Trek: Cotswold Way

The Cotswold Way

160 km / 100 mi trek through the picturesque Cotswolds region of the UK

Pretty Pictures

Here’s a taste of what you’ll see / experience along the Cotswold Way:

  • Trail signpost on Cotswold Way near Broadway Tower
    Trail signpost on Cotswold Way near Broadway Tower, May 2014
    Photo by Kathryn Yengel

Description

The Cotswold Way is an official UK National Trail, running from the picturesque wool-town of Chipping Campden in the north to the historic city of Bath in the south, traversing much of the popular Cotswolds region. It is a beautiful walk between charming villages and towns, climbing and descending lots of hills, passing many historical attractions, and encountering almost constant panoramic viewpoints. It is a peaceful, charming, contemplative walk.

Designated as a UK National Trail in 2007, this trail has continued to impress those who have walked it with its mix of rich history and scenic vistas. Depending on the exact path you choose to follow, it is a little under 160 km / 100 mi in length with about 4,160 m / 13,650 ft of ascent and 4,275 m / 14,025 ft of descent — if you don’t have great hill-climbing legs when you start, you will when you finish!

There is much to see in the Cotswolds region, including ancient settlements and barrows, old wool churches, manor homes, castles, roman villages, countless viewpoints over the escarpment, and of course the famous Roman bath house at its southern terminus.

The Cotswold Way is a popular trail among UK long-distance walkers but is relatively unknown to the rest of the world. If you are looking for your next long-distance walking adventure, the Cotswold Way is worth a close look.
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Suitability

The Cotswold Way is a footpath only. There is no cycling, motorized vehicles, or equestrian riding permitted on the trail. The trail can generally be completed by any reasonably fit person –no experience needed- the constant hiking up and down the face of the escarpment is the main challenge, not any specific technical difficulty of the trail itself. Walkers of all ages do the Cotswold Way each year.

The Cotswold Walk is also ideal for ‘weekenders’ and day hikers. There are plenty of circular walks suitable for one or two days. For example, check out the footpaths around Cleeve Hill or explore the scenic park around Broadway Tower, both of which are excellent day hikes.
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Characteristics

What are the notable characteristics of the Cotswold Way? Here’s what jumps out to us:

  • Signposting / waymarkings: Excellent-quality.
  • Terrain / paths: Typically range from good to excellent, with uniformly good footing. The route consists of a mix of hills / woodland trails, rural roads, and both paved and unpaved walkways.
  • Elevation changes: Frequent ascents and descents, sometimes steeply though mostly modest. Just expect to be doing a lot of it.
  • Accommodation: Generally at B & Bs, of which there is a huge selection. Hotels are also available in most towns. Due to popularity of the region, bookings should be made in advance (especially in high season).
  • Camping: Not permitted except at commercial campgrounds (i.e. no ‘wild camping’)
  • F & B: Pubs and restaurants are widely available.
  • Local transportation: Excellent quality and widely available, making it easy to jump on or off the route.
  • Costs: Relatively high costs for food and accommodation.
  • Trail permit: Not required.
  • Baggage transport services: Yes, several companies are available to move baggage along for you.
  • Seasonality: Can be done all year.
  • Direction: Can be done in either direction, though most people seem to walk it north-to-south.

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Overview Map

To avoid cluttering the display, this map just shows the main route (of course, our TrekRight app also includes alternate sections, access trails, side trips, etc. and, of course, comprehensive details on communities, attractions, accommodations, services / F & B, and points of interest along the entire route – all shown on detailed offline maps).
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Feedback Wanted: If you have any suggestions on how we can make our Cotswold Way content more helpful to you and other hikers, please let us know. Likewise, your feedback on anything in Trekopedia would be very much appreciated. Send us your tips, personal experiences, funny and/or interesting stories, trip photos, links to your trip journals, and so on. Likewise, please pass along any interesting trail-related news you hear about – we’ll help spread the word within the Trekopedia community.