I have lived in the Cotswolds for over 20 years, and yet I’m still discovering new places this summer since moving back home. Sometimes it simply takes a couple of new maps & a bit of enthusiasm to see somewhere with a fresh pair of eyes. With the help of 50 Walks in the Cotswolds I discovered somewhere I had previously been completely unaware of… Minster Lovell. Just a couple of miles from Witney, it’s a stunning ruined manor house which has become one of my favourite places to walk, forage and relax this summer. Its opening hours make me chuckle every time! I have not visited at an unreasonable time, so do not know what happens if you do… It’s not only Truffle who likes the place for swimming too… the Windrush river passes right by the ruins and people swim here & further down into the woods where it gets deeper. Despite all the “Don’t” signs, people come here to climb, have camp fires & picnics, walk their dogs, swim & hang around and I think it’s rather reassuring that it’s so well loved. If you would prefer to see it at a quieter time however, go early in the morning or during the rain, which I have also done, when it becomes a quietly reflective environment. It’s the perfect place to draw of course! I started off my ‘Ruins Sketchbook’ here. It is also a good place to have a walk & a think, so follow the easy 4 mile circular walk to Crawley if you get the chance.
“I’m weary of dancing now,” she cried;
“Here, tarry a moment-I’ll hide, I’ll hide!
And, Lovell, be sure thou’rt first to trace
The clew to my secret lurking place.”
– Thomas Haynes Bayly, ‘The Mistletoe Bough’