THIS walk offers fine scenery every step of the way, and an abundance of beautiful buildings too.

It begins with a steady climb, following the Cotswold Way from Broadway’s lovely High Street to the Norman-style tower which tops Broadway Hill.

It’s downhill then for a while, to St Eadburgha’s Church, which occupies a scenic location beside Snowshill Road. Another climb soon follows, to the top of the Cotswold escarpment and a brief reunion with the Cotswold Way before you join the Winchcombe Way for the descent to Laverton and Buckland. The short climb out of Buckland gives glimpses of an Iron Age fort on Burhill before you pick up the Cotswold Way again for the gentle stroll down to Broadway.

Burhill straddles the Worcestershire-Gloucestershire border and the southern half of it is within the parish of Buckland.

As it’s the site of a Celtic hill fort it was probably the first part of the parish to be settled. The fort has been seriously damaged by ploughing and only a short stretch of the ramparts survives. This is on the eastern side, above the byway used in this walk. Traces of an entranceway survive too, and fragments of Iron Age pottery have been found within and around the fort. The first documentary reference to Buckland is in a charter of 709, recording a gift of land from Coenred of Mercia to St Peter’s Abbey at Gloucester.

Buckland subsequently grew and prospered but the monks were kicked out when Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries in the 1530s. In 1546 Buckland was granted to Sir Richard Gresham, a wealthy merchant who had become Lord Mayor of London in 1537. He died soon after acquiring Buckland, which passed to his son Thomas, founder of the Royal Exchange and Gresham College.

The estate later passed by marriage to John Thynne, a steward to the Duke of Somerset, and a man busy acquiring a fortune, partly through the strategy of advantageous marriage. One of his other acquisitions was Longleat, in Wiltshire, and a later member of the Thynne family became the first Marquess of Bath in 1789. The family still owns Longleat, but Buckland was sold to a local landowner, Thomas Phillips, in 1790. His son, also called Thomas, was a noted antiquarian who collected tens of thousands of books and manuscripts and operated a printing press in Broadway Tower. Buckland Manor, which is now a hotel, was built c1650, and two other village houses, Honeysuckle Cottage and Woodbine Cottage, date from the same period. Older than any of these, however, is Buckland Rectory, which has a 15th century timbered hall and is said to be the oldest rectory in England.

Buckland’s church is dedicated to St Michael, and dates mostly from the 13th and 14th centuries.

John Wesley preached in the church and William Morris attended services there and greatly admired the stained glass.

For a small, rural church, St Michael’s contains an unusual number of special features and treasures. Sadly, one of the most notable, a copy of Foxe’s Book of Martyrs (published 1563) was stolen in 2012.

Laverton is just a hamlet in the parish of Buckland, yet it has a total of eight Listed Buildings.

Seven of these are cottages or farmhouses, but the eighth is a phone box, a classic design from 1935.

Tiny though Laverton is, from 1905 until 1960 it had its own railway station, Laverton Halt, on the Great Western Railway's Honeybourne Line, which passes within half a mile of the hamlet.

the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway has recently brought Laverton Halt back into use and it’s now the northern terminus for the company’s steam and diesel trains operating from Cheltenham Racecourse. Volunteers are working hard in the hope of eventually re-opening the next section, from Laverton to Broadway, which would be a significant achievement. But if the political will was there the line could be restored all the way to Honeybourne, to connect with First Great Western's Hereford- Worcester-London services.

FACTFILE START High Street, Broadway, grid ref SP095375.

LENGTH Seven and a half miles/12km.

MAPS OS Explorer OL45, OS Landranger 150.

TERRAIN Mostly pasture, with some woodland and arable; hilly.

FOOTPATHS Excellent.


PARKING There are two car parks off High Street.

PUBLIC TRANSPORT Bus or train to Evesham then Cresswell’s R4 to Broadway, or train to Moreton for Johnson’s 21/22 to Broadway; etables, 01905 765765,, 08457 484950.

REFRESHMENTS Broadway; plus restaurants at Broadway Tower Country Park and Buckland.

DIRECTIONS 1Join the Cotswold Way, which uses High Street for a while before taking to the fields. Follow it uphill to Broadway Tower. Leaving the Cotswold Way, take a path which heads south for 400m before descending past a restaurant to a Tjunction.

Turn right, pass a bungalow, then turn left at the next junction and follow Coneygree Lane down to meet Snowshill Road near St Eadburgha’s Church.

2Turn left along Snowshill Road. After 350m take a path on the right and go uphill, aiming for the top corner of Lydbrook Plantation, which is to your left at the top of the hill. The path is well used and waymarked – where a waymark is missing at a fence corner you should turn left. After passing the plantation the path continues past Buckland Wood to meet the Cotswold Way by a farm.

3Turn left then immediately right, signed to Shenberrow and Stanton. Leave the Cotswold Way when you come to a junction below a line of beech trees, and turn right on a byway, the Winchcombe Way. This contours round the hill for a little way before descending to Laverton. Walk straight through the hamlet until the Winchcombe Way makes a right turn. Follow it to Buckland and turn right. Walk the length of the village.

4Turn left on a ‘no through road’, leaving the Winchcombe Way. Turn right where a sign indicates a restricted byway and bridleway. Follow the byway/bridleway up Burhill to meet the Cotswold Way. Turn left for Broadway.

Worcester News recommends the use of OS Explorer Maps, your ideal passport to navigating the countryside.

This walk is based on OS Explorer OL45, OS Landranger 150.