Self-Guided Walking in the Cotswolds
The Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is a walkers paradise with over 3000 miles of public footpaths through some of the best scenic landscapes that England has to offer.
This region of gentle rolling hills and honey-coloured stone villages, some 100 miles/160kms west of London, has some of the best walking with footpaths that are exceptionally well maintained combined with the nature of the landscape means that the walking is within the capabilities of almost everyone.
The Cotswolds is well known for the idyllic beauty of its landscape for very good reason. The wolds are cut by small river valleys that form a magnificent backdrop to numerous delightful ancient sleepy villages and bustling market towns built from the distinctive honey-coloured limestone.
By only walking the Cotswold landscape will you discover ancient tracks of the drovers and salt ways, neolithic burial sites, iron age forts, ancient wool churches, deserted villages, ruins of a bye gone age and ancient beech & oak woodlands not to mention hidden meandering river valleys.
Access to the countryside - the Cotswolds is renowned and a well used destination for walking through the open
'Wold' countryside. Public rights of way are well maintained and signposted and the area has one of the best kept 'rights of way' networks in the UK. The Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty also contains a number of national and regional walking routes such as 'The Cotswolds Way Trail', 'Macmillan Way' and 'Oxfordshire Way'. Circular routes withy self-guided leaflets are also plentiful.
Countryside Walks around Cotswold
Villages and Towns
Badminton - Woodland and Parkland
Walk over the Duke of Beaufort's estate, across a grassy airstrip, past castellated barns and cottages, and through the deer park.
Distance: 8.3 km/ 5 miles with a gentle climb and descent of 60m/200ft.
The central section may be muddy, but the start and the last 2 miles are on tarmac.
Time: 2½ hours.
Start: Badminton (near Chipping Sodbury) at the village post office.
Ordinance Survey map ref. ST 804/827. Drinks, ices and snacks sold here (closed on Sundays).
To view the Badminton walking route details and print.
Bibury and River Coln
Away from the sightseeing crowds in Bibury, a delightful walk through woodland and meadow
rich in wildlife, across a Roman road and past a hidden dewpond.
Distance: 6.5 km/
4 miles with an up and down of 110 m/360ft Time: 2 hours.
Start: Bibury (near Cirencester) on the river bridge by the Swan Inn.
Ordinance Survey map ref. SP 115/069.
Refreshments at The Swan Hotel or the trout farm cafe, and toilets near the start.
To view the Bibury walking route details and print.
Bourton-on-the-Water and Wyck Rissington
Three small rivers, a nature reserve and a maze in a church. This easy walk through meadows
to the unspoilt village of Wyck Rissington can be muddy, so be prepared.
Distance: 7 km /4 miles with a climb and descent of 37m/120 ft. Time: 2 hours.
Water, war memorial in the High Street.
map ref SP167/207.
Pubs, cafes and shops in the village.
To view the Bourton-on-the-Water walking route details and print.
Broadway and the Tower - Circular Walk
A walk encompassing Broadway Tower and the old Broadway Limestone Quarry which supplied the stone for the ancient Cotswold buildings for miles about.
Distance: 5.6 km/3½miles
with a big down and an up of 192m/630ft. Time: 2 hours.
Start: Broadway Tower Country Park on minor road off the A44 above Broadway village.
map ref SP096375 (post code: WR12 7LB).
Car park, café and toilets. Public toilets at Fish Hill picnic area on A44.
To view the Broadway Tower walking route details and print.
Broadway Village and old church of St Eadburgha
Short circular walk taking in some of the fascinating old buildings and history of the
picturesque Cotswold village of Broadway including the ancient church of St Eadburgha. It is a perfect accompaniment to an afternoon's shopping with refreshment available at the nearby pubs and tearooms.
Distance: 2.9 kilometres/1¾ miles. Time: 1½ hours.
Start: The Horse & Hounds Public House - Broadway High Street - SP099375
To view the Broadway walking route details and print
Chipping Campden to Bath - The Cotswolds Way National Trail
The Cotswold Way National Trail is a scenic, undulating route through quiet Cotswold countryside following the ridge through the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) via the villages of Broadway, Winchcombe, Dursley and Wotton-under-Edge. An attractive and popular trail that offers beautiful rural surroundings with facilities and services always near to hand. The 102 mile route starts at Chipping Campden and ends at Bath.
For detailed information - https://www.cotswolds.info/cotswolds-way-walk.shtml
Guiting Power and Castlett
Easy route follows drovers' trails and quiet lanes through woodland and along the
Guiting Stream. A good family walk at any time of the year, with much to see on the way.
Distance: 7 km /4 miles with an up and down of 140m/460 ft.
Time: 2 1/2 hours.
Start: Guiting Power (near Stow on the Wold) village hall car park (50p), signed from the village green.
map ref SP095/246.
Shop and pubs in Guiting Power, also a mid-way pub at Kineton.
To view the Guiting Power walking route details and print.
From a country churchyard stride up a dry valley to a breezy hilltop with vast views north,
south, east and west. It's a long haul up and a steep road down. But exhilarating!
Distance: 6 km / 3 3/4 miles with a climb and descent of 195m/640 ft.
Time: 2 hours.
Start: St Mary's Church, Back Street, Ilmington, near Stratford on Avon.
map ref SP210/435.
To view the Ilmington walking route details and print.
Mickleton and the Hidcotes
After a steady climb you'll enjoy great views over the Vale of Evesham, then amble through
two pretty hamlets, passing the famous gardens of Hidcote Manor and Kiftsgate Court - both open to the public.
Distance: 6.4km/4miles with a climb of 135m /450ft.
Time: 2 hours.
Start: Mickleton (near Chipping Campden) in Church Lane off the High Street.
Pubs and shops in the village.
Ordinance Survey map ref SP162/435.
To view the Mickleton walking route details and print.
Minchinhampton and Box
A walk on the common around an old market town, then a down-and-up through the village of Box. The last climb is steep, but there is a short cut.
To view the Minchinhampton walking route details.
A walk across the Common, skirting hillside villages and enjoying panoramic views towards the Severn and the Golden Valley.
To view the Minchinhampton walking route details and print. Start point: SO872007
Circular Walk. Distance: 5.8 kilometres / 3½ miles. Time: 2 hours.
Start: Moreton-in-Marsh War Memorial, High Street
To view the Moreton-in-Marsh walking route details and print
Old Sodbury - Hill Fort and Church
A short but fascinating walk taking you back to England in the Iron Age, the Roman era and the troubled times of Henry VIII. Plus wide views to Wales.
Distance: 4 km/2½ miles with a climb and descent of 80m/260ft.
Time: 2 hours.
Start: Old Sodbury (on A432 near Chipping Sodbury) at St John's Church.
Limited parking nearby.
map ref ST753815.
Refreshments at The Dog Inn on the A432.
To view the Old Sodbury walking route details and print.
Winchcombe and Sudeley Valley
Walk past Sudeley Castle then up and around the valley for elevated views across to Cleeve
Common and Charlton Abbots. Walk through tranquil countryside full of wildlife and flowers.
Distance: 8 km/
5 miles with a climb and descent of 175m/575 ft.
Time: 21/2 hours.
Start: Winchcombe (near Cheltenham) Back Lane car park (£1) behind the library.
map ref SP024/284.
Refreshments in the town.
To view the Winchcombe walking route details and print.