On the morning of Sunday 24th June, a group of 13 Ramblers and one visitor set off on a walk from Alderley, a small village at the southern end of the Cotswolds. Its church was built in the Gothic style in 1802 but the tower dates from about 1450. Next to the church sits the 19th-century neo-Elizabethan Alderley House, built in 1859-1863 from gorgeous pink Cotswold stone.
The group met outside the church and headed south-west on the Cotswold Way. There the path dips down into the long valley, with Alderley at one end and Tresham high up on the escarpment at the other. At the bottom of the valley lie the buildings of Newmills Farm. Once an industrial centre with two wool mills, now the millponds are filled with trout. From there, we turned north-west and began the long climb up to the hilltop village of Tresham.
At the top we took a well-earned refreshment break, enjoying the spectacular view back down the valley and to the surrounding hills, with the Hawkesbury Monument visible in the distance. At Tresham we visited the pretty Victorian “Chapel of Ease”. Built perhaps to provide a place of worship for the villagers of Tresham who would otherwise face a long walk down to Alderley and the climb back up to Tresham.
At Tresham we headed east. It was a blazingly hot summer’s day so we were happy to enter the cool shade of Alderley woods. Coming out of the woods, but still in their shade, we stopped for lunch on the hillside, looking out across Ozleworth Bottom towards Newark Park high on the opposite ridge, and the Ozleworth communications tower visible to the east of it.
At Wortley, we turned south passing St Kenelm’s Well, a cold-water spring which drops down a small, 4-foot waterfall into a gully. Linked to the legend of St. Kenelm, an Anglo-Saxon Saint, it was much visited in mediaeval times for its healing properties.
From the spring it was a short distance back to Alderley, completing the circular walk.
Downhill from Alderley
Pausing in the valley before the climb up to Tresham
The Chapel of Ease at Tresham
We look around this interesting Chapel, a welcome break from the heat!
Lunch in the shade of Alderley Woods
Waterfall at St Kenelm's Well