- Getting started walking
- Tips for walking with diabetes
- How often should I exercise?
- How many calories will I burn?
- Is walking a good workout?
- Warm up for walking
- Walking for health
- Pregnancy and walking
- Walking can help our overweight youngsters
- Walking helps in fight against obesity
- Avoid travel chaos: walk to work!
- Diet Coke nutrition info
- 10 reasons to take up walking
- Walking facts
- Finding motivation
- How a good walk can help with stress
- A cliff with a view: New Quay walk
- St Nicholas, Vale of Glamorgan
- Bawsey Church near King's Lynn, Norfolk
- Walking Facts and Figures
- Rambling: how to get started
- Footpath Erosion
- Advice and Information for Leaders of Rambles
- An Introduction to the Hadrian's Wall Path
- An Introduction to the Pennine Way
- An Introduction to the Coast to Coast Walk
- An Introduction to the Cotswold Way
- Public Rights of Way FAQ
- A Guide to Walking in Britain
- More Than a Walk
An Introduction to the Cotswold Way
The Cotswold Way stretches 100 miles (161 km) from Chipping Campden (in the north of Gloucestershire) to Bath, via the villages of Broadway, Winchcombe, Dursley and Wotton-under-Edge. It is a scenic, undulating route through quiet countryside, and has proved to be a very popular long-distance footpath. Although probably best walked over the course of a week, stronger walkers could finish it in less. The trail also lends itself to regular daily or weekend outings.
The route was proposed by an RA member in 1950 and established by Gloucestershire RA members and the Cotswold Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty joint advisory committee in 1970. In 1998 the route was declared a National Trail. It will take the Countryside Commission five years to bring the route up to national trail standard.
The low limestone hills and agricultural valleys do not pose too many problems for walkers, but there are a few stiff ascents up slopes that can be muddy in wet weather and hazardous in severe wintry conditions. The highest point on the route is Cleeve Cloud, near Winchcombe, at 1,083ft (330m). Despite the rural surroundings, you are never far away from assistance, and many of the villages and stone-built farms offer refreshment and accommodation. The route is waymarked throughout (by a small white spot accompanying a directional arrow), although maps are always useful should you want or need to visit places off the trail. It is advisable to wear walking boots (especially when climbing the steep scarp slopes).
There are B&Bs in many of the villages along the way, but booking ahead is advisable in the popular summer months. The Rambler's Yearbook & Accommodation Guide has addresses where walkers are welcome (£4.99 plus £1.00 p+p from RA central office); and The Cotswold Way Handbook carries a more comprehensive list. Local tourist information centres will also be able to help: Chipping Campden, tel 01386 840101; Broadway, tel 01386 852937; Winchcombe, tel 01242 602925; Bath, 01225 462831. There is only one youth hostel on the route, at Bath.
Guidebooks, maps and further information
s The Cotswold Way Handbook by Glos Area RA, from RA central office. Up-to-date practical information, including B&B addresses, campsites and public transport details
s The Cotswold Way by Mark Richards, from RA central office; The Cotswold Way by Anthony Burton (Aurum Press, £9.99) - well-written, recently-published route guides
Although these two guidebooks have basic maps, the following Ordnance Survey Landranger maps cover the entire route and are recommended: 150, 151, 162, 163, 172. These can be purchased from official OS stockists (call OS Information on 01703 792792) but not from the Ramblers' Association.
For more information on the route and the state of the path (plus free leaflet) contact Cotswold Countryside Service, Gloucestershire County Council, Shire Hall, Gloucester GL1 2TN.
- Chipping Campden: British Rail to Stratford or Evesham, then bus (call Hereford & Worcester's Bus Line on 01345 125436); or train to Moreton-in-Marsh, then bus (call Glos public transport enquiry line, tel 01452 425543). There are also some buses from Cheltenham, and Summer and Bank Holiday services from Tewkesbury and Worcester. By road - leave A44 near Broadway.
- Bath: British Rail, and dozens of bus and coach services from a wide area. Call Avon public transport enquiry line, tel 0117 955 5111. By road - M4 junction 18.