village green replete with its pond and ducks, the scene overlooked by a traditional pub and handsome Cotswold stone properties.
Below the village lies the By Brook, arguably the Avon's most scenic tributary and one of the finest local fisheries.
The landscape is pretty special, too, with a narrow flat-bottomed valley bounded by wooded slopes that are home to a rich array of wildfowl.
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At journey's end, take time to visit the White Hart on the village green, allegedly haunted by an elderly couple who are reluctant to leave the premises – and it is not difficult to see why.
Distance 5 miles
Time 3 hours
Start Biddestone Church (GR 862738)
Maps OS Landranger 173 or OS Explorer 156
Terrain Some moderate hillsides.
Suitable for A decent walk or training for a 10k run
For further information visit www.nighelvilewalks.weebly.com
1. With your back to the church, follow the main road to the right – it becomes 'The Butts' – to reach the local cemetery in 200 yards. Keep ahead along the road that runs to the left of the cemetery – Weavern Lane. In 1 mile, at a junction, take the left-hand track that drops downhill into woodland. In 200 yards, at the next junction, take the path on the left that drops steeply downhill to reach the valley bottom in 150 yards. Continue following the main track uphill out of the valley to a junction by a stone post in 300 yards. Follow the path ahead out of the woods and onto a pair of cottages on the left in 400 yards.
2. Continue along what becomes a road for 350 yards to a left-hand bend just before some properties. At this point, turn right onto a track signposted as 'unsuitable for motor vehicles'. In 150 yards, cross a stile on the left and follow a path down a steep hillside to a stile at the bottom of the field. Follow a track to the left around to the front of a farmhouse and continue on a metalled road uphill for a few paces to a left-hand bend. At this point, follow the enclosed track opposite that climbs uphill to reach a barn. Pass through the right-hand of 2 gateways and follow the right edges of the next 3 fields across to a stile in the corner of the third field. Continue along a woodland path that drops down to a junction with a path coming in on the right. Continue walking directly ahead, cross the By Brook in 100 yards and continue following an enclosed path along to a handgate and a junction, a track coming in on the right. Follow the enclosed narrow path ahead for 250 yards to its junction with Weavern Lane.
3. Turn right and follow this track uphill to a footpath on the left in 200 yards. Ignoring this path, keep ahead along the main track for another 100 yards before crossing the next stile on the left to enter a field. Follow the right edge of the field ahead and, where the hedge on the right ends, keep ahead across the field. Pass to the right of a hedge on the far side of the field and continue walking in the same direction across to a gate and lane coming up from a farm on the left. Follow this lane ahead to reach the cemetery in ¾ mile. Keep ahead back along 'The Butts' to return to the church