Amy Walks: Dumbleton Hill Circular
My Mum’s birthday and Mother’s Day fell very close to each other this year. Because of this, we headed out on a walk around Dumbleton Hill on the sunny Saturday that fell in between.
Starting early and with the AA’s ‘50 Walks in the Cotswolds‘ book in hand, Mum and I made our way through the peaceful village of Wormington.
Despite the fact the sun was burning up the mist to make it a glorious day, our morning didn’t get off to the best start. AA’s Dumbleton Hill circular walk was great, however, the directions were a little tricky to follow. Or maybe it was that we weren’t reading them clearly enough. Either way, we rambled for an hour and a half in the wrong direction – well done us…!
Realising that the directions in the book weren’t quite matching up to our surroundings, we turned on our heels and went back to the start to give it another go. What’s a walk without a little adventure, eh?!
And, it was a success! We soon found the footpath we should have taken and set off as we’d meant to go on. Having worked up quite the appetite with the detour, we took a rest by the decrepit old mill.
Mum’s birthday was on the Thursday before and so, I’d packed a battenberg – her fave – with candles in my bag. After singing ‘Happy Birthday’ – badly – we tucked in to our treat, accompanied by steaming mugs of coffee from a flask.
Once the slices of battenberg had been gobbled up and Mum had opened her present, we carried on our Dumbleton Hill walk. The countryside shone in the sunlight and the air was fresh. Mum and I chatted away all the while like there was no tomorrow, catching up on our recent news. Nothing new there when we’re together!
It wasn’t long until we reached Toddington and had a nose around the church.
As well as difficult directions, our book was also quite outdated. I’d wanted to treat Mum to lunch along the way. We thought this could be at the Pheasant Inn, a farm shop or at Dumbleton’s shop, all shown on the map. However, the pub was an extra mile out of the route and having gone wrong for a mile, we didn’t fancy the extra walking. Therefore, we carried on towards the farm shop.
Unfortunately, the farm shop was not quite what we thought. We’d envisioned a sweet countryside shop, full of meats, cheeses, breads. Possibly even a café. But no. Our hearts dropped as an agricultural farm shop came in to view. Mum did get very excited at one point after seeing a sign for an ‘eating area’. A step later and all hopes were dashed when an ‘s’ came in to view. It was, in fact, a ‘seating area’. By this point – about half way round the route – we were flagging.
In the end, we settled on a grassy verge and nibbled on cakes that Mum had brought.
This second lot of cakes and coffee and a well-needed rest in the sunshine gave us the energy boost needed. So, we got ourselves going again and proceeded to make our way up and around the hillside.
Reaching the top of an incline, we drank in the view that was behind us, before debating which path to take. We could either go straight up a steep path or on a long route from the book. The second route would have taken us around the hillside and might have been an easier uphill stroll. Despite this, we went crazy and opted for the first. Especially as it joined up with the normal route anyway.
A few *ahem* huffs, puffs and sweaty moments later, we made it to the top and again, admired the countryside view below. As well as, appreciated our achievement of not dying up the steep slope!
It was steeper than it looks!
Crossing the top of the hill, I read aloud those precious words walkers love to hear: ‘follow the path all the way down‘. The sun had started to dip in the sky at this point, but it was still relatively warm. And with hearing pheasants calling in the surrounding woodland, it was a very pleasant stroll.
How adorable are these lambs?!
We made it to Dumbleton and carried on our slog back to Wormington. Mum and I are not the fittest of people, nor are we seasoned walkers. It’s why we started these walks in the first place! Therefore, the last couple of miles were hard. Setting markers for ourselves, bit by bit, we dragged our sorry behinds and sore feet closer to the cars.
Once back at our vehicles, off came the boots with a very, very happy sigh. We then drove a short distance to a layby outside of the village, overlooking a beautiful field of Rapeseed. Here, Mum produced a surprise bottle of fizz to congratulate me on passing my AAT Level 3 exams.
We raised a toast to this, Mum’s birthday, Mother’s Day and to our massive walking achievement. 11 miles and thousands of steps all in one day, it was definitely something to be proud of!
That moment of sipping sweet sparkling wine with my Mum/best friend and aching feet, whilst the sun was starting to set, surrounded by the smell of my childhood wafting from the field is one that I will cherish forever.
Despite the beginning hiccup and lack of places to get refreshments, the Dumbleton Hill circular was brilliant. My Mum and I had such a fabulous day and we already can’t wait for the next one!