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Walks on the Cotswold Way

walks on the cotswold way

From Roman Baths and woodland paths to Arts and Crafts and ancient forts, the Cotswold Way has it all

The Cotswold Way, a 102 mile footpath, is one of only 15 National Trails in the UK. Taking walkers up along the Cotswold escarpment and through some of the most beautiful countryside in the UK, it is unsurprising that it’s one of England’s most popular walks. The trail, when walked in full (the Cotswold Way Challenge), takes around a week. Whilst is passes close to many famous villages and historical attractions of the Cotswolds, this special long distance route takes walkers away from roads, and deep into the Cotswold countryside. This is what makes it so popular.

Some of the historical villages and towns along the route include Broadway, Winchcombe and Painswick and these make for great bases for walkers wanting to pick off shorter parts of the Way.

The Cotswold Way journeys from Chipping Campden in the North Cotswolds, to the Georgian town of Bath. Many keen walkers opt to stay in villages and towns along the route, but these are popular choices so booking early is recommended. In this blog post, we bring you some of our favourite walks on the Cotswold Way.

Chipping Campden to Broadway – 6 miles

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This six mile walk takes in Broadway Tower, one of the smallest of its kind in England, which is perched on the second-highest point in the Cotswolds. The village of Broadway itself is best known for its connections with the Arts & Crafts movement of the 19th century, and two of its famous residents, William Morris and John Ruskin, pioneered the arts movement itself. The Arts Festival is the best in the area and a walk through the village is all that’s needed to take in the exemplary Arts and Crafts architecture, including The Lygon Arms.

Broadway to Wood Stanley – 6.5 miles

This part of the Cotswold Way is home to a famous Jacobean fountain at the Stanley Estate, the highest gravity-fed fountain in Europe! The outline of an Iron Age fort can be seen at Shenberrow Hill, and this is the third-highest point in the Cotswolds. This walk also takes in the picturesque village of Stanton, which is a 17th century village built almost entirely of the famous honey-coloured Cotswold stone. Stanton is often identified as the prettiest village in the Cotswolds.

Wood Stanway to Winchcombe – 5.4 miles

This part of the Cotswold Way takes walkers along the Cotswold escarpment with breathtaking views across The Vale of Evesham and towards Worcestershire’s Malvern Hills. Visit in spring and enjoy Evesham Valley’s famous orchard blossoms.

The route ends in “the walking capital of the Cotswolds”, the town of Winchcombe, which sits on several walking routes: the Cotswold Way, the Gloucestershire Way, the Wardens’ Way, the Windrush Way and the new Winchcombe Way. The town itself has lots to occupy day-trippers, including Sudeley Castle and Hailes Abbey

Winchcombe to Cleeve Hill – 5.6 miles

Cleeve Hill

Cleeve Hill is the highest point on the Cotswolds Way, and indeed in the Cotswolds, and rewards walkers with extensive views over Cheltenham and beyond. Before ascending Cleeve Hill, leaving Winchcombe through the Sudeley Estate, walkers are in for another treat – on the side of Cleeve Hill sits the Neolithic burial site, Belas Knap. The English Heritage site is one of the best in England and a popular feature on this part of the Cotswold Way.

Painswick to King’s Stanley – 7.8 miles

This is one of the more challenging stretches of the Cotswold Way, with 1033 of ascent and 1082 of descent. The wool town of Painswick is best known for its Rococo Gardens and beautifully trimmed Yew Trees of St Mary’s Church. In spring, the bluebells of Standish Woods and the green pastures of the Stroud Valleys come alive and bring with them diverse wildlife.

From the famous Broadway Tower trail to Journey’s End, here is some more Cotswold walking inspiration for you – The best walking trails in the Cotswolds.

A walking trail is a great way to take in the famous Cotswold landscape, architecture and history. Returning back to a private self-catering cottage is a relaxing, laid-back, as well as practical, part of a walking trail holiday. Rest well-travelled legs in front of the TV or enjoy a long soak. Booking a cottage also means you can avoid having to dress up for dinner and can easily prepare for the next day – wash and dry any muddy and wet gear, make a packed lunch using the purposefully-equipped kitchen, all ready for a relaxing day walking in the morning. When browsing our cottages, look out for properties with a utility room, which are the ideal space for muddy boots and wet coats to dry off. Happy walking!

Edited Yew Trees of St Marys Church Painswick