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Walking in England---Cotswolds and Cornwall?

Walking in England---Cotswolds and Cornwall?

Jan 15th, 2010, 11:52 AM
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Walking in England---Cotswolds and Cornwall?

I am in the very early stages of planning a walking holiday in the UK with several other couples---6 people in all. We would be going early May, 2011, for 2 weeks. We would like to walk approximately 10 miles a day, from one village to another, with the most important consideration being scenery---which includes both the towns and the rural landscape.

We have no intention of walking any one trail end to end, but would rather do a sort of "sampler" of several days each on 2 or 3 paths. We started with the idea of the Ridgeway Trail, then moved to considering the Thames Path, the Cotswold Way, and the South West Coast Path. One among us has hiked the Hadrian's Wall path and isn't longing to return, so we are looking more to staying in the south of England.

As you can guess from my title I am now most attracted to the Cotswolds and Cornwall. I would appreciate your thoughts.

First the Thames Path: while originally the idea of walking right out of London and heading west to meet the Ridgeway seemed appealing, on further consideration it seems we wouldn't find the best scenery there, and the idea of walking a flat path for more than a few hours doesn't sound good to me. But my husband would love to see Henley-on-Thames (he is a rower and the proud owner of a sleek single scull, and I've done a bit of rowing myself. ) We'd love to see the museum and the town---as long as it's not Regatta Week with the crowds, which it won't be.

I'm thinking we could head directly to Henley from Heathrow for our first night, instead of going in to London first. It looks like we could arrange a car service from the airpport for aound 40 pounds. Dos that sound about right?

From Henley, we could make our way to Oxford (public transport ideas?) to explore a bit, and then catch the train to Moreton-on-Marsh. We would like to walk a few days (3 or 4) on the Cotswold Way, and the north end seems like it connects some lovely villages (Broadway, Stanton, Winchecomb, etc.). Is there any reason we couldn't start walking in Moreton-on-Marsh, and walk to Chipping Camden to pick up the main Cotswold Way? My question assumes there is a path from Moreton-on-March to Chipping Camden, so we wouldn't have to walk the road, but I haven't actualy looked into that. (I do have the OS map but haven't studied it in detail yet.)

After a few days in the Cotswolds, I'm thinking we could end at Cheltenham, (getting there by bus or taxi from our end-point on the path) and then take the train to Salisbury. We'd like to explore there briefly, and then head to Cornwall, using the train from Salisbury to Penzance. This is a journey of 5 to 6 hours, with a change of trains at Exeter. Should we include a stopover at Exeter?

At Penzance, we could pick up the South West Coastal path. . . but I'm having trouble finding overnight accommodations at proper intervals along the route, say from Penzance around Land's End to St. Ives. Maybe we would be better off picking a base---say, Mousehole---and doing day walks in both directions from there?

This part (Cornwall) would be at mid-week in early May, so I am hoping we would find nice weather and all, but without the summer crowds.

Am I totally crazy? Is this a plan of the sort I am always advising against for Switzerland, like 2 nights Grindelwald, walk to Wengen, train to Zermatt, then end up in the Engadine? Or a walkers' version of "If it's Tuesday, this must be. . ."?

We have been to the UK several times but visits have been confined to London, Cotswolds, Bath, and Salisbury, the last three with a car. Traveling all around by public transport would be the new element. But renting a car for 6 people who want mainly to walk doesn't make any sense to me. Several among us would like luggage transport, but I have found several companies that can arrange that along the Cotswold Way.

Anyway, I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas, as well as favorite lodging and dining recommendations in these areas. For lodging, we like a warm welcome and ensuite facilities, but not luxury. B&B's and small inns would suit us best.

Thank you.
enzian is offline  
Jan 15th, 2010, 12:33 PM
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hi, enzian,

you might like to try the cornwall tourist board website at www.visitcornwall.co.uk. they should be able to give you a list of B&Bs along the route you are interested in. or google maps ought to be able to supply the same sort of thing.

alternatively if you want someone to organise it for you, google shows these people -

http://www.westcornwallwalks.co.uk/prices.html

I have no idea whether they are any good but reading some of the routes they suggest, they seem to be familiar with the terrain.

please feel free to come back to me if oyu've got any more detailed questions,

regards, ann [your cornish correspondent!]
annhig is offline  
Jan 15th, 2010, 12:56 PM
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Thank you , ann! I didn't realize you lived in Cornwall. It looks like such a beautiful place---you must love it there.

I will investigate the links you provided right away.
enzian is offline  
Jan 15th, 2010, 12:57 PM
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no problem, enzian.

glad to help.

A
annhig is offline  
Jan 15th, 2010, 01:05 PM
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There are so many villages named in the Westcornwallwalks website, and I cannot find photos of them all. In the stretch of coast from St. Ives around Land's End to Lizard, is there a particularly nice section we should concentrate on? It seems like this areas will be easist for us to reach by train, given the terminus at Penzance.
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Jan 15th, 2010, 01:52 PM
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hi enzian

really, that whole stretch is prety impressive. over the Christmas/New year hols we walked a couple of the northern coastal path, one day round Gurnards's head [terrific gastro-pub/hotel of the same name] and another day around Pendeen, where there is a vey nice CAMRA pub that has rooms. there are wonderfulviews along the coast, plus interesting landmarks, like the old mines at Geevor [one of the last working mines, plus an elizabethan working that you can go down] and the engine houses at Lelant, which you can also tour.

the other bit that we like very much is round the Lizard, at Coverack but that's a bit less accessible from PZ. however, you could look the stretch between Porthcurno, site of the Minack open-air theatre, and the Telegraph Museum and then up to Lamorna, which again is very lovely.

from Newlyn to Mousehole is a nice stroll where we have sometimes seen seals, as well of loads of birds.

you might see if you can get hold of a very useful little book published by collins called "walk the Cornish Coastal path". this should give you an idea of the distances from place to place.
annhig is offline  
Jan 15th, 2010, 02:24 PM
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Just a slight slant on your plans . . .

I personally wouldn't walk the Cotswold Way as such. And maybe not the Coastal Path either (though that is a bit different).

In the Cotswolds there are footpaths everywhere. If it was me - I'd rent a nice big cottage somewhere (and rent a people mover). Then do various scenic walks every day. No need to stick to the Cotswold Way. And by having a house/vehicle - if anyone wants/needs to take a break one day they would have options.

And as annhig mentions, some of the best parts of the Coastal Path are separated by other bits. So renting a centrally based cottage in Devon or Cornwall and using it as a base to drive to places for long glorious walks.

Also Cotswolds > Salisbury > Cornwall is a bit to-ing and fro-ing. I'd think about visiting Salisbury enroute back to LHR from the SW.
janisj is online now  
Jan 15th, 2010, 03:05 PM
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Thanks, janisj. I'll propose the "base" idea to the group, but I know at least one person in the group wants to stay on her feet and not use a car at all.

On your comments re: Salisbury, is there a more direct route from the Cotswolds---say Cheltenham---to a stop in Cornwall? Somehow Salisbury came up when I was trying to navigate on the British Rail website.

I think if we could find appropriately-spaced B&B's we'd concentrate on the Lizard, but I don't have any concept of the distances involved. I've ordered good maps and am awaiting their arrival.
enzian is offline  
Jan 15th, 2010, 04:05 PM
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just a quick comment for something to think about . . .

"I know at least one person in the group wants to stay on her feet and not use a car at all"

I've taken small groups to England several times and even w/ cars and base cottages all doesn't always go smoothly. (My most recent trip report just give a few tragic examples )

Just imagine - what if one (or more) of your group catches a cold, or sprains an ankle, or just has a bad headache - but you all have to move on to the next stop come hell or high water. What is easily possible for a single or couple becomes that much more complicated when you add 4 or 5 people.

Sometimes it is better to simplify things -- base cottages and a car for starters. But of course, lots of people manage walking holidays just fine w/o.
janisj is online now  
Jan 15th, 2010, 04:19 PM
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One of your specific questions - Moreton to Chipping Camden by footpath. Yes absolutely. It's a nice and straightforward walk on paths almost all the way via Batsford Arboretum and Blockley.
(I presume you are looking at the relevant Ordance Survey maps on which you can trace it....
http://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/oswebsite/
It's true the logistics need some managing, but there's a whole different satisfaction in walking from point a to point b than simply circular walks from a base camp.
Enjoy!
Texastrips is offline  
Feb 26th, 2010, 08:56 AM
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Hi Enzian,

I run www.westcornwallwalks.co.uk (Western Discoveries) and would be happy to give you some advice on walking the coast path in Cornwall. Just drop me an email and I'll try to help out.

Russ
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Feb 26th, 2010, 09:48 AM
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Texastrips---thank you for the information on the walk from Moreton to Chipping Camden. It sounds right for us, especially if there is an arboretum on the way (I am a former botanist and my friends are keen gardeners).

Russ---I'll be in touch.
enzian is offline  
Feb 26th, 2010, 10:34 AM
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<< is there a more direct route from the Cotswolds---say Cheltenham---to a stop in Cornwall>>

Yes. You get a train to Bristol Parkway from Cheltenham, and from there the whole of the Devon/Cornwall peninsula opens up with loads of train options.

Can't think how Salisbury came into the equation as it's a long way off from Cornwall, Cheltenham and Bristol. Oh well, try www.thetrainline.com It's the one my family and I use all the time for booking our train tickets (and with 3 teenagers and one 20yo, 2 of whom are away at university, we book a LOT of train tickets!).

Good luck, and if I can be of any help about the south Cotswolds, I'll do my best.
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Feb 26th, 2010, 10:59 AM
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julia_t---thanks for the information and the train link. Salisbury is a place that one of our group would like to include in our trip, but it looks like it would be best to put that stop after Cornwall.
enzian is offline  
Feb 26th, 2010, 11:10 AM
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westernd/russ. Welcome to the forums. Hate to be a wet blanket -- but advertising is not allowed on Fodors. It is a serious no no. Go ahead and contribute, we can always use new members from the SW - but in future - don't include your website and/or address.

Otherwise, the editors will delete your screen name and zap any posts.
janisj is online now  
Mar 4th, 2010, 04:03 PM
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Hi, enzian. You may not remember me, but you gave me fabulous advice last year when we were planning our trip to Switzerland. Because of you, we spent 3 wonderful nights in Alpiglen, which we used as our base to explore the Bernese Oberland.

We, too, are planning a trip to England, but we are going this summer. So many questions about the Cotswolds that I had have been answered in this thread. We will be spending three nights in Moreton-in-Marsh, and I had been wondering if we could walk from there to Chipping Campden on paths (I need to purchase the detailed OS map of the area). Now I have my answer!

I'll be posting our preliminary itinerary soon once we firm up plans.

Good luck to you, and I will follow this thread for more info that I will be able to use to plan my trip. And, again, thanks for last year's help -- it was probably the best trip we've taken as a family!
freberta is offline  
Mar 4th, 2010, 05:37 PM
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Hi freberta--of course I remember you! And your glowing trip report on your trip to Switzerland. I hope it's not your last as a family---my adult children still join us on some of our trips (especially if it includes Switzerland).

I'll watch for your Cotswold itinerary--and the trip report! We are currently thinking 5 days in the Cotswolds and 5 days in Cornwall. But I'm still looking into the Ridgeway trail too.
enzian is offline  
Mar 5th, 2010, 10:33 AM
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hi enzian

fabulously sunny day here in cornwall today - if that helps!
annhig is offline  
Mar 5th, 2010, 10:51 AM
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Hi annhig--wonderful! Are you out working in your garden?

We have sunshine here in Seattle too, and all the cherry trees are already in blom.
enzian is offline  
Mar 5th, 2010, 11:27 AM
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hi enzian - sadly I had to work.

but it was great going out this morning and coming home in bright sunshine.

no cherry blossom yet, but the daffs are showing yellow along the verges.

Seattle sounds lovely.
annhig is offline  

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