The path hugs the contours of Crickley Hill, giving you a steady uphill rather than a brutal one but at Cold Slad, height must be found and there is a short section which is really steep. Crossing the little lane, there are some steps up a steep bank but they give out halfway up and then you have to carefully find your footing, particularly in wet weather.
Just when you think you want to lie down and give up the ghost, the worst is over and the climb is now more gentle. There is turf under your feet, you meet the Cotswold Way and there is a National Trust sign proclaiming Crickley Hill. You have made it.
The walk up this section is really lovely and finishes with some beautiful open woodland, getting their first covering of autumn leaves as I walked in mid-September.
The noise of traffic starts to grow as you reach the intersection of the A417 and the A4136 at the Air Balloon pub. This is a really busy bit of road and care needs to be taken as you cross over to the Air Balloon and then have to cross the A417 to signposted woodland on the other side.
However, once you move into the countryside, it is amazing how quickly the road falls away behind you and this stretch was my favourite of today's route. Crossing a field, you then pick up the ridge of a valley - the walking is smooth and the view is lovely, an easy and steady walk all the way to the B-road near Coberley.
Accommodation options for this stage and the next are a real headache and here you need to leave the path and divert down the B-road for 20 minutes into first Cowley and then Cockleford, where you will find the Green Dragon.
It is a nice quiet stretch of road but obviously an extra strain on the legs though it is certainly worth it because the Green Dragon is a very nice pub, smelling sweetly of wood smoke and with a decent range of beers. For real ale fans, Butcombe, a local beer, is a real treat on draught …
We have mapped a loop back to the path which means you don't have to retrace your steps but more of that in the next blog.