All Met Walkers are very welcome in Cheltenham for some or all of the weekend's activities - walks and socials. Please come for as much or as little as you can, no pre-booking required except where specifically indicated. Read on for details of the walks and socials on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday.
The highlight of the New Year trip's social program is of course the party on the 31st but, to warm up for that we will have pub socials every night of the trip.
Walks are organised in a similar fashion to what you're used to every weekend, but operating from Cheltenham. Note that Cheltenham Spa train station is around a mile from the town centre, local buses are available if you don't like the walk (!). There is also a taxi rank in the train station.
Pub socials: Friday | Saturday | Sunday | Monday (NYE Party)
In previous years we have struggled to all fit in to one pub so this year two pubs will be nominated as meeting places for each evening. The two pubs will be either across the street from each other or just around the corner, so you can easily go between the two if you want to try out both. At least one of the pubs each night will serve food.
There is no set time for meeting at the pubs, you can drop in whenever you like, but if you are new to the New Year trip, people usually go back to their digs after returning from the walks to freshen up and then start to venture out about an hour after getting back.
The Met Walkers Facebook group is the best way to check where people are and to arrange meet ups.
Friday 28th December 2018
Arrival day - no walks today.
Evening Pub Social
Food served till 9pm, pub open till 12am.
Wild Beer is a Somerset farmhouse brewery which specialises in the use of alternative fermentations, unorthodox yeasts, seasonally-foraged ingredients and the use of esoteric and exotic produce from far and wide. Two menus available, one of small plates and on from the grill.
Food served till 9pm, pub open till 12am.
Tailors serves a selection of Wadworth ales including Corvus Stout, 6X, Bishop’s Tipple and Horizon.
Saturday 29th December 2018
THE BULKWARKS, WYSYS AND COOPERS HILL
Stonehouse to Gloucester / 17 miles (27km) Strenuous lead by Andrew T (07986 547921)
This walk starts off following the Cotswold Way outside Stroud, coming off to tackle hills. You may spot an ancient Fort or two, and Coopers Hill of cheese rolling fame. Fast pace - pub at the end. Bring a packed lunch.
Travel: Take the 9:00 from Cheltenham Spa to Stonehouse (arrives 9:29). Buy return to Stonehouse. At end of walk we will use the 8 bus to get from pub to meet the train at Gloucester station.
Alternative homeward travel: As an alternative to return train, if you prefer to return to central Cheltenham and not the station, you could take the 10 bus from end of walk. This would mean you only need a single train ticket. However since this is only £0.10 cheaper, it's suggested to buy a return to give the most options.
Note: The previously advertised walk option from Weston sub Edge to Winchcombe has been cancelled.
STONEHOUSE TO STROUD
14 miles (22km) Moderate led by Caroline R (07879 441630)
A wander through the Gloucestershire countryside, taking in views, commons, a stately home and a pub or two. Bring a packed lunch.
Terrain: Rolling countryside
Travel: Take the 9:00 from Cheltenham Spa to Stonehouse (arrives 9:29). Buy return to Stroud.
Noverton to Winchcombe / 11.5 miles (18.5km) Moderate led by Louise W (07775 537653)
Walk starts with a steep climb to the top of Cleeve Hill (317m, highest point in the Cotswolds), passing Belas Knap long barrow and Sudeley Castle before reaching the pretty Cotswold town of Winchcombe in the afternoon. Bring a packed lunch, no refreshment/toilet stop until the end of the walk.
Terrain: Rolling countryside
Travel: Take 9.50am N bus from Pittville Street bus stop (stop 16) in Cheltenham (map) to Noverton Park. Return is on the 4:11 steam train (£18) from Winchcombe to Cheltenham Racecourse. From there you can either walk back to town (1.7miles) or walk 0.6 miles to the park and ride to get a bus into town, (every 10 mins, takes 10 mins, continues back towards Cheltenham Spa station for those staying down there).
Evening Pub Social
Open till 12am.
Laid back wine bar with a fun ambiance and vintage style interior. Our favourite from our recce of Cheltenham bars and pubs!
Food served 6.00-9.30pm, pub open till 11.30pm.
One of the top 6 real ale pubs in Cheltenham serving a range of local ales. Traditional community pub with log fire.
Sunday 30th December 2018
WONDROUS WYE - Llandogo Circulars (Two options)
Travel: Coach £10 in advance, non-refundable (SOLD OUT - see non-coach walk options below). 0830 collection from Central Premier Inn close to the Cheltenham Spa railway station. Return departure 1800. Bring a packed lunch.
Option 1: 14.5 miles (25km) / 1000m+ Strenuous led by James W (07881 952288)
A Wye Valley adventure! Lavish woodland trails, lush riverside paths, stimulating ascents and an ancient Abbey. Do you have the courage to tackle the might of this challenging trail? Walk will be at a fast pace with several ascents, occasionally steep! Please bring a packed lunch & torch. Optional afternoon pub or tea room stop for drinks only.
Option 2: 10 miles (16km) / 500m Moderate led by Louise Q (07803 004413)
Packed lunch stop at Tintern Abbey. Possible afternoon pub/tea & cake stop depending on time/progress and if anything is open (no promises!). Bring enough snackage to last the day.
Terrain: Hills, Woodland & Fields
Cam and Dursley circular / 9 miles (15km) / Leisurely led by Rich T (07980 315065)
A trip to the home of the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust at Slimbridge (ticket information), host to pink flamingos, otters and many other wetland creatures (lots of sightings this week!). The walk will be a 9-mile circular from Cam and Dursley station, excluding any mileage within the grounds. We'll have plenty of time to explore, and eat cake at Slimbridge's Kingfisher Kitchen. Otter feeding is at 3pm. Bring a packed lunch.
Travel: Meet at 9:50 to enable group ticket purchase (approx £5, usual fare £6.90). Take 10:04 from Cheltenham Spa to Cam and Dursley (arrives 10:31).
ALONG THE EDGE
Cheltenham to Brockworth / 13 miles (21 km) / Moderate led by Simon C (07792 067557)
Starting from Cheltenham, we head south along the top of the Cotswold escarpment, affording extensive views over the Vale of Gloucester. Steep hills up at the start and down at the end, but relatively flat in the middle. Please bring a packed lunch. Possible pub stops in the afternoon and at the end.
Terrain: Hills, woodland
Travel: Meet at 10am on the grassed area under the trees in the middle of Cheltenham bus station (map), from where the walk will start. Return travel is on the number 10 bus from Brockworth.
Evening Pub Social
Food served till 9pm, open till 10.30pm.
19th Century Court House converted into a bar and restaurant. Great selection of local beers. We will be in the main bar on the ground floor.
Open till 11pm.
Whittle Taps serves world and craft beers as well as cocktails and a variety of mocktails and smoothies. Reasonably priced menu of American style comfort food.
Monday 31st December 2018
EARN YOUR TURKEY PIE
Chepstow circular / 13 miles ( 21 km) / Strenuous led by Andrew T (07986 547921)
This walk will explore both sides of the border via the Wye Valley and Offa's Dyke paths, at a fast pace to allow plenty time to get the party started! Pub stop if time allows. Bring a packed lunch.
Terrain: Hills, riverbank, dyke
Travel: Take 10:10 from Cheltenham Spa to Chepstow (arrives 10:53). Buy return to Chepstow. We will aim for 4:18 return train.
DEVIL'S CHIMNEY ON TOP OF SEVEN SPRINGS
Cheltenham to Chalton Kings / 9 miles (14.5 km) / Moderate led by David Y (07899 842762)
We walk up the Leckhampton hill. In addition to offering breathtaking views across Cheltenham from hilltop, we will also see the distinctive rock pillar known as the Devil’s Chimney. We then follow the Cotswold Way to Seven Springs (which is believed some as the real source of the Thames). The route then climbs up to Wistley Plantation before desending thru broadleaved woodland to Dowdeswell Reservior. While the pace will be moderate, part of the route could be pretty hilly. Please bring packed lunch. Pub stop at the end.
Terrain: Hill and woods
Travel: Meet at 9:35 Cheltenham North Street stop 18A (outside Primark - map). We will take bus F towards Leckhampton. Return via bus B.
WINCHCOMBE CIRCULAR (inc STEAM TRAIN)
9 miles (14.5km) / Moderate led by Alex (07974 318646)
A circular walk from Winchcombe, largely along surfaced roads and tracks. We pass Sudeley Castle and climb up the east side of the Sudeley valley. There are fine views throughout, especially of Cleeve Common, the Cotswold high point. We should have enough time at the end of the walk to explore Winchcombe and it's many pubs before catching the steam train back to Cheltenham Racecourse (£8 today). From there you can walk back or get the bus! Bring a packed lunch.
Terrain: Fields, tracks
Travel: Take 9:30 W1 bus from Pittville Street bus stop (stop 16) in Cheltenham (map), arr. Winchcombe 10:00.
ULEY BURY & WOODCHESTER PARK
Cam & Dursley to Stroud / 16 miles (26Km) / Strenuous led by Matt (07976 603076)
Hilly Fitness Walk. Bring packed lunch, afternoon pub stop for drinks only.
Terrain: Woodland paths, hills 900m total ascent
Travel: Take the 9:36 Cheltenham Spa, arrive Cam & Dursley 10:02. Buy return to Cam & Dursley. We aim to get to Stroud for the 16:06 back to Cheltenham, additional single may be required from Stroud to Gloucester.
New Year's Eve
This year's New Year's Eve celebrations will take place at The Stable, 40 Clarance Street, Cheltenham (NOT to be confused with The Stables, Bath Rd where you will not find any Met Walkers!). We have exclusive use of the venue for our party! Be sure to try out the extensive range of cider as this is their speciality!
Dinner tickets are sold out but, if you don't already have your ticket and can be in Cheltenham on New Year's Eve you can buy a party only ticket for £7. Committee members on the Cheltenham weekend can arrange this for you.
These are the timings for the evening:
6.30pm Dinner guests arrive and welcome drink
7.00pm Dinner is served
9.00pm Party guests arrive and the tunes start
12.00am Midnight celebrations!
1.30am Guests go home
Dress code: dress up as much or as little as you like, but a change after the day's walking would be good!
Tuesday 1st January 2019
OFFA'S DYKE AND TINTERN ABBEY
Chepstow circular / 13 miles (21km) / Strenuous led by James A (07812 119867)
Hilly Fitness Walk. Bring packed lunch, afternoon pub/tea shop for drinks only.
Terrain: Woodland paths, hills 900m total ascent.
Travel: Take the 10:10 Cheltenham Spa, arrive Chepstow 10:53. Buy return to Chepstow.