Belas Knap Long Barrow and Cleeve Common
Winchcombe is a hugely popular spot for walkers, and with the impressive views of Sudeley Castle a mile away, it’s not hard to see why. This scenic eight-and-a-half-mile walk takes you up along The Cotswold Way to the Neolithic burial mound of Belas Knap. From here, head west along the atmospheric Cleeve Common until you reach the Single Beech and Iron Age fort, perched high up on the Cotswold Edge. With views as far as Wales on a clear day, it’s worth the trek. Head back down to Postlip, then into Winchcombe for a well-deserved local ale at The Lion Inn.
The Lion Inn, 37 North Street, Winchcombe GL54 5PS, 01242 603 300
Cotswold Way National Trail at Chipping Campden
This beautiful walk really shows off what the Cotswolds has to offer. Starting off in the picturesque market town of Chipping Campden, head into the leafy tranquillity of Lynches Wood – if you visit in May you’ll be rewarded with one of the area’s best show of bluebells. Carry on up to Dover’s Hill for some breath-taking views, before returning back to town and relaxing with a drink in the garden of The Eight Bells pub.
Eight Bells, Church Street, Chipping Campden GL55 6JG, 01386 840371
River Windrush and The Slaughters
This seven-and-a-half-mile walk is the perfect way to explore classic Cotswold scenery and villages. Walking through the lush green of Windrush Valley, alongside the river, you’ll pass ancient ruins, the chocolate box perfection of The Slaughters and truly gorgeous scenery. Starting in Naunton, walk south along Wardens Way. Cross the River Windrush, using the footbridge beyond Aston Farm, turn left onto Macmillan Way, then take Wardens Way through The Slaughters and back to Naunton – and the very welcoming Black Horse Inn!
The Black Horse Inn, Naunton GL54 3AA, 01451 850565
Bourton-on-the-Hill and Batsford Arboretum
Start your walk on the Heart of England Way, where you’ll pass the dazzling Sezincote House – a dramatic Indian palace-inspired country house, well worth a visit if you’re there during visiting hours. From here make your way north through the pretty market town of Moreton-in-Marsh, then across open fields (wellies may be required here!) towards Batsford House. Do try and make time to explore the house and its beautiful arboretum if you can. Rejoin the Heart of England Way and make your return back to Bourton-on-the-Hill and the award-winning Horse and Groom.
The Horse and Groom, Bourton-on-the-Hill GL56 9AQ, 01386 700413
Blenheim Great Park
There’s no denying the impressive beauty of Blenheim Palace, but don’t overlook the extensive Capability-Brown designed grounds – these are worth a visit in their own right. To get away from the crowds and explore a little further-afield, turn right at the park entrance, down the hill, then follow the track around the lake, over the hill towards the Column of Victory. From here join the footpath through the woods, leading you up the valley past the other side of the lake and the Palace. Such a regal destination deserves a fitting celebration, and the sophisticated, but homely, King’s Arms makes a great place to relax after your walk.
The King’s Arms, 19 Market Street, Woodstock OX20 1SU, 01993 813636
Stanton, Snowshill and Stanway
Boasting panoramic views across the Malvern Hills and Black Welsh mountains, The Mount Inn makes an impressive starting (and finishing) point for your walk. The pub’s beer garden is the perfect place to plan your route, or soak up the sunshine – and views – on your return. This eight mile walk follows the Cotswold Way round to Shenberrow Hill (past the Neolithic fort), then Winchcombe Way. From here, loop around towards Snowshill, via Buckland Wood. If time allows, do try and have a stroll around Snowshill Manor and Garden, before heading back through Lidcombe Wood, down the steep hill to Stanway and the final leg along the Cotswold Way to Stanton.
The Mount Inn, Stanton, Near Broadway WR12 7NE, 01386 584316