Hello, Mrs Hg137 here.
We were off for a long weekend’s walking and caching (hooray, at last!), staying in the Cotswolds. Near the end of our journey, we stopped for a short walk and a little bit of caching. But scorchio! It was already 30C as the geocar was parked in the (free, National Trust) car park in the woods close to Chedworth Roman Villa.
We planned to follow the Monarch’s Way over the hill to Chedworth village, just over a mile away (no caches until the outskirts of Chedworth) then return, over the hill again, along the Macmillan Way to the Roman Villa, following the Chedworth Wood Ramble (CWR) cache series. This had seemed like a wonderful idea when we planned the walk, but it was much cooler then…
Anyway, it was a pleasant, if hot, walk up through the woods, then over the hilltop to the outskirts of Chedworth. It was so very quiet, the birds were barely singing and there was not an animal to be heard.
We arrived at our first cache, ‘Church View’, which does indeed have a fine view of the church. As for the cache – we struggled to locate it and it took two goes from both of us before we finally laid our fingers on the cache container. It was hot and our brains were fried…
Moving on steeply downhill, we were on the village streets, and could see our next target, ‘Green’ (a grit bin), as we plodded along the blazing hot tarmac. A search again produced no cache, just an ‘out of place’ object and it was only a second look at that which told us it was the cache. All this while being watched by the postman and one of the residents – slightly embarrassing!
There was a nice shady patch of grass by the churchyard wall and we sat down to eat our picnic lunch and watch the world go by. We’d passed by this spot before in April 2018 when we were walking between Sandhurst, Gloucestershire, and Sandhurst, Berkshire https://sandhurstgeocachers.wordpress.com/2018/04/22/april-22-sandhurst-gloucs-to-sandhurst-colesbourne-to-foss-cross/ Reluctantly, we stepped back into the sunshine to start the walk back to the Roman Villa. It was not far to the edge of the village, and we were out in open fields with the hill stretching before us (sigh). Part way across the field was a cache, which managed to be part of two series at once, the CWR series we had been following, and also the Little Bridges Series https://littlebridgesseries.wordpress.com/about-series/ It looked like a bridge across grass, but maybe there is a stream in the winter? I searched for the cache, which was protected by some of the angriest and stingiest nettles in Gloucestershire, and emerged with it, tingling, cursing and grumbling. (And I pushed it back using a walking pole, one set of stings was plenty.)
With me still tingling, we walked across the field, slope steepening as we went, till we reached a belt of trees. The slope steepened still further into steps, and we panted our way up to the top. And that was it, the climb was done, and we were on the top of the hill again. Another cache was there, and two more followed as we descended gently into the woods.
The path turned right and began to descend more steeply, this bit must be muddy in the winter. The embankment for the disused Midland and South Western Junction Railway loomed up ahead https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chedworth_Halt_railway_station This area doesn’t seem the most obvious for building such a thing, it’s rather hilly. We found another cache, ‘Can you hear the ghost train?’, then dived into the cool tunnel under the old track. There were great acoustics in the tunnel – we tried train noises, howling wolf noises and a few owl hoots and all worked very well! (FYI we are both – supposedly – mature, sensible adults – but it had to be done!)
Emerging on the downhill side of the tunnel, we were immediately at Chedworth Roman Villa https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chedworth_Roman_Villa Pre-booked tickets only, no cafe, and no ice-creams (oh, how we would have loved an ice-cream). Disappointed, we continued through the car park to find two National Trust people staring at something on the ground. It was a baby short-eared bat, about the size of a mouse, and it shouldn’t have been there, it should have been in the cooler bushes rather than being hot and confused in the sun. The NT people tried, futilely, to get the little bat to climb onto a stick, but it didn’t want to, and bit the stick (FYI, you can’t touch bats without a licence, they’re protected). So Mrs Hg137 exercised her bat herding skills and drove/shepherded the little bat into the hedge using a couple of large leaves and a bit of looming over it, but absolutely no touching. (Editor’s note: we’ve both held bats before during nature talks and they are NOT scary, they are warm and velvety and really rather nice.)
There was a final cache to find, ‘Roman Villa’ (seemed appropriate) before returning to the geocar, which now said it was 34C, and went on our way to our weekend destination, Bourton on the Water.