Cotswold Way National Trail
Most of this beautiful route follows the steep western escarpment of the Cotswold Hills, abrubtly delineating this limestone plateau from the Vale of Severn as a cliff edge would delineate land and sea. There are magnificent views of the Vale from many vantage points such as Haresfield Beacon, Birdlip Hill and Cleeve Common. Much of the Cotswolds, including part of the Cotswold Way, form the nation's largest AONB. The scenery is indeed beautiful, and some of the villages are so picturesque with their golden Cotswold stone architecture so in harmony with nature that one is constantly tempted to linger.
If you do not know Bath it is worth adding time to your itinery to explore this wonderful city before setting out. There is also a treat in store at the end of the walk, in the picturesque market town of Chipping Camden. In between the route passes a number of important historical sites, including several Iron Age hill forts, the Belas Knap neolithic burial mound and the fascinating ruins of Hailes Abbey. Grand historic houses are also passed at Dyrham Park and Sudeley Castle.
The route itself is not unduly difficult, but can be surprisingly tiring as the path often descends and ascends the escarpment making for quite a lot of uphill sections. Stanway house is wonderful, the gatehouse and tall hall window magnificent and the setting charming. It has been used as a location for several period films. Just a few short fields away you come the the idylic Cotswold village of Stanton where 'The Mount' pub offers splendid views and a well earned drink.
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