Sunday, 6 October 2013

Cotswolds walking, sunsets, goats and donkeys

Keep it under your hat, but my wife turned 30 yesterday.  Its officially a secret and we're definitely not allowed to mention it, so don't tell anyone, OK?  To celebrate this completely nondescript day, I headed down to Oxford where my extremely-late-20-something wife is currently studying for her PhD, and we decided to enjoy the beautiful autumn weather with a ramble in the Oxfordshire side of the Cotswolds.

Looking at a few online routes, we settled on one around the villages of Stonesfield and Combe, just northwest of Oxford.  Of course, as always seems to happen, we somehow managed to get off track, this time in the parklands around Blenheim Palace, and took far longer than planned to get back to the car.  This time, it was the large stone walls around the edge of the park that caused the problem, and I'm still yet to be convinced that the steps over it that the route claims exist actually do.  It led to us spending an hour in the growing dark clambering through increasingly dense woodland in the hope of stumbling across a gap.  Thankfully, we eventually reached one of the park's formal gates and were able to escape.  We did then have to spend an hour walking down a B road in the complete pitch black, however. Still, despite our rambles seeming to never quite go to plan, it was a lovely afternoon and something of an adventure.  The beautiful meal at the Woodstock Arms in Woodstock that evening certainly helped the day be a success.

As always, I had my trusty camera in hand throughout, and on this walk we did particularly well, encountering some beautiful scenery, a lovely sunset, the remains of North Leigh Roman villa (which I've been to a few times before, but even so its always a nice place to visit) and even a friendly donkey and a slightly wonky goat!