After the success of the recent run between Tewkesbury and Gloucester I decided to attempt another longer run. Rather than driving to a destination and running a circular route I decided on another linear route finishing with a beer or two.
Examining the OS Map showed that it was around 14 miles between Chippenham and Bath with a good mix of road and trails and the opportunity to see some historical sites along the way and hopefully get some good photos. Like I discovered with the Tewkesbury to Gloucester route, there was a good chance that the route distance would not be accurate and would likely be a mile or two longer particularly as it’s an area I’m not familiar with so will most certainly have some detours.
I was feeling a bit tired on the Saturday and with it being a Bank Holiday weekend decided to switch to Sunday. The first train of the day out of Newport was the Portsmouth Harbour train which meant that I could get to Bath fairly early for a connecting train to Chippenham. The train would arrive at 1030 which would mean arriving into Bath, and Beercraft, at 1300.
It would take a couple of miles to get outside of Chippenham although it didn’t take long for me have to take a detour when what I thought was a bridleway alongside an industrial park turned out to not exist. Nearby was a lane which had a dead end sign even though it looked like it continued on the OS Map. I decided to go around using the main road but this led to a busy A road. I doubled back and ran along the dead end road which transpired had been blocked off to prevent it from being used as a rat run and I could use it to get to another path which was next to the path that didn’t exist. I was back on track but it had added another mile onto the route.
The route entered the historic and spacious Corsham Park home of Corsham Court. Dating back beyond the 18th century, the current layout is from the mid to late 1700s when the new owner Paul Methuen employed Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown to improve the house and surround land. The public footpath cuts diagonally through the entire park and interestingly there’s an old bridge left in a woodland over a private path which was once used by Methuen and guests to walk without encountering the public using the footpath.
Corsham Court is kept away from the walkers using the footpath by a ha-ha which is a ditch that is used as a boundary (and for keeping the deer out) which not interrupting the views for the owners as a regular wall would.
The route skirted around the south of Corsham so missed many of the historic buildings in the town but I did view the magnificent almshouses and school house built in 1668 with funds from Lady Margaret Hungerford of Corsham Court (then Corsham House).
Whilst planning the route I noticed a place on the map called Chapel Plaister which interestingly featured a tiny chapel which dated back to the 13th century and would have been used as a roadside resting place for those on pilgrimages to Glastonbury. I purposely added a detour to go via the chapel and it was worth it.
Beyond Chapel Plaister I was heading for Box via a number of fields one of which was large, open and on the crest of a hill. Jogging across the hill and down towards the stile I spotted a herd of cows in the distance, and they spotted me. Being curious they started moving in my direction so I picked up the pace, as did they. With the stile still quite a distance away I broke into a sprint, and they broke into a stampede. I made it over the stile in time as they all arrived to investigate the brightly coloured runner who had crossed their field.
I’m usually pretty good with cows and happy to be among them taking photographs but lately I’ve had a few experiences where very curious cows start taking a keen interest in me and whilst I know they aren’t looking to cause any harm, when they start jumping around you can’t help but worry about one of them inadvertently jumping into you.
Safely away from the cows there was a fast decent along a bridleway into Bathford and then after crossing the main railway line it was a couple more miles along the very busy towpath into Bath. This was familiar territory having ran and walked along here before so I knew there was only a little longer before I’d reach Beercraft and the reward. I arrived at 1345 which was later than expected but 14 miles along a trail is never the same as on the road with many different obstacles to overcome including stiles and cows along with the usual photography opportunities. Total distance was 16.7 miles and the cold craft beer at Beercraft was so good .
Beercraft is a small bottle shop and bar located near the famous Pulteney Bridge and features around 6 taps and a large selection of cans and bottles which can be super chilled in a few minutes to drink on the premises.