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Snowshill Manor is a lovely old (15th to 16th century) house with a good dovecote and a series of attractive linked small gardens.
The 19th century eccentric, Charles Wade, packed the house so full of his items collected from all over the world that he had to live in comparatively squalid conditions in an outbuilding. Now administered by the National Trust, both house and gardens are open to visitors (check opening hours).
A section of the Cotswold Way is included in this upland tramp which combines the village of Scowshill with the remains of the iron age hill fort at Shenbarrow. The mixture of farm tracks and footpaths is entirely good underfoot, with no steep gradients. Varied and extensive views.
Leave the car park through a little gate to join the public road. Turn right to descend to the village, passing the back of the Manor then the tiny village green, the church and the Snowshill Arms.
1. Just before the road starts to climb, turn right, down a concrete ramp with a ‘footpath’ sign. Continue the descent past a farm gate. At the next farm gate ‘private property, keep out’ follow the waymark, walking over grass with a fence on the right. Go over a waymarked stile and bear a little left, rising along the foot of woodland. Go over a waymarked stile at the top then cross a wide pasture, aiming to the left of the buildings of Great Bockhampton Farm. Go up a few steps to a signposted gate.
2. Turn right along a farm roadway, forking left at once to carry on above the farm buildings. The roadway continues for some distance, rising gently along the side of the valley, passing woodland ‘Entrusted to the care of the Snows. No public right of way’. The views include Snowshill village and Broadway Tower on a hilltop to the right. The woodland on the left is well varied, including pine, ash and oak. At the top bear left to a gate and enjoy the sudden, surprise, views over the Vale of Evesham.
3. Go through the gate and over a waymarked stile in a few yeard on the left. This is the point at which the direct return may be made to Buckland Court by not going over the stile. Rise over grass to a waymark on a post in less than 100 yards. Pass another waymarked post before angling down to join the now obvious Cotswold Way track at a farm gate. In a further 10 yards the path rising directly from Buckland Court joins from the right.
4. Turn left to follow the Cotswold Way to a farm gate, then a junction. Go straight ahead and stay with the Cotswold Way at the next junction. Laverton Hill Barn farm is to the left. Pass old quarry workings below on the left with a glimpse of Snowshill village as the track gains the top of the broad ridge. Go through a gateway, continuing to rise through an area of parkland.
5. At the top of the rise is a major junction. Take the second turning on the right, over a cattle grid (Cotswold Way), continuing to rise, now along the top edge of woodland, directly to the Shenbarrow hill fort. At the near edge of the fort turn left, leaving the Cotswold Way, to follow a wide track (‘public bridleway’), over a cattle grid. Pass through the buildings of Shenbarrow Hill farm, then a gate before turning left at a ‘bridleway’ signpost. A broad track along the right edge of a big field leads to a gate and a lane.
6. Turn left. The top of Shenbarrow Hill (994ft (303m) is directly ahead but can you really be sure exactly where? after the wall ends at an electricity pole turn left and then In 40 yards turn right at a waymarked post to take a well defined path descending diagonally across a large field to a waymarked gate in a wall. The path continues to a gate giving access to a surfaced farm road. Turn right to walk down this road, soon rising gently to join the public road.
7. Turn left to pass the end of the concrete ramp footpath, rejoining the outward route and rising at least as far as the Snowshill Arms before returning to the car park.
The above walk forms a self-contained circuit. To link directly from and to Buckland Court on foot, proceed as follows:
From Buckland Court walk down the road for 25 yards; turn left up a surfaced drive towards ‘Mill Close’. Pass the entrance to Mill Close in 30 yards and follow a track bearing right, reaching a waymarked gate in 40 yards.
Take the path indicated by the left waymark, just visible over grass, rising across a meadow to a waymarked gate/stile. Pass a waymark on a post, keeping left as indicated. Pass another waymark on apost. The gradient eases;
Pass yet another waymark on a post, cross the tiniest of streams, go over a waymarked stile then pass a waymark on a fence post. Keep close to the fence on the left to reach a stile (waymark on fence post). Go through a plantation of small trees to a waymarked stile, to join the Cotswold Way and the main route. Turn right.To return to Buckland Court lerave the main circuit at point 3. Do not go over the stile on the left. Continue along the farm track, descending steadily to and through an untidy farmstead and a 3 way signpost. Follow ‘RUPP Buckland 1 mile’. In a few yards go over a waymarked stile beside a gate and carry on along the farm roadway, more or less level across high farmland. Reach the agricultural building with weathervane mentioned in walk no. 1. Bear left here to descend past the ponds and return to Buckland Court.
This link adds approximately 1½ miles (2¼km) to the length of the walk and 300ft (91m) to the total ascent/descent.