Duration: 9 Days / 8 Nights From £690
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The Cotswold Way is arguably the prettiest long distance trail in England. The 102 mile/ 164 km route starts in the small market town of Chipping Campden, continues along the western edge of the Cotswold hills before finishing in the historic city of Bath.
On this self guided trail you’ll discover the quintessential scenery of this beautiful part of England; chocolate-box villages, quiet country lanes and mile after mile of lush green hills and wildflower-strewn valleys. This area has a long and rich history and as you travel the route there are archaeological sites to discover from both Roman and Neolithic times. The small villages you pass through often feature impressive churches and nearby stately homes, a product of the lucrative wool trade begun in the middle ages. It’s no wonder this area was a favourite of many famous figures including literary giants like Jane Austen, Alexander Pope, J.M Barrie, and T.S Elliot as well as notable members of the Royal Family and modern-day British celebrities. Immerse yourself in some of the most beautiful scenery England has to offer as you hike this iconic trail.
Make your own way to the beautiful market town of Chipping Campden. It’s worth arriving in time to explore the town which, despite its relatively small size, has 256 historic listed buildings including the Grade I listed Market Hall and Church of St James. Wander among the attractive limestone buildings and elegant High Street, dating from the 14th to 17th centuries before enjoying a relaxing dinner, ready for the next day’s adventure.
Setting out today at the beginning of the trail you’ll journey south-west, heading into the heart of the Cotswolds hills. After a short climb, you’ll summit Dover’s Hill which offers sweeping views of the surrounding countryside. It’s worth starting your day relatively early in order to fully enjoy your time at the 3 storey Broadway Tower. Admire the views over 16 counties and don’t forget to check out the exhibition. Treat yourself to a well-deserved break in the cafe or picnic in the extensive grounds and deer park. Continue your hike to Broadway Village, said to be the most photographed village in England, and on past farms and gently rolling hills to the village of Stanton and your accommodation for this evening. (B)
Walk details: 17km/ 10 miles | Ascent: 378m/ 1,240ft | Approx: 6 to 8 hours
Today you’ll really start to discover the rich and ancient history of the area as you reach Beckbury camp, an iron age fort that dates back to 2000 BC. It’s easy to see why this spot was chosen as the vantage point offers incredible views to the mountains of Wales over 70 miles away. Moving on you’ll pass the ruins of 13th century Hailes Abbey, where you may decide to visit the museum before continuing your journey into the past at Belas Knap. This extensive Neolithic burial chamber is where ancient people would gather to bury their dead over 5000 years ago. A final push to the summit of Cleeve Hill, the highest point in the Cotswolds range, is rewarded by fantastic views over Cheltenham, the River Severn, the Malvern Hills and in good visibility the Black mountains of Wales. After an exhilarating descent, look forward to relaxing in tonight’s welcoming accommodation. (B)
Walk details: 22.5km / 14 miles | Ascent: 522m/ 1,712ft | Approx: 6 to 8 hours
This morning’s walk starts on quiet country lanes, takes a path through Dowdeswell wood to the reservoir then continues on through beautiful Lineover Wood with its ancient beech trees. Climb up to Wistley Plantation and on over farmland before heading down to Seven Springs, thought by some to be the source of the River Thames. By afternoon the countryside opens up as you ascend a series of moderate hills including Leckhampton, which features a hill fort as well as being a Site of Special Scientific Interest due to the geology and biodiversity of the area. Look out for the devil’s chimney rock formation as well as small mammals, birds of prey and, if you’re lucky, rare butterflies attracted by the limestone grassland. You can also see old tramway routes as well as the remains of kilns and limestone quarries. The final summit is on Crickley Hill which is jointly owned and managed by the National Trust and Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust. From here it is just a short walk to your accommodation in the village of Birdlip. (B)
Walk details: 25.1km/ 15.6 miles | Ascent: 452m/ 1,483ft | Approx: 6 to 8 hours
After a gentle start to the day, you’ll tackle a steep climb to the top of Coopers Hill which is famous for its annual cheese rolling festival. Although today is a longer hike, if you have the energy it’s worth taking a short detour to Painswick Beacon where you can see the remains of an Iron age fort before making your way to the picturesque town of Painswick, the midpoint of the Cotswold Way. Do spend some time exploring this pretty hamlet, and seek out the impressive church and 99 yew trees. As the trail rises up out of the town, you’ll be walking through what is widely believed to be one of the most beautiful sections of the route. You can’t help but notice the countless dry stone walls which are such an iconic feature of the Cotswold landscape, and which offer amazing habitats and wildlife corridors. Having enjoyed the ever-changing scenery, from open grassland with sweeping views to shady woods carpeted with wildflowers, you’ll eventually cross the Stroud Canal to Stanley Mill which once employed over 1000 people at the height of the woollen trade. Your accommodation at Kings Stanley awaits. (B)
Walk details: 26.6km/ 16.5 miles | Ascent: 491m/ 1,610ft | Approx: 6 to 8 hours
Although you may be tempted to linger in one of the attractive Village greens, particularly when the hanging baskets and window boxes are in full bloom, you will need to head out soon to tackle a series of short but fairly sharp ups and downs. These are interspersed by gentle, undulating paths guiding you through the stunning countryside of the Cotswold Way. People have lived and worked here for thousands of years and encountering evidence of these communities, such as the remains of a Neolithic burial site at Nympsfield Long Barrow, is always intriguing. Although you’ll feel a sense of achievement having made it up the steep slope to Tyndale monument, it’s worth the extra effort to climb the 121 steps to be rewarded with incredible panoramic views. The last stretch of today’s journey takes in Wotton Hill before arriving in Wotton-under-Edge, your home for the night. (B)
Walk details: 24km/ 15 miles | Ascent: 638m/ 2,093ft | Approx: 6 to 8 hours
Following a stream out of Wotton-Under-Edge, you’ll climb to the top of Blackquarries Hill where you can stop to admire the wonderful views before walking through woodland towards Alderley village. Passing through a picturesque valley, you can see remnants of medieval ridge-and-furrow. As you follow a sunken lane you’ll walk through peaceful countryside before climbing gently past the Somerset Monument and on to another impressive Iron Age Fort with extensive views opening out over the Severn Vale and beyond. Passing through farm and parkland this afternoon you’ll finish your day in the small village of Tormarton. Here you can visit the 12th century St. Mary Magdalene church. (B)
Walk details: 24.2km/ 15 miles | Ascent: 461m/ 1,512 ft | Approx: 6 to 8 hours
Begin your final hike today by heading south through farmland to the village of Dyrham before passing near the National Trust property of Dyrham Park. This is a 17th-century mansion with beautiful gardens and ancient deer park. Continue on through Dyrham woods to Cold Ashton village then climb out of the valley to the site of the bloody civil war Battle of Lansdown. As the route levels out you’ll pass a small hill fort; take a moment to enjoy your last views on this fantastic trail before heading down to the city of Bath in the valley below. As you leave the rural landscape behind, enjoy approaching the city through lovely parks and be impressed by the magnificent Georgian architecture as you make your way to the west doors of historic Bath Abbey. A disc carved out of blue limestone marks the end of the Cotswold Way. Celebrate your achievement by experiencing some of the sights and sounds of the city and look forward to a well-deserved rest in your last accommodation. (B)
Walk details: 27km/ 16.8 miles | Ascent: 392m/ 1,286 ft | Approx: 6 to 8 hours
Enjoy a relaxed breakfast this morning before departing for home. If you would like to stay on a bit longer we offer an optional extension in Bath. The UK’s only city designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this 2 night extension allows you to get to know this incredible city. Here you can enjoy a walking tour where you will discover the secrets of the city, enjoy incredible food and drink and of course, visit the historic Roman Baths. It’s the perfect way to finish your journey through the Cotswolds. (B)
At each stage of your trek, we will arrange accommodation for you. The accommodations will be of a 3 or 4-star standard and range from cosy guesthouses, inns, small hotels bed and breakfast – or perhaps even on working farms, all of which are the picture of warmth, comfort and rustic charm typical to northern England. Our accommodation partners are carefully handpicked for a number of factors – picturesque locations near the trail, very good facilities and a reputation for providing welcoming hospitality.
Wherever available, we will reserve en suite rooms for you. Please note however that on the Cotswolds Way, this is not always possible due to the limited accommodation options, on these rare occasions a room with private facilities will be booked instead.
Accommodation will be reserved on a Bed & Breakfast basis, lunches and evening meals are not included. Local shops sell sandwiches and snacks for the day ahead. Many guesthouses will also be able to provide a packed lunch for you if you ask them the night before. In the evenings, meals can be taken in local restaurants, hotels or bars.
Single occupancy rooms are available for a small supplement. Please get in touch with the team to book.
Make your own way to Chipping Campden and your first accommodation. Moreton-in-the-Marsh is the nearest rail station which has links from London and other major UK cities.
The trip ends in Bath where there are regular train and bus services to major UK cities including London.
Upgraded accommodation is available in some locations depending on availability.
Please let us know if you wish to take a rest day, spend an extra night on the path, or add additional days to the beginning or end of your trip. You can also shorten the trip if you have less time.
Extension to Bath
Experience Bath. The UK’s only city designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this 2 night extension allows you to get to know this incredible city. Here you can enjoy a walking tour where you will discover the secrets of the city, enjoy incredible food and drink and of course, visit the historic Roman Baths. It’s the perfect way to finish a trip in the Cotswolds.
Our friendly office team hail from across the world but share a passion for the outdoor and wild spaces of Britain & Ireland. We are committed to providing you with the best customer service and are more than happy to chat through options and provide help and advice. Get in touch to find your perfect adventure.Ask Jane a Question
Blue Graded Self Guided Holidays 4-6
Self guided Blue graded walking holidays are suitable for fit and experienced hikers. Walking at a good pace you can expect to be out for 6-8 hours a day. You will be following a trail but should understand how to follow a hiking map with at least basic navigation skills. Daily distances will vary – typically up to 20km but may be longer occasionally, or often on the more challenging trips in the grade. Daily hike details are available in the itinerary.
Trail conditions will vary from well laid and maintained sections of gravel track to rough and rocky sections including muddy and wet areas. Short sections may be on tarmac.