A Walk to Icomb from Pebbly Hill Nurseries

After a couple of weeks at home we are away in the caravan again, this time heading to the Cotswolds.  Our caravanning travels have taken us all over the Country but we have only ever spent a few nights in the Cotswolds, it is usually somewhere we drive through heading further afield.  So we are looking forward to the opportunity to do some walking and exploring in a new area.

It only takes a couple of hours to travel to Pebbly Hill Nurseries CL which is a few miles east of Stow-on-the-Wold.  Access to the site is very straightforward, the only downside is that recent persistent rain has made the site very boggy.  Following a previous bad experience I am aware of the site damage that can be caused by a car and caravan ploughing up a field.  So we seek the assistance of the site owner to find a spot that is a bit firmer.

We get the caravan set up just prior to another storm bucketing down another load of rain on the sodden site.  We take refuge until it passes and then set up the awning.  This week’s forecast is not great so I doubt we will be doing much sitting in the awning, but it does provide somewhere to hang wet walking clothes and give Crosby a good toweling when he is soaking.

As soon as the awning is up it is time to put the boots on and head out for a walk.  The site is situated next to a few footpaths so enjoys very easy walking access.  We leave the site and turn right along the track to pass the nursery’s polytunnels and stay with the track as it passes riding stables and then heads downhill to a junction of paths.

Here we turn right to join the route of the Oxfordshire Way.  We have walked short sections of the Oxfordshire Way previously in the Chiltern Hills.  It is a 68-mile path crossing Oxfordshire but strangely it starts in Bourton-on-the-Water in Gloucestershire.

The path continues as a track and we stay with it ignoring a path on the left which leads over a bridge, we are walking with the Westcote Brook to our left and the path soon becomes muddy.  It is not clear if this is due to the recent rain or if it is always a muddy spot, but we are able to find a way through the puddles and are grateful when the route reaches the edge of fields.

We stay with the Oxfordshire Way along the edge of a field passing ponds.

There is a notification from the Council that the route has been officially diverted, meaning we go around the headland of the field rather than straight across.  I am always happy to see such diversions as long as the path is clearly signed.  There is nothing more frustrating than trying to follow a route which is not on the map.  Fortunately this route is well marked.

It is pleasant walking in the evening sunshine, we are in no rush so happy to take in the scenery and stop occasionally to listen or watch the wildlife.

That path ascends steadily to a junction of footpaths where we turn right to join the route of the Diamond Way. 

This 66-mile circular route visits villages in the North Cotswolds.  It was created by the North Cotswolds’ Ramblers Association in 1996 to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of the Ramblers, hence the name.  The path leads to a large kissing gate leading into a copse.

We follow the clear path through the trees.  Some sections are very muddy, but again we can find a route through without too much of a problem.  After passing through another large kissing gate we cross a footbridge into a field.

Staying on the edge of the field we pass a reservoir and join a farm track by a lake.

Soon we reach a fork in the track and go left and then within fifty yards take a footpath on the right through a gate. This heads uphill on a broad grassy track to reach another track.  Here we turn left and walk besides the wall of Icomb Grange to reach the church of St Mary the Virgin.  

Apparently there are some striking medieval carvings inside the church but we have very muddy boots so do not attempt to venture inside.  Instead we content ourselves with looking at some of the ancient exterior.

Modern Icomb is a well-manicured village, rather too pristine for our taste but it has an interesting history, apparently it was where Tom, Dick and Harry Dunsden lived, these brothers were notorious 18th century robbers and frequently held up stage coaches.  Eventually caught following an attempted robbery they were executed and their bodies hanged at Habber Gallows Hill.  It appears it is from these brothers that the phrase, “Tom, Dick and Harry” has arisen.

We reach the War Memorial and turn right on the road heading north through the village.  We stay with this road to pass Rectory Farm and then turn right at the next junction and follow this quiet county road back towards the caravan site.  

Our little wander has covered four and a half miles and it has been interesting to get a feel for the area.  The weather forecast for the next few days is not looking great so I doubt any of the muddy paths we have walked will be drying up soon.

You can view this 4.5 mile walk on OS Maps and download the GPX File Here

To follow my walk you will need Ordnance Survey Outdoor Explorer OL 45 – The Cotswolds

19th May 2021

© Two Dogs and an Awning (2021)

All information on this site is provided free of charge and in good faith and no liability is accepted in respect of damage, loss or injury which might result from it.  To the best of my knowledge the routes are entirely on public rights of way or within areas that are open for public access.
Walking can be hazardous and is done entirely at your own risk.  It is your responsibility to check your route and navigate using a map and compass.

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