It was our last day of cycling and we were determined to get a little more into our tour. We had a short window this morning during which there would be no rain and the winds a manageable 20-25 kmh (as opposed to the anticipated 35-40 kmh forecast for the afternoon).
After another splendid breakfast, we headed out into the chilly morning, heading south of Broadway towards Stanway House, a Jacobean manor that has the world’s tallest gravity-fed fountain. The route was, unusually, more or less flat, so that made for easy riding, although the initial bit was along quite a busy road and into the wind.
Once we got onto the side road, we enjoyed another lovely country lane, with horses and longhorn cattle grazing the surrounding fields.
Then we came across Stanton (pop. c. 200), said to be ”arguably the most beautiful Cotswold village of them all”. And it is indeed quite gorgeous. Almost every house is built from the famous honey-coloured Cotswold stone, with the others being thatched Tudor style abodes, all immaculately kept. The area has been settled for at least three millennia, and there are plenty of historic houses within (43 are heritage listed!).
Just a little further along from there is Stanway House, which has had just two owners (Tewkesbury Abbey and the Tracy family and their descendants) over the last 1300 years. The current owner, the Earl of Wemyss and March, opens this grand manor to the public, no doubt to help earn some income for its considerable upkeep. The gardens are beautifully manicured and, of course, there is that fountain. Sadly, we belatedly found out that it has closed for the season and so we were only able to look around the front part of the grounds (which were still impressive).
Right next to the manor is St Peter's Church, a handsome building. But again, this was closed, perhaps because it is linked to the manor by a gated wall.
Stanton and Stanway House are both on the Cotswold Way, one the area's more famous walking routes, so we weren’t surprised that we ran into an American couple there who were walking all the way to Bath (in stages, of course). They had completed the Coast to Coast Walk last year, so clearly they are very keen walkers!
At this point, though we weren’t able to get inside our desired destination, the weather was starting to turn, so we decided to head back anyway, to beat the rising winds. Fortunately, we had a tailwind on the way back, so the return journey took hardly any time at all and we were back in time for lunch, this time at Number 32 café in the High Street, which unfortunately wasn’t as good as the Market Pantry.
After resting for the afternoon back at the B&B, we headed out for a casual dinner at the Lygon Arms Wine Bar. This cosy spot boasts an Italian chef and a small, but excellent menu, so we had a very nice meal before going back to pack for our departure tomorrow.