Cotswold spring walks: 9 you need to try
- Credit: Archant
As the weather warms, blossom blooms from the trees and colourful flowers burst from the ground, we can’t wait to explore the Cotswold countryside. We pick 9 walks that will make you want to lace up your walking boots straightaway!
1. Newark Park
Hidden away in the Gloucestershire countryside, you’ll find the stunning Newark Park, a well-managed country retreat of fascinating architecture and an intriguing history. While the stunning stately home is well worth a visit, in the spring, the surrounding woods and countryside are what draw visitors to the location.
Lose yourself in the peaceful setting during March where pathways will be lined with primroses, daffodils and from April onwards the woodlands will be filled with swathes of wild garlic.
2. Cleeve Hill
Standing proudly at 1083 feet, the highest point in the Cotswolds, Cleeve Hill not only commands spectacular views but is also a wonderful place to explore as the weather warms. On a clear day, views stretching towards Wales can be admired.
The vast expanse of limestone grassland is a popular landscape to ramble; with families enjoying a leisurely stroll, groups playing golf around the Common, couples on a romantic walk and photographers speeding to the top to capture pretty pictures. With Cheltenham town centre and the charming Winchcombe nearby, expect to find plenty of pubs and restaurants to refuel after your countryside walk.
3. The Daffodil Way, Dymock Woods, Kempley
The ancient Dymock Woods, spanning a huge 506 hectares, are a pleasure to explore whatever the season but it’s spring when visitors can enjoy the beauty of the wild daffodils that bloom in late February and March. Shrouds of the yellow flowers fill the Gloucestershire woodland, orchards and meadows.
On Saturday March 23 and Sunday March 24, the community-rich village of Kempley hosts its annual Daffodil Weekend which celebrates its 44th anniversary this year. Organised daffodil walks will take place from the town, and coffee, tea and lunches, alongside local crafts and produce, will be available to purchase at the Village Hall. All proceeds will go to Kempley Village Hall and St Edwards Church Restoration Fund. Daffodil events will also take place at Oxenhall on March 16 and 17 (10am-5pm) and Dymock on March 30 and 31 (10am-5pm).
4. Coaley Peak, Dursley
For a picnic with a view, you won’t be disappointed at Coaley Peak. A route incorporated into the Cotswold Way national trail, ramble through flower rich grassland until you reach the top of the Peak before tucking into your homemade spread. Expect to find fantastic views across the patchwork fields of the Severn Vale towards the Forest of Dean which look simply stunning on a clear spring day.
If there’s time, Woodchester Mansion nearby is worth a visit. Sadly unfinished, the 19th-century Victorian masterpiece lies in a secluded valley and is a perfect place for a contemplative walk while discovering the mansion’s fascinating history.
5. Arden Way and River Arrow, Warwickshire
Gather the family, and bring along the pooch, for a leisurely walk which encounters glorious countryside, ancient woodland and the River Arrow.
Beginning at Coughton Court, a formidable Tudor house surrounded by beautiful gardens, stroll through the nearby Timm’s Grove woodland which is awash with pretty bluebells during spring. Little ones will love looking for the ornate carved clock that sits nestled among the trees.
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6. Slad Valley, near Stroud
Known the world over from Laurie Lee’s novel Cider with Rosie, the grey stone village of Slad and surrounding valley, which lies within the Cotswold Area of Natural Beauty, is a wonderful place to explore on a spring’s day.
Bimble through the unspoilt countryside that Laurie Lee accounts, with its tall grass, orchids and fox earths grazing your feet during your journey. As the summer draws closer, you’ll be able to spot the banks bursting with wild garlic.
7. Blossom Trail of Evesham
The charming riverside market town of Evesham warmly welcomes the spring each year when from late March to early May, dazzling displays of blossom can be admired from the many acres of plum, apple, damson and pear trees in the surrounding countryside.
The Annual Spring Blossom Trail offers visitors the chance to soak in the colourful haze of the blossomed trees and wondrous springtime perfume with a 50 mile AA signposted route which can be enjoyed on foot, bicycle or upon tour bus. Head to the Visit Evesham website to help plan your walk!
8. Westonbirt Arboretum, Tetbury
Well known for its autumnal hues during the latter part of the year, Westonbirt Arboretum is equally stunning during the spring months when the some 15,000 specimens of trees blossom into colour. Immerse yourself in the tranquillity of the Arboretum; from walking along the pink blossomed treetops to marvelling at the swathes of bluebells that blanket the woodland.
For those visiting from March onwards, spend a few hours at Highgrove Gardens, a short drive from Westonbirt. The private residence of TRH The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall boast well manicured, innovatively styled gardens with rhododendrons, azaleas and magnolias alongside wildflowers, bluebells and cherry trees in the spring.
9. Foxholes Nature Reserve, near Burford
Fancy a long walk soaking in the scenery of rolling countryside, woodland and quiet Cotswold villages? Then enjoy this circular walk taking in ancient woodland at the Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust’s (BBOWT) Foxholes Nature Reserve.
Located a short drive from the beautiful town of Burford, Foxholes Nature Reserve is ideal for escaping for a few hours and immersing yourself in the tranquillity of the woods. During the spring, the woodland floor is brimming with primroses, violets and early-purple orchids and by May, thousands of delicate bluebells. Heaven!