Day Walks & Events
FULL - Castle Combe and the Wiltshire Cotswolds - FULL
Saturday 16 March 2024
Starting Point: Village Hall Car Park (free), Biddestone Lane, Yatton Keynell SN14 7BD
The Cotswolds are known for some extensive views, but this day walk will explore the more intimate countryside in the southern part of this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, passing through one of the candidates for "prettiest village in England". We will follow the usual Journeying practice by walking in the spirit of pilgrimage, sharing reflections along the way.
Our starting point is just south of the M4 near Chippenham in the village of Yatton Keynell. From here, we make our way north and then west, eventually descending to the picture postcard village of Castle Combe. This is a village frozen in time, as development ceased when the cloth trade began leaving the area in the 1700s. Its iconic views have graced many a calendar and chocolate box. The absence of telegraph poles and satellite dishes makes the village a favoured film location, having featured in Dr Doolittle, War Horse, and TV's Poirot. Although a tourist hot spot, we will try to find somewhere quiet to eat our packed lunches. There will be time to explore the village; market cross, St Michael's Church, weavers' cottages and packhorse bridge, maybe browsing the honesty box pop-up shops which often appear at front doors.
Leaving Castle Combe, we cross the river Bybrook on a delightful stone footbridge to climb steadily through trees before dropping down again towards the little settlement of Long Dean which Pevsner described as a pretty group of mill and 18th-century cottages. Woodland gives way to unimproved limestone grassland at West Yatton Down, a Site of Special Scientific Interest. The last leg of the journey gives glimpses of Yatton Keynell's Manor House as we return to the village, maybe stopping at the parish church of St Margaret of Antioch for a final blessing to end our walk.
Yatton Keynell is a little off the beaten track and more detailed directions to the starting point will be supplied to those who sign up for the walk.
The 6-mile route follows good footpaths and tracks, with short stretches along quiet country roads. Some paths may be muddy after rain so appropriate footwear and clothing are recommended.
Please remember to bring a packed lunch and drink. After the walk there will be an option to enjoy refreshments together in Yatton Keynell's charming 17th century pub.
This is event is full. If you would like to go on the reserve list please email:
David Heathcote (07922 492423 email@example.com), Sue Peachey and David Gleed.