The Cotswold Way

The Cotswold Way stretches about 102 miles from Chipping Campden to Bath.
We walked the path round about the first week in May although the weather was very hot we did have some problem finding accommodation (even though we booked in January) as I think it was Badminton (a very popular horse show). Another thing we found was that on this path, accommodation and eating out was quite a bit more expensive than other paths we had done (and have done since). I think that this is due to the large amounts of tourists they get in this area and basically they seem to get away with charging what they want! Prices seemed to be most expensive around Chipping Campden, Broadway and the most picturesque bits.

For accommodation we used the Cotswold Way Accommodation Guide. As a guide book we used "A guide to the Cotswold Way" by Richard Sale. This had lots of interesting historic bits and some nice little sketch maps. Also "The Cotswold Way" by Mark Richards was a very slim book just containing hand drawn maps, ideal to stuff in your pocket. The path was so well waymarked, most of the time we didn't need and guides at all.

Day 1 Chipping Campden to Broadway - 6 miles
An easy half day today, we arrive and have lunch at Chipping Campden and then have a pleasant afternoon stroll to Broadway for our first night's accomodation. We start from the old Market Hall in Chipping and had a quick look at the almshouses and the gateway, all that remains of Sir Baptist Hicks Mansion (who also built the Market Hall). We then head towards the topogragh on Dover's Hill, the site of the old Cotswold "Olympick" Games. We then spy the Kiftsgate stone, this marked the point at which people met to discuss business and hand out justice. Later on we pass Broadway Tower which is the second highest point in the Cotswolds. Its all downhill into Broadway for the night.

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(1)Chipping Campden. The Market Hall.
(2)The Kiftsgate Stone.

Day 2 Broadway toWinchcombe - 12 miles
We leave Broadway and head towards Stanton and Stanway, there are some really pretty buildings here. We pass by the medieval cross in Stanton and then through Stanway, near to the impressive Stanway House which was built by Sir William Tracy. It was said that when he died and his will was read out the archbishop deemed it heretical (he was one of the few protestants in a catholic state) so they had him dug up and burnt at the stake. These two villages are extremely picturesque. We then climb and head toward Hailes Abbey. We stop for a look at the medieval Wall paintings in the 12th century church, then its a stroll down to Winchcombe. This path seems really well waymarked, we had a bet this morning as to who could guess the amount of markers and signposts on todays walk, I was nearest with 115!!!!


(1)Stanton Village.

Day 3 Winchcombe to Dowdswell Reservoir - 12 miles
Enjoyed Winchcombe last night, found a good pub serving reasonably priced food! We have a quick look around the place before leaving. We see the stocks (they were still in use as late as 1860) We leave near Sudeley Castle and push on towards Belas Knapp Long Barrow (a neolithic burial chamber). We have a look around before pushing on to Cleeve Common, after all the previous farmland this makes a nice change although we have a problem with the route and manage to get temporarily displaced (lost!) but this is a good bit nonetheless, especially the views at the top. We then head down towards Dowdeswell reservoir.

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(1)The Stocks, Winchcombe.
(2)Belas Knapp Long Barrow.
(3)Cleeve Common.

Day 4 Dowdeswell Reservoir to Painswick - 17 miles
Starting off in shorts this morning. We start off with a good climb up to Carlton Kings Common, its starting to get really hot now. We take a look at the Devils Chimney then have another climb into Birdlip. Its getting very tiring and the climb up to the top of Cooper's Hill, especially in this heat, just about finishes us! There used to be a cheese rolling festival here, they used to roll 7lb cheeses down the hill and whoever caught the cheese got to keep it! We finally pass near Prinknash Abbey (which is fairly modern) we then have another climb followed by the final drop down into Painswick (and not a moment too soon!).


(1)View towards Witcombe Reservoir.

Day 5 Painswick to Uley - 17 miles
Before we leave Painswick we look around St. Mary's Church with its 100+ trimmed Yew trees, we then go towards Dursley. On the way we pass a stone erected to commemorate the raising of the seige of Gloucester. Then we have a climb up Haresfield Beacon, with its good views of the Severn Vale. Its a very hot day today. Then through a couple of woods filled with bluebells, thank goodness its a bit cooler walking through them! We cross over the Stroudwater Canal and pass a large Mill. Another steep climb follows and again some nice woodland, then we pass Nympsfield Long Barrow and the Hetty Pegler's Tump and thankfully walk down to Uley.

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(1)Nympsfield Long Barrow.
(2)Commemororative Stone to the raising of the seige of Gloucester.

Day 6 Uley to Hawksbury Upton - 17.5 miles
Another hot morning, we leave Uley and head towards Dursley, where we stop to buy some provisions for lunch. Its then another climb through woodlands to pass through North Nibley. Just past here we spot the Tyndale Monument, built in 1866 as a memorial to William Tyndale, who translated the Bible into English (and was later burnt for it!) then we arrive at Wotton-under-edge. As it's so hot we decide to have a well deserved pint or two. Wotton seems an interesting place but at the moment all we are interested in is getting today over with! Its soon up hill again we then pass through Wortley, its hard to believe now but the stretch of river here had 15 mills on it. We've nearly finished for the day now, we pass the Somerset Monument, you can go to the top for the views, but it's closed when we get there. We finally arrive at Hawkesbury Upton after a long hot day!

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(1)The Tyndale Monument.
(2)The Somerset Monument.

Day 7 Hawkesbury Upton to Wick - 17.9 miles
We leave Hawksbury Upton about 10:00am and push on toward Horton, having a quick look at Horton Court. It is supposed to be the oldest inhabited house in England. Its starting to really warm up again. As we make our way to towards Little Sodbury I manage to persuade my mates to do a slight detour to visit Sodbury Hill Fort (which is supposed to be the finest one in the Cotswolds.) It just appears to be a large raised field full of cows and cow manure (boy am I in trouble!). Its then onto Old Sodbury and a little later through the grounds of Dodington park. The way is easy going and as its so hot we decide to stop a couple of times for liquid refreshments, and most welcome they are too! We them pass Dyrham House, its then a long slog down a major road, the only place we could find accommodation for the night was Wick (well off route).


(1)Dyrham House.

Day 8 Wick to Bath - 10.5 miles
A leisurely day today - But its still Hot!. Through Cold Ashton, past the memorial to Sir Bevil Granville who was killed here at the Battle of Lansdown. Another hill fort follows and then across Bath Race Course (not the actual track!) and into Weston and down into a school field on the suburbs of Bath. There seemed to be some sort of fete on today, we were met by a man who asked where we had come from, he then introduced himself as the Mayor of Bath and congratulated us on our walk!. We then took a rather devious route into Bath (I was in trouble for that as well!). Into the Royal Victoria Park and then past the Royal Crescent. We stop for a final photo outside Bath Abbey at the end of the walk.

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(1)Victoria Park, Bath.
(2)The Crescent, Bath.
(3)Pulteney Bridge, Bath.

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