Jewel of the Cotswolds

Strad­dling the north-west corner of the Cotswolds is a pretty honey-stone vil­lage just made for win­ter, says Emily Gravenor

Countryfile Magazine - - Contents -

Broad­way, Worces­ter­shire

The pic­turesque vil­lage of Broad­way, with its warm, honey-hued cot­tages, is the per­fect base for a win­try stroll. Take time to me­an­der along the high street past pubs, cafés, tea rooms and shops – of­fer­ing art and an­tiques, coun­try cloth­ing and gifts – then head into the Cotswold hills.

1 OUT OF TOWN

Make your way to the east of the vil­lage on High Street and join the Cotswold Way on the right. Stretch­ing from Chip­ping Cam­p­den to Bath, this won­der­ful walk­ing trail is 164km long and nav­i­gates past lovely vil­lages, Ne­olithic and Ro­man sites, beau­ti­ful churches, mead­ows and wood­lands. This first sec­tion of the path, as you climb the hill south of Broad­way, is an easy walk­ing fix and the per­fect way to shake off win­ter cob­webs.

2 HILLTOP TOWER

Fol­low the na­tional trail up grassy slopes through frosty fields to­wards Broad­way Tower. It’s all up­hill and a lit­tle steep at times, with some stiles along the way, but if you stop oc­ca­sion­ally to ad­mire the view and catch your breath, it’s a very en­joy­able stroll. You can see over the Sev­ern Val­ley and the Vale of Eve­sham, with the Malverns in the dis­tance, while ever-present in the val­ley below is Broad­way it­self.

3 COUNTY VIEWS

At the top, Broad­way Tower comes into view. In snowy or frosty weather, this un­usual folly, the brain­child of land­scape de­signer Ca­pa­bil­ity Brown and com­pleted by ar­chi­tect James Wy­att in 1798 for the sixth Earl and Count­ess of Coven­try, looks even more at­trac­tive. In­side, you can see an ex­hi­bi­tion (£5 for an adult) and ad­mire the sur­round­ing coun­try­side from the rooftop view­ing plat­form. On a clear day, it’s pos­si­ble to see as many as 12 coun­ties.

4 KITE’S NEST

Leave the tower and head south to the Morris & Brown Café a lit­tle fur­ther along the track (if you don’t fancy the hill from Broad­way, it’s pos­si­ble to drive up and use the car park). Warm up at the café with hot choco­late, cof­fee or a pot of tea. Their big slabs of cake are de­li­cious, es­pe­cially the cof­fee and wal­nut, and the Honey Bee

Hot Choco­late made with hon­ey­comb will give you en­ergy for the path ahead.

At the end of the car park, cross straight over the road and go through a gate. Walk around the field and pick up a foot­path through wood­land. The trail leads down­hill through the trees, cross­ing a track at the bot­tom. Turn right along a smaller foot­path, even­tu­ally emerg­ing at Kite’s Nest Farm. Veer right through the farm­yard, and fol­low a track down­hill to meet the main road at the bot­tom.

5 DOGS BY THE FIRE

Turn right and head north back into Broad­way. You can cut a corner by join­ing a foot­path on your right just be­yond

Broad­way Court. Oth­er­wise, stick to the pave­ment and ad­mire the pe­riod houses and gor­geous cot­tages, with their thatched roofs, in­spired top­i­ary and gen­eral en­vyin­duc­ing pret­ti­ness.

Back in Broad­way, stop for a pint at The Jockey Bar, a rac­ing-themed inn and part of

The Broad­way Ho­tel. Dogs are wel­come and can sit be­side the carved stone hound that guards the hearth, while you re­lax in an arm­chair by the fire with a lo­cal Hook Nor­ton beer.

Keen to ex­plore the town more? There are plenty of other pubs and cafés to duck in­side, along with a range of shops where you can stock up on cosy fleeces and thick walk­ing socks for your next win­try walk.

Rich in his­tory, Broad­way was a busy stage-coach stop on the route to Lon­don and was home to artis­tic types, in­clud­ing John Singer Sargent and Wil­liam Morris

Ma­jes­tic Broad­way Tower rises 20m from base to tur­ret, bring­ing its over­all height on Broad­way Hill to 332m

Emily Gravenor is a War­wick­shire-born travel writer who lives in Birm­ing­ham.

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