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The Best Walking Trails in the Cotswolds

The Best Walking Trails in the Cotswolds

What better way to take in the stunning natural landscapes, history and architecture of the beautiful Cotswolds, than on a walking trail. Here we take a look at five of the best walks in the Cotswolds that are part of the 102 mile Cotswolds Way.

chipping campden

The Chipping Campden Trail is approx. 4 ½ miles in distance and will take around 2 ½ - 3 hours to complete (depending on how many stops you make) with a couple of slight inclines up the hill. The walk starts and finishes at the beautiful town of Chipping Campden. A great walk for brushing away those cobwebs with some fresh country air, whilst taking in the impressive scenery that the Vale of Evesham has to offer.

Early on into the walk you will go over a kissing gate to Dover’s Hill, an area protected by the National Trust, giving way to beautiful views of the Vale. The Hill indicates Roman activity and is today laden with Sweet Chestnut and Larch trees. The Cotswold Olimpick Games are held here annually after Spring Bank Holiday; a tradition that is believed to have a began as early as 1622, with events such as shin-kicking and Morris dancing.

After leaving Dover’s Hill you will pass through leafy woodland, to a further kissing gate into Lynches Wood. If you’re enjoying the walk in May, you’ll be fortunate enough to witness the beautiful bluebell displays.

Chipping Campden

The end stretch of the walk will bring you back up to Chipping Campden where you can enjoy a lovely lunch or afternoon tea with a stop off at one of the restaurants, tea houses or local pubs. The quintessentially English Badgers Tearoom serves a selection of home-baked cakes, pastries and freshly made food in a traditional tea-room setting.

If you’re after something to do in the afternoon, why not pay a visit to Hidcote Manor and Arts and Craft Garden, just an 11-minute drive away.

A detailed route of this walk, created by the National Trail can be found here: http://www.nationaltrail.co.uk/sites/default/files/chipping_campden.20151118.pdf 

wotton

This walk will take around 4-5 hours to complete, with some stiles and steep sections. It begins and ends in Wotton-Under-Edge, a charming country town with streets largely laid out in a medieval style, nestled in the southern Cotswold hills. It is a great walk for enjoying the fabulous views and soaking up the history of Newark Park Estate.

You will pass through a number of fields of rich farmland, over stiles and into shaded woodland tracks which open up to breathtaking views.

You can detour into Newark Park, a splendid hunting lodge estate dating back to 1550, today owned and maintained by the National Trust. The estate is the perfect place to enjoy local wildlife such as deer, badgers, toads, hares and numerous bird species along with spectacular views looking down into the Ozleworth Valley. Children will enjoy admiring the resident peacocks, along with garden games that occasionally take place on the croquet lawn. You may also wish to explore the house and learn more about the history of the lodge, with its quirky collections to be admired.

Cotswold way

After Newark Park, the trail resumes past stunning valley views, down the Cotswolds Way. You will pass a 13th Century Church. Delight in its tranquil setting and then follow signs back into the High Street into Wotton. If you’re feeling energized after the walk, explore this lovely town. You will pass many buildings, listed due to architectural significance, such as St. Mary’s Church and the ancient almshouses. On a rainy day you may wish to pay a visit to the Wotton Cinema House, one of the oldest in the country using the latest sound and digital equipment.

Complete your day out with an evening meal in the Town. The Falcon Inn Steakhouse proves popular, serving up local meat produce, done to your personal taste as well as gourmet burgers and fish dishes. Alternatively, the Royal Oak Inn serves more traditional pub food.

A detailed route of this walk, created by the National Trail can be found here: http://www.nationaltrail.co.uk/sites/default/files/wotton-under-edge.pdf

broadway

This walk will take around 2 ½ - 3 hrs, if no stops are made. There are some steep sections and stiles along the way. This delightful walk takes you from the charming village of Broadway and up to Broadway Tower with fabulous views across to Wales.

Begin the walk at the War Memorial in Broadway. The memorial built in 1920 was erected to honour the fallen soldiers of the 1st World War and includes 70 names of those from the local community. Carry on across fields until you reach the road, turning left up to St.Eadburgha’s Church. The church dates back to the 12th Century and today is only used during the summer months. Upon leaving the church, you will pass into Coneygree Lane and continue across tracks, until you reach Rookery Farm.

With the farm buildings on your left, you will go across the field into the grounds of the Morris and Brown Café at Broadway Tower, where you can stop for some respite before you head up to the top. The café serves light lunches such as paninis and ciabattas to heavier options along with cake and coffee. Feeling rejuvenated, continue up to the tower, the second highest point of the Cotswolds. On a clear day, you can see 13 counties from the top, spanning as far as Wales. The Tower was designed by Capability Brown for George William 6th Earl of Coventry. The location provided an outlook on a pre-medieval trading route and beacon hill. Today, it is possible to view exhibitions within the tower itself and learn more about its colourful history over the years.

broadway tower

After you head back down from the tower, the trail continues back into Broadway where you can sit on the village green and enjoy some award-winning fish and chips from Russell’s, pay a visit to the Gordon Russell Design Museum or take a short drive to Snowshill Manor or Sudeley Castle to continue to soak up the local sights.

A detailed route of this walk, created by the National Trail can be found here: http://www.nationaltrail.co.uk/sites/default/files/broadway_and_the_tower.20150918.pdf 

journeys end

This wonderful walk takes you from the Southern End of the Cotswold Way, through the Cotswold’s rich farmland with some historic landmarks along the way, right into the heart of the historic city of Bath. It is 6 miles in total. As it’s a linear route you’ll need to allow half an hour to return to your original destination (if required) via train or taxi.

The trail begins in Landsdown taking you around the golf course and past the racecourse main entrance. You will see the racecourse boundary as you follow the trail around – make sure you keep the track clear. You will then head onto the Cotswold Way for the remainder of your walk. You will walk towards Kelston Round Hill. Notice the spectacular views of Bath on your left. To the opposite side it is possible to see as far as Bristol, weather permitting. The word Kelston itself can be translated as ‘Hill of the Celts’ and may have been named by The Romans when they occupied Bath.

Stay on the Cotswolds Way around Shiner’s Wood. You will continue your walk over a stile, through two metal gates and across playing fields where you will cross the boundary of countryside into the city of Bath and on past Primrose Hill, Sion Hill and around the edge of Victoria Park.

If you have a picnic (and weather permitting) take a break and enjoy some lunch on this beautiful expanse of park Greenland. The park was named after Queen Victoria who officially opened it at the age of 11. It spans 57 acres, dating back to 1829. Enjoy a game of mini golf, explore the botanical gardens located here or enjoy the bands and musicians that perform at the bandstand throughout the year.

As you follow the route, you will notice the park’s war memorial and the Royal Crescent. Built in the 1700’s, The Crescent exemplifies grand Georgian architecture and is a Grade I listed building. You will continue down to the Circus and down Gay Street passing a central line of shops and onto Union Street. As you reach the Colonnade you will see the magnificent Bath Abbey, passing the Pump Room and Roman Bath Entrances marking the end of the Cotswold Way.

bath abbey

If you have time, Bath Abbey is worth a visit. It is one of the most visited places in the South West, whether it be for contemplation, to admire the magnificent architecture or to enjoy the choral music. For £6 per person you can experience the ‘Tower Tour’ (except Sundays) which takes you on a 45-50 minute tour behind the scenes, to view the Abbey from different perspectives. The views from the top of the tower are spectacular. Be warned, there are 212 steps to the top of the tower, with the opportunity for rest stops as you make your way up.

If you are still feeling energized before your journey home, there are many things to do and see in Bath itself, it’s definitely worth sticking around for a little bit longer. If you’re legs are feeling tired you can always rejuvenate them in the Thermae Bath Spa!

A detailed route of this walk, created by the National Trail can be found here: http://www.nationaltrail.co.uk/sites/default/files/the_walk_into_bath.20160217.pdf

winchcombe

This circular trail will take between 3-4 hours, with some moderately steep sections and stiles. What makes this walk special is the is the striking views combined with fascinating history.

The walk begins in the beautiful, Anglo-Saxon town of Winchcombe at the war memorial on Abbey Terrace. You will pass quaint cottages and go over the stone bridge until you reach Corndean Lane. Head up past the picture perfect green field until you come to the top of the hill. You will then go on to leave Cotswold Way temporarily, before rejoining to embark upon the climb to Belas Knap Long Barrow.

Belas Knap Long Barrow is today maintained by The English Heritage and is free to enter. This superb example of a Neolithic Long Barrow was excavated in 1863 and 1865. It is believed to have been constructed around 3000 BC and used for successive burials until eventually the burial chambers were blocked. Since its excavation, four burial chambers have been identified within the mound and the remains of 31 people have been discovered. Romano-British pottery also found inside one of the chambers dates back to Roman times.

After soaking up the history of Belas Knap, head on down through the woods, to once again leave the Cotswold Way, where you will cross over a stile and then follow the road until you reach a turning on your left. You will notice the spectacular views eastwards. As you continue past farm buildings you will see the views over Winchcombe and Sudeley Castle. Sudeley Castle is steeped in Royal History and makes a great day out within its own right – so well worth a visit while you are staying in the Cotswolds. Continue downhill retracing steps back into Winchcombe.

Belas Knap

If you are feeling up to it, enjoy the rest of the day in the unspoilt town of Winchcombe. The literal translation of Winchcombe means ‘valley with a bend’ and this curve can be seen along the town’s streets. Look out for the curve as you take in the sites of the town. There are a number of restaurants, tea rooms and independent shops along the main streets. Reward yourself with a traditional pub dinner and pint of ale at one of Winchcombe’s pubs. The Lion Inn and The Corner Cupboard are both popular for soaking up a traditional pub atmosphere.

A detailed route of this walk, created by the National Trail can be found here: http://www.nationaltrail.co.uk/sites/default/files/winchcome_and_belas_knap.20151118.pdf

Photo sources:
- https://flic.kr/p/nciue6 ‘Start of the walk to Broadway Tower’ by Kathryn Yengel.

- https://flic.kr/p/86vLQV ‘DSC_1183’ by Edward and Caroline

- https://flic.kr/p/3RLatR ‘Bath Abbey’ by Dan Taylor-Watt

- https://flic.kr/p/81dxEd ‘Belas Knap’ by Jakub Hlavaty

- https://flic.kr/p/4soHKw ‘Wall Along the Way’ by Andrew Stawarz

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