The month of May is green on both our high Cotswold escarpments and in our valleys, but Mother Nature has added some magical splashes of pink, white, yellow and blue with her flowers.
A plentiful clump of Common comfrey - Symphtytum officinale luxuriates on the high grassy banks that line the narrow country lanes - bees and butterflies enjoy its clusters of flowers, but it is also used in herbal medicines to treat cuts, sprains, and bruises. Join me now, and we can wander along the pathways and byeways together through Elkstone, at 1000 feet above sea level, it is the highest village in the Cotswolds.
This mythological character is my favourite. I wonder if the Norman who carved this stone had a sense of humour or perhaps a vivid imagination? It appears to be a centaur, having the body of a horse, a rather flamboyant tail, and holding a bow and arrow ready for action. It is remarkable to think that this quirky little stone carving has survived outside through centuries of storms, tempests, and momentous historic events for well over a 1000 years.
The tympanum above the southern entrance.
The hand of God is seen above Christ's head whilst he holds the book of judgement in his left hand and points to the Agnus Dei with his other. He is surrounded by the emblems of the Evangelists.
A large serpent devours its own tail as a lugubrious lion looks on.
Arriving Inside the eye is immediately captured by two sets of exquisite romanesque Norman arches - the first set lead from the nave into the chancel and the second set lead on into the sanctuary. Decorated in deep cut zigzags, also known as chevrons, they are a glory to behold. The outer hood mould is pelleted, terminating at each end with a dragon's head.
Moving swiftly on past the Old Rectory, now privately owned, we look for the pathway which hopefully will lead us around the outskirts of the village and back down to where we left the car.
Over a style to an inviting pathway. The smell of the freshly mowed grass fills the air.Following the pathway through several meadows leads us into a small woodland carpeted in Wild Garlic - Allium ursinum. The leaves are now perfect for those who like to forage the leaves and make pesto. However, it is very important to take care when removing the leaves to not disturb their bulbs. Personally I still prefer to make my pesto using basil leaves.
Suddenly rooftops appear amongst the trees below our walk, and then we spot the flag perched on what used to be the village school.
The building now houses the village hall, and this is where we parked the car.