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On Sunday 8th February 34 members set off from the Waterloo Car Park and walked to the Market Place to catch the bus to Rendcomb for a 6.5 mile linear walk. They began walking on a lovely sunny morning, climbing from the main road up to the village, passing Rendcomb College on the left. The snowdrops on both sides of the lane were in full flower, providing a beautiful setting and many photos were taken.
On reaching the village they turned right past the village shop and then right again on a footpath, taking them across fields with fantastic views ahead. The route continued through woodland and eventually reached North Cerney where they stopped for coffee on the village green. Refreshed they left the village turning onto a path by the BT premises. Following the River Churn they continued to the pretty village of Baunton and the little Norman church of St Mary Magdalene, which houses a treasure in the form of a superb 14th century wall painting that practically dominates the north wall of the small nave. Here lunch was taken and some members looked around this beautiful church, also finding in the churchyard the grave of a great granddaughter of Charles Dickens. Walking back on muddy paths into Cirencester via Abbey Way, the sun was still shining and you could believe that spring was just around the corner.
Waiting for the bus to start the walk
Heading Towards North Cerney
Grave of Charles Dickens' great grand daughter
A cold, breezy yet sunny morning greeted the nine walkers who set off along the main drive into Woodchester Park. After a brief stop and history lesson at the unfinished Mansion we continued through the park past the lakes. At the eastern end we headed uphill and then passing the Forest Green Rovers ground we were amused to spot a short length of public footpath obstructed by a gate which, due to building work, now only opens two inches wide.
Then down a steep and slippery hill to the appropriately named Miry Brook. Lunch was taken on a grassy hill side where we were amused by an inquisitive robin. On to Nympsfield where by consensus we agreed to extend the walk to Uley. Unfortunately this was rather taxing for the leader's map reading skills and on one occasion we needed to retrace our steps. Also the walk extension included a rather challenging climb up to the Iron Age hill fort. The route improved as we followed the Cotswold Way to Coaley Peak we were treated to far reaching views including the Malverns, Black Mountains and the Brecon Beacons. Having covered 11.2 miles we returned to our vehicles with half an hour to spare as the car was due to close at dusk.
Group outside the Mansion
Lovely views on the walk
On a much nicer day than expected, 23 walkers set off for an 8 mile circular walk from the Gateway Centre on the Spine road. Due to some flooding on the Thames Path the walk was far different from the one originally advertised, but they still managed to find and negotiate many muddy pathways, which made for interesting walking and the lakes and water birds are always good to see in any season. Turning left they followed the Thames and Severn canal towpath past locks and cottages to reach Boxwell Spring Lock.
Walking on they reached a crossroads. Here they turned left along a tarmac path with the River Churn and the mill race on either side to reach Bow Wow, which took them into the village of South Cerney. Continuing though the village they walked past the yacht club and towards the Spine Road. Crossing with care they continued through fields to reach Friday's Ham Lane where they took an extremely muddy path eventually reaching the old railway line. Walking along this path they returned to the outskirts of South Cerney to return along Wildmoorway Lane to the start. Many thanks to Janet who provided a nice cardboard path through the muddiest bits!
A party of 29 members assembled on the village green at Eastcombe. Contrary to expectations the weather was glorious; a bright and sunny if slightly chilly winter's morning. They set off from Eastcombe and headed towards France Lynch. This part of the walk was on high open ground. At France Lynch they turned onto a farm track and then continued on the Wysis Way towards Bisley. The Wysis Way is an 88km walking route which forms a link between the Offa's Dyke and Thames Path national trails. It starts in Monmouth and passes through the Forest of Dean, Severn Vale and the Cotswolds; ending at Kemble where it joins the Thames Path.
From France Lynch the steeple of Bisley Church could be seen in the distance. Leaving the Wysis Way they crossed the last, very muddy field to the busy Holloway Road. They then carefully proceeded a few hundred yards into Bisley itself. Bisley currently has a population of under 1,000 but in its 19th century heyday the population was about 6,000 with many employed in the wool trade. At that time it was a prosperous and important town. However, with the arrival of wool machinery, the work went elsewhere with disastrous consequences for the local economy and the people of Bisley.
The walkers stopped for coffee at Bisley church before continuing through the village: past the old police station and the lock-up towards the Bear Inn with its unusual columned frontage. At the Bear the group headed west towards Copsegrove Farm turning onto a long straight track lined with horse chestnut trees on either side. As they came down the slope Eastcombe village could be seen up on the plateau across the valley.
On Tuesday 13th January 27 members turned out on an extremely chilly night to attend the Annual Quiz at the Waterloo Meeting Room in Cirencester. After a warming drink quiz master Steve, with his glamourous assistant Kathrine, conducted a lively evening in their own inimitable style Questions were many and varied giving everyone a chance to show off their knowledge. Half way through the evening, after more refreshments, the raffle took place. Everyone went home with a prize and a certain furry hat seemed to change ownership frequently. I believe it now resides in South Cerney. The quiz continued and the winning team The Fab Four were given a round of applause. When members left the building they were greeted by falling snow, which covered their cars. Fortunately it did not prevent anyone from arriving home safely. Many thanks to Steve and Katherine; also the team of helpers who prepared the room and provided tea, coffee and biscuits.
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