6 ISSUES FOR £6 Subscribe to Cotswold Life today click here

Cotswold Ways Walk: Odes, values and votes - Batheaston to Bannerdown

PUBLISHED: 11:43 19 January 2018 | UPDATED: 11:43 19 January 2018

Rainbow over Bannerdown

Rainbow over Bannerdown

Kevan Manwaring

Blow away the cobwebs with a walk that takes in Solsbury Hill, Suffragettes and a Regency poetry contest. Inspiring views of Bath, secret lanes, mysterious stones and a cosy pub await!

The delightful village of Batheaston, on the edge of Bath, has a fascinating history amongst which two remarkable women stand out. The first is Lady Anna Miller. Returning from a Grand Tour with a Roman vase, Sir John, a retired officer, and his wife established a fortnightly poetry contest at Batheaston Villa. Themes were set and odes were composed and deposited anonymously within the vase. These were then read out and the best three awarded laurels, which were then dedicated by the respective poets to the ‘muse’ of their choice. This ‘peculiar ceremonial’ (Barbeaeu, 1884) ran for 12 years in the late 18th Century and in its heyday up to 50 carriages could be seen parked up disgorging their glittering guests. To be on the invite list was to know you had ‘arrived’ in Bath Society. It saw the likes of George Pitt, Lord Palmerston, Lord Carmarthen grace their home. ‘Mrs Miller’s Vase’, as this remarkable Regency Eisteddfod became known, was commented upon and mocked by the likes of Horace Walpole, who called it ‘the New Parnassus’, where one could hear ‘bouts-rimés on a buttered muffin’.

Trig point, Solsbury Trig point, Solsbury

The second remarkable resident of Batheaston is Mrs Tolemache, who refused to pay Property Tax and Inhabited House duty on the grounds that there should be no taxation without representation. Goods were seized from her home, also Batheaston Villa, which led to a march from the White Hart Hotel, Batheaston (where her household goods had been auctioned off) by Suffragettes. From Mrs Miller, criticised for being above her station (‘her air is mock-important, and her manners inelegant’) to the empowered pioneers of Women’s Rights, this quiet corner of the Cotswolds offers a surprisingly topical commentary.

Eagle Lodge, Batheaston Eagle Lodge, Batheaston

The walk

1. Leave London Road Carpark, use pedestrian crossing and cross to shop side. Turn left up High Street. When you reach a public footpath sign on right take narrow steps up behind The Batch.

2. Climb Penthouse Hill passing The Catholic Church of the Good Shepherd.

3. At the bench turn left up Solsbury Lane, a lovely hollow lane that winds up the hill.

4. Follow this until it forks right (NB ‘dead-end’ sign). Follow this to end of lane. Enter gate and ascend Solsbury Hill, made famous by Peter Gabriel in his song ‘Solsbury Hill’.

5. Enjoy the stunning views over the valleys leading away from Bath towards Bradford-upon-Avon and Box.

6. Turn left along the brow of the hill and circumnavigate so-called ‘Little Solsbury Hill’ (there is no ‘Greater Solsbury’) in a clockwise direction. An Iron Age hillfort, it was bequeathed to the National Trust in 1930. A memorial stone commemorates this fact.

7. Below the Trig Point there is a bench if you wish to savour the view over Aquae Sulis (the Roman name for Bath). A good spot for a sandwich, or a sip from a flask!

8. Carry on in a clockwise direction around the hill, noting in the north corner the turf maze below the brow – it looks ancient but was made during the Batheaston bypass protest during the 90s.

9. Just past the eastern corner, you’ll see a little footpath drop down to your left, follow this (carefully, as it can be slippery) down to track, go through gate and turn left.

10. Go through metal gate and, heading north-east, descend through picturesque meadows towards North End. Keep following the footpath signs downhill and you can’t go wrong.

11. When you get to edge of North End village, take metalled lane (Seven Acres lane) left until you read corner of Eagle Road. Take this down to Brow Hill.

12. Turn left at Brow Hill. Soon on your left you’ll see Eagle Lodge, with its stone ‘eagle’ (resembling a turkey!). This was the former home of John Wood the Elder, the great Regency architect of Bath (designer of The King’s Circus and the Royal Crescent).

13. Continue along lane. Turn right at Steway Lane.

14. Take footpath on your left and follow footpath parallel to St Catherine’s Brook, heading north-north-east.

15. At second footbridge, where there is a ‘Limestone Link’ signpost turn right up the hill.

16. The apparent footpath is practically a boggy streambed so you’ll be better off following it along from one of the higher tracks that run parallel with it.

17. At top of field, turn right, heading towards gate.

18. Go through gate and turn left up the charming green lane, which ascends the side of the valley.

19. Eventually you’ll come to Steway Lane by a signpost. Here you have an option to turn left, if you wish to go and visit the Three Shires Stone, a cromlech on the road to Colerne, reconfigured from the remains of a destroyed longbarrow. This marks the point where the three counties of Somerset, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire meet. Retrace your steps to the signpost, then take footpath uphill through the pleasant woods.

20. This eventually comes out on Bannerdown Common. There is a bench here if you need to catch your breath. Now head southwards back towards Batheaston. If you take the left fork and you’re keen-eyed you’ll spot a carved owl. There are several tracks here. Just keep heading down the hill until you come out on Fosseway Lane. Turn right here by fancy wrought-iron gate and head downhill into Batheaston.

21. You’ll eventually emerge at the roundabout, bottom of Bannerdown Hill, opposite the carpark.

22. Time for the pub! You could take the footbridge from the carpark and walk to Bathampton Mill if you haven’t had enough exercise yet. Or, if you go to The Crown, Bathford, then you might want to check out Eagle House, (Church St, Bathford BA1 7RS) which served as a refuge for suffragettes between 1909 and 1912. Here the Blathwayt family helped them to recuperate from the harsh treatment they received when imprisoned for their political activism in support of votes for women. Many women were force-fed when on hunger strike to protest against their conditions. An orchard was planted by the Suffragettes (‘Annie’s Orchard’ after Annie Kenney, a local campaigner) but sadly was destroyed in the 1960s to make way for a housing estate. Only one tree remains, the Austrian Pine planted by Rose Lamartine Yates in 1909.

Need to know

Distance: 4.92ml/7.93km

Time: 2-2.30 hrs

Level: Moderate (suitable footwear essential, walking pole/s recommended)

Map: OS Explorer 155 Bristol & Bath

Pub: The Crown, Bathford, or Bathampton Mill.

Dog-friendly: Yes

Public Transport: Regular buses from Bath

Parking: London Road car park, Batheaston (free)

Toilets: carpark, pub

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Cotswold Life visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Cotswold Life staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Cotswold Life account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Out & about

Yesterday, 10:09

Enjoy a day in the sunshine at these wonderful Pick Your Own fruit farms in the Cotswolds...

Read more
Yesterday, 10:08

If you’re looking for things to do in the Cotswolds this month, we have gathered plenty of events for you to pop in your diary

Read more
Friday, June 15, 2018

There are plenty of fantastic events in the Cotswolds this summer, and many can be enjoyed with man’s best friend in tow. Mark Lewis, Managing Director of Cotswold RAW, the biologically appropriate raw food for dogs, talks us through what’s coming up for you and the family to attend

Read more
Tuesday, June 12, 2018

This month the city of Gloucester is celebrating the life of one very powerful women; an Anglo Saxon queen who sent enemies packing with boiling beer and bee hives, and fearlessly fought off Viking invaders

Read more
Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Perhaps one of the most famous locations in the Cotswolds, Bourton-on-the-Water is renowned for its pretty waterside views and quaint limestone buildings. We’ve assembled a guide to help you make the most of your time in this picture-perfect village.

Read more
Monday, June 4, 2018

The Cotswolds landscape reflects a remarkable 6,000 years of human influences

Read more
Friday, May 25, 2018

It is the highest town in Oxfordshire, was once a major industrial hive for wool and tweed, took part in the rather bizarre ritual of wife selling in the mid 19th century and is home to the ‘Aspirin Man’. Chipping Norton is certainly a colourful place, full of character and charm whilst maintaining a down-to-earth friendliness. I took my mum, dad and daughter number three with me to explore this vibrant little Cotswold town and had a few surprises of my own

Read more
Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Cotswold designers are celebrating after picking up gold and Best in Show at the 2018 RHS Chelsea Flower Show. Words by Mandy Bradshaw

Read more
Monday, May 21, 2018

Britain is home to many an unusual tradition, and the region of the Cotswolds is no exception. Here are 11 of the strangest pastimes from this corner of England, including cheese rolling, duck racing and wool sack racing!

Read more
Monday, May 21, 2018

Some previously unseen treasures are on show as part of Sudeley Castle’s stunning new exhibition

Read more
Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Kevan Manwaring takes the Thames Path through the Cotswolds from Kemble to Wallingford - 77 miles of glorious countryside

Read more
Monday, May 14, 2018

We’re surrounded by oceans of plastic; and so are the oceans. Our plastic bags are clogging Earth’s waters; microplastics are entering the food-chain, as birds, fish and other creatures mistakenly feed off them; even wildlife nearer to home – in the Cotswolds themselves – is killed and poisoned by this litter. So is it possible to live without plastic? And will that save the Earth? Katie Jarvis has no idea – but she tries it for a week

Read more
Tuesday, May 8, 2018

To celebrate the 250th Anniversary of the birth of circus, the Cotswolds’ own Giffords is back with a new tent, freshly-painted wagons, glamorous outfits and talented extended family to throw a summer-long party you’ll never forget, says Candia McKormack

Read more
Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Stunning views, fascinating heritage, great pubs – what’s not to like?

Read more
 
Great British Holidays advert link

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy


Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory
A+ Education

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Cotswold's trusted business finder

Job search in your local area



Property Search