Cotswolds Adventures - Part 3
Updated: Aug 30, 2021
Haresfield Beacon & Standish Wood
Part 3 of my Cotswolds adventures was a route that took me to 2 summits, the first near Haresfield Beacon and the second at Standish Wood, located in the district of Stroud, Gloucestershire.
The best part about this run is that it traverses part of the Cotswold Way, one of my favourite trails.
With beautiful views and an elevation of around 2,700 ft, this is another great place to go for a run or walk in the Cotswolds.
The footing is varied throughout Haresfield Beacon and Standish Woods with a big mix of farmers fields, overgrown green spaces and woodland paths.
There are lots of trails to explore, specifically the Haresfield Beacon trail and the Cotswolds Way.
Haresfield Beacon Estate incorporates a variety of woodlands and grassland areas high on the Cotswold scarp. Today the estate provides open public access where people can appreciate the beautiful landscape, superb views and abundance of wildlife. There is also a long history of occupation, where the evidence of which can be found on this walk. Take in the major archaeological features and monuments and appreciate the estate from a different perspective.
The route follows stoned woodland tracks, natural grassy paths and undulating ground, there is pleanty of grazing livestock as well, so care is needed.
Standish Wood is a special place for wildlife, and is home to many rare and unusual species. Their habitats are sensitive to disturbance. It is also an important archaeological site, with a long barrow and Scheduled Ancient Monument.
My route this time took me out through Piccadilly Woods, climbing to 77ft before dropping down to the village of Brookthorpe, where I had an encounter with some cows that did not take too kindly to me passing through in their field.
The footpath went straight through the area where the cows were grazing, and although I proceeded with some caution, the cows were not in a playful mood and two gave chase, at which point I put my foot down.
Fortunately I made it to the gate on the other side of the field with about 20 meters between me and the cows giving chase, who knew they could run so fast!
Now I did grow up in the countryside but I never been chased by cows before, normally they just look at me and continue to chew grass, so this was a surprise. Perhaps I should read up on that in the future, how do you stop cows from chasing you?
After the cow experience the route continued to climb through think and boggy grasslands to Harescombe, a pretty little village, but with an awful road climb.
I crossed some farmers fields and came to a farmers back road which was taking me to Haresfield Beacon, but the road was a real slog. I am guessing it was a least a mile of steep vert that was impossible to run, I failed to see how cars even climbed it but apparently they did.
I power hiked that hill at a depressingly 12.27 mile pace and then the next part of the hill at an even slower 12.55 mile pace, needless to say I was spent at the top.
My lack of hill climbing experience was evident again, but getting to that the top of that hill was pretty special, the views were amazing!
After Harefield Beacon there was a 365 ft decline followed by another 236 ft and 295 ft incline, both very tiring, but at least I was now in Standish Wood.
This woodland area is lovely, lots of little hidden roads and tons of bike trails, bridleways and footpaths to explore. It is very hilly, so it is hard work but still amazing.
I got to Standish Wood at 10 miles into my 16 mile run so I knew that once I had gotten to through the woods I was in for an easier time. Coming out of the woods there was a 700 ft decline which was lovely but also hard on the quads. I am not so bad at decending but I could feel the burn on the way down.
Once the descent was done it was a comfortable (ish) run back through Brookthorpe, avoiding cows this time, and back to the start point at my hotel.
I did run short on water though towards the end, the warmer weather ensuring I drank more that I normally would for this length of run, something to note for the future.
I am a heavy sweater so I tend to need a fair amount of fluid, I normally take 2 litres of fluid on my long runs, 1 ltr of Tailwind, 500ml of Electrolite, and 500ml of plain water.
That was my final long run in the Cotswolds and probably the best of the 3 runs I did, mainly because of the varied terrain, lovely trails and great views.
I am a bit obsessed with the Cotswolds Way and it is my desire to run the 102 mile course within the next 2-3 years, so I will get that into the blog at some stage.
I will never grow bored of this wonderful place and hopefully it will be a place my family can call home at some point, because thats what it feels like every time we come back here to visit.
Although my blogging/writing skills are not great, I hope you can take enough from the 3 adventures I have written about to do your own research on the Cotswolds and what it has to offer for a walker or runner.
This blog isn't to highlight myself and what I do, I just want to share my experiences so that others might be able to find their own inspiration to explore the places I have been or to just use my experiences to find their next adventure.
After all isn't that what we do when we go running? we explore, we go on an adventure, and that is the best part about running for me.
You can check out all the details of my run on Strava, just head to the home page of this website and find the Strava pop up at the bottom of the page.
For more on Haresfield Beacon or Standish Woods, see the below link.