I love getting out in the Gloucestershire countryside for a walk or a cycle in the fresh air; it’s much more my thing than doing a workout in the confines of a gym. So earlier this month, with the autumn leaves still carpeting the ground, we headed to Slad in Stroud to take on the Laurie Lee Wildlife Way.
The walk was set up in June 2014 by The Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust to mark the centenary of the birth of Laurie Lee. It’s a six mile circular route and took us around two and a half hours to complete.
We parked and started at The Woolpack, Slad’s quaint village pub frequented by Laurie Lee and popular today with locals and walkers alike. If you visit the church across the the road, you’ll see where Laurie Lee rests – ‘He lies in the valley he loved’.
The Woolpack sells a map of the official walk for just £1, with all proceeds donated to The Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust. I definitely recommend buying a copy. The trail is pretty well signposted, even featuring beautiful cedar posts adorned with poems by Laurie Lee, but there were a few times when we were unsure which direction to go. At these times the map came in very handy!
Along the walk there was an abundance of stunning scenery to take in – picture perfect Cotswold cottages, the endless hills, ancient woodlands, streams, muddy pathways, roaming pheasants and a mill pond. It’s easy to see why Slad provided Laurie Lee with so much inspiration.
As you might expect in a valley, there’s quite a few steep inclines, which for casual walkers like me, were a little challenging at times. It all made for an even more deserving drink in The Woolpack once we had finished though!
If you fancy eating at The Woolpack then book your table in advance and ask for a seat next to the roaring fire if you go in the colder months. The pub’s little nooks and crannies quickly fill with those wanting their own slice of ‘Cider with Rosie’.