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The Cotswolds Outstanding Hike – 30 Km – Bledington – Icomb – Bourton-On-The-Water- Oxfordshire Pathway – June 20

Today I gratefully share with you, a beautiful hiking experience, a 9 hours hike Oxfordshire Way, that I had the pleasure to take on with my very good friend Misha and her partner Martin. They are both skilled hikers so I am always inspired whenever Misha invites me over to join her wonderful escapades.

The day started with me taking a 30-minute bike ride from West London to Paddington Station, where I met my hiking companions. The train ticket off-peak return to Moreton-in-Marsh station cost GBP42.80. I knew this hike was about to be challenging as I did not sleep well the night before, but then again I was glad to share another venture in the countryside of gorgeous England.

My friend Misha proposed that we get off one station before Moreton-in-Marsh, Kingham and start the hike from there. We arrived at 11:20 am and were straight on our way. 

The first town we stopped at was Bledington, a scenic town located in the Evenlode Valley, which crosses part of the Oxfordshire Way. We stopped by the stunning Church of St Leonard, originally built in the 12th century, this stone building is one of the jewels churches in the Cotswolds, and it is a Grade I listed building (awarded to those buildings of exceptional interest). Although we were not allowed in due to closure, it was enjoyable to observe its stone-medieval outer view. 

While at Bledington, we were lucky to come across with the good-looking Aramis the Shetland while he was out on his afternoon walk, sweet little pony. 

We continued then towards Icomb passing by lovely green scenery and a reservoir, where we observed nice tiny dragonflies during their blue-amongst green colourful flights. 

We arrived in Icomb at 1:10 pm and crossed slowly through this quiet Cotswold, which provided us with lovely views of historic cottages and incredible medieval carvings. Misha got excited to see that the local church, St Mary the Virgin, as she wanted to have a private pray and have her sins pardoned, blessed her. 

We crossed through stunning and wavy grassland and had the chance to admire some well-dressed horses around the area. I was astonished, this was seriously a unique view.

We continued towards Wick Rissington following still the Oxfordshire pathway and enjoying more gorgeous views, woodlands, ponds. This village is spread along a lovely green area of half a mile. We found a small yet refreshing stream of water where some local children were happily playing and having fun. This village is considered as “unspoilt” for its stunning Cotswold stone cottages. It was then 2:30 pm, and we continued our way passing by the Greystones Farm Natural Reserve and continue along until our next stop, our lunch stop Bourton on-the-water.

3 pm: Bourton on-the-water: I was pleased to arrive at this fascinating village because it was lunch-resting stop point!. 

As I came into town, I felt sort of walking into a fictional children story. The stone houses, bridges, natural rural vibe, wow.. it all felt rather special. I was gladly surprised to see that many people enjoying their picnics. Although the shops, cafes, restaurants, attractions and hotel were still closed, (this was mid-June 2020), I could still notice the vibrant spirit of the local people.

Everyone seemed joyful in the outdoors relaxing by the shores of the River Windrush, a river than travels through not only this village but also other parts of the Cotswolds and other rural areas to the point to meet the Thames on its journey to London and the sea. 

After lunch, we wandered around the village and discovered that it is often referred to as the ‘Venice of the Cotswolds’ because of its pretty bridges that crossover the flowing River Windrush passing through the town-centre. 

We continued then our way, leaving behind Bourton-on-The-Water and witnessing more unspoiled fields and natural woodland, passing by Cold Aston, Naunton, we witness water streams and more animals such as horses, sheep and even little tiny frogs!. 

While we walked through Naunton, where we stopped and were peeking at one of the lovely cottages….when suddenly when the lovely owner came out, her name is Mary, and she invited us in the see her beautiful garden and her historic lovely home. She was happy to share her stories about living in the village, and his life back in London.. she also told us the many of the cottages in the Cotswolds now belong to rich bankers from Hong Kong… there you go, you learn something every day.

We thanked Mary for her hospitality and continued our way towards Lower Slaughter and then Upper Slaughter.

Initially, our estimated hiking length was 27 km, but in fact, it had already been 30 km. We then realised that we were behind schedule to get back to Moreton-In –Marsh train station for the last train service to London. It was nearly 9 pm and I was exhausted after 9 hours hike, I definitely did not want to rush! But we were at risk of being stranded.

At that point, I remember fantasising that someone would come across and offer to take us to the train station so we would not miss our last train to London. All types of accommodations in the area were closed due to the Covid restrictions, so it was a bit worrying for a moment. 

But worry not, as it was then when we spotted two ladies driving a Zip-Car, they were noticeably also having a day out around the area. And for some reason, they stopped exactly where we were walking by…Voila, as you know I believe that human solidarity still exists, and it did exist for us that day. Martin approached them and asked them to take us to the train station. And the two pretty ladies, one from France and the other open from the USA kindly gave us the 15 minutes’ drive-ride to Moreton-in-Marsh. We managed to catch the last train at 9:54 pm! Phew. Happy days.

We arrived back in London Paddington 11:30 pm ready for a great night sleep.

 Thank you again for reading my adventures, they are all blessings that the universe allow me to experience.

Blessings to all.

🙏

Jenny

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