If there’s one thing that I enjoy about running, it’s heading out to a new place in search of adventure. Monday to Friday’s are for doing loops around the riverfront or commuting to work but when the weekend arrives, it’s time to plan an adventure.
These adventures involve travelling by train or bus to a location with the aim of running to the finish where there is beer and a ride home. Planning the route is an adventure in itself and involves using the OS Maps website/app to discover a route between the start and finish. The website assists with calculating distance, elevation and total time using the Naismith’s Rule and gives you a flavour of the type of terrain you’ll encounter. I’ll also use Google StreetView to check out the roads I’ll be running along — I’ve been caught out before having to run along a busy A road without a pavement. Once planned the run then become the highlight of the week and something to look forward to.
For this run I’d be travelling to Ashchurch for Tewkesbury on one of two direct trains and then head west to Tewkesbury along tarmac before joint the Severn Way trail which would take me along the winding River Severn south west to Gloucester.
Tewkesbury uses Ashchurch for it’s railway station so after starting here there was a 2.5 mile run into town along the A46/A438 and over the M5. The route takes you through the historic town and past Tewkesbury Abbey.
I missed a turn in so using the OS Map joined a footpath further along but this joined a route called the Battle Trail which takes you around the battle sites of the Battle of Tewkesbury – one of the decisive battles of the War of the Roses in May 1471 (The House of Lancaster was completely defeated by the House of York). The route included the very descriptive Bloody Meadow where many of the Lancastrian ranks were slain.
Exiting the Bloody Meadow I was back on the right route and the Severn Way which would take me to Gloucester. This section was predominantly trail with gates and stiles to cross along the way.
South of Tewkesbury the route passes Odda’s chapel which dates back to 1056 and is attached to a 17th century house.
The route continued to follow the winding River Severn with anglers dotted along the banks, the odd heron and narrow boats puttering along.
There was some variation with a climb up along a wooded area called The Cliff with a well signposted route through woods and grassland. Even spotted the white tail of a rabbit darting for cover when I exited the wood into the grassland.
Apart from scrambling through a tree that had blocked a path (most likely felled during a recent storm and I wasn’t going to add more miles by backtracking to avoid it) the route was uneventful but still pleasant and good training.
In total with the odd navigation error, running around cows and historical distractions the total distance was 17 miles. This was the furthest I’d been since Paris in March 2018 and even though the legs were sore afterwards it all felt good and I’m so glad I’m back where I want to be.
I would say that life is too short not to get out and do these types of things but I happened to read about an essay by Seneca before heading out this morning called On the Shortness of Life where he says that we don’t have short lives, instead we waste most of it so I guess I’m trying to make the most of life.
The first pub visited post-run was the Turk’s Head which was a new one to me. It’d been a while since I was last in Gloucester (running the Glevum Way) and the pub was new since then. Serving cask ales directly from the barrels, and cider from a side room, the pub is traditional with a long list of quirky rules. Other pubs visited were Tank, which is a modern brewery tap for Gloucester Brewery with a good selection of their beers, and Robert Raikes’ House.
Robert Raikes’ House is owned by Samuel Smith who spent a small fortune renovated the property some years ago and features a number of different rooms from the basic rooms at the front with their flag stone floors to the plusher lounges at the back. The pub once belonged to Robert Raikes who was instrumental in the Sunday School movement.