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A Cotswold Adventure

Our first visit to the broad, smooth pastures of the Cotswolds was on our first trip to England. When we returned the following year, the honey-colored cottages beckoned us, but we took to the North, where we tramped about the mountain-ringed lakes of the Lake District.

Now, on our third holiday in England, the summon could no longer wait. We dutifully drove down the narrow roads, whispering trees swaying down to us. The warm honey stone cottage we had stayed in last visit welcomed us in through its cozy, though small, entrance.

We were hoping to accomplish more walks than the previous visit, where we had only taken a few rambles. I ransacked the drawers to find maps and descriptions of the mazes of paths crisscrossing the Cotswold landscape. With paths practically by the front door, we had no excuse not to explore.

A few of the paths were old friends from last visit, but we decided that we wanted to explore some new ones.

Our adventure happened on a Tuesday. Against our better judgment, we began our walk at sundown. All was well until we came to the wood. Woods have a habit of appearing sinister at dusk, and this one was no exception. Every time a shrub reached out with claw-like branches, or vines swept over our heads, the trees seemed more oppressive.

Fortunately, we were saved by a strip of emerald pastures filled with the scent of newly dampened grass. Cows gawked at us as we passed through, no doubt wondering why on earth we were taking a walk at this unearthly time. However, we ignored their stares and walked peacefully onwards until the path took us through yet another forest.

In fact, this was actually two dark, deep forests, separated from each other by only a thin strip of meadow. Century old trees peered down at us from their lofty height, as if they wondered who dared wander through the forest at such an hour. Underbrush was thick all around us. As we entered, we heard an owl hoot, adding to the sense of treading in forbidden territory.

Soon the shadows of the night would creep in silently to their places. We hoped to reach home before that happened, though, and so we quickened our pace. My mom slipped almost immediately on a patch of mud, though, so we slowed down again. A crossroads appeared; we belabored our decision, knowing a wrong turn would cost us time. The night crept closer to the horizon, fueling our sense of urgency.

We ended up walking about 3 yards down the path to the right, only to be met by a stout fence. We hurriedly turned back and took the other path, breathing hard. As we finally climbed up a hill out of the forest we saw just how big it had been.

From here it was easy going, and we swung down the road leading back to Snowshill and our warm stone cottage. It had been exciting, but we agreed that one twilight walk was quite enough!

(Unfortunately, we have no pictures of the scary woods, as we were too busy trying to get home before dark to take pictures!)

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