Out Into the Countryside

Looking out over the countryside from the back of the Blockley churchyard with the back of the Manor House to the right. The top of the hill in the distance was our destination on our walk.

We had a few days of wonderfully warm weather last week, so Brett and I set out on a couple of walks with a goal of getting out into the countryside. We had seen the markers in a couple of places for the Heart of England and the Monarch’s Way footpaths and wanted to see how and where those went, plus there was another path through the fields on the other side of town we wanted to try. (Warning: lots of pictures!)

We started our walk on Sunday afternoon heading up the high street away from the churchyard.
Almost all the houses and cottages in the village are named. Going by the color of the stone, this house was named appropriately.
We walked the footpath alongside Brockley Brook for a while. Several large, beautifully landscaped yards sloped down to the brook on the other side.
These row houses looked like where Mrs. Hughes and Mr. Carson, or Anna and Mr. Bates, might have set up housekeeping after they were married.
We spotted this gravestone out in a pasture – Gilbert Adair was from Scotland and was a novelist, columnist, and film critic, but we still don’t know why he chose to be interred in a Blockley pasture.
Ring-necked pheasants were out in force as we walked along freshly harvested fields to the north – we must have seen at least 100 or more.
We finished our first day’s walk by coming down the Bell Bank – our cottage is just at the end of this lane to the right.
On our second day’s walk, we headed over to this signpost. The Heart of England Way and the Monarch’s Way share a path up to the top of the hill on the south side of the village where they then diverge. Both go to Moreton-in-Marsh and Chipping Campden but by different routes.
I remember learning about stiles in books my grandmother read to me when I was little and I finally got to experience one. This one was at the lower end of the pasture.
Up through the pasture we go! The footpath was barely visible and we had to be careful where we stepped.
Cows and sheep were grazing together in an adjacent pasture. All the land around the village is owned by just two families.
We’re almost to the top! We could see lots of the village, but lots of it is still hidden in the trees.
There is a second stile at the top of the pasture. From here, the Monarch’s Way goes straight ahead while the Heart of England path goes off to the left.
On the way down we discovered this spring bubbling out of the ground.
We hiked through grazing sheep both going up and coming down. They couldn’t have been less interested in us walkers if they tried.
Looking out over Blockley from near the top of the hill. Blockley is situated in the valley so that only parts of it can be seen at a time from any point. The paths through the fields on the far side are now off-limits as shooting season (pheasant & partridge) has begun.

We were thrilled to get out on these first walks as fall weather and rain will be arriving sooner rather than later. We did some more hiking through the fields to the north this past weekend, looking for the ruins of a medieval village wiped out during the black plague (we didn’t find them, but had a great walk otherwise) and this week, weather permitting, we hope to climb over the second stile at the top of the hill and continue on the Heart of England path all the way to Moreton-in-Marsh.

23 thoughts on “Out Into the Countryside

    1. We are having a different sort of time here than we’ve had elsewhere. It’s very relaxed – we’re getting out and seeing and doing what we can while the weather is good.

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    1. I know! My first reaction was immediately, “I wish I had known this guy!” We found some fact about him online, but his decision to be buried in a Blockley pasture remains a mystery.

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  1. I love everything about this post! The landscape, the architecture, the animals are all so lovely. The row houses make me think of Downton Abbey too! Are you going to be able to watch the movie? It is being shown here this weekend but I’m wondering if it was already shown over in England since they used to release the new episodes in England 6 months before they were released here.

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    1. We have heard about it but don’t think there’s a theater for miles around so it will just have to wait until be get back to the U.S. We’re going to a movie on Saturday being shown here in the village – we were told it was a lot of fun, and wine and snacks will be served to enjoy while watching.

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    1. It is exceptionally beautiful here, much more so than I imagined. I would love to see Hadrian’s Wall, but sadly I don’t think we’ll make it this trip. I’m looking forward to seeing the Roman ruins in Bath.

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  2. Fun! Still remember my first stile after ready about them for so long. I’m sure you’ll go through a kissing gate at some point. Pheasants are so elusive in the U S, at least in the west where I live so it’s fun to see so many of those colorful birds. When we were walking along the Cotswold Way in April, we saw two males fighting, which was pretty fascinating.

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    1. Climbing over the stile was an experience – looks easy but you’ve got to do it the right way. The pheasants were incredible – some of them were huge. We picked up some feathers this weekend on our walk – bittersweet when we think that so many of them are going to be shot, and just for sport.

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    1. I think that’s what we’re enjoying most of all here, the peacefulness of it all. I’ve never lived in the country so this is a new (and wonderful) experience for me and I love it! Plus, it’s so darn beautiful too!

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  3. I remember how beautiful Bath was. It’s been so many years but I hope you still enjoy it. Love all the pictures. So many things to look at and straight out of a story book.

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    1. We are really looking forward to visiting Bath – we plan to spend a day and a half there. It is almost like living in a storybook here, but it’s all very real and beautiful.

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  4. What an absolutely lovely walk! Thanks so much for all the pictures. My DD loves to go hiking in England and the pictures are always wonderful. Looks like you are having a wonderful stay. Cheers!

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    1. The hiking here is fantastic! We’d heard about the footpaths, etc. but weren’t sure what to expect – they are better and easier to find and use than we imagined. We had hoped for good weather this month as well and it has not disappointed. I know we’ll be slowing down next month but for now we’re getting out as much as we can.

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    1. Thank you! The peacefulness and friendliness of the area has captured our hearts. It looks like it’s all from a storybook at times, but it’s an actual living, breathing, working area with really, really nice people living here. I don’t think we could have chosen a nicer place to stay if we tried.

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