The Cotswolds most famous trademark is in its name: the luscious green wolds (old English word for the unique rolling hills) which form some of England’s most iconic scenery. The beauty of this countryside is very accessible and with a plethora of footpaths, bridleways and hiking trails Cotswold walks offer something for every ability and every time frame. And here we have collected some of our favourites, from shorter walks to full day hikes.
Minchinhampton and Rodborough Common is rich in history – home to an ancient fort and settlement and a World War One airfield – and is a great place to get your camera out: unobscured views (unless the cattle photobomb the scenery) across the valleys with golden villages nestled in between the wolds. This area is one of the few places left in England that remain unenclosed common land (where locals have the right to let their cattle graze as well as use it as an ‘air and exercise’ space). The Minchinhampton Common is also home to one of the three Minchinhampton Golf Club courses.
If you are lucky you might even find the Winston’s van which serves delicious, locally produced vanilla ice cream(one cone, two flakes please)! And if it’s got it’s day off – fear not! The local ice cream sensation can also be found at the factory store in Rodborough.
Follow in the footsteps of Edward Wilson – a famous naturalist and comrade of Scott of the Antarctic explorer – at the Crickley Hill Reserve close to our Dryhill Farmhouse and Dryhill Cottage. This walk will take around one and a half hours and will lead you along one of our favourite viewing points in the Cotswolds; where on a clear days you have a fifty mile view to the west,across the Severn Vales and over to the Black Mountains of Wales. And along the way enjoying the wildlife, from woodpeckers to deer, pheasants and the black and white belted galloway cattle.
Another favourite walk is a short one, a four miler across meadows, woodland and lanes leading you from Adlestrop to Chastleton where you can reward yourself with a visit to the beautiful 17th century Chastleton House and gardens.
The new Isbourne Way has been created from a series of smaller walks to create a 14 mile long trail. The trail showcases the diversity of the Cotswolds: woods, open countryside, market towns and chocolate box villages,classic pubs and charming shops, mills and medieval churches. The Isbourne Way winds – through Winchcombe and Toddington, Wormington and Sedgeberrow, and ends at Evesham.
Another Way, the Windrush Way, is also 14 miles long starting in Winchcombe and takes you past Sudeley Castle (the home of the last and surviving wife of Henry VIII) and lost medieval villages on the way to journey’s end at Bourton on the Water.
You don’t need to be a hardened hiker, or be on a dedicated walking holiday to enjoy the beauty of the 102 mile long Cotswold Way. This National walk runs from Chipping Campden in the north down to the UNESCO World Heritage spa town of Bath in the south; taking you through a vast landscape of panoramic views and a myriad of picturesque villages where you can park and explore just a section of the way; perhaps before a well deserved pub lunch washed down with a Cotswold ale or awarding winning local wine. In which case we highly recommend the stretch running around the small town of Broadway and past the famous Broadway Tower.
So strap on your hiking boots and immerse yourself in the beauty of the Cotswolds.