Walk 3065 - printer friendly version
Cleeve Common & Belas Knap from Winchcombe Walk
Author - Lou Johnson
Length - 10.0 miles / 16.3 km
Ascent - 1200 feet / 364 metres
Grade - moderate
Start - OS grid reference SP023284
Lat 51.954085 + Long -1.9679409
Postcode GL54 5PZ (approx. location only)
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.
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.