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The Royal Oak, Andoversford, Walk (6) Saturday 22nd November 2008

North Cotswold Branch of the Campaign for Real Ale


  Seven members and friends of North Cotswold Branch of CAMRA met up at the Royal Oak, Andoversford for the latest and sixth weekend walk organised jointly by Martyn Herbert,  Media & Pubs Officer and Branch secretary Roger Price. ‘Organising’ is checking the walkout beforehand and making sure the beer was in tip top condition, and reserving a good table for lunch near the fire. This walk is based on Walk No 1 in Citizens Cotswold Pubwalks. Weather was fine and sunny after little light drizzle initially but the cold wind required everyone apart from Martyn to don wind proof jackets.


  We set off at 1050hrs delayed slightly awaiting Martyn’s bus from Cheltenham and headed East over the A40 dual carriageway onto a public footpath almost opposite the Andoversford turning. This footpath veered SE and upwards onto dry ground with superb views almost immediately over rolling Cotswold countryside. After 15 minutes we reached Glebe Farm and Shipton Solers (Photo 1) with its large attractive houses and encapsulated Church undergoing roof restoration. Turning right at the road we soon found ourselves back on the A40 which we crossed to skirt south of the famous Frogmill Hotel, currently undergoing major flood refurbishment. Very sad to see this facility in its flooded damaged condition, however the Bank who now own it, are restoring it for sale. Moving on (Photo 2) we turned left passing the Shipton Golf course, ignoring the Gloucestershire Way on Martyns advice, which was very muddy the previous weekend, and headed South towards firmer ground. After a long steady climb up to Fulford crossing the road towards Thorndale we reached over 200ft and enjoyed great panoramic views.


  A 90 degree turn North West took us through the Foxcote Plantation and protection from the wind which soon required open jackets to allow us to cool off as we descended (Photo 3) to the very pretty village of Foxcote. A direction marker on the hill is the Kilkenny Inn which we will miss today in favour of the Oak. No contest mutters Martyn.


  The climb out of Foxcote towards the Kilkenny was curtailed as we started to suffer and  turned right to the NE past New Farm and then Garrick Farm emerging on to the A436. Walking down the road towards Andoversford we looked forward and started to taste that first pint after a fairly rapid 5 mile walk. (Photo 4) The Ladies kept up throughout and we arrived at the Royal Oak exactly on schedule, removed our boots and settled in pole position for lunch in front of the well provisioned bar. (Photo 5) Stanway Stanney Bitter, Exmore Bitter, and Doom Bar were as usual served in excellent condition. Accompanied by excellent good value food with abundant pepper in Jon Pillings case this was a fitting conclusion to a most enjoyable walk.


  We look forward to the next one at the Royal Oak at Gretton on 10th January 2009. This will be good exercise to work off the Xmas excesses and an outstanding walk over Cups and Langley Hill, starting at the usual time of 1030hrs. Lunch at 1230 hrs for non walkers if you have overdone the festivities.


Report by Roger Price, Photos by Martyn Herbert




  Pictures taken on the walk:


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Photo 1


Photo 2

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Photo 3

Photo 4

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Photo 5 – Inside The Royal Oak