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Fortunately, the rain had cleared up by the time 15 Ramblers and 2 guests set off from Neigh Bridge car park to walk in the Water Park, and by coffee time, the sun had managed to put in a fleeting appearance. The group followed the Thames Path before crossing the river to walk along paths and causeways between the lakes, where there were clouds of iridescent blue damselflies flying everywhere.
After cutting their way through the brambles that had overgrown the narrow path, the ramblers headed northwards through the Country Park, past the circle of carved wooden animals, towards Shorncote. They then returned across fields and through woods frothing with cow parsley, pausing briefly to admire the medieval church and manor house at Somerford Keynes and also the impressive early 19th century Somerford Keynes House, once the vicarage, and the former school buildings.
On 25th May, Bank Holiday Monday, 38 Cirencester Ramblers + 1 Guest set off from Frampton Mansell towards Tarlton, past Oxstalls Farm and Cranhill Barn. Upon reaching Tarlton Woods, the group split into 2, the main party of 32 continued on a 8.3 mile ramble via the South East Portal of the Sapperton Tunnel, whilst 7 headed North along a 5 mile route to Middleton Hill Plantation and returning to Frampton Mansell.
The main group followed the Tunnel route through Sapperton, dropped to the Canal path and NE Tunnel Portal at the Daneway and returned in Frampton Mansell. The Cirencester Ramblers would like to thank Frampton Mansell Village Hall for use of their car park.
On Tuesday evening 19th May seven members and one guest set off on a 4 mile walk from Andoversford. Heading west we crossed fields by the point to point course and Sandywell Park until we reached the outskirts of Upper Dowdeswell. At this point the threatening heavy showers arrived in the form of hail stones so we sheltered until the worst had passed before continuing in the rain to Kilkenny and Foxcote on lanes. From Foxcote we took the Gloucestershire Way footpath towards Shipton Golf Course then another path past Odeswell Manor and back to Andoversford. After the walk we all retired to the Frogmill Inn for well earn drink.
Six ramblers and one guest set off from Barrow Wake viewpoint near Birdlip for a 10.5 mile walk starting off on the Cotswold Way towards Coopers Hill. We travelled through Witcombe Wood and Coopers Hill wood before ascending the famous 'Cheeseroller' Hill, where we stopped for a well earned drink and to admire the view over the Gloucester valley and the Malvern Hills in the distance. From here we went along the top of Coopers Hill wood and through Buckholt wood before dropping down into Cranham village and up onto the common for lunch. After lunch we continued through Cranham Common before our final ascent towards Overton Farm. Finally, after passing the Foston's Ash pub, we headed back towards Birdlip through Climperwell Wood and Hazel Hangar Wood. A lovely walk on a lovely day filled with bluebells and garlic flowers, fabulous views and great company."
Twenty three walkers set out from Sheepscombe Village Hall and walked up through Ebworth Plantations to the Ebworth Centre where they were kindly given an impromptu talk by one of the National Trust workers about the history of the Ebworth Estate.
From there the ramble continued on to Cranham Common and from there to Batch Farm crossing a brook at Gladys' Leap. This was the spot where Gladys Hillier a former post women jumped over the little brook to avoid a two mile detour on her post round. The place was officially named in her honour by Ordnance Survey in 1977 and subsequently attracted the attention of Fairport Convention who named an album after the spot.
Luckily the Cotswold Wardens built a small footbridge a few years ago so the ramblers could cross without too much exertion. The walkers continue on to Saltridge Wood and skirted the edge of the wood, giving fine views towards Painswick, and back to Sheepscombe for lunch on the Green. After lunch 14 ramblers enjoyed another 3 miles walking to Pill House Farm and then on the Wysis Way to Painswick stream and Damsells Mill. The ramble finished by skirting the edges of Lady's Wood and Lord's Wood and a well-earned drink at the Butchers Arms in Sheepscombe.
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