Seven of the Best Country Walks in the Cotswolds

Seven of the Best Country Walks in the Cotswolds

Get in touch with the great outdoors on some of the Cotswold’s best walking routes. Guiding you between Chipping Norton to Bath, we’ve picked out scenic rambles past historical ruins and more challenging country hikes that give you a new perspective on a well-known city. Grab your walking boots.

trodden the length and breadth of the Cotswolds, from Chipping Norton to Bath, and picked out the best country walks on offer.
Whether you’re in the market for Roman ruins, neolithic stone
circles, carpets of billowing wildflowers or a 360-degree vista
looking out over some of Britain’s most famous parkland, the
Cotswolds has you something to make you a happy hiker. Stuff your
rucksack with snacks, grab a water bottle (reusable, please) and shake out
lockdown legs on one of these scenic walks.

The great outdoors: seven of the best country walks in the
Cotswolds, plus directions

Marshfield to Cold Ashton Circular Walk


Distance: 11km

Start by walking up Weir Lane. Eventually, you’ll notice a
slight uphill gradient as the street gives way to Beek’s Lane. Once
you reach a brook (you’ll know it’s the right one as the lane comes
to an end), take the footpath to your right. Climb over stiles –
watch out for cattle – until you hit Leigh Lane. The footpath bears
right again here. Continue through woodlands and, after a few
kilometres, you’ll find yourself in Cold Ashton. Rejoin the
footpath after pootling about the village and carry on straight
through the valley. You’ll pass an old farm building to your left
and, eventually, the stream will join you on your right. When you
reach Green Lane, turn left towards Marshfield High Street. In no
time, you’ll be back where you started. Done.

Lower Woods Nature Reserve


Distance: as long or short as you like

In the height of summer, the largely shaded paths of this nature
reserve cut through rippling blankets of wildflowers, making it a
real good’un for those freakishly hot days when you want to simply
get outdoors. There’s little point in us instructing you exactly
where to walk. As you might expect, this spot is riven with paths
which hop over streams and pass through leafy thickets. From our
experience, it’s particularly popular with dogs.

Castle Combe and Nettleton Mill Circular Walk


Distance: 6km

Park up in the tantalisingly twee village of Castle Combe.
Follow The Street (yes, real name) up to the entrance to Becker’s
Wood. Find the public footpath that leads from here through
Parsonage Wood. Stick to the path until you reach Long Dean, then
bear right and follow the stream towards Common Hill Plantation.
Again, bear right and follow a hedge-rimmed road until it takes a
sharp left, at which point you’ll notice a footpath open up on your
right beside the stream. After a kilometre, you’ll cross a bridge
over Broadmead Brook and find yourself at Deverell’s Plantation.
The footpath continues back over the brook, and then over the By
Brook (again, real name) before depositing you back in Castle
Combe. That’s just shy of 6km on your pedometer.

A Different Perspective on Bath


Distance: 9km

This hike is no walk in the park, but it’s not so difficult that
you’ll require walking poles. Do, however, bring snacks. Start by
heading up to Sham Castle. Once up on the ridge, bear left and
follow the signposted footpaths, making sure that you keep the city
to your right at all times. If you lose sight of Bath’s
cappuccino-coloured buildings, you’ve gone wrong and it’s time to
recalibrate. Follow it around Monkton Combe. Claverton will be
signposted to your left, but stay up on the ridge and continue
bearing right. You’ll have to cross the slightly busy Claverton
Down Road, but carry on towards Wessex Water, taking the right turn
towards Prior Park as and when you see it signposted. Instead of
heading into Prior Park (by all means, do check out its landscape
garden), follow signs towards Bath Skyline. Pause here for snacks
before heading towards Widcombe and Sham Castle just beyond.

Chedworth’s Roman Villa


Distance: 7km

We’re using this ancient monument as a jumping-off point for a
stroll through the looming, millennia-old woodlands nearby. We
recommend taking the Monarch’s Way from Chedworth village up to the
villa and along the River Coln. Continue onwards until you reach a
bridge. Either cross it and follow footpaths back towards Chedworth
or loop back through the woods until the villa remains re-emerge
through the copse.

Old Sodbury and Little Sodbury

South Gloucestershire

Distance: 5km

Yes. Har har, very funny. This walk is a round trip of the
Sodburys, two charming but unfortunately named villages speckled
with historical landmarks, not far from Bristol. It starts with a
sharp ascent up to Old Sodbury’s St John’s Church, from which
you’ll get a juicy vista out across rural South Gloucestershire.
From there, continue north on the Cotswold Way until you reach a
plateau marked by an Iron Age hillfort. Continue towards Little
Sodbury – who is no less ‘grammable than her older sibling – before
turning back on yourself and taking the footpath which bears left,
towards Sodbury Camp. About half an hour later you’ll hit a road
junction with Old Sodbury Church of England Primary School on the
corner. Bear right and, in no time, you’ll find yourself back where
you started.

Rollright Stones Walk


Distance: 8km

This route takes you along Shakespeare’s Way, one of the
Cotswolds’ longest footpaths, and drops you off at Rollright
Stones, a historical stone formation whose origins remain a
mystery. Chipping Norton is your starting point. Once you’ve popped
into its 17th-century almshouses and its 12th-century church, find
Shakespeare’s Way and set forth for Salford. It’s about 5km to the
stones. Either head back from whence you came or follow signs to
Brighthill Farm to make it a circular route.

A view across Regent's Canal

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