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Sunday, 9 April 2017

Cloudless spring sun, wildflowers and beautiful scenery

What a lovely day we had yesterday. We went up to Winchcombe in the Cotswolds north of Cheltenham. The sun shone from early morning and it was cloudless and warm (an unusual 20+ c). This is always a lovely area and it looked especially good with the sun on the pale ochre buildings and the trees casting gentle leafless shadows. It was a lovely way to welcome in spring.

In the morning in fact, this was a trip with a difference since we walked round Winchcombe completing a 'murder mystery' trail that my husband had been given for Christmas. This was great fun and deciphering the 23 clues forced us to look hard at the old buildings, read the information plaques on the walls and drink in the history and prettiness of the place, including this delightful row of cottages leading down to the river ...

... and to spot small instances of quirkiness, including a pair of metal posts either side of a short flight of steps up to the church which were topped by little elephants the size of my hand - very tactile - but it was hard to work out their purpose or the reason for their choice.

Then there was a dog gate beside a stile with an almost canine face on top (the whole lifted up to allow the dog to pass through rather than climb the stile) ...

... and particular doggy nonsense, these gems on dog mannequins in a pet shop window.

Everywhere there were spring flowers, hedges bursting with blossom and sunlight glinting on water ...

All in all, it seemed a most unlikely setting for a murder!

After lunch, we completed a short section of the Cotswold Way that we hadn't done before. For those who don't know it, the Cotswold Way is one of the Uk's sixteen long distance National Trails. Each one takes the walker through examples of the country's most beautiful rural scenery. This one is about 100 miles in length, all along the top of the Cotswold escarpment. Over the years we have walked many sections and the views are always spectacular and every mile a pleasure to walk. 

This time, our goals were very modest. We were heading for the neolithic long barrow of Belas Knap, a round trip of a mere 1 1/2 miles. We walked up the steep face of the escapement from a small roadside car park and through a wood ...

... and out onto open grassland and beside a stone wall for panoramic views.

Then the walk finally took us along a sunken, tree-lined path to reach the Knap.

  The long barrow was hard to photograph as the enclosure around it was small but further details and much better photographs can be found here on the English Heritage website. 

Tomorrow the weather is forecast to return to normal - cool and showery - and more typical of  a British April. I hope we've not just had summer!


  1. How very lovely! I love that Murder Mystery Trail idea. That reminded me of car rallies I used to go on with my BFF in high school, that took us to very unusual parts of the Los Angeles area, at night, following loosely written clues. Great fun. Sunny today here, too, but more rain on the way. Have a great week. xx

    1. The trail clues were cryptic and had us thinking so it wasn't just a matter of finding the answers but of working them out also. It was a fun day, greatly enhanced by lovely weather and that optimism I always feel at this beautiful time of year.


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