Since finding our battered and torn Ordnance Survey map of the Cotswolds (a few weeks ago, behind Andy's oak bureau along with a warren of dust bunnies) we have been finding many new walks. Two days ago found us headed out in the late afternoon towards Northleach, which boasts a superb old church. But we have been there several times and were headed for open country. The tiny estate village of Yanworth is situated near the well known Chedworth Roman Villa; it is peaceful and mercifully unspoilt. There seemed to be barely a soul around.
Turning off, past skittish sheep - eventually our walk would take us to the avenue of trees seen in the distance, marching up the hill.
Now the nights are cold and even by day, the countryside is perfumed with hint of smoke as stout woodburners warm stone houses and cottages.
An undemanding footpath wound lazily ahead.
Just hidden behind the trees, towards the right hand corner, Stowell Park House sits, plump and grand. It owns the estate and the houses and farms on it; it is thanks to large, private estates like these that so much of the Cotswolds retains its character, both architecturally and in the landscape.
Now we were rather slowly trudging up the long tree lined hill, which we had viewed from our starting point.
An enticing little driveway leading the eye down to stone cots.
Near the crest of the hill we had a broad view across to Yanworth, glowing comfortably in hazy sunshine.
Round about and round about; the footpaths of Britain sometimes seem like a tangle of yarn. If you follow the right strand you can make a full - if wonky - circle.
And it is always worth pausing on a steep climb to see where you have been.
A final treat; a cluster of houses, barns and a tiny Norman church, silent and old, as if preserved in aspic. The church, dating back to around 1200, was sadly shut, so it will be explored another time: this is a very good walk, and one which we can extend - we will be back.