Cotswold Way National Trail

Haresfield BeaconMost of this beautiful route follows the steep western escarpment of the Cotswold Hills, abrubtly delineating this limestone plateau from the Vale of Severn almost 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.

There is an eternal debate about the best way to walk the Cotswold Way, south to north, or north to south. We have given a suggested very leisurely northbound route itinerary opposite. This would make an idyllic fortnight holiday, but if less time is available several adjacent sections can be walked in a day if you are happy to walk 12 to 15 miles on some days. There is accommodation on or very close to the route at all the daily end points, but it is limited, so it is essential to plan and book in advance.

Bath - Cold Ashton 10m
Cold Ashton - Tormarton 6m
Tormarton - Hawkesbury Upton 8m
Hawkesbury - Wotton-under-Edge 8m
Wotton-under-Edge - Dursley 7m
Dursley - King’s Stanley 6.5m
King’s Stanley - Painswick 9.5m
Painswick - Birdlip 7m
Birdlip - Dowdeswell 9.5m
Dowdeswell - Cleeve Hill 6m
Cleeve Hill - Winchcombe 6.5m
Winchcombe - Stanton 8m
Stanton - Chipping Campden 10m


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Start: Bath

Grid Ref: ST 741643

End: Chipping Camden

Grid Ref: SP 154391

Distance: 161 km

Walking Time: 10 days

Counties Traversed

Explorer™ Maps
153; 155; 167; 179; OL45

Cotswold Way1

Cotswold Way Trailblazer Guide


Cotswold Way Harvey Map

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