Sunday, 22 June 2014

Avening Circular Walk

Avening Circular Walk, 12 caches, 5 miles, Avening nr. Stroud, Gloucestershire 


We were back out in the field today! We initially had another Wrighty series planned, but we noticed that a couple of the caches appeared to be missing, and so we chose to venture a little further today, instead.

Avening is an idyllic Cotswold village located in South Gloucestershire, a corner of the county which I absolutely love - you can be sure to enjoy sweeping hillsides and lush valley bottoms here!

We set off in the sunshine with Fizz, for what was promised to be a super series - I had been reading great things about it!

Cotswold cottage in the idyllic village of Avening
 The cache owner was very helpful in including detailed directions on the cache pages, which took away a lot of stress as we began to meet footpath junctions. Found a Church Micro en-route before embarking on the first cache of the series; this was an easy find. The second took longer than needed; I was expecting a really unique cache container and so I was a little surprised when we spotted the hide, nevertheless it certainly wasn't a common cache. The path opened out in to a valley meadow packed with an array of wildflowers, which were almost twinkling under the sunlight.

Fizz resting amongst the wildflowers between #2 and #3
We then walked past some long barrows thought to be around 5000 years old. We always like it when a walk takes you past somewhere with a story, and so we enjoyed admiring the barrows as we continued to ramble through the sweeping meadow.

Oh, guess what? I had forgotten what it was like to cache during summer. There were nettles which peaked at heights well above me, and I had to wade through them to grab a couple of caches. Shortly after this point, the nettles joined forces with other high-reaching plants to block a track needed to reach the GZ of another cache! Thankfully, I had long trousers and a light sweatshirt on, so they didn't really cause me a problem - I certainly wasn't expecting their presence in such a way, though! I was obviously still used to winter caching!

I thought the walk had an excellent variation in terrain. We were ambling through a lovely (ancient?) forest before too long, which was welcoming after roasting in the sun for an hour.

A walk in the woods
There was only one thing missing: views. The last series we did in this area was the Pinswell Loop, and so I was a little disappointed in their absence, to be honest. However, I guess they say not to speak too soon, as we were soon greeted with pleasant views; although not far reaching, they were stunning in their own right - sometimes these are the best of views.

Great views - follow the arrow!

We got lucky at #9! Just as we went through the gate, the farmer arrived and let in a herd of cattle from the next field - that would have been a disaster, especially with Fizz! The walk was completed with a descent back to Avening, where we found the final two caches of the series. 

To summarise: a fantastic walk, with a superb variation in terrain (from country lanes, to grassland, to meadows, to woodland, to hillsides) and good caches, each surviving well. I would definitely recommend this loop to anyone who hasn't already had the pleasure of completing it - I'll make a post on CacheWalker all about it tomorrow! 

Until next time... happy caching! 

Griff Grof

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