Local Walks

A shorter walk starting from Minchinhampton. It will probably take no more than two hours and will vary in length from 2 to 5 miles (3 to 8 km) - suitable for a morning or afternoon expedition. 

Green Winged Orchid
Green Winged Orchid

We are meeting at the reservoir car park on Minchinhampton Common at 10:30am 30th April, for a gentle two-hour stroll to look at some of the areas that typically carry good populations of Early Purple and Green Winged orchids.

See this page for a description of orchids regularly found on our common. An example of a Green Winged is shown on the left. Note that the colour of is quite variable and some are much more purple and can at first sight sometimes be confused with the Early Purple orchids (whose colours are also variables). The distinctive feature is the rather subtle green striped sepals, which more are visible in the photograph of an almost white example below.


White variety of Green Winged orchid

 

All are welcome.

This walk involves descending to the Thames and Severn Canal from Rodborough Common, which runs into Stroud from the East, and then climbing back again (about 675ft, 210m). Although only 6km in length (4m) it is definitely for those who wish to be a little more energetic. However, you will be rewarded by a surprising variety of scene and some interesting wildlife observation opportunities. In Spring there are usually find fine displays of orchids in the open stretches of this Common which is also noted for its invertebrates, including the rather rare "Duke of Burgundy" butterfly. The canal is mainly derelict, but in the process of being restored, working from Stroud eastwards. (The Stroudwater Navigation, which runs into Stroud from the West, has already seen a great deal of restoration out to Eastington.)

We must admit to finding the overgrown channel and banks more interesting from a wildlife viewpoint than the restored sections. This walk covers part of the canal that is next on the schedule for restoration, so do the walk before the changes occur. There are, however, several sections of this old canal that are worth walking, all the way through to beyond the Sapperton tunnel, which we will no doubt document on this website in time.

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Try this festive season walk, if the weather ever allows. The walk should take about two hours, moving briskly to keep warm. There are no styles and although the tracks over the commons can have "soft" going in places after wet weather, this is not a walk where you need wellies to wade through mud.

Dogs' Christmas Tree on Rodborough Common

Dog walkers who use Rodborough Common have for many years decorated one of the tree with dog-to-dog greetings cards (!) and baubles. Since our children were small, the tree has always been a traditional target for a walk as close as possible to Christmas Day, when weather allows. The decorations usually appear by the weekend before Christmas. Although the return half of the walk is mostly road walking, the lanes used are normally quiet and provide good views over the valley - and not without wildlife interest.

The Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust Stuart Fawkes Nature Reserve is relatively close to Minchinhampton and makes a pleasant walk of about 6 km. Note, however, that there is a modest amount of up-and-down, and some parts of the route can be very muddy after wet weather. It is a site of special scientific interest (SSSI), designated under the name Box Farm Meadows, because it hosts the largest UK population of the rare meadow clary, Salvia pratensis, known only at 21 UK sites. The meadow clary flowers in June and July.