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Fall In Love With The Cotswolds By Finding The Finest Places To Walk

It’s hard not to become infatuated with the Cotswolds: from chocolate box villages and rolling hills to breathtaking countryside, there’s few places better to walk in the UK.

The Cotswolds is an area in south-central England known for its picturesque villages, rolling hills, and limestone cottages. Here are some facts about the Cotswolds:

The area is located primarily in the counties of Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire, but it also extends into parts of Wiltshire, Somerset, Worcestershire, and Warwickshire. It covers about 800 square miles and is designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.


Its landscape of rolling hills, valleys, and meadows is broken up by dry stone walls or hedgerows.

The Cotswolds is one of the best places to walk if you’re after quintessentially English countryside scenery.

The area is predominantly made up of limestone, which has been quarried for centuries. When walking throughout this area, you’ll notice the distinctive honey-colored Cotswold stone which is a prominent feature in many of the region's buildings.

The Cotswolds has a rich history dating back to Roman times when it was an important area for sheep farming and the wool trade. During the Middle Ages, the wool trade brought great wealth to the region, resulting in the construction of many of its historic towns and villages.

With so many fantastic walking opportunities, what are the best places to go walking in the Cotswolds?

One of the most popular places is The Cotswold Way.

This long-distance footpath stretches for 102 miles from Chipping Campden in the north to Bath in the south. It takes you through some of the most beautiful countryside in England. With our handy routes on Walking Britain, you can choose to walk the entire route or just select sections.


If you’re looking for a charming village, you can’t go wrong with Bourton-on-the-Water. Known as the Venice of the Cotswolds, it provides scenic walking paths along the River Windrush. You can stroll along the riverbanks and explore the village's quaint streets and bridges.

Big fan of Tudor and 17th century history?

Lesser known but equally charming is the town of Burford, which is rich in history and has a large number of grade II listed buildings. Neglected by the Victorians, Burford managed to survive into the 21st century relatively unscathed.

Located near Burford, the Cotswold Wildlife Park is home to a variety of exotic animals and beautiful gardens. You can enjoy a walk around the park, spotting animals such as lions, giraffes, and rhinos, while also taking in the scenic surroundings.

Climb the Broadway Tower for spectacular views.

If you’re after stunning panoramic views of the surrounding countryside, there are several walking trails around the tower. That includes the Cotswold Way, offering varying levels of difficulty.

After a leisurely walk? You might want to visit Bibury.

This picturesque village is famous for its row of honey-colored cottages known as Arlington Row. You can take a leisurely walk around the village and explore the nearby countryside and Bibury Trout Farm.

Another relaxed walk is the historic Sudeley Castle near Winchcombe, which include gardens, woodland walks, and medieval ruins. Sudeley Castle is surrounded by scenic countryside, making it a great place for a leisurely stroll.

There are several walking trails in Crickley Hill Country Park.

This nature reserve near Cheltenham offers several walking trails through woodland, grassland, and scrubland. From the top of Crickley Hill, you can enjoy panoramic views of the Severn Vale and the Malvern Hills.

Meanwhile, Minchinhampton Common is a vast expanse of open grassland near Stroud. It is perfect for a relaxing walk with beautiful views of the surrounding countryside. You might also spot grazing cattle and wild ponies in this area which make fantastic photographs.

The Cotswolds has its fair share of famous figures.

For instance, Laurie Lee, the renowned English poet and author, lived in the village of Slad, which is located in the Cotswolds region of Gloucestershire, England. Many literature fans travel to the village to check out the place where he grew up.

Lee's autobiographical work "Cider with Rosie" vividly portrays his life growing up in the Cotswolds during the early 20th century. Slad is often associated with Lee's literary legacy and attracts visitors interested in exploring the settings that inspired his writing. You can still see the house where his family lived.

Did you know that Tolkein, the renowned author of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, spent much time in the Cotswolds. He lived in the village of Stonyhurst near Chipping Norton during the 1930s and drew inspiration from the area's landscapes for his fictional Middle-earth.

Our local walking guides and maps provide detailed information on routes and terrain suitability.

If you're planning on going walking in the Cotswolds, check out our latest routes today.

Check out our previous article here.

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