Our walk began with a ‘down’ today – down into the cool green woods, and on and on. There was birdsong, and deer, and the burble of occasional hikers. Perfect we thought, and our feet relaxed.
But then, came Cooper’s Hill.
To be honest we might have walked straight past it if it hadn’t been for the couple taking photographs at the bottom. As they disappeared into the woods ahead I tried to take a few photographs of the hill, but none of them captured just how steep it looked, and the looking didn’t capture just how steep it actually was. The only thing that really did was the exhausting zigzag walk to the top, through the woods beside the hill. And then, once there, we peered over the edge from above, and that said it all. Cooper’s Hill is sheer madness … at least that’s how it looked to me.
In case you don’t know, Cooper’s Hill is where an annual cheese rolling event takes place. To get a feel for what that means I highly recommend the Netlix cheese rolling episode on “We Are The Champions”.
We then found out that there’s more to Cooper’s Hill than a single slope for cheese rolling. The hill rises even higher, taking the Cotswold Way with it, but thankfully through woodland, which only fell away as we neared Painswick, where golf greens took its place.
We walked the edges of these, dodging players, and then climbed up to see the view from Painswick Beacon. England curved around us like a bowl, stitched with hedgerows and patched here and there with homes. It looked like a picture book.
The Beacon is in a conservation area of fragile limestone grassland, with tiny flowers and butterflies. I managed to catch one with my camera.
It was a gentle end for a gentle day, of a little over ten miles (apart from Cooper’s Hill!) – most of them spent surrounded by deep greens.
Thanks for reading, and for your support. Hope England does well tomorrow. It will be day six for us, and it looks like it’s going to be hot.
Copyright Georgie Knaggs & The Phraser 2021