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An intro to... The Cotswold Way
An intro to... The Cotswold Way

An Introduction to The Cotswold Way

Have you ever wanted to walk the Cotswold Way? Here is a very quick introduction to this ideal first time trek.

The Cotswold Way was developed by Gloucestershire County Council as a recreational route following a suggestion made by the district committee of the Ramblers’ Association as long ago as the early 1950s.

As one of the county council’s major initiatives to mark European Conservation Year, the route was eventually launched in May 1970 during National Footpath Week. Five years later its full length was treated to a concentrated effort of waymarking, mainly by volunteers from the Ramblers and the Cotswold Voluntary Warden Service, and it subsequently became one of the most effectively waymarked long-distance walks in Britain.

In May 2007 the Cotswold Way became recognised as a National Trail, and with that recognition came financial backing which enabled the whole route to be re-signed and waymarked with the acorn symbol.

The Cotswold Way - Front Cover

The Cotswold Way

NATIONAL TRAIL Two-way trail guide - Chipping Campden to Bath

£17.95

Guidebook to walking the Cotswold Way National Trail. Between Chipping Campden and Bath, the 102 mile route explores the Cotswolds AONB. Described in both directions over 14 stages, the Cotswold Way can be walked year round and is suitable for beginner trekkers. Includes separate OS 1:25,000 map booklet of the route.

More information
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Cotswold Way FAQs

Where is it and how far is it?

This quintessentially English trail starts in Chipping Campden and finishes in Bath but can easily be walked in either direction. The 102 mile (163km) route is divided into 13 stages and is usually walked in a two week holiday, although it can be walked in as little as 5 days!

Why should you walk it?

The Cotswold Way is an ideal trek for first time trekkers - the lowland walking is not technically demanding and the route is well waymarked. But it's not a boring trek, taking in the beautiful Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, historic battlefields and dramatic views across the Severn Vale.

When should you go?

This walk can be enjoyed all year round. However, careful planning may be required as tourists flock to the area, particularly during the Cheltenham Festival (March) and Badminton Horse Trials (late April/May).

Where should you stay?

Camping is tricky along this route so you will find it easier to stay in B&Bs, hostels or hotels. There is an accommodation listing on the National Trail website and there is an index available in the Cicerone Guide.

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Useful Links

The Cotswold Way page on the National Trails website has lots of information

The Cotswold Way guidebook by Kev Reynolds describes the route in both directions

The Cotswold Way map booklet by Kev Reynolds

The National Trails guidebook by Paddy Dillon gives an overview of all the national trails

Stage Summary - The Cotswold Way

StageLocationDistance miles (km)Approx Time
1Chipping Campden to Stanton10 (16)4–5hr
2Stanton to Winchcombe8 (12.5)3½–4hr
3Winchcombe to Cleeve Hill6½ (10.5)2½–3hr
4Cleeve Hill to Dowdeswell (A40)6 (10.5)2½–3hr
5Dowdeswell (A40) to Birdlip9½ (15)4–5hr
6Birdlip to Painswick7 (11)3–3½hr
7Painswick to Middleyard (King’s Stanley)9½ (15)4–5hr
8Middleyard (King’s Stanley) to Dursley6½ (10.5)3–3½hr
9Dursley to Wotton-under-Edge7 (11)3–3½hr
10Wotton-under-Edge to Hawkesbury Upton8 (12.5)3½–4hr
11Hawkesbury Upton to Tormarton8 (12.5)3½–4hr
12Tormarton to Cold Ashton6 (9.5)2½–3hr
13Cold Ashton to Bath10 (16)4–5hr