Walk this Way
There are over 3,000 miles of public footpaths in the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the largest such region in the country. Walking is one of the best ways to appreciate and enjoy the distinctive character of the Cotswolds.
Here the countryside feels accessible in scale and welcoming in so many ways. There are long distance walks as well as short routes, providing access to the rolling hills, clear river valleys and the scattered stone villages for which the area is so well known.
Here is a taster of some Long Distance Trails.
The Cotswold Way
One of the great long distance trails in Britain, The Cotswold Way was recently upgraded to national status. For over 100 miles from Chipping Campden in the north to Bath in the south it hugs the Cotswold scarp, providing wonderful views not only of the Cotswold hills themselves but way out across the Severn Vale and into the Welsh Border counties.
Walk it in either direction (many, say go south to north to keep the sun behind you). There are country pubs, hotels and B&Bs along the route to provide warmth, welcome and shelter.
The Oxfordshire Way
This 65 mile long route passes through the scenic and gentle landscape of the Oxfordshire Cotswolds, on its way from Bourton-on-the-Water down to Henley-on-Thames. In doing so it passes through not one but two Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty – the Cotswolds and the Chilterns. This is a delightful walk through some true English countryside.
The Gloucestershire Way
100 mile walk which stretches from Chepstow to Tewkesbury. The walk passes through the Forest of Dean, crosses the Severn at Gloucester and takes in the heart of the North Cotswolds before doubling back through Winchcombe.
The North Cotswold Diamond Way
This long distance path was devised by the North Cotswold Group of the Ramblers Association, a roughly diamond-shaped walk in the North Cotswolds (nominally 60 miles in length) which centres on Stow-on-the-Wold. The walk extends to Ebrington in the North, Oddington in the East, Northleach in the South and Guiting Power in the West. The Diamond Way takes the walker through some of the many delightful small villages in the area with golden stone cottages and welcoming country pubs. The route frequently uses lesser-known footpaths but is never more than 11 miles from Stow-on-the-Wold.
The Wardens’ Way and Windrush Way
These two trails link with the Oxfordshire Way, as both start in Winchcombe and end at Bourton-on-the-Water. Designed by the Cotswolds Voluntary Wardens Service of the AONB, they complement each other at 13 and 14 miles in length. Wardens’ Way wanders through the villages of Guiting Power, Naunton and both Upper and Lower Slaughter. The Windrush Way goes over the hills with only the remains of ‘lost’ medieval villages en route to the River Windrush in Bourton.
The Macmillan Way
Opened in 1996, a fascinating section of this 290 mile long-distance path from Dorset to Lincolnshire can be enjoyed as it crosses the Cotswolds. In the south west, the path enters the region south of Tetbury and follows a north-easterly direction through Stow-on-the-Wold and onwards into Warwickshire. Its half way point is right in the heart of the Cotswolds!
The Monarchs Way
This long-distance footpath follows the route that Charles II took during his escape after the Battle of Worcester in 1651. For 6 weeks, hotly pursued by the Parliamentary forces under Oliver Cromwell, he went north, then south through the Cotswolds and the Mendips to the South Coast and finally along the South Downs to Shoreham, where he then escaped to France. This long-distance walk (610 miles) uses footpaths and bridleways following the route that Charles took and enables you to visit many historic sites and buildings.
The Wysis Way
A long-distance footpath through Gloucestershire linking the Rivers Wye, Severn and Thames and the two National Trails, Offa’s Dyke Path and the Thames Path. fifty five miles in length, the walk takes you through the distinctive areas of the Forest of Dean, Severn Vale and the Cotswolds.
There are also excellent walks along the rivers and canals of the Cotswolds.
Further information can be obtained through the South Cotswold Ramblers website.
Details of access to public transport and a full programme of organised walks are available from Visitor Information Centres or the Cotswolds AONB partnership.
For a list of walking publications please contact one of the Visitor Information Centres (link below).
Cotswold District Council, Trinity Road, Cirencester, Gloucestershire, GL7 1PX
Telephone: 01285 623 000