Watledge, Pinfarthings and the Woodchester Valley
A two hour walk of moderately challenging terrain, but with several excellent opportunities for refreshment. Includes minor roads but suitable for well controlled dogs.
From the Halfway House head West across Minchinhampton Common and the golf course, towards Amberley, keeping Beaudesert School on your left and the Old Lodge pub (once the main clubhouse to Minchinhampton Golf Club) on your right. As you approach the far side of the common, swing right and keep parallel with the common’s edge whilst walking along the ledge above Pinfarthings.
As you reach the road above Amberley, cross over and return to the common. With the Amberley Inn now on your left, continue in the same direction keeping parallel to the road.
After about 250 yards, drop down to the left, across the road and over to the Amberley war memorial on the far side of the village. Keep going past the war memorial and back onto the common, but now drop down the common mid-way between the two simple benches in front of you and down the short, steep slope, through the muddy gap between the large bramble bushes until you join the narrow lane at “Orchard Corner”. Turn right down the lane. After 100 yards take the small right fork and after a further 100 yards, at the T junction, take the signposted footpath to the right, down into the woods.
After 250 yards, at the T junction between the footpaths, take the path leading to the right but after a further 50 yards take the footpath dropping down to the left. Continue down the hill to the stile.
If you have chosen a fine, clear day for you walk, you will now see before you the gentle sloping hills enclosing the Woodchester Valley, including a beautiful view over both North and South Woodchester, as shown in the picture above.
Climb over the stile and continue straight across the fields, eventually reaching another stile at the bottom left hand corner of the field. Climb over this stile and out through the mud, following the path marked by a simple post as it swings to the left, keeping parallel with a stream on your left. After 250 yards the path swings left, down through a farm track where you will see a farm gate on your right.
Go through the adjacent “kissing gate” and continue along the farm track until it meets the A46. CAREFULLY CROSS over the A46 and walk a few yards up a little lane (Station Road), but then immediately left onto the cycle track towards Nailsworth.
Follow the cycle track for about a mile and a half until you approach Dunkirk Mills, to the point where there is a tall, redbrick chimney on your right. Here, turn left alongside some black handrails and head up the footpath as it starts to ascend the hill.
Follow the footpath as it ascends the steep hill, through a stile and then immediately up to “Dunkirk Manor”. Here turn right along the road into the village of Watledge for about half a mile.
Turn left into “Whips Lane”, also marked “To footpath leading to Watledge Hill”. Only 50 yards up this hill take the right fork, along a very narrow lane as far as it goes. Follow a footpath straight ahead through the woods (be careful NOT to take the wider route that drops back down to the right).
After 100 yards, at the junction of several footpaths in the middle of the woods, take the path to the left, up the steep hill, until it joins the bottom of a narrow lane.
Ascend this lane for 300 yards to a T junction, where you turn right. Follow this lane to its end, and then take the marked footpath to the left, up another steep hill and through the archway at the top.
Cross the road and climb back onto Minchinhampton Common. You can now turn right and will soon see the Halfway House and Box ahead of you once more.
This walk contributed by Sarah Hemmings, plus dogs Billy and Chestnut.