Friday 25 February 2011

Fossebridge and The Inn at Fosbridge - 2 Mile circular walk

Fossebridge - The Inn at Fossebridge - 2 mile circular walk

The Inn at Fossebridge, as its name suggests, nestles besides a bridge in a dip on the A429 (Fosse Way) that passes through  the Coln Valley, just three miles out of Northleach, four miles from Bibury or 6 miles north of Cirencester. Its close proximity to Chedworth means it is also but three miles away from one of the most spectator Roman Villas in the country.

The Inn at Fossebridge

It's no wonder that the Romans chose to settle in this area - even during the winter months the Coln Valley displays a breathtaking and haunting beauty, which remains gloriously unspoiled.
The Inn dates back to the Georgian period and stands in 4 acres of a mature garden in which a small lake sits in the centre.  The river Coln acts as one of the garden's boundaries.

The Inn's glorious garden and lake

 Describing The Inn at Fossebridge without resorting to superlatives is impossible. This remarkable inn is not only one of the most friendly establishments I have ever visited, it is professionally run too. It is indeed a true country retreat, offering  guests a chance to step back in time, enjoy old fashioned hospitality, and fine food. Auntie Liz and I were much amused to note that there is an old sign above the main bar DATING BACK TO 1945 advertising DAVID CAMERON BREWERS! I wonder if our esteemed leader knows that there was a brewery of this name?
David the friendly barman

It goes without saying that Pythius was made really welcome, and that a large bowl of cold water is placed by the side of the bar for visiting canines.  He was allowed to roam the inn's lovely grounds too. If I was award wining stars, this inn would get five out of five.
The  walk was so easy - having walked round the grounds and admired the swans, with our back to the inn, we used the left hand side exit from its grounds that led to a minor road.  Having crossed the road we followed the directions of a waymarker and climbed a wooden stile that led to a large field. This is really all a walker needs to know.  This two mile walk is well signed throughout, not just with waysigns but with well worn paths that suggest hundreds of feet have walked this way often.
Strangely, although we were passing an undulating terrain, the walk seldom presented an uphill challenge, nothingwas strenuous, which means that providing walkers can manage to climb the wooden stiles (some of which are quite high) it is an easy walk.  When the roofs of a few houses finally come into view, you will arrive at the last stile on the way out. Having climbed it, you find yourself in a grassy passageway which suggests you are walking through someones garden.  Worry not, you are simply taking a short green lane that leads to a minor road. Place the dog on the lead at this point and on reaching the road, turn left, walking but a few yards to a waysign on the left which takes you back the way you came, but on a quite different path, and this time  alongside the small stream that trickles through the valley.  Gosh how the dog loved the stream, with its crystal clear bubbling water.

Unspoiled countryside
As with the first path, so many feet have travelled this track that waymarkers are not really necessary.
The path eventually leads you to a large meadow and a stile in the far left hand corner which takes you onto the A429 and just a stones throw from the inn, which stands on the left.
There were no livestock in the fields the day we walked, but I am told that sheep graze here during the summer months, which means there will be times when the dog must be kept under close control.
Pythius - Border collie - having fun

Pythius says:
What can I say?  Like Helen I rate both the pub and the walk amongst the best ever.  The pub was so friendly, the grounds simply glorious and the walk - well that was out of this world.  I was exhausted when I got home, but I was also a very, very happy dog.

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