10 Cotswold walks for National Walking Month 2021

Green fields and blue skies over the Cotswold way

Put on your walking boots to get out and enjoy the Cotswold countryside - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

May is National Walking Month and, while many of us have been enjoying short daily walks around our local area during lockdown, we can now look further afield and discover new trails across the urban and countryside regions of the Cotswolds. So, throw on your walking boots and backpack, and be inspired by these wonderful walks around the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

"The Rollright Stones is a ancient site located on the Oxfordshire/Warwickshire border in England. T

The Rollright Stones is an ancient site on the Oxfordshire/Warwickshire border - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Salford and the Rollright Stones

Start: Salford OX7 5YW
Distance: 5.5 miles (8.8km)
Time: Approx. 3 hours
Parking: Roadside
Recommended direction is anticlockwise.

Salford and the Rollright Stones

Salford and the Rollright Stones - Credit: pathranger.com

The Rollright Stones are a collection of Neolithic and Bronze Age megalithic monuments close to the Oxfordshire village of Long Compton. Whispering Knights, a single chamber tomb or dolman, was the first to be built during the mid-Neolithic period. The second is The King’s Men, a stone circle built around the beginning of the Bronze Age following the design of other stones circles in England. The King Stone, a single monolith, is the most recent although its date of construction is unknown it is believed to be a grave marker.

This route begins in the village of Salford walking out across open countryside and farm fields to visit all three monuments. The site of the monuments is a short detour off the main path (marked on the map with a star).

Lower Slaughter

Lower Slaughter - Credit: Getty Images

The Slaughters

Distance: 4.5 miles (7.2km)
Time: Approx. 2.5 hours
Parking: Rissington Road Pay & Display
Recommended direction is clockwise

The Slaughters

The Slaughters - Credit: pathranger.com

This walk visits the villages of Upper and Lower Slaughter, classic examples of charming Cotswold villages with mellow stone houses nestled on the River Eye.

Beginning in the tourist hotspot of Bourton-on-the-Water you quickly leave behind the busy main street and head into open countryside along the banks of the River Windrush, turning right towards Upper Slaughter. Pass through the centre of the village and turn to follow the River Eye to Lower Slaughter. Here you will find ice cream and refreshments at the Old Mill. After taking advantage of the photo opportunities, it is a short walk back to Bourton-on-the-Water where you will find a significant collection of eateries and tourist shops.

The River Windrush near Great Rissington

The River Windrush, near Great Rissington - Credit: Getty Images

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Great Rissington

Distance: 3.5 miles (5.5km)
Time: Approx. 1.5 hours
Parking: Roadside in village
Recommended direction is anticlockwise

Great Rissington walk

Great Rissington walk - Credit: pathranger.com

This 3.5-mile walk starts and finishes at the charming village of Great Rissington and takes you along easy paths through fields and light woodland until you reach the meandering River Windrush. Here you will find some nice little spots to stop and enjoy before heading further along the river in the shade of the trees. The path is on the edge of the Sherborne Estate (as featured in several series of Springwatch) and has plenty of wildlife to look out for.  

The easy return route then takes you back to the village along a ridge with lovely views over the Windrush valley.

This is a great walk to take your four-legged friend - arable field paths, woodland and a lovely cool river for them to have a swim - perfect!

Cotwold thatched stone cottage, Ebrington, Gloucestershire, England.

Cotwold thatched stone cottage, Ebrington, Gloucestershire - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Ebrington and Foxcote

Distance: 4 miles (6.4km)
Time: Approx. 2 hours
Parking: Roadside
Recommended direction is anticlockwise

Ebrington and Foxcote

Ebrington and Foxcote - Credit: pathranger.com

This delightful four-mile walk from the village of Ebrington passes through open countryside and woodland to the Foxcote Estate.
Foxcote House is a Grade II* listed, 18th-century country house in the village of Ilmington. The house was originally the family seat of the Canning family until 1848. In the English Civil War, the Canning were staunch Royalists, keeping a watchful eye on the Roundhead troops in nearby Warwickshire. 

The property has had many owners since, most recently Leslie Wexner, the billionaire tycoon behind the Victoria’s Secret lingerie empire who bought the property in 1997.

Summer's evening in a rural Cotswold landscape - Dover's Hill, Chipping Campden

Dover's Hill, Chipping Campden - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Chipping Campden and Dover’s Hill

Distance: 4.5 miles (7.2km)
Time: Approx. 2.5 hours
Parking: Market Square Pay & Display
Recommended direction is anticlockwise

Chipping Campden and Dover's Hill walk

Chipping Campden and Dover's Hill walk - Credit: pathranger.com

This walk climbs from the market town of Chipping Campden to Dover’s Hill set high on the North Cotswold escarpment. Dover’s Hill provides breathtaking views over the Vale of Evesham. Dover’s Hill began hosting the Cotswold Olympicks in 1612 including the well known sports of shin-kicking, wrestling, hare coursing and beer drinking until in 1852 the games ended. Dover’s Hill is owned by the National Trust. After descending into the 'Lynches', the walk continues through woodland to return to Chipping Campden. This relatively short walk includes two sections of climb.

Europe, England, Gloucestershire, Cotswolds, Leckhampton Hill, the view over Cheltenham in evening s

View over Cheltenham from Leckhampton Hill - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Leckhampton

Distance: 4.5 miles (7.2km)
Time: Approx 2.5 hours
Parking: Lay-by opposite Seven Springs pub
Recommended direction is clockwise

Leckhampton walk

Leckhampton walk - Credit: pathranger.com

Areas of Leckhampton Hill have been designated as Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) for their biological and geological features. The area is predominantly unimproved Jurassic limestone grassland, nationally important for the fossils it contains.

The walk takes us up the Cotswold Way to the Iron Age fort and Leckhampton Hill on the Cotswold Escarpment with far reaching views, round to the well known Devil’s Chimney stone stack perched on the edge, past Victorian lime quarries and back through Charlton Kings Common to the beginning. A whistle-stop tour of history in just 4.5 miles!

seasonal Autumn colours at Batsford Arboretum in England

Batsford Arboretum - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Blockley and Batsford Arboretum

Distance: 5 miles (8km)
Time: 2.5 hours
Recommended direction is anticlockwise

Blockley and Batsford Arboretum walk

Blockley and Batsford Arboretum walk - Credit: pathranger.com

This walk begins in the village of Blockley. In the 18th and 19th centuries, Blockley was the centre of the silk industry with its many mills powered by the brook. Blockley was regularly used for the filming of the television series Father Brown.

The walk climbs out of the village towards the Batsford Estate and the well known Batsford Arboretum. The walk passes near to the entry to the arboretum for anyone wishing to extend the walk or just visit for the café. Batsford Estate was once the home of the Mitford sisters. The walk also visits the small, pretty village of Batsford with its unspoilt Cotswold houses. 

Note that it's possible to start this walk from the arboretum visitors car park if you also intend to visit the arboretum. An admission charge applies.

Cottage scene in the historic market town of Burford, in Oxfordshire, England

The historic market town of Burford, Oxfordshire - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

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Burford and the River Windrush

Start: Burford
Distance: 5.5 miles (8.8km)
Time: Approx. 3 hours
Parking: Church Lane car park (free)
Recommended direction is anticlockwise

Burford and the River Windrush walk

Burford and the River Windrush walk - Credit: pathranger.com

Starting from Burford, one of the most picturesque towns in England, the walk explores the countryside surrounding this fascinating town. The walk meanders along paths beside this beautiful river, through fields and water meadows, and along a valley fringed by woodland either side. There is also a small isolated medieval church to visit.

This 5.5-mile walk starts from the beautiful medieval town of Burford, often known as a gateway to the Cotswolds. The town is famous for its fabulous High Street with its pubs, restaurants, cafés and shops.  At the bottom of the High Street is a fine three arched medieval bridge under which flows the lovely River Windrush, renowned for its beautifully clear water.

READ MORE: Country walks with pub gardens in the Cotswolds.

Heading out of the town the walk takes you on easy grassy paths alongside the River Windrush to St Oswald’s Church.  Standing in splendid isolation, in the middle of a field above the Windrush there are obvious signs through the lumps and bumps in the ground of the village that was once there. The main village of Widford was destroyed by the Black Death in the 17th century.

Leaving the little church behind, the path continues up to the top of the valley and on to the village of Fulbrook. From there you will return to Burford, where if you have time there are many fascinating medieval buildings to explore including the impressive St John the Baptist Church, pretty old Almshouses and old weaver’s cottages - all down by the river.

Bibury, Gloucestershire

Bibury, Gloucestershire - Credit: Getty Images

Bibury and Arlington

Start: Bibury
Distance: 6 miles (9.5km)
Time: Approx. 3 hours
Parking: Roadside
Recommended direction is clockwise

Bibury and Ablington walk

Bibury and Ablington walk - Credit: pathranger.com

This six-mile circular walk starts from the much visited village of Bibury, with its picturesque terrace of weaver cottages ‘Arlington Row’. Once described by William Morris as the most beautiful village in England, Bibury is often referred to as one of the most photographed villages in the country. Before starting on the walk take time to explore this fascinating village with the beautiful River Coln taking centre stage.

READ MORE: Dog-friendly walks in Warwickshire.

Leaving Bibury behind, the walk skirts past the quiet riverside village of Ablington with its magnificent Ablington Manor, a house and gardens that has been almost untouched by the disruption of time. Spend some time wandering around the village before continuing on your journey.  You will travel through the lovely rolling Cotswold countryside to the north of Bibury with its attractive farms, honey-coloured stone walls and rich farmland. The route passes Ablington Downs and follows country lanes and well defined tracks through fields, along valleys and beside woodland. 

When you arrive back in Bibury there is The Catherine Wheel pub and The Swan Hotel for welcome refreshments.

Coln St Aldwyns, Gloucestershire

Coln St Aldwyns, Gloucestershire - Credit: Getty Images

Coln St Aldwyns

Start: In the village of Coln St Aldwyns
Distance: 4.5 miles (7.2km)
Time: Approx. 2.5 hours
Parking: Roadside
Recommended direction is anticlockwise

Coln St Aldwyns walk

Coln St Aldwyns walk - Credit: pathranger.com

This easy walk starts from Coln St Aldwyns, an extremely attractive Cotswold stone village situated right on the River Coln. Take time to admire the pretty Cotswold stone cottages before heading down to the river for a delightful riverside walk which passes through water meadows and woodland. The walk then continues through open countryside and on to the next historic Cotswold village of Quenington with its Norman church and medieval gatehouse. Please note that some paths might be very muddy after heavy rain.

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