The 102 mile Cotswold Way is a flagship walking trail, nationally recognised for its special features and quality of standard. The trail follows the limestone escarpment on the western edge of the Cotswolds from the market town of Chipping Campden in the north, to Bath in the south. It was originally launched as a walking route in 1970 and became a National Trail in 2007. In 2008, the Board was formally appointed by Natural England to co-ordinate the management and maintenance of the Cotswold Way.
Key achievements of 2011/12 are:
- The Cotswold Way: A three year framework 2011-14 was developed to guide the management and development of the Cotswold Way until 2014.
- The Cotswold Way teamed up with South Korea’s Jeju Olle National Trail to become one of the world’s first ‘friendship trails’.
- A new off-road mobility 'tramper' scheme was launched at Crickley Hill Country Park in April 2011 to help people with limited mobility reach more areas of the countryside and enjoy the beauty of the Cotswold Way National Trail.
- A new guide to the family of long-distance named routes across the Cotswolds was published.
- The popular Cotswold Way circular routes were featured on the Explore Gloucestershire free mobile app, making it even easier to navigate the walks without having print out directions and introducing a new audience to the delights of the Cotswold Way.
- We secured a pilot for Natural England to explore the future funding and management arrangements for National Trails. The aim of the pilot is to develop full integration of the management of a National Trail with the management of a protected landscape, acting as a test-bed for an approach that could be applied to other National Trails in future.
- The steering group for the Bath marker project agreed a new design for the start/finish marker at Bath which will see a large floor mounted piece outside the west doors of Bath Abbey.
As part of the new Cotswold Way and Jeju Olle Friendship Trail initiative, a short circular walk following the Cotswold Way around Stinchcombe Hill near Dursley has been signed with special markers, introducing people to one of the most scenic parts of the Cotswolds AONB, whilst raising awareness of walking in other countries. Similarly, a section of Jeju Olle has been marked with the familiar oak sign posts seen along the Cotswold Way, inviting visitors to the island to come walking in the one of England’s most stunning landscapes. The Cotswolds Korea Friendship Trail is one of the first ‘twin trails’ in the world, and it is hoped that the idea will spread across the globe, promoting understanding and walking, whilst boosting tourism and local economy.
Just a few of the comments we received during 2011/12:
- “We were all so impressed with the very high standard that you maintain in every aspect of the Cotswold Way which must be one of Britain's finest walks. I did it many years ago and am inspired to do it again after this adventure if my rheumatism will let me! Once again thank you very much indeed for all your help...” Martin Bax, September
- “I just thought I should compliment those in charge on the excellent signing on the way; my brother and I have just done the southern half, and found no junctions which weren’t signed, no signs which had been moved – and we could (just) have walked the path without a map. So congratulations! Much better than many paths…”Richard Walker, July
- “Hi, thanks for providing the circular walks maps. I visited the Cotswolds this weekend and completed a couple of your walks - great instructions, great map. Very enjoyable walks...” Simon Brown, August