MASTER TEMPLATE - Self Guided - The Cotswolds Way

Duration: 9 Days / 8 Nights

Overview

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.

Highlights

  • Idyllic Countryside: Discover the timeless beauty of rolling hills, verdant meadows, and quaint villages nestled amidst the Cotswolds' picturesque landscape.
  • Rich Heritage: Immerse yourself in centuries of history as you explore historic landmarks, ancient ruins, and charming market towns steeped in tradition.
  • Tranquil Escape: Find peace and serenity in the tranquil surroundings of the Cotswolds, where meandering trails, hidden gardens, and cozy country inns invite relaxation and rejuvenation.

Day by Day

Day 1 - Arrive in Medieval Chipping Campden

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.

Meals Included: None

Day 1 - Chipping Campden Read More +

Noted for its outstanding natural beauty, the charming town of Chipping Campden is where you will find the perfect balance of classic Cotswold scenes of warm honey-coloured stone and rolling hills. The combination of classic traditional limestone buildings, its historic Market Hall Street and surrounding farms is a great way to start The Cotswold Way.

Day 2 - Chipping Campden to Stanton

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.

Meals Included: Breakfast
Walk Details: 17 km / 11 miles | 378 m / 1,240 ft elevation gain

Day 2 - Broadway Read More +

Nestled amidst the rolling hills of the Cotswolds, Broadway Village exudes quintessential English charm. Cobblestone streets wind through this picturesque hamlet, lined with honey-hued limestone cottages adorned with blooming floral displays. The village green is a focal point, where locals and visitors gather to soak in the tranquil atmosphere and admire the historic architecture. Quaint tearooms offer delightful treats, while artisanal shops showcase unique treasures.

Day 3 - Stanton to Cleeve Hill

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.

Meals Included: Breakfast
Walk Details: 23 km / 14 miles | 522 m / 1,713 ft elevation gain

Day 3 - Cleeve Hill Read More +

As the highest point of Gloucestershire and The Cotswold Way, Cleeve Hill looks down over the town of Cheltenham. In the distance to the west lie the Malvern Hills and beyond, Wales. Cleeve Hill is well known for its exceptional golf and beautiful countryside.

Day 4 - Cleeve Hill to Birdlip

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.

Meals Included: Breakfast
Walk Details: 25 km / 16 miles | 452 m / 1,483 ft elevation gain

Day 4 - Birdlip Read More +

Halfway through your journey on The Cotswold Way, you will reach the peaceful village of Birdlip, where you will spend the night. Enjoy the breathtaking views of the rich English countryside. Look out for the wildlife: You may catch a glimpse of the elusive animals such as otters, water voles and harvest mice, or perhaps rare butterflies such as Small Blue (Cupido Minimus) and the Duke of Burgundy Fritillary (Hamearis Lucina) attracted by the limestone grassland.

Day 5 - Birdlip to Kings Stanley

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.

Meals Included: Breakfast
Walk Details: 27 km / 17 miles | 491 m / 1,611 ft elevation gain

Day 5 - Kings Stanley Read More +

The delightful village of King’s Stanley is home to the oldest Baptist church in Gloucestershire, which first began its meetings there in 1640. Take time to visit the 12th century church of St George. The village also boasts a selection of shops, including a supermarket, and a number of small independent businesses.

Day 6 - Kings Stanley to Wotton-under-Edge

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.

Meals Included: Breakfast
Walk Details: 24 km / 15 miles | 638 m / 2,093 ft elevation gain

Day 6 - Wotton-under-Edge Read More +

The medieval village of Wotton-under-Edge has remained largely undisturbed since the 12th century. Previously known as Wotton White Church in the 18th and 19th centuries, after its beautiful church which lies at the top of the valley, the quaint market village comprises narrow lanes which zigzag up and down the steep valley with its stoned cottages and independent family shops that includes bakeries, butchers, a book shop and an old picture house. Here you will also find a heritage centre where you can learn more about its fascinating history.

Day 7 - Wotton-under-Edge to Tormarton

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.

Meals Included: Breakfast
Walk Details: 24 km / 15 miles | 461 m / 1,512 ft elevation gain

Day 7 - Tormarton Read More +

Passing through farm and parkland this afternoon you’ll finish your day in the small rural village of Tormarton. Here you can visit the 12th-century and grade 1 listed St. Mary Magdalene church. With a small population of 350, the peaceful village of Tormarton is the perfect location to relax after a long day of walking. Tormarton is a farming village which revolves around agriculture, there are no shops or schools but there is a few local businesses including a pub to unwind in.

Day 8 - Tormarton to Bath

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.

Meals Included: Breakfast
Walk Details: 27 km / 17 miles | 392 m / 1,286 ft elevation gain

Day 8 - Bath Read More +

Your final destination is the UNESCO heritage city of Bath, which is named after its Roman-built baths. Here you can experience and learn how the Romans used the natural hot springs as a thermal spa nearly two thousand years ago. Take your time to explore the labyrinth of cobbled market streets and enjoy the many small independent shops and places to eat. You’ll be spoilt for choice.

Day 9 - Depart

Enjoy a relaxed breakfast this morning before exploring this wonderful city if time allows before your departure. Perhaps 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.

Meals Included: Breakfast

Trip Details

Inclusions Read More
  • Accommodation on a Bed and Breakfast basis in Guest Houses, Bed and Breakfasts, Small Hotels and Inns on the route
  • Luggage transfer for 1 bag per person for the duration of the trip, meaning you will only have to carry a day rucksack. Strict weight limit of 20kg per bag.
  • Route notes which include a map and full directions to your accommodation.
  • The services of the Wilderness England Team prior to & during your trip.
Notes Read More

Your Baggage Transfer Service
Whilst on the Cotswolds Way your luggage will be transferred each day between accommodation providers by Cotswolds Transfer Company. Please label your bag clearly with your name for day one.

Please note that strictly one bag per person is included in the trip price and bags should weigh no more than 20 kgs per bag.

Please have your bags available at 8.30am each day for collection. There is no need to contact Cotswolds Transfer as everything has been arranged for you. However, if you do need to contact them, they can be reached on  +44 (0)1386 840 688.

GENERAL INFORMATION

Bed & Breakfast

Breakfast is included at all stages of your trip.

Packed Lunches

These are not included but can be ordered from most establishments, provided that you order upon arrival. Alternatively, on most days there are cafes, shops or restaurants where you can buy lunch on route. Your accommodation host will be able to advise you on this.

Evening Meals

These are not included but are available locally at all stages. It is strongly recommended evening meals are booked as far in advance as possible.

Dietary/Medical Requirements

Please advise the accommodation owners on arrival if you are vegetarian, vegan or have any other special dietary requirements.

Accommodation Bookings

Since your accommodation has been booked on your behalf by Wilderness England, it may be necessary to quote our name as a reference on arrival at your accommodation.

Important – Late Arrivals

Accommodation providers ask walkers to telephone them to advise if they intend to arrive any later than 1800 hrs. Walkers who do not arrive at their intended overnight stop will cause grave concern in respect of safety, so co‐operation in this matter is greatly appreciated. Contact phone numbers for all of your accommodations are provided in this pack.

Cancellation

If you decide that you cannot continue your walk, please let us know as soon as possible so that we can contact the establishments concerned.

Credit Cards

The majority of establishments will accept credit cards (Visa and MasterCard are widely accepted but not Diners or American Express).

Insurance

Our aim is for you to have the best experience possible whilst in England. We are aware that unforeseen circumstances can be quite challenging so our advice to all of our guests is to take out relevant insurance to help make things less of a challenge if the unforeseen happens. If travelling from a European country outside the UK your insurance policy should include medical cover, curtailment, sickness & injury cancellation prior to the trip and personal accident cover. We also strongly recommend you have cover for other travel and personal effects. If travelling from within the UK, we recommend you are insured for personal sickness & injury cancellation prior to the trip and any travel insurance you feel appropriate to your needs.

If travelling from further afield, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand etc it is best to research insurance locally to cover all your travel and medical needs.

WALKING ROUTE NOTES

All routes are undertaken entirely at your own risk. Ensure you are properly equipped with sufficient food, suitable footwear and wind and waterproof outdoor clothing. Take the relevant Map with you and familiarise yourself with the use of a compass and bring this with you at all times. Please leave brief details of your intended route and anticipated return time with your accommodation hosts. Please confirm with them that you have returned safely at the end of your day.

All route timings are calculated on the time we would expect a reasonably fit person to complete the route with minimal stops. Please allow longer if you intend to relax and enjoy the views to the full, or if you feel your fitness levels are lower.

These route notes are intended as helpful guidance only. You should be experienced in reading maps and using a compass prior to undertaking any walks in upland areas or remote coastal locations. You must use your judgment in order to decide whether the suggested daily route is within your capabilities, giving careful consideration to the wind and weather conditions on the day. You are solely responsible for your own safety and well‐being in wilderness areas and you must undertake all walks at your own risk.

While we will do everything we possibly can to assist you in the unfortunate event of any accident or mishap, Wilderness England will accept no responsibility for any accident or injury sustained during the course of your self‐guided walking holiday.

FURTHER INFORMATION
If you require any assistance or support prior to or during your trip then please contact our office on the details below:
E‐Mail: [email protected]
Tel: +44(0)1768 721 210.

The Wilderness England out-of-office hours numbers are +44 (0)7482 170 401 (please always call this number in the
first instance) and +44 (0)7766 794640
Please only call these numbers for things that cannot wait until the office is open again.

Important Additional Information Read More
Terms & Conditions Read More

Please see our booking terms here.

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