Cotswold Way

Cotswold Way
Cotswold Way
Cotswold Way at Battle of Lansdown.JPG
Cotswold Way passing through the site of the Battle of Lansdowne
Length 102 mi (164 km)
Location Central England
Designation UK National Trail
Trailheads Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire
Bath, Somerset.
Use Hiking
Highest point Cleeve Hill, 1,083 ft (330 m) [1]

The Cotswold Way is a 102-mile (164 km) long-distance footpath, running along the Cotswold Edge escarpment of the Cotswold Hills in England. It was officially inaugurated as a National Trail on 24 May 2007 and several new rights of way have been created.[2]



The Cotswold Way route was first promulgated some 50 years ago by Gloucestershire-area Ramblers, of which Tony Drake of Cheltenham area and the late Cyril Trenfield of the South Gloucestershire area were principals. Although recognised as a suitable route for a National Trail in due course, the path was initially sponsored by Gloucestershire County Council, who had no powers of footpath creation, and so used only existing rights of way.

An early guide to the Way, in the hand-drawn pictorial style of Alfred Wainwright, was produced by another Cheltenham-area rambler, Mark Richards, in 1973. The foreword from Tony Drake says:

"... it is necessary to trace the history of the project to date. Following the passing of the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act of 1949, which made provision for the designation and creation of long distance paths, I put forward the idea of a footpath route following the Cotswold escarpment. This met with great interest but the plans which the Gloucestershire Committee of the Ramblers Association submitted to the National Parks Commission in 1953, though acknowledged and mentioned in the Commission's annual report of that year, was nevertheless pigeonholed and largely forgotten until Gloucestershire Council Council prepared its recreational plan for the countryside in 1968. The County Council decided to designate a Cotswold Way route itself, using existing public rights of way, and the scheme was launched during Footpath Week in May 1970. The Way has had priority in signposting and waymarking programmes but until the Countryside Commission get ministerial approval to create a national route, grants will not be available for maintenance and several very desirable rights of way, where none now exist are unlikely to be created."

A memorial to Trenfield was recently dedicated on the Way near Dyrham Park.


As it closely follows the scarp of the Cotswold Edge, the Cotswold Way usually affords views, mainly to the north and west—starting in the south with the Severn Estuary and Severn bridges, the meanders of the River Severn above Sharpness, the Forest of Dean, the Welsh hills of Monmouthshire and the Black Mountains on the Welsh border to the west. The distinctive shape of May Hill is visible for much of the route, as is the long spine of the Malvern Hills. Gloucester Cathedral can also be seen from the path.

Further north on the path, above Cheltenham, there are old quarries containing rock features such as the Devil's Chimney at Leckhampton. After Cleeve Hill the escarpment starts to turn to the east, giving views across the Vale of Evesham. The classic Cotswold villages of Stanton and Stanway are visited, then Broadway village, before the final steep ascent to Broadway Tower and the scenic descent to Chipping Campden.

On a clear day, the Clee Hills near Ludlow can be seen, 60 miles (97 km) to the northwest.

Places of interest

A view of the side of Broadway Tower with the entrance.

The 102-mile (164 km) trail runs northeast from Bath to Chipping Campden, through or near to the following towns: Old Sodbury, near Chipping Sodbury, Wotton-under-Edge, Dursley, Stroud, Painswick, Cranham, Leckhampton, Cheltenham, Winchcombe, Stanway and Broadway.

Broadway, Worcestershire

It passes numerous places of interest, including the site of the Battle of Lansdowne, the Somerset Monument, the Tyndale Monument, Sudeley Castle, Cleeve Hill, Hailes Abbey, and the Broadway Tower. With the exception of a small stretch around Broadway (which is in Worcestershire), the entire walk is within Gloucestershire (including South Gloucestershire) and Somerset (including Bath and North East Somerset).

Other recreational use

  • Besides being popular with walkers, the Cotswold Way is presently run annually as a 10-stage relay (the Cotswold Way Relay) from north to south, usually in late June or early July. The winning team typically takes an aggregate time of about 12 hours. It is run under Fell Runners' Association rules and organised by City of Bath Athletic Club.[3] It is traditional for the first leg to start from St James Church, Chipping Campden promptly at 7am. The lead runners finish the final leg outside the doors of Bath Abbey at about 6pm.
  • The Cotswold Way has also been run a handful of times as a non-stop Ultramarathon. Three runners are known to have finished in under 24 hours (Martin Humphries in 2007 and Martin Beale and Kevin Stroud in 2008), all running in the same "Chipping Campden to Bath" direction as the annual Cotswold Relay.[4]

Route and points of interest

Map showing the route of the Cotswold Way

Point Coordinates
(Links to map resources)
OS Grid Ref Notes
Start 51°22′30″N 2°21′32″W / 51.375°N 2.359°W / 51.375; -2.359 (Start) ST751640 Bath
51°25′34″N 2°24′04″W / 51.426°N 2.401°W / 51.426; -2.401 ST721697 Battle of Lansdowne
51°31′52″N 2°21′07″W / 51.531°N 2.352°W / 51.531; -2.352 ST756815 Old Sodbury
Somerset Monument 51°35′13″N 2°19′44″W / 51.587°N 2.329°W / 51.587; -2.329 (Somerset Monument) ST772876 Hawkesbury, Gloucestershire
51°38′06″N 2°21′18″W / 51.635°N 2.355°W / 51.635; -2.355 ST755929 Wotton-under-Edge
Tyndale Monument 51°39′29″N 2°22′19″W / 51.658°N 2.372°W / 51.658; -2.372 (Tyndale Monument) ST743956 Tyndale Monument at North Nibley
51°40′41″N 2°21′00″W / 51.678°N 2.350°W / 51.678; -2.350 ST758978 Dursley
51°44′42″N 2°15′22″W / 51.745°N 2.256°W / 51.745; -2.256 SO823052 Stroud
51°47′10″N 2°11′35″W / 51.786°N 2.193°W / 51.786; -2.193 SO867098 Painswick
51°49′01″N 2°09′04″W / 51.817°N 2.151°W / 51.817; -2.151 SO896132 Cranham
51°51′50″N 2°04′26″W / 51.864°N 2.074°W / 51.864; -2.074 SO949184 Leckhampton
Sudeley Castle 51°56′49″N 1°57′22″W / 51.947°N 1.956°W / 51.947; -1.956 (Sudeley Castle) SP031276 Sudeley Castle
Highest point 51°55′08″N 2°00′25″W / 51.919°N 2.007°W / 51.919; -2.007 (Highest point) SO996245 Cleeve Hill
51°57′25″N 1°58′08″W / 51.957°N 1.969°W / 51.957; -1.969 SP022287 Winchcombe
Hailes Abbey 51°58′05″N 1°55′41″W / 51.968°N 1.928°W / 51.968; -1.928 (Hailes Abbey) SP050299 Hailes Abbey
51°59′28″N 1°54′47″W / 51.991°N 1.913°W / 51.991; -1.913 SP060326 Stanway
Broadway Tower 52°01′26″N 1°50′06″W / 52.024°N 1.835°W / 52.024; -1.835 (Broadway Tower) SP113362 Broadway Tower
Broadway Hill 52°02′06″N 1°51′18″W / 52.035°N 1.855°W / 52.035; -1.855 (Broadway Hill) SP100374 Broadway
End 52°03′11″N 1°46′23″W / 52.053°N 1.773°W / 52.053; -1.773 (End) SP156395 Chipping Campden

See also


External links

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