Cotswold Way National Trail

Cotswold Way Finger Post


Just over 100 miles of Cotswolds countryside

Follow the Cotswolds escarpment with its stunning views and charming villages from the beautiful Cotswold market town of Chipping Campden in the north to the World Heritage City of Bath in the south.

The Cotswold Way is a long distance walking trail that runs between the market town of Chipping Campden in the north and the city of Bath in the south.

The trail is 102 miles (164 km) long, and runs for most of its length on the Cotswold escarpment. It passes through many picturesque villages and close to a significant number of historic sites, for example the Roman heritage at Bath, the Neolithic burial chamber at Belas Knap, Sudeley Castle near Winchcombe, Hailes Abbey and many beautiful churches and historic houses.

The Cotswold Way has existed as a promoted long distance walk for over 30 years. Following many years of lobbying by the Ramblers Association and others, its special qualities have been recognised and in 1998 the government approved its development as a National Trail. The Cotswold Way was formally launched as a National Trail in May 2007. This designation is a very special one and there are only a few other trails in England with this special grading.

Further information about the Cotswold Way, including diversions, accommodation and visitor attractions along the route can be found on the National Trail website.

Celebrate your achievement

Share your experience and success

The Cotswold Way Hall of Fame is a scheme to recognize the achievements of walkers that complete the National Trail and to encourage others to consider undertaking one of the nation’s finest walks.  Here you can share your experience and if you wish purchase an official enamel pin badge or patch as a memento.

We are responsible for the management of the trail and *we work in partnership with the Cotswold Way Association to look after it. If you would simply like to donate towards the upkeep of the trail, please do so via the Cotswold Way Association website.

Walk the Cotswold Way (Guided Walk)

  • To travel by coach from Winchcombe and walk from south to north,
    contact Linda on 01242 604155 or
  • Alternatively to travel by coach from near Bath and walk from north to south,
    contact John on 0117 9374561 or

The Cotswold Way Companion: an insider guide

Available in both eBook and paperback formats this guide will help you to get the most out of walking the Cotswold Way. It’s special for two reasons: it focuses on the Cotswold Way’s natural environment and its archaeology and history; and it’s the work of people with great knowledge and experience of the trail: members of the Cotswold Way Association (CWA), the charity set up in 2016 to promote its conservation and protection, and Cotswold Voluntary Wardens who patrol the trail and lead walks on it.

Proceeds from the Cotswold Companion, which is available as an eBook and paperback, will go towards the trail’s upkeep and improvement. Buy both and you will get one year’s membership of the Cotswold Way Association to help keep making a difference.

Browse through this PREVIEW to find out about the book’s contents, along with the types of improvement projects the book’s proceeds will be spent on. To purchase visit

Circular walks along the Cotswold Way

1. Chipping Campden

This delightful short walk leads you through the charmingly English market town of Chipping Campden, around shaded woodlands and past breathtaking views. A wonderful introduction to the Cotswolds, and a perfect start to the Cotswold Way.

Distance:  4½  miles (Short cut: 3 miles)
Duration:  2½ -3½ hrs (Short cut: 1½-2½ hrs)
Difficulty:  Moderate, some steep sections (Short cut: Easy, avoids climbs)

Download Walk 1

2. Broadway and the Tower

This enchanting walk leads you through the picturesque Cotswold high street of Broadway, along historic tracks and up to the intriguing Broadway Tower with its spectacular views across the Severn Vale into Wales. The perfect chance to taste a little more of all the Cotswolds has to offer.

Distance:  4 miles
Duration:  2½ -3 hrs
Difficulty:  Moderate, some steep sections
Nov 2020: Due to improvements the route is now stile free (route description to be updated shortly)

Download Walk 2

3. Stanton, Snowshill and the Edge

This beauty of a walk leads you between two of the most picturesque villages in the Cotswolds, over hilltops, down valleys and through shaded woodlands. Whilst slightly more challenging than others in the series, your efforts will be rewarded by invitingly warm pubs and some of the most splendid views in the country.  Extend your day out with a visit to Snows Hill Manor which you will pass on route.

Distance:  6 miles (Short cut 2½ miles)
Duration:  3½ -4½ hrs (Short cut 1½ – 2½ hrs)
Difficulty:  Moderate, some steep sections and stiles. Muddy sections after wet weather.

Download Walk 3

4. Winchcombe and Belas Knap

This scenic and interesting little walk takes you from the delightfully unspoilt town of Winchcombe, along Cotswold Way routes old and new, and up to one of the area’s most intriguing ancient monuments, Belas Knap Long Barrow – A combination of history and scenery that will leave you eager to discover more of the National Trail and the inspirational landscape through which it runs.

Distance:  5¼ miles (Short cut route 3½ miles)
Duration:  3 – 4 hrs (Short cut 2 – 3 hrs)
Difficulty:  Moderate, some steep sections and stiles

Download Walk 4

5. The Cleeve Hill Ring

This breathtaking walk leads you over open hilltops, across streams and through woodlands, immersing you in one of the country’s most fascinating and precious habitats – limestone grassland. Over half of this wildflower and butterfly rich natural resource is within the Cotswolds and some of the finest examples are on Cleeve Common. The unsurpassed views along this route therefore, are the perfect backdrop for getting even closer to the outstanding natural beauty of the Cotswold Way.

Distance: 6 miles (Shorter route 4 miles)
Duration: 3½ – 4½ hrs (Shorter: 2 – 3 hrs)
Difficulty: Moderate, no stiles but some steep sections (Shorter: Easy, no stiles and mostly level)

Download Walk 5

6: The Leckhampton Loop

This walk guides you around one of the most beautiful and varied stretches of the Cotswold Way. From rich grassland to peaceful woodlands, from Iron-Age remains to Victorian quarries, this route offers up a taste of the entire Cotswold landscape in 4 ½ sheltered and windswept miles.

Distance: 4 ½
Duration: 2½ – 3
Difficulty: Moderate, no stiles but some steep sections

Download Walk 6

7: Cranham Coopers and the Beechwoods

This beautiful little walk shows you around one of England’s most treasured habitats, beech woodlands, and leads you to the site of perhaps the Cotswolds’ most iconic and intriguing tradition, cheese-rolling. Follow these four short miles and discover the cathedral-like calm of Buckholt Wood, richly carpeted by bluebells in May, and wonder at the dizzy heights of Cooper’s hill where for hundreds of years the foolhardy have risked their necks for cheese and glory…

Distance: 4 miles
Duration: 2 – 3 hours
Difficulty: Easy. No stiles, but some moderately steep sections.

Download Walk 7

8: The Selsley Circuit

This extremely popular walk is one of the easiest to follow, winding its way along the National Trail for nearly all of its length. From sheltered beech woodlands and over rich open grassland, it guides you around remnants of an industrial past that shaped the landscape we love today. Wander between the grandeur of Victorian mills alongside the sleepy beauty of the waterway, and discover a timeless journey between past and present that reveals yet another face of the glorious Cotswolds.

Distance: 5 miles
Duration: 3 – 4 hours
Difficulty: Moderate – Three stiles, some steep sections.

07.09.2016 Cotswold Way: New Choice of path from the Selsley Circular Walk (formerly the King’s Stanley Round)

Walkers following the Circular Walk from King’s Stanley across Selsley Common and the walk downhill to the pedestrian controlled crossing over the A419. This was formerly a railway line known for the “Dudbridge Donkey”. Then walkers turn westwards along the tarmac cycle track through the community orchard towards Ryeford.

After 0.3 miles along this cycle track there is now a choice. Continue along the tarmac route to Ryeford or look for a metal kissing gate on the right to take you across a water meadow to the canal towpath. The towpath is reached by following the green waymarking discs through some new houses to a waymark post on the towpath.

If you wish, it is interesting to turn right to walk to Ebley Mill. However, if short of time, turn left and follow the canal westward, passing the double locks, and re-joining the original Cotswold Way on the bridge at Ryeford Road. Here, a signpost directs walkers south to King’s Stanley or north to Painswick.

Download Walk 8 (note this has not yet been updated to include the diversion above)

9: Cam Long Down and Uley

The incredible variety of the Cotswold Way is once again explored by this stunning little walk. From woodland tracks to open hilltops, it leads you around the intriguing ancient history of Uley Bury to the more recent remains of a pestilent past.  Even the few hillside climbs are rewarded by compass-wide views that spread out all around you back into the heart of the Cotswolds and across the Severn Estuary into Wales…

Distance: 4 miles (shorter route: 1½ miles)
Duration: 2½ – 3½ hours (shorter: ¾ – 1½ hours)
Difficulty: Moderate to difficult – Some stiles, steps and steep sections.

Download Walk 9

10: Wotton-under-Edge

As rich farmland gives way to woodland tracks and rolling parkland, this enchanting walk leads you from scarp top to valley bottom, back into one of the Cotswold’s most charming and thriving small towns. With spectacular views, intriguing shops and historic architecture, all tastes will find something wonderful in this special little corner of the Cotswolds.

Distance: 5 miles (6½ with detour to Newark Park)
Duration: 3 – 4 hours (4 – 5 hours with detour)
Difficulty: Moderate – Stiles and steep sections.

Download Walk 10

11. Old Sodbury – The Hill Fort and Church

From the delightful village of Old Sodbury, follow the Cotswold Way up to the serenity of a medieval church, around oak-fringed farmland and along shaded paths to the breath-taking outcrop of an iron-age hillfort. Views, history, peace and rest all combine to make this simple little stroll a wonderful taster of the southern Cotswolds.

Distance: 2½ miles
Duration: 1½ – 2 hours
Difficulty: Easy to moderate – no stiles, steepish slopes.

Download Walk 11

12. Journey’s End – The Walk into Bath

Discover a true sense of pilgrimage with this wonderful walk into the heart of Bath and the southern end of the Cotswold Way. Follow the trail as it slides from open hill top into historic city, winding its way around open farmland and down bustling alleyways to its crescendo at the majestic splendour of Bath Abbey.

Distance: 6 miles (linear – public transport return)
Duration: 3½ -4 hours (plus max. ½ hr return)
Difficulty: Moderate – one stile, some steep sections.

Download Walk 12

Bruce Trail Friendship Trail – Beacons, Commons and Woods
(Standish Wood, Harescombe Beacon and Pitchcombe Wood)

This spectacular walk leads you along peaceful woodland tracks and out onto windswept hillsides with breath-taking views. A true jewel in the Cotswolds crown.

Not only is is a stunning route, it is also twinned with an equally beautiful part of the Bruce Trail in Ontario, Canada as a mark of friendship and cooperation between our two trails.

Distance: 6 miles
Duration: 2 ½ -3 ½ hours
Difficulty: Moderate – some stiles and moderate slopes.

Download The Walk

The Cotswolds Korea Friendship Trail
(Stinchcombe Hill near Dursley)

The Cotswold Way has teamed up with South Korea’s Jeju Olle Trail to become one of the world’s first ‘friendship trails’. Follow this short walk around Stinchcombe Hill to experience one of the most beautiful meanderings of the Cotswold Way and discover a new world of walking on an island five thousand miles away. Click here to find out more

Distance: 3½ miles (hill only route: 3 miles)
Duration: 2 – 2½ hours (hill only: 1 ½ – 2 hours)
Difficulty: Moderate – firm surface, no stiles, one long steep ascent / descent (Hill only: Easy – firm surface, no stiles, mostly level)

Download the walk

Organise your own Events on the Cotswold Way

We encourage events on the Cotswold Way that are well-organised, well-received by all and do not have unsustainable impacts on the Cotswold Way. All events must have appropriate Public Liability Insurance and risk management. To help you make your event the best it can be, we provide a guidance document and pass on feedback we receive about your event. Event organisers can seek permission to use the National Trails logo(s) where their event demonstrates good practice and an appropriate donation is made.

View the Cotswold Way National Trail on Google Street View

National Trail Annual Report

This report provides an overview of what has been achieved by the English National Trails in the  financial year based on information supplied to Natural England by individual trails as part of their annual reporting.