On Sunday 26 February, 15 ramblers enjoyed an eight mile walk which included a narrow loop through the beautifully secluded and wooded Toadsmoor Valley and passage along the floor of the historic Stroud Valley alongside the Stroudwater Canal and the River Frome.
Starting from Chalford Bottom, at a point close to Chalford Church, the group climbed a series of very steep passages and paths to a point near to Chalford Cemetery before passing through Frith Wood into the village of Bussage. Arriving at the Ram Inn, the walkers began a descent of Bussage Hill and then took a footpath through fields and woodland leading to a track which descended along one side of the Toadsmooor Valley. Return along the other side took the walkers past a very scenic pond sited in the valley floor where a break was made for coffee..
On leaving the Toadsmoor Valley, the group undertook a steep climb through Mackhouse Wood which took them close to the boundary of Lypiatt Manor. After walking across an open field, they made a long and very steep descent down Claypits Lane, to arrive in Thrupp. Crossing the main road they began a walk along the canal. Lunch was taken on the towpath by the side of a recently restored lock.
Conclusion of the ramble by progression along the Stroudwater Canal for two and a half miles back to Chalford gave the group the opportunity to see more of the attractive restoration work that the Cotswold Canals Trust has carried out around Brimscombe over the last few years, as well as some of the beautifully restored woollen mills. Several stretches of this canal are now in running water and fishermen were enjoying their hobby on what was a mild but rather drizzly day with rare sunny spells. The Golden Valley Railway also travels alongside the canal and several trains were spotted either heading into Stroud or making their way to Swindon via Kemble.
A restful spot for coffee
Climbing steeply through Mackhouse Wood
Lunch and a chat by the Stroudwater Canal
The beautifully restored Brimscombe Mill
The "group" of the day
A recently restored lock