Saturday, 9 October 2010

Withington - The Mill Inn & the White Way

Withington – The Mill Inn & The White Way - 5 Miles or more
Although Pythius and I have visited more than 500 pubs over the years, I can count on the fingers of one hand just how many times I have walked into a pub and found myself saying "Wow!" and repeating this joyful exclamation several times more as I walked from room to room. Auntie Liz and Pythius seemed pretty impressed too as we lifted the ancient latch on The Mill Inn, at Withington, which is close to Chedworth, Gloucestershire and its famous Roman villa.
The Mill - a pub that has to be seen to be believed
The Mill Inn, is simply amazing. No it is more than that - it is quite remarkable. I felt I was walking into a living museum where time had stopped still for more than 400 years. It even comes complete with a ghost who wanders from room to room as she feels inclined and who ocassionally throws lumps of coal into the fireplace.

Inside the Mill

Dogs are welcome in every room, of which there are many. All are furnished with an assortment of comfortale old chairs and  rustic tables, and decorated with an assortment of artefacts of great age, many of which are stained from years of woods moke from the fires.
The floors are mostly flagstone, though some are made up of aged wood planks. A deer’s head hangs above the bar and the aroma of wood smoke fills the air.

It’s almost impossible to describe the joys of visiting the Mill Inn, all I can say, is go there for yourselves, I doubt you will regret the experience.
The beer on tap is brewed by Smiths and is very reasonably priced, and the food, which is typical pub-grub  fare, rates as some of the cheapest I have ever ordered.

The staff are exceptional and went to great lengths to explain that the footpath behind the pub, marked on my map was no longer open to walkers and that we should begin our walk at the telephone box opposite the pub - which we did.

Woods and more woods

This path led us through unspoiled countryside, under spectaculalrVictorian railway bridges and even though someone’s garden, past a model crocodile and a few other things besides.

It also took us besides the River Coln, where Pythius was able to splash about to his heart’s content as pheasants ran in droves across the nearby fields and through the woods we passed.Some even darted out in front of us as, then rushed away in panic, as we walked a path through the woods.
The crocodile

Our walk turned out to be more than 5 miles long and calumniated in a long trek along the White Way, a minor ancient road that runs through Whitington. Although we were exhausted by the time we reached the Mill Inn again, both Auntie Liz and I were spiritually uplifted, having walked through the most beautiful landscape we have ever 
A moment of relaxation for Auntie Liz and Pythius
encountered. And just for the record, at one point, when we asked a passing walker if we were close to the White Way, he said yes, then offered us a lift in his car which was parked nearby as he felt it was too far for us to walk - but we decined, explaining that we had to complete the walk ourselves otherwise we would feel we had taken the easy optiion, as our quest is to walk all the ways in Oxfordshire and the Cotswolds. He laughed and after pointing out a short cut though the woods, wished us well.
Trees and more trees

The White Way

Pythius has his say:
"The girls loved the pub and so did I, I could feel its history seeping through my paws as we walked from room to room, and the staff were so kind to me – no dog could have asked for more.

As to the walk, well there were moments when I had to be put on the lead, particularly when we walked the White Way which is a tarmac road, but there were loads of moments when I was free to roam,splash in the river and just do dog type things.

As the walk was longer than the ones we usually take, I was as exhausted as the girls by the time we reached the pub’s car park where my mobile dog kennel was waiting faithfully for us to return.
I am indeed a lucky and a very happy dog".

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