The Cotswold Way
Arguably one of the most well-known routes for walkers in the area and certainly the longest, the Cotswold Way stretches over 100 miles through the region. Starting at Chipping Campden, the long-distance walking trail leads all the way to the beautiful city of Bath, taking in glorious countryside, picturesque villages and ancient landmarks. The full route takes between seven to 10 days to complete, so unless you’re a very keen hiker you might prefer to dip in and out of the Cotswold Way on one of the many smaller routes on offer.
The Windrush Way
At 14 miles, the Windrush Way is a great choice for those after a challenging walk that can be finished in a day. The circular route links the Cotswold Way at Winchcombe with the Oxfordshire Way at Bourton-on-the-Water. Follow the trail up over the Cotswold hills, through the remains of ‘lost’ medieval villages and along the peaceful River Windrush. This quiet walk is the perfect route to really get away from it all, just make sure you pack a picnic to refuel midway!
The Cleeve Hill Ring
This six and a half-mile walk takes you up to the Cotswolds’ highest common, where you’ll be rewarded with breath taking views out to the Malverns and even across to Wales on a clear day. The area is famous for its limestone grassland, which is home to a huge number of birds as well as rare plants and wildflowers. The old English name for the hill is Cleeve Cloud and at 330m above sea level you can understand why. If the weather is bad, it’s best to avoid this route as the mist can set in very quickly.
The Diamond Way
Created by the Ramblers’ North Cotswold Group to celebrate its 60th Jubilee in 1995, this 65 mile walk is the perfect way to explore some of the prettiest villages and towns the Cotswolds has to offer. The circular (or, to be more specific, diamond) shaped route crosses undulating farmland and idyllic woodland, passing through sleepy hamlets of honey-hued stone and along meandering streams. It will take a week to complete, stopping overnight at traditional Cotswold inns or friendly B&Bs along the way, but if you’d prefer, try one of the shorter circular walks along the route that are between three and seven miles long.
The Leckhampton Loop
One of the many circular routes along the Cotswold Way, the Leckhampton Loop guides you through grasslands rich with wildlife into peaceful ancient woodlands, and past an Iron Age hillfort. With magnificent views on offer, especially when you reach Leckhampton Hill’s viewpoint, it’s worth a short detour to check out the iconic Cotswolds landmark of the Devil’s Chimney if you have time.
The Rollright Stones
At just over five miles, this scenic route is a great introduction to the Oxfordshire Cotswolds. Starting at the pretty village of Salford, the walk takes you along the valley, then up towards the mysterious Rollright Stones. This collection of three Bronze Age stone circles – the Whispering Knights, the King’s Men and the King Stone – has a fascinating history; legend has it a King and his men were turned to stone by a witch, resulting in the Rollright Stones. Once you’ve explored the stones, follow the walk down through the charming hamlet of Little Rollright, back towards Salford and go for a well-earned drink at The Salford Inn.