We left the village of North Nibley by climbing the hill to the Tynedale monument (known locally as the Nibley Knob). Past the monument we entered forest, to re-emerge near a bunch of Cotswold volunteers re-sinking a Way marker. One failed attempt by them to send the Australians off in the wrong direction and a bit of banter by one of the volunteers about his wife’s suggestion that he live in Old Sodbury so that “he could be an old sod from Sodbury” and we were back on our way, soon descending to the town of Wotton-under-Edge.
The Way took us down the main street of town, past more tea rooms than you could poke a stick at before it headed round through the grounds of the Church of St Mary the Virgin (dating from 1283). After a bit of walking on the road we followed an old mill stream and then headed up hill before we descended to the outskirts of a village. Unfortunately a lengthy road section followed, broken up by the sight of a pile of people spending their Easter Sunday sitting in fold up chairs fishing around a small pond (which seems an odd way to fish, but each to his own).
We eventually headed off road up a hill through fields to the Somerset Monument. Erected in in 1846, only four years after the death Lord Somerset, a general who distinguished himself at Waterloo, it looks pretty much the same as the Tyndale Monument (and other 19th century monuments around the countryside). Obviously every small village should have one.
From the Somerset Monument the Way skirted around Hawkesbury Upton, headed through fields and up hill to the Horton Hill fort, descended to Little Sodbury, before heading up hill once again to the Sodbury Hill fort. Whilst Sodbury Hill fort was the most impressive of the hill forts we had visited we were by this stage a little forted out – after all a mound of dirt can only be so interesting and all of them seem to be at the tops of hills. From the hill fort it was a short walk to Old Sodbury and the Dog Inn, our accommodation for the evening.
We had planned to walk to Bath the next day. By this stage, however, the prettiest of the Cotswold villages were behind us and the environment had become increasingly urban. The prospect of another 30km, with a fair bit on the road was not enticing so we decided to skip the last stage and take the bus to Bristol (cheaper accommodation than Bath) and visit Bath by train.
Accommodation and Food: The Dog Inn, a pub more than 500 years old, with surprisingly large rooms.
Distance: about 24km.