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The Royal Oak, Gretton, Walk (7) Saturday 10th January 2009

North Cotswold Branch of the Campaign for Real Ale

 

Happy New Year to our Members††††††† First Report of 2009

 

Nine members and friends of North Cotswold Branch of CAMRA met up at the Royal Oak, at Gretton for the seventh and first official weekend walk of 2009. Martyn Herbert, Chris and Terry arrived by bus from Cheltenham and we set off at 1045 on a bright wintry day with temperature barely above freezing.It was a good turnout after the Xmas layoff and an enthusiastic start of the monthly weekend walks. They were well supported last year so we will carry on this year except for the two peak holiday/festival months.

 

We headed west from the pub car park through the attractive village of Gretton and after half a mile turned South onto the Wychwood Way. Care is required here to avoid straying onto private property so check your map for the correct route. A friendly resident advised us accordingly. The subsequent climb up to Langley Hill (Photo 1) is the highlight of this walk and required care in places with the many natural springs frozen solid. Martyn managed to find a soft bit and picked up a bootful and a fall. They do allow muddy jeans in the Royal Oak.

 

At the top (Photo 2) we joined the Gloucestershire Way and turned initially East to Abbots Lea and then Terry and Chris also tried slipping down which encouraged everyone to take more care. Sheet ice here required very careful footwork, though surprisingly we were passed by a young lady in wellys with a small dog who left us standing, obviously a local farmerís daughter.

 

At the bottom (Photo 3) on reaching the road we turned left and walked on the verge back to the Royal Oak, having completed a very enjoyable circular walk, shorter than normal due to the conditions though by now the Sun was emerging quite brightly.

It is advisable to book a table if you wish to eat in this very popular pub and our reserved table in the large conservatory awaited (Photo 4), with an outstanding view over the adjacent Glos and Warks Railway towards the Malvern Hills. 4 real ales in excellent condition also awaited, namely two local ales Stanway Stanney Bitter, and Goffs Jouster, with Wye Valley Butty Bach and Brakespeare Bitter. The latter originally brewed in Henley on Thames but sadly now by Wychwood, used to be one of my favourites. The Royal Oak is a very strong supporter of Local Ale and the service and good value food were outstanding. Landlords Miles and Andy apologised for the fifth pump with Ringwood Fortyniner onboard which they had hoped to serve but had not settled sufficiently.

 

We look forward to the next walk at the Mount Inn Stanton on Valentines Day on 14th February 2009. starting promptly at the usual time of 1030hrs. This is a special walk since we have arranged a half way halt at Stanway Brewery at 11:15 hrs for refreshment and a quick tour, compliments of Alex. The lunch will consequently be later at 1300hrs on our return to Stanton. Please let me know if you are coming to ensure my provisional booking numbers are accurate. Since taking over the Mount Inn from Sept1st 2008 Pippa and Carl have achieved great success and the food is always good. This is also a chance to sample Donnington BB and SB.

 

Report by Roger Price. Pictures by Roger and Peter Rowe

 

 

 

Pictures taken on the walk:

 

Photo 1

 

Photo 2

Photo 3

Photo 4