logo Walking Britain

Cotswolds Walk
Cleeve Common & Belas Knap from Winchcombe

Region - Cotswolds

County/Area - Gloucestershire

Author - Lou Johnson

Length - 10.0 miles / 16.3 km    Ascent - 1200 feet / 364 metres

Time - 6 hours 10 minutes    Grade - moderate

Start - OS grid reference SP023284
Lat 51.954085 // Long -1.967941
Postcode GL54 5PZ (approx. location only)
what3words start like.opposites.boomers

Maps Ordnance Survey Logo Anquet Maps Logo

Ordnance Survey Explorer OL45Sheet Map1:25kBUY
Anquet OS Explorer OL45Digital Map1:25kBUY
Ordnance Survey Explorer 179Sheet Map1:25kBUY
Anquet OS Explorer 179Digital Map1:25kBUY
Ordnance Survey Landranger 163Sheet Map1:50kBUY
Anquet OS Landranger 163Digital Map1:50kBUY

It is recommended you take a map. The preferred scale is 1:25k.

Walk Route Description

Photo from the walk - Cleeve Common & Belas Knap from Winchcombe Photo from the walk - Cleeve Common & Belas Knap from Winchcombe Photo from the walk - Cleeve Common & Belas Knap from Winchcombe Photo from the walk - Cleeve Common & Belas Knap from Winchcombe Photo from the walk - Cleeve Common & Belas Knap from Winchcombe Photo from the walk - Cleeve Common & Belas Knap from Winchcombe
Click thumbnails for larger images.

This route starts in the small, unspoilt Cotswold town of Winchcombe. Here you will still find butchers, bakers and greengrocers so the general feeling is one of a working community despite the attractive buildings that line the streets. The walk continues onto higher ground of Cleeve Common before completing the circuit using the Cotswold Way. Please note (October 2009) that the Cotswold Way has been re-routed in the Belas Knap and Cleeve Common area since this description was written. Please refer to maps and follow local signage.

Cleeve Common & Belas Knap from Winchcombe Cleeve Common & Belas Knap from Winchcombe Cleeve Common & Belas Knap from Winchcombe 
Click thumbnails for larger images.

There is a public car park located on Back Lane (Grid ref. SP023284). From here locate High Street reached by following Cowl Lane south from the car park. Turn right along Abbey Terrace (a continuation of High Street) and then first left down Vineyard Street. Just after reaching the bottom of the hill take the signed path on your right (Grid ref. SP024280), which leads across fields to a road. Turn right along the road to a junction where a signed footpath (Grid ref. SP017276) takes you through fields alongside the River Isbourne to reach Postlip Mills. Walk through this factory complex. Care is needed to locate the onward footpath which is at the western end of the factory area (Grid ref. SP008272).

After having successfully located the path follow it for a short way to where the path turns southwest. On the right is a smaller path which follows the field boundary towards Postlip Hall, which is partly hidden on your right. Reaching a driveway, continue straight ahead on the Cotswold Way. The Cotswold Way bears half right and then reaches a junction of paths (grid ref. SO997267). Go left here. This leads you through a narrow belt of trees to reach and open area in a valley (Grid ref. SO995266).

There are many paths and care is needed to make sure you take the correct one, which is the Cotswold Way heading roughly northwest. This well made path leads steeply uphill across a golf course to reach the club house. The Cotswold Way in this area is waymarked and once located is easy to follow. However there are sections when you need to make a few assumptions and a good map is essential.

The Cotswold Way follows an undulating route past the 317m. trig point where excellent views across the surrounding countryside and Cheltenham are on offer. Staying on the Cotswold Way descend slightly to reach a wide path (Grid ref. SO984260) heading SSE towards a group of radio masts, which are the next objective. Follow this path to the masts from where the paths on the ground do not exactly match those shown on maps. The best option is to walk ESE to the boundary fence (Grid ref. SP000246) to join the Cotswold Way to Wontley Farm (Grid ref SP008246). Turn left here along a track to Belas Knap. This restored long barrow is an interesting feature and typical of this kind of structure.

The path turns sharp left here and takes a rather circuitous route to reach a lane (Grid ref. SP022261). Turn right along the lane. Take the second signed path on your left past Humblebee Cottages to Wadfield Farm. The path goes to the right of the buildings here with the onward route a well-trodden path with Winchcombe in sight ahead. Reaching a lane (Grid ref. SP025277), turn left and walk into the town. At the top of Vineyard Street, turn right and return to the car park along Cowl Lane.

Other walks nearby

Walk 3064 Hailes, Beckbury & Sudeley from Winchcombe - moderate - 10.0 miles/16.3 km

Walk 3327 Temple Guiting & Cutsdean from Stanway - moderate - 10.0 miles/16.3 km

Walk 3063 Stanway & Snowshill from Stanton - moderate - 8.0 miles/13 km

Walk 3072 Stanton & Laverton from Broadway - easy/mod - 7.5 miles/12.2 km

Walk 3250 The Broadway Tower from Broadway - easy/mod - 5.0 miles/8.1 km

Walk 1853 Bredon Hill from Kemerton - easy/mod - 5.2 miles/8.5 km

Walk 2495 Bredon Hill circular from Elmley Castle - moderate - 10.6 miles/17.2 km

Walk 2402 Bredon Hill from Elmley Castle - easy/mod - 5.5 miles/8.9 km

Walk 1848 Turkdean & Notgrove from Cold Aston - easy/mod - 6.5 miles/10.6 km

Walk 2676 River Severn & Apperley from Tewkesbury - easy/mod - 7.5 miles/12.2 km

Recommended Books & eBooks

The Cotswold Way

The Cotswold WayGuidebook to walking the Cotswold Way National Trail. Between Chipping Campden and Bath, the 102 mile route explores the Cotswolds AONB. Described in both directions over 13 stages, the Cotswold Way can be walked year round and is suitable for beginner trekkers. Includes separate OS 1:25,000 map booklet of the route.
More information

The Severn Way

The Severn WayGuidebook to walking the Severn Way, a 210 mile (338km) walk through the Welsh borders. Beginning near the source of the River Severn in Powys, mid-Wales, and finishing in Bristol, the history-rich route is described over 22 stages (ranging from 3 to 14 miles), passing through the counties of Powys, Shropshire, Worcestershire and Gloucestershire.
More information


NavigationThis pocket handbook to navigation will help you master the necessary map and compass skills for mountain walking. Chapters include map scales, symbols and contours, grid references, map reading, bearings, route planning and night and bad-weather navigation, as well as navigating with a GPS.
More information

Social Media

Follow Walking Britain for the latest news.

Facebook Twitter

Mountain Weather

Stay safe on the mountains with detailed weather forecasts - for iOS devices or for Android devices.

Digital Mapping Guide

Digital Mapping Guide - a simple guide of how to start using digital mapping. Includes advice and useful links.