This walk takes you around Rodborough Fort, over limestone grassland that is an area of European significance for its flora and fauna.
Enjoy spectacular views for miles around in almost every direction and across the River Severn to Wales. Grade of walk: Trainer (all rounder); type of walk: 'Beautiful Views', 'Flora and Fauna'.
Car park, grid ref: SO851040
From the lower section of the car park, follow the driveway up to the fort. When you reach the fort gates turn right walking along the track, keeping the wall to your left. As you follow this round, you come into the open with views of Randwick Woods, Doverow Hill and the River Severn.
The fort was first built as a folly, or a decorative eye-catching building, in 1761 for Captain George Hawker, and after whom it was originally called Fort George. In Cheltenham Art Gallery and Museum, there is a large landscape painting showing a view from the folly in 1764, complete with battlements and cannon. It was bought and rebuilt on a larger scale in 1870 and turned into a house.
Continue along this path, with the fort to your left, until you reach a seat (a memorial to Frank George Tirel). Here take the right fork on the path. As you are walking, you can see remains of quarries on the right-hand side - these are particularly good spots for seeing fragrant orchids at the right time of year. Continue along this path, crossing a track passing almost at right angle to your own, until you see a clump of trees on your left with a seat in the centre and a memorial to Lord Baden-Powell.
Wildflowers all the year
There are 13 types of orchid to be found on Rodborough Common, all favouring the limestone grassland on the plateau top and slopes. The soil is rich in calcium and poor in nutrients, a combination that favours delicate plants over coarse and vigorous species. In spring, keep an eye out for early purple orchids and the striking pasque flower that is extremely rare. Later in the year look out for ladys-tresses in late summer, and blooming pyramidal orchids in the autumn.
Turn left here through the trees, walking at 90 degrees to your previous path. Note the old hollowed out beech tree on your left as you walk. Keep to this track until you see a car park in front of you. Here you get views over the Chalford Valley.
All of a flutter
Rodborough Common was given to us in 1937 by a keen lepidopterist, or butterfly expert, Thomas Bainbrigge Fletcher. More than 30 varieties of butterfly can be found on the common, including the rare and exotically named Duke of Burgundy and Adonis blue.
When you see a car park turn left and head back towards the fort. Keeping the road on your right (not too close) and the fort on your left will take you back to your own car park.
The final steps to return to your car are down a very steep path or quite steep steps, over the rim of an old quarry.
We hope that you really enjoyed this one-mile walk. We look after some of the most spectacular areas of countryside for the enjoyment of all. We need your support to help us continue our work to cherish the countryside and provide access to our beautiful and refreshing landscapes. To find out more about how you too can help our work as a volunteer, member or donor please visit our homepage.
Car park, grid ref: SO851040
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