Cotswold Way Circular Walk - Stanton, Shenberrow Hill, Lidcombe Wood and Stanway

Statistics and Files
Start: Stanton Distance: 4.6 miles (7.4 km) Climbing: 240 metres
Grid Ref: SP068342 Time: 2 hours Rating: Easy
GPX Route File Google Earth File About Stanton
Statistics
Start: Stanton Distance: 4.6 miles (7.4 km)
Grid Ref: SP068342 Time: 2 hours
Climbing: 240 metres Rating: Easy
GPX Route File Google Earth File
Ordnance Survey Explorer Map (1:25,000)

Summary: The lovely village of Stanton is the location to start this walk although it could be started from any point on the route where a car can be parked. I chose Stanton because of its wonderful houses and well situated pub in the higher part of the village which is ideal to visit for refreshments after the walk. From Stanton the walk ascends to Shenberrow Hill and then tracks south to Lidcombe Wood and Longpark Wood before descending into Stanway where Stanway House could be visited. The finale is a fantastic walk over parkland and pasture back to Stanton.


The Walk:

The village cross in StantonThe village cross in Stanton
Walking out of Stanton toward Shenberrow HillWalking out of Stanton toward Shenberrow Hill

Stanton is gorgeous, one of the loveliest villages I have ever come across in my walks. When I first visited the village during my Cotswold Way walk I was awestruck at the beauty of the place. I did not need any encouraging to return and so when I revisited the Cotswold I made it the first place to construct a walk around. Historically the village was rescued from oblivion by Sir Phillip Stott in 1906. Personally I find it hard to believe such benefaction was necessary, such idyll would survive any downturn in fortunes. Yet Sir Phillip restored Stanton Court and many of the villages magnificent 16th century houses. As a result of his work and that of the dedicated villagers since Stanton is now regularly used as a setting for period dramas in television and cinema. I left the village on my walk comfortable in the fact I would return at the end of the walk.

Looking out on the countryside from Shenberrow HillLooking out on the countryside from Shenberrow Hill
Walking through Longpark Wood towards StanwayWalking through Longpark Wood towards Stanway

I climbed from the village by following the Cotswold Way on a south east course, first by road and then by a good footpath to the heights of Shenberrow Hill. As I ascended to hill I kept looking back to the village and across the wide expanse of the Cotswold countryside. Despite early morning cloud the sun was already starting to break through and when it did it made the beautiful green summer colour all the more vivid. It was a joyous sight to behold. I paced up to the highest point of the walk at just over 300 metres elevation and looked due east down to Snowshill Manor. The manor is now managed by the National Trust and being a member next time I must visit. The manor house is a typical Cotswold house, made from local stone; the main part of the house dates from the 16th century.

Today, the main attraction of Snowshill Manor is the display of General Charles Paget Wade's collection. From 1900 until 1951, when he gave the Manor to the National Trust, Wade amassed an enormous and eclectic collection of objects reflecting his interest in craftsmanship. The objects in the collection include 26 suits of Japanese samurai armour dating from the 17th and 19th centuries; bicycles; toys; musical instruments and more. (source: Wikipedia)

Leaving such thoughts of investigation for another day I continued from the hilltop into Lidcombe Wood which as I walked evolved into Longpark Wood. Enclosure in woodland was delightful but the sun was peeking through the clouds more and more as I looked left and right to the trees and shrubs in the woodland and beckoning me out into the open sunshine.

Stanway House Gatehouse, built in 1630Stanway House Gatehouse, built in 1630
Stanway ChurchStanway Church

The walk through Lidcombe and Longpark Woods had seen me descent from all the height I gained climbing to Shenberrow Hill. As I emerged from the woodland onto a country road I was exactly halfway through my walk. The second half would be thoroughly flat so I could amble in the beautiful surroundings at my leisure. My walk took me on a short stretch of the road into the village of Stanway. The village is small with just a few cottages and terraces but is dominated by Stanway Manor, home to the largest fountain in England which sends a single jet of water to over 300 feet high. Not having enough time to visit the manor with its famous fountain, gardens and water mill I resolved to visit another day with my wife Lil, coupling the visit with one to Snowshill Manor. This time round I just marvelled at the fantastic gatehouse and then just beyond at Stanway Church, both made entirely of local Cotswold stone.

Cow Byre under tree near StanwayCow Byre under tree near Stanway
Copper Beech near Rayer's BrakeCopper Beech near Rayer's Brake

From Stanway I walked into lovely meadow fields which were supplemented with a marvellous array of mature trees. Walking on the lush grass was a real pleasure and I thrilled at the natural arboretum as I strode past one superb tree after another. I continued on a course north past more trees until I reached Rayer's Brake and from there continued slowly across more fields back towards Stanton. I was thrilled at such delight in a short walk as I reached the village boundary.

The perishing remains of a once majestic treeThe perishing remains of a once majestic tree
Antiquity in the light in StantonAntiquity in the light in Stanton

I reached Stanton sooner than I imagined, the mile between Stanway and Stanton was so full of visible interest that the time flew by without me noticing. As I had resolved to do I ambled through the village once more taking in the atmosphere of the place before popping into the Mount Inn for a refreshing pint of orange and lemonade. I sat out in the garden enjoying the drink and soaking in the village tranquility. It was a perfect end to a gorgeous walk.

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