Total distance covered; 55 miles (88kms)
5 days walking, based in Painswick
The Wysis Way is a 55 mile route which starts in the historic town of Monmouth on the Welsh border and finishes at Kemble near Cirencester, thus providing a link between the River Wye and the infant river Thames, or Isis. The route passes through three very distinctive and diverse landscapes; the Forest of Dean, the Vale of Severn and the Cotswolds.
The route through the Forest of Dean, a royal hunting forest since Saxon times, takes in some wonderful mixed woodland as it traverses the slopes above the River Wye. In the Vale of Severn an undulating landscape of small fields, mature mixed hedgerows, perry pear and plum orchards and pockets of light woodland give way to watermeadows as the route approaches the River Severn itself, and the crossing into the city of Gloucester. Beyond Gloucester the route enters the rolling landscape of the Cotswold Hills, typified by limestone pasture, small rivers, a criss-cross of dry-stone walls, honey-coloured stone-built villages, and crosses the escarpment at Painswick Beacon. Finally the route passes through the southern part of Cirencester Park, and along a stretch of the disused Thames and Severn Canal, to reach the spring that marks the source of the River Thames (or River Isis).
Highlights include the medieval fortified bridge over the River Monnow in the Welsh border town on Monmouth; the tremendous views from The Kymin Naval Temple, Near Hearkening Rock (where the acoustics are such that the keepers of the Royal Forest supposedly set up a post to listen out for deer poachers), The Suck Stone (thought to be the largest detached rock in the British Isles), May Hill (where Morris Dancers still gather each May Day morning), Robin's Wood Hill, and Painswick Beacon; a wealth of picturesque villages, including Taynton, Sapperton, Oakridge, Bisley and Kemble, and the historic city of Gloucester, with its beautiful cathedral, and restored dockland and quayside where handsome tall ships are on display.
The small town on Painswick - 'Queen of the Cotswolds' - is located just off the route and makes the ideal base for this holiday.
With mixed woodland being a feature of the route the timing of the holiday will, hopefully, catch the first autumn colours.
Day 1: Monmouth to Nailbridge 12 miles (19kms)
Day 2: Nailbridge to Tibberton 12 miles (19kms)
Day 3: Tibberton to Gloucester 8 miles (13kms)
Day 4: Gloucester to Bisley 12 miles (19kms)
Day 5: Bisley to Kemble 11 miles (18kms)
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