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From the delightful village of Old Sodbury, follow the Cotswold Way up to the serenity of a medieval church, around oak-fringed farmland and along shaded paths to the breath-taking outcrop of an iron-age hillfort. Views, history, peace and rest all combine to make this simple little stroll a wonderful taster of the southern Cotswolds.
- Distance: 2½ miles
- Duration: 1½ - 2 hours
- Difficulty: Easy to moderate – no stiles, steepish slopes.
- Parking: there is free parking along Chapel Lane, please park considerately
- Public transport: accessible by bus from Bath, Yate and Malmesbury
- Refreshments: The Dog Inn and The Cross Hands Hotel
Points of Interest:
- St Johns Church - was built between 1215 and 1225. As with many Norman churches built at this time it is located on a knoll and has magnificent views over the vale of Sodbury. Take a walk up the path and experience the peace and tranquillity as you take in the amazing views over the Severn valley. On a clear day looking northwest both Severn bridges can be seen spanning the River Severn with the Brecon Beacons and Welsh hills in the far distance. To the southwest are the Mendip Hills. A topograph (a large stone with an engraving) has been installed in the field next to the church that shows Old Sodbury in relation to its geographical surroundings.
- St Adeline’s Church, Old Sodbury - It’s only 150 years old, but is based on the medieval chapel of Little Sodbury Manor, where William Tyndale was chaplain and tutor while starting to translate the New Testament into English. Don’t leave the church without reading his letter from a Flemish prison cell (asking for a warm coat, a candle and his Hebrew bible) before he was burned at the stake. It hangs on a nail beside the lectern.
- Old Sodbury Hill Fort - is an impressive Bronze to Iron age encampment atop the Cotswold Ridge. The fort is approx. 9.5 Ha in size and is roughly rectangular made up of a widely spaced double set of ditches and ramparts and is crossed by the Cotswold Way. The ramparts are rich in wild flowers.
- Pillow Mounds - Around the manor house on the map above the map shows some cigar-shaped black lines and the words "Pillow Mounds". They are very old man-made rabbit warrensm created to provide the local residents with a self-renewing source of fresh meat and fur. Made by throwing down a jumber of stone or timber, covered with soft earth then surrounding by a little moat to try to prevent the robbits breaking free. For a long time, people thought they came over with the Normans, 1000 years ago. However, archaeologists have found new evidence that ancient Romans in Britain were keeping bunnies as pets 2000 years ago! So these warrens may have fed the troops camped up on the fortified himm. But more probably they were made after 1066 by the Norman knight who built Little Sodbury Manor. After centuries of ploughing you'll be hard put to find any trace of the warrens here.