A walk taking the Mon-Sat 606 bus to Stanway Viaduct and walking to Stanway House and Wood Stanway before some serious climbing to Beckbury Camp, the tranquil setting of Farmcote to Campden Lane. The walk returns to Winchcombe via the Farmcote valley and Monks Hole.
Distance: 7.5 miles / 12 km
Duration: 4.5 hours (walking)
Start of walk: Stanway Viaduct
Grid ref: SP 050/333
OS maps: Outdoor Leisure 45, Landranger 163
Refreshments: None on route.
Ascent: 1,027 feet/313 metres
Descent: 968feet/295 metres
This walk needs to be planned in conjunction with the 606 bus timetable available at: www.pulhamscoaches.com
The start point of the walk is the track running under the railway viaduct by the Broadway Road outside Toddington.
If using the Pulham’s Cheltenham to Broadway bus service, ask to be dropped off at the railway viaduct on the Broadway Road.
After alighting the bus, carefully cross over the main road to a footpath sign and walk along a track running off to the right which goes under the railway viaduct.
Continue along the track, going through a metal field gate into a farmyard. Turn right immediately after a black barn on your right and leave the yard via another metal field gate. Head 45˚ left across a field to another metal field gate and go through the gate and walk along the field boundary with a stream on your right.
Proceed straight ahead through two more metal field gates and then follow the left hand boundary of a field until you reach a road via another metal gate A.
Turn right onto the road. As you walk along you will pass a thatched cricket pavilion on your right and, set in the drystone wall to your left, a commemorative plaque marking the opening of the Cotswold Way.
Pass Stanway House to your left, and follow the road as it turns left and then right. Turn left at a Cotswold Way marker post on to the Cotswold Way, passing Stanway Mill and proceed through a gate. (If you wish, you can make a very short detour up the slope on the right to see the mill pond).
Continue along the Cotswold Way until you reach the main road via a gate B. Walk left along the pavement for approx. 50m and cross the road with care when you see a Cotswold Way waymarker on the opposite side of the road.
Take this path by the side of a wood, going through a gate, and follow the right hand boundary of a field. Proceed over a footbridge and through a gate continuing along the right hand boundary through a second gate and across a second footbridge and then a metal field gate until you meet a lane (this is the village of Wood Stanway).
The Cotswold Way turns left here but you turn right and left shortly after, following the Winchcombe Way waymarker. Follow this lane as it turns right passing some cottages to reach a waymarked metal field gate. C Go through the gate and turn immediately left. Follow the boundary hedge to the top of the field and go through a metal field gate.
Carry on up the hill keeping the wood on your right. At the top of the field cross a stile and carry on uphill, passing through a gap in the hedge and over another stile. As you near the top of the hill, look out for a stile on your right and cross this stile. Turn left immediately to follow the left hand boundary of the field and continue to climb steeply through trees towards a stone monument D.
On reaching the monument, stop to admire the view noting the earthworks of Beckbury Camp (an iron age hill fort) on the brow of a hill behind you.
Now retrace your steps for a little way down the steep path and look for the Cotswold Way waymarker on your left. Follow the Cotswold Way through fields, a wooden field gate, a metal field gate and a gate and then turn left onto a track (signed Farmcote ¼ mile).
Continue along the track as it turns into a lane, passing the tiny church of St Faith’s on your right. Shortly after a farm, a track joins the lane from the right and just beyond this there is a footpath signposted to the right. E Take the footpath, going through a wooden field gate and then taking a half left to a waymarked stile. Cross the stile and go straight across the field to reach and cross another stile. Continue straight to meet woodland ahead. Continue with woodland on your left to reach and cross another waymarked stile. Continue straight on, aiming to the right of the row of beech trees on the horizon. As you reach the brow of the hill you will see a stile on your right. Cross the stile and turn right on the lane F.
After about 20m take the footpath on your right (signed Gloucestershire Way and Winchcombe Way) going through a metal field gate. This section between E to F may be avoided in muddy conditions by staying on the lane, taking a right at the T-junction and taking the second of two footpaths on the right where you can continue the walk as described below. from F.
Follow the track as it bends left passing a barn and crossing a waymarked stile. As the track bears right, fork left through metal field gate into woodland. Continue through another field gate and then straight on until you eventually reach a field gate. Go through the gate and turn right, winding to the left. When you reach the end of the barn on your left, cross the stile and head up to the farmyard, following waymarkers to a gate at the farm entrance.Take the leftmost of three tracks after this gate, crossing straight over a lane to go through a gate waymarked Gloucestershire Way.
Continue straight, going through another gate and then a wooden gate followed by a field gate span G. Turn immediately left up a steep bank and cross a stile into woodland. Go through a gate and start a descent to meet a gate. Go through and follow the footpath ahead coming to a fence on your right. Follow the fence on your right through a field and as the ground starts to level take a waymarked wooden gate in the right hand fence. Turn left and continue downhill entering woodland and descending more steeply. When you emerge from the wood follow the waymarkers downhill. Aim for the metal gate in the bottom field boundary and continue through the next field to a waymarked metal gate. Go straight ahead to a metal gate in the bottom of the field and turn right into a lane. Take the footpath to the left almost opposite by going through a metal gate H.
Proceed straight ahead following some large path signs and going through two metal gates. After the second gate turn right heading for the far boundary of the field and go through a waymarked metal gate into a lane. Turn left and then take a metal gate on the right (way marked Gloucestershire Way).
Bear 45˚ left across the ridge and furrow field to meet a stone path. Turn left at the stone path, go through a metal gate and alleyway before turning right at the road (Castle Street). Proceed uphill to the High Street. Carefully cross the road and turn left and then turn right into Cowl Lane which leads you to the Back Lane car park.
The viaduct is the largest anywhere on a UK heritage railway with 15 arches, 15metres above the valley floor. On Friday 13th November 1903 disaster struck during construction. Four men died and seven were injured after its timber supports had been removed.
The thatched pavilion was bought by the creator of Peter Pan, J.M.Barrie. who loved cricket, and visited Stanway House during the 1920s.The pavilion is raised off the ground on staddle stones used originally to protect granaries from vermin and keep the store dry.
A beautiful Jacobean manor house. The Gatehouse was built about 1630, with a 14th-century Tithe Barn and an 18th-century water-garden. The Stanway Fountain rises to over 300 feet (90m), making it the tallest fountain in Britain and the tallest gravity fountain in the world.
This unusual 19th century structure with alcoves, basins and an extending stone slab is reputedly known as ‘Cromwell’s Seat’.
WWaW hope you enjoy the walk, however the walk is undertaken at your sole risk and WWaW have no responsibility for loss, damage, injury or interpretation. Every possible care has been taken to ensure the information given was accurate at the time of creation.