Cotswold Way National Trail
Just over 100 miles of quintessentially English countryside. Follow the Cotswolds escarpment with its stunning views and charming villages from the beautiful Cotswold market town of Chipping Campden in the north to the World Heritage City of Bath in the south.
The Cotswold Way is a long distance walking trail that runs between the market town of Chipping Campden in the north and the city of Bath in the south.
The trail is 102 miles (164 km) long, and runs for most of its length on the Cotswold escarpment. It passes through many picturesque villages and close to a significant number of historic sites, for example the Roman heritage at Bath, the Neolithic burial chamber at Belas Knap, Sudeley Castle near Winchcombe, Hailes Abbey and many beautiful churches and historic houses.
The Cotswold Way has existed as a promoted long distance walk for over 30 years. Following many years of lobbying by the Ramblers Association and others, its special qualities have been recognised and in 1998 the government approved its development as a National Trail. The Cotswold Way was formally launched as a National Trail in May 2007. This designation is a very special one and there are only a few other trails in England with this special grading.
Further information about the Cotswold Way can be found at: www.nationaltrail.co.uk/cotswold
Circular walks along the Cotswold Way
1. Chipping Campden
This delightful short walk leads you through the charmingly English market town of Chipping Campden, around shaded woodlands and past breathtaking views. A wonderful introduction to the Cotswolds, and a perfect start to the Cotswold Way.
Distance: 4½ miles (Short cut: 3 miles)
Duration: 2½ -3½ hrs (Short cut: 1½-2½ hrs)
Difficulty: Moderate, some steep sections (Short cut: Easy, avoids climbs)
2. Broadway and the Tower
This enchanting walk leads you through the picturesque Cotswold high street of Broadway, along historic tracks and up to the intriguing Broadway Tower with its spectacular views across the Severn Vale into Wales. The perfect chance to taste a little more of all the Cotswolds has to offer.
Distance: 4 miles
Duration: 2½ -3 hrs
Difficulty: Moderate, some steep sections and stiles
3. Stanton, Snowshill and the Edge
This beauty of a walk leads you between two of the most picturesque villages in the Cotswolds, over hilltops, down valleys and through shaded woodlands. Whilst slightly more challenging than others in the series, your efforts will be rewarded by invitingly warm pubs and some of the most splendid views in the country.
Distance: 6 miles (Short cut 2½ miles)
Duration: 3½ -4½ hrs (Short cut 1½ - 2½ hrs)
Difficulty: Moderate, some steep sections and stiles. Muddy sections after wet weather.
4. Winchcombe and Belas Knap
This scenic and interesting little walk takes you from the delightfully unspoilt town of Winchcombe, along Cotswold Way routes old and new, and up to one of the area’s most intriguing ancient monuments - A combination of history and scenery that will leave you eager to discover more of the National Trail and the inspirational landscape through which it runs.
Distance: 5¼ miles (Short cut route 3½ miles)
Duration: 3 – 4 hrs (Short cut 2 - 3 hrs)
Difficulty: Moderate, some steep sections and stiles
5. The Cleeve Hill Ring
This breathtaking walk leads you over open hilltops, across streams and through woodlands, immersing you in one of the country’s most fascinating and precious habitats – limestone grassland. Over half of this wildflower and butterfly rich natural resource is within the Cotswolds and some of the finest examples are on Cleeve Common. The unsurpassed views along this route therefore, are the perfect backdrop for getting even closer to the outstanding natural beauty of the Cotswold Way.
Distance: 6 miles (Shorter route 4 miles)
Duration: 3½ – 4½ hrs (Shorter: 2 - 3 hrs)
Difficulty: Moderate, no stiles but some steep sections (Shorter: Easy, no stiles and mostly level)
6: The Leckhampton Loop
This walk guides you around one of the most beautiful and varied stretches of the Cotswold Way. From rich grassland to peaceful woodlands, from Iron-Age remains to Victorian quarries, this route offers up a taste of the entire Cotswold landscape in 4 ½ sheltered and windswept miles.
Distance: 4 ½
Duration: 2½ – 3
Difficulty: Moderate, no stiles but some steep sections
7: Cranham Coopers and the Beechwoods
This beautiful little walk shows you around one of England’s most treasured habitats, beech woodlands, and leads you to the site of perhaps the Cotswolds’ most iconic and intriguing tradition, cheese-rolling. Follow these four short miles and discover the cathedral-like calm of Buckholt Wood, richly carpeted by bluebells in May, and wonder at the dizzy heights of Cooper’s hill where for hundreds of years the foolhardy have risked their necks for cheese and glory...
Distance: 4 miles
Duration: 2 – 3 hours
Difficulty: Easy. No stiles, but some moderately steep sections.
8: The Selsley Circuit
This extremely popular walk is one of the easiest to follow, winding its way along the National Trail for nearly all of its length. From sheltered beech woodlands and over rich open grassland, it guides you around remnants of an industrial past that shaped the landscape we love today. Wander between the grandeur of Victorian mills alongside the sleepy beauty of the waterway, and discover a timeless journey between past and present that reveals yet another face of the glorious Cotswolds.
Distance: 5 miles
Duration: 3 - 4 hours
Difficulty: Moderate - Three stiles, some steep sections.
9: Cam Long Down and Uley
The incredible variety of the Cotswold Way is once again explored by this stunning little walk. From woodland tracks to open hilltops, it leads you around the intriguing ancient history of Uley Bury to the more recent remains of a pestilent past. Even the few hillside climbs are rewarded by compass-wide views that spread out all around you back into the heart of the Cotswolds and across the Severn Estuary into Wales...
Distance: 4 miles (shorter route: 1½ miles)
Duration: 2½ - 3½ hours (shorter: ¾ - 1½ hours)
Difficulty: Moderate to difficult – Some stiles, steps and steep sections.
As rich farmland gives way to woodland tracks and rolling parkland, this enchanting walk leads you from scarp top to valley bottom, back into one of the Cotswold’s most charming and thriving small towns. With spectacular views, intriguing shops and historic architecture, all tastes will find something wonderful in this special little corner of the Cotswolds.
Distance: 5 miles (6½ with detour to Newark Park)
Duration: 3 - 4 hours (4 - 5 hours with detour)
Difficulty: Moderate – Stiles and steep sections.
11. Old Sodbury - The Hill Fort and Church
From the delightful village of Old Sodbury, follow the Cotswold Way up to the serenity of a medieval church, around oak-fringed farmland and along shaded paths to the breath-taking outcrop of an iron-age hillfort. Views, history, peace and rest all combine to make this simple little stroll a wonderful taster of the southern Cotswolds.
Distance: 2½ miles
Duration: 1½ - 2 hours
Difficulty: Easy to moderate – no stiles, steepish slopes.
12. Journey's End - The Walk into Bath
Discover a true sense of pilgrimage with this wonderful walk into the heart of Bath and the southern end of the Cotswold Way. Follow the trail as it slides from open hill top into historic city, winding its way around open farmland and down bustling alleyways to its crescendo at the majestic splendour of Bath Abbey.
Distance: 6 miles (linear – public transport return)
Duration: 3½ -4 hours (plus max. ½ hr return)
Difficulty: Moderate – one stile, some steep sections.
Bruce Trail Friendship Trail – Beacons, Commons and Woods (Standish Wood, Harescombe Beacon and Pitchcombe Wood)
This spectacular walk leads you along peaceful woodland tracks and out onto windswept hillsides with breath-taking views. A true jewel in the Cotswolds crown.
Not only is is a stunning route, it is also twinned with an equally beautiful part of the Bruce Trail in Ontario, Canada as a mark of friendship and cooperation between our two trails.
Distance: 6 miles
Duration: 2 ½ -3 ½ hours
Difficulty: Moderate – some stiles and moderate slopes.
The Cotswolds Korea Friendship Trail (Stinchcombe Hill near Dursley)
The Cotswold Way has teamed up with South Korea’s Jeju Olle Trail to become one of the world’s first ‘friendship trails'. Follow this short walk around Stinchcombe Hill to experience one of the most beautiful meanderings of the Cotswold Way and discover a new world of walking on an island five thousand miles away. Click here to find out more...
Distance: 3½ miles (hill only route: 3 miles)
Duration: 2 - 2½ hours (hill only: 1 ½ - 2 hours)
Difficulty: Moderate – firm surface, no stiles, one long steep ascent / descent (Hill only: Easy – firm surface, no stiles, mostly level)