Walking the Holst Way

Gustav Holst web

Pausing for a photo during the walk.

Last June, 20 hardy souls – members of the Holst Birthplace Trust and their friends – braved the rain to join a walk along a section of the Gustav Holst Way. The walk was organised by Sue Walker, Chairman of the Holst Birthplace Trust’s Events Committee, as part of the annual events programme for trust members and the general public. The walk was led by Frank Partridge, author of the guidebook The Gustav Holst Way.

The Gustav Holst Way is named after the composer, who was born in Cheltenham and is best known for The Planets and the music for the carol In the Bleak Midwinter, but he was a prolific composer with a rich range of musical styles.

The 34-mile medium distance path in Gloucestershire starts in Cranham, runs through Cheltenham and Bourton, and finishes in Wyck Rissington. Holst loved walking in the Cotswolds and this route takes in several places connected to him.

Meeting up at the Farmers Arms in the pretty Cotswolds village of Guiting Power, about five miles from Cheltenham, the group completed a short section of the walk. Sue says, ‘Frank gave us an excellent introduction to the history and features of the Holst Way, and we then walked to Naunton, another tiny village also built from golden Cotswold stone.’ The group visited the medieval Dovecot, which survives in the village, before returning to Guiting Power.

The four-mile round trip gave the group a good appetite for lunch at the Farmers Arms and the chance to sample the ales brewed locally in Stow-on-the Wold by Donnington Brewery. Sue adds, ‘The walk took in a very scenic stretch of the Gustav Holst Way, and the event was much enjoyed – despite the weather – and members have asked when there will be another walk!’