Unbridled optimism as to my fitness level combined with a desire to stay in old pubs in villages with interesting names had resulted in a plan to hike 30km on our sixth day. Faced with a moderately heavy pack (it does contain everything I need for the next 6 months) and a bus stop right outside the Falcon where we had spent the previous night, there was clearly only one choice – hop on the bus and shorten the day’s walk.
A short bus ride reduced the walk to a much more enjoyable distance. Rather than prattle on about the walk itself (you will be surprised to hear that it involved fields, hills and golf courses on top of hills I thought I would write about North Nibley, our destination for the day.
North Nibley, “the clearing near the peak”, is a typical small Cotswold village. It has one pub, the Black Horse, one church and one village shop run by the community for the community (it was not economic for a shop to run in the village on an ordinary commercial basis).
The Church of St Martin (circa 15th century) is a bit out of the centre of the village, appearing on the right of the village when approached by walkers heading north to south. The nearby Nibley Green was the site of the last battle between private armies in England in 1470.
The Black Horse is the hub of the community – it filled with locals even though it was mid week. Sunday night was bingo night and Thursday night the Quiz night. Rob, being fond of neither, was glad that we were there on a Wednesday night. The entire first floor, where our room was located, was distinctly sloped. It was not clear whether this was due to subsidence or whether the original builders held up a thumb and said “she’ll do”. Whilst the sensation of having your feet higher than your head when sleeping was a bit odd, the room was comfortable enough. Downstairs the pub sold food and local ales in addition to the usual beer on tap. I tried the Nibley Ale, a gold medal winner. It was tepid, flat and bitter – just the way the English like it, but alas it was not for me.
At the top of the hill above North Nibley is a monument to William Tyndale, the man responsible for translating the bible for the common man. Tyndale lived in these parts for some of his early life and may actually have been born in North Nibley. Condemned as a heretic he was strangled and then burnt outside of Brussels in 1536. The monument was built in 1866 “in grateful remembrance of William Tyndale translator of the English bible who first caused the new testament to be printed in the mother tongue of his countrymen”. A nice thought, but a bit late for poor old William Tyndale.
Accommodation and Food: The Black Horse Inn, North Nibley.