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Nowadays comparatively quiet, Blockley is an attractive village with plenty of the honey-stoned buildings for which the area is famous. Until the 19th century there were several water-powered mills along the sides of the stream, processing wool and other textiles.
This circuit is a comparatively gentle ramble, largely in woodland, which is rather unusual in the Cotswolds. Most of the tracks are very clear but there is likely to be a (docile?) bull in one field where the path is not well-defined.
Start along the main street, Bell Lane, in Blockley. Pass a road junction before turning right at the bottom end of the village.
1. There is a ‘private road to Warren House public footpath’ sign. The roadway is hard surfaced initially. At a fork with a waymark on a post keep right, towards a substantial house. After a gate/stile continue along a well-used path rising steadily through the diverse woodland of the Warren.
Bear right at a junction, staying with the main track as it continues to rise. Towards the top of the rise is the steepest section; bear right, ignore a track on the right and carry on through the narrow woodland belt of Shales Coppice.
Bear left, through a broader section of woodland, to reach a public road at a gate.
2. Go straight across to a gate and a signposted footpath – another broad track between high outgrown hedges, largely beech and ash, gently descending. The track bends to the left, along the top edge of the side of a valley, now in Norcombe Wood. Go downhill to a ‘T’ junction. Turn right, then fork left in a few yards, rising gently along the top of the valley side. At a fork keep to the main track, straight ahead, descending to a gate beside a stream at the bottom.
3. The gate carried a ‘bull in field’ warning. Local opinion is that this situation has prevailed for several years and that as the bull is among female bovine animals there has never been any threat to walkers using the right way across this meadow. The path across the meadow is not well-defined. Go diagonally up the slope to the right, following much the same line as before, heading for horse-chestnut trees at the top of the slope. One detached, smaller but compact, tree is right on line. By the horse-chestnut tree there is a not very apparent junction of paths. Bear right here, rising a little over grass to a stile in the corner of the meadow, close to the fence on the right.
4. Go over and cross a track to continue on a path worn across a cultivated field, heading for the residential fringe of Blockley. Go over a stile waymarked as a part of several long distance footpaths, cross a public road and follow ‘Backends, leading to Chapel Lane’, along a minor road. At a little village green turn left at a ‘Little Village Hall’ signpost to descend Bell Bank to the main street (Bell Lane). Turn left to return to the parking area.
Nearest Train (or tube) Station(s):
Moreton-in-Marsh, Cheltenham Spa