Old and Little Sodburys

Monday 21st February 2022

This walk follows a route that you can find in the Beyond Bristol Walks series of books. A pair I would highly recommend investing in, if you’re at all local to the area and looking for ideas and direction.

I drove out to Old Sodbury in South Gloucestershire and had hoped to find a parking space near the pub and off the main road. But there were cars a-plenty along Chapel Lane. I drove up and down several roads, before settling on a possible passing place just outside of what I think was a plant nursery or garden centre.

Crossing over the A432, I had joined the Cotswold Way (a long-distance path I’d like to complete this year). I walked down through a farmyard to meet the foot of this hill above, which a church standing on top.

Beneath me, was the core of Old Sodbury. Away to the north and further along the Way, I could see the North Nibley Monument near Wotton-Under-Edge.

This was a VERY windy day, following a weekend of which one of those named-storms had hit. Passing through the churchyard, a lady asked whether I was walking the full Cotswold Way – and I sensed that she was relieved I wasn’t going the whole way in this weather!

Following the edge of fields, I was on my way to the first hillfort of this day’s walk.

Signs clearly state that this former fort is not Open Access Land and that walks must stick to the footpath, in order to preserve the ramparts and features. It’s very rare that I’ll find such a sign or situation on my walks. But I appreciate their efforts towards preservation.

My walk continued north in to Little Sodbury.

After passing my second church, I was on my way to reaching my second hillfort of the morning, passing an idyllic glamping site.

I’d wanted to stop for something to eat at this second hillfort. There was a bench nearby and a broad view across to the River Severn and beyond. But the wind was fierce and bitter. Uncomfortable. I walked on.

I then left the Cotswold Way before Horton Court and continued on towards the church. Along the Way ahead of me, I could see fallen trees close to the footpath. Fresh breaks. Casualties of the most recent storm.

Before reaching the church, I turned left and along a bridleway that would lead me back to the west of Horton.

From the next road, I followed a yellow footpath marker down someone’s driveway and towards the front of their house… It seemed very ominous. Until I spied a green fingerpost (above) to the left of their cars and carried on my way.

Through the next fields, I could look up away to my left and the elevated rises of land I had traversed.

Further on, as I joined the Monarch’s Way to the west of Little Sodbury, the going became quite wet under foot!

Signs of spring were very evident, as I continued on past Sodbury Common.

I could see Chipping Sodbury through the trees, although I’d not be walking so far in to the town.

I soon crossed the River Frome on the very edge of the town and would follow the riverside path going south… After a brief detour to a nearby bench, where I’d stop just in time for lunch.

I anticipated that I’d be back at my car within the hour. Still following the Monarch’s Way, I crossed the A-road and a railway bridge before leaving that Way.

Some of the fields here were a bit rough under foot but I managed to find my way through these young trees. It was a bit hard to go wrong… Wander too far to the left and you’d end up close to the railway line!

Eventually, I made it on to a waterlogged Mill Lane and I would follow this to its end, turn left and my car was waiting just a short distance further. Along the way, I gave my boots a good wash in each of the puddles. Somewhere along this walk – perhaps even beside my car, at the very end – I lost my compass. It’s since been replaced but I reckon I lost it somewhere along this walk.

I may return to repeat this walk on a warmer and dryer day. But for now, this was one of the first days in which I felt that spring was approaching.

Length of this walk = 8.5 miles

Thanks for reading.

Author: Olly Parry-Jones

I live in Weston-super-Mare, close to the Mendip Hills in Somerset and I enjoy time spent outdoors, whether that's walking, camping or backpacking. My day job involved making furniture from recycled wood (I'm a furniture maker and carpenter by trade). I have two blogs: Olly Writes (woodworking, DIY, baking) Walks With Olly (walking, camping and kit) You can also find me on YouTube, Twitter and Facebook. My second YouTube channel is titled 'Walks with Olly'.

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