With rolling green hills, honey-coloured villages and grasslands full of wildflowers, the Cotswolds are the archetypal English landscape. Enjoy the view on these long trails and shorter rambles...
If you want a glorious overview of the Cotswolds, ticking off everything that makes this one of the most beloved regions in the country, you can’t beat the Cotswold Way. Stretching 100 miles from Bath to the town of Chipping Campden, it's a walk that will reward you with soothing panoramas, picture-perfect villages and pre-historic landmarks.
Hiking the full route will take you seven to 10 days, depending on your level of fitness and how easily you are distracted by quaint tea shops and welcoming pubs. Thankfully, the Cotswold Way incorporates a number of smaller walks, each with their own character, that allows you to sample the district’s charms – like the wildflowers and limestone grassland around Cleeve Common, the pretty market towns of Winchcombe and Snowshill, the Neolithic burial chamber at Belas Knap or the Broadway Tower folly.
Following a section of Shakespeare’s Way – one of the area's long distance footpaths – this eight kilometre trail will take you from the pretty town of Chipping Norton to a group of stones steeped in mystery. You’ll spot these mystical monuments as you walk across a green, rolling valley.
The stones are split into three groups – a ring of stones, known as the Kings Men, the Whispering Knights burial chamber and the single King Stone. Legend has it that the stones are a king and his knights, turned to stone by a witch. Spoilsport archaeologists have dated them further back to neolithic times. From the stones, the path continues to the charming hamlet of Little Rollright.
Created to celebrate the Queen’s Silver Jubilee in 1977, the Wychavon Way is a delightful walk through meadows, woodlands, orchards and riverside pastures. 67.5km long, it leads keen walkers from the Spa town of Droitwich to the gorgeous village of Broadway, known locally as the ‘Jewel of the Cotswolds'.
Expect hidden hollows, towering hilltops, lakeside views and breathtaking vistas across the Vale of Evesham and beyond. Village stop-offs including Flyford Flavell and the Lenches. As you approach Broadway, note the honey-coloured dry stone walls, a certain sign that you are in the Cotswolds.
Canny walkers save this 64km signposted route through the beautiful Vale of Evesham for spring. The sun is shining, the sheep are lambing and the cherry and apple trees lining the trail are heavy with pretty pink and white blossom. The Blossom Trail, indeed.
Having said that, the Blossom Trail is beautiful at any time of the year. The Vale of Evesham forms part of the River Avon’s flood plains and is rich in farmlands, orchards and patchworked fields. You’ll pass plenty of local farm shops, roadside stalls, pick-your-own centres and farmers' markets as you walk. Head to Evesham and simply follow the signs.
This unique figure-of-eight trail is centred on the Cotswold town of Winchcombe, and offers walkers a number of ways to discover the hidden gems of the northern Cotswolds.
Head east, and you’ll follow the Farmcote Valley to Guiting Wood. Then you'll traverse through quiet valleys and tranquil villages, to Stanway House and its delightful restored watermill. Head west, and you’re almost immediately treated to breathtaking views from Langley Hill before dropping down into Gretton and across to Alderton.
After skirting around Dumbleton Hill and Cleeve Common, you’ll descend towards Winchcombe enjoying a lovely view of Sudeley Castle and the surrounding countryside as you enter the town.
Cleeve Hill is the highest common in the Cotswolds, famous for its limestone grasslands, abundant wildflowers and unending views across the Malverns and into Wales. Starting just behind the car park at the Cleeve Hill Golf Club, this 10.5km circular walk will see you walking over open hilltops, across streams, through woodlands and dodging butterflies in field of blooming flowers.
Walkers are advised to take care when the weather is bad. Heavy mist descends upon the hill with alarming speed, cutting visibility to zero, and quarrying has left plenty of nasty pitfalls in the area. However, if the weather is good, the views are excellent - as are your chances of spotting rare plants and birds endemic to the area.
How do you celebrate the 60th jubilee of your walking association? Well, if you’re the Ramblers’ North Cotswold Group, you create a walk through rural Gloucestershire. What’s more, you make it 104km long, and in the rough shape of a diamond.
The walk stretches from Northleach in the south to near Chipping Campden in the north and from Guiting Power in the west to near Bourton-on-the-Water in the east. Following it from point to point, you walk across undulating farmland and idyllic woodland, past sleepy hamlets of honey-hued stone and along meandering streams. It will take you a week to complete, but with plenty of traditional Cotswold Inns along the way, that’s not really a hardship.
Looking for a challenging Cotswold walk you can complete in a day? Then the Windrush Way could be for you. This 22.5km circular trail links the Cotswold Way at Winchcombe with the Oxfordshire Way at Bourton-on-the-Water to provide a delightful walk through the famous Cotswold Hills.
It is a decidedly picturesque walk. Sights you'll see along the way include Sudeley Castle, Gazeley Wood and Westfield House. The trail cuts up over hills, through the remains of a few lost medieval villages and along the peaceful River Windrush, from which it takes its name. One for walkers keen looking for a day filled with undeniable Cotswold charm.
Starting in the lay-by opposite the Seven Springs pub, the circular Leckhampton Loop will take you through grasslands, ancient woodlands and finish with an Iron Age fort and a Victorian quarry. The walk is one of the many circular walks that form part of the Cotswold Way, and is centred around the windswept Charlton Kings Common.
The Iron Age hillfort, about one-and-a-half kilometres into the walk, was built between 500 and 100 BC. Just past here, you can take a quick detour to one of the region's most famous landmarks, the Devil’s Chimney. The Chimney is a limestone rock formation that stands above a disused quarry. Look across the Severn Valley from this vantage point and you’ll agree: the devil gets all the best views.
There are no shortages of excellent village walks in the Cotswolds, though this 10km trail packs in plenty: stops in the villages of Bibury, Coln St. Aldwyns and Arlington, plus a few hilly elevations to clamber over while you walk. Begin in idyllic Coln at the crossroads, passing by Yew Tree Lodge and walking through a farm and bright green fields until you reach Arlington.
From there, it’s an easy path to Bibury, where you can spend some time enjoying a few refreshments, admiring the archetypal Cotswolds houses or popping from a bathroom break. There’s then a short journey to a Coln Valley pathway leading back to the crossroads where you began. You can follow the map from Cotswolds AONB here.
A self-guided, six kilometre trail detailed by Cotswolds AONB, this walk takes you through the grounds of Woodchester Mansion, near Nympsfield in Gloucestershire. The manor resides in the park of the same name, and though the building itself is technically unfinished, it’s worth seeing its Gothic revival design for yourself – particularly if you’re a fan of The Crown on Netflix. Part of the series was shot here.
Starting at the National Trust car park, you’ll head on a slightly bendy, unmarked trail, passing through woodland, crossing a dam and walking alongside a pond. You’ll reach the park, before looping back on yourself via the pond’s opposite side. Though a fairly short trail compared to the likes of The Cotswolds Way, you’re still entitled to refresh and relax at the Rose and Crown pub in Nympsfield.
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