A walking history lesson in the English countryside

May 26, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

Ahhh, Summer is well on its way. And what a Sunday we had for a mornings hike in the countryside.

 

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Living just outside of Bath, we have the luxury of striking the perfect balance between rural and urban life. You really don't have to go far from the cities to enjoy the best of the rural West Country. With the weather behaving itself, we could have done some wonders for the English tourist board in the process!

 

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See... It doesn't get more quintessential than a red letter box hidden among blooming dandelions, along a country lane with the village notice board!

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With a week off work, I headed home for my Dads birthday, and with such fantastic weather we put on the walking boots, grabbed a map and flask of coffee and headed to the other side of Bath.

Lansdown - famous for its historical battle, and modern day horse racecourse and golf club. Lansdown is one of the highest areas of land around Bath and the Cotswolds, and an excellent choice for a morning hike ... strategically planned of course to coincide with a pub at the end...

 

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From hiking through forests that have witnessed historical battles, and swamped in a carpet of wild garlic. To dodging golf balls as we crossed the green, and finally, trying to find a good pint of ale and lunch at the local pub. The English countryside at its best!

 

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Passing through small local villlages, past the community notice board with rich yellow daffodils at their finest and the local church which could be screened for the next series of Downton Abbey!

 

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At one point we had to cross through a farmers field, with a big yellow warning sign, that would have been more at home in a chemistry laboratory than the countryside ... "DANGER - BULL IN FIELD".

No sign of aforementioned Bull, but the field was home to some beautiful old farm machinery, altogether making us feel like a living episode of Countryfile.

 

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The latter stages of the hike actually joins the famous 'Cotswold Way', which is conveniently marked throughout. The Cotswold Way, stretches over 100 miles along the Cotswold escarpment, through ancient villages and past modern day towns. It weaves its way through the west country, between Bath and Chipping Campden.

For more info, have a look at the National Trust website here: http://www.nationaltrail.co.uk/cotswold-way

 

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The Battle of Lansdown 1643:

 

On Wednesday 5th July, 1643, in the late afternoon the Royalist army made its final attack on the ridge of Lansdown hill, which the parliamentarian troops were defending. The woods around the area we were now walking would have been filled with defending Musketeers of the parliamentarian army, led by Sir William Waller. The large canon would have been placed not far from todays site of the memorial, with views all the way out to Wales and across the city of Bristol and the Bristol Channel.

The Royalist army led a deadly assault, and succeeded in causing the parliamentarian troops to retreat (a key 400m) which enabled them to take over the stronghold of the ridge.

The memorial today stands on the place where Sir Bevil Grenvile fell, who was commanding the Cornish infantry during the assault, after he was fatally wounded. Silver plaques with the inscription -Landsdown 1643- and crossing swords, can be found at various key marker points across the ridge. They serve as both sign posts and historical reminders to the fact that where ever you go, you are ALWAYS surrounded by history.

 

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Andy FerringtonAndy Ferrington

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