The Cotswold Way is a 102-mile (164 km) long-distance footpath, running along the Cotswold Edge escarpment of the Cotswold Hills in England. It was officially inaugurated as a National Trail on 24 May 2007 and several new rights of way have been created.
The Cotswold Way passing through the site of the Battle of Lansdowne
|Length||164 km (102 mi)|
|Designation||UK National Trail|
|Trailheads||Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire|
|Highest point||Cleeve Hill, 1,083 ft (330 m) |
The Cotswold Way route was first suggested some 50 years ago by Gloucestershire-area Ramblers, of which Tony Drake (d. 7 March 2012) of Cheltenham area and the late Cyril Trenfield of the South Gloucestershire area were principals. Although recognised as a suitable route for a National Trail in due course, the path was initially sponsored by Gloucestershire County Council, who had no powers of footpath creation, and so used only existing rights of way.
An early guide to the Way, in the hand-drawn pictorial style of Alfred Wainwright, was produced by another Cheltenham-area rambler, Mark Richards, in 1973. The foreword from Tony Drake says:
"... it is necessary to trace the history of the project to date. Following the passing of the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act of 1949, which made provision for the designation and creation of long distance paths, I put forward the idea of a footpath route following the Cotswold escarpment. This met with great interest but the plans which the Gloucestershire Committee of the Ramblers Association submitted to the National Parks Commission in 1953, though acknowledged and mentioned in the Commission's annual report of that year, was nevertheless pigeonholed and largely forgotten until Gloucestershire County Council prepared its recreational plan for the countryside in 1968. The County Council decided to designate a Cotswold Way route itself, using existing public rights of way, and the scheme was launched during Footpath Week in May 1970. The Way has had priority in signposting and waymarking programmes but until the Countryside Commission get ministerial approval to create a national route, grants will not be available for maintenance and several very desirable rights of way, where none now exist are unlikely to be created."
A memorial to Trenfield in the form of a bench is on the Way near Dyrham Park.
As it closely follows the scarp of the Cotswold Edge, the Cotswold Way usually affords views, mainly to the north and west—starting in the south with the Severn Estuary and Severn bridges, the meanders of the River Severn above Sharpness, the Forest of Dean, the Welsh hills of Monmouthshire and the Black Mountains on the Welsh border to the west. The distinctive shape of May Hill is visible for much of the route, as is the long spine of the Malvern Hills. Gloucester Cathedral can be seen from the path.
Further north on the path, above Cheltenham, there are old quarries containing rock features such as the Devil's Chimney at Leckhampton. After Cleeve Hill the escarpment starts to turn to the east, giving views across the Vale of Evesham. The classic Cotswold villages of Stanton and Stanway are visited, then Broadway village, before the final steep ascent to Broadway Tower and the scenic descent to Chipping Campden.
The 102-mile (164 km) trail runs northeast from Bath to Chipping Campden, through or near to the following towns: Old Sodbury, near Chipping Sodbury, Wotton-under-Edge, Dursley, Stroud, Painswick, Cranham, Leckhampton, Cheltenham, Winchcombe, Stanway and Broadway.
It passes numerous places of interest, including the site of the Battle of Lansdowne, the Somerset Monument, the Tyndale Monument, Sudeley Castle, Cleeve Hill, Hailes Abbey, and the Broadway Tower. With the exception of a small stretch around Broadway (which is in Worcestershire), the entire walk is within Gloucestershire (including South Gloucestershire) and Somerset (including Bath and North East Somerset).
Alderley (also previously known as Alderleigh) is a village and civil parish in the Stroud district of Gloucestershire, England, about fourteen miles southwest of Stroud and two miles south of Wotton-under-Edge. It is situated on the Cotswold Way near to the hamlets of Hillesley and Tresham and lies underneath Winner Hill between two brooks, the Ozleworth and Kilcott.Chipping Campden
Chipping Campden is a small market town in the Cotswold district of Gloucestershire, England. It is notable for its elegant terraced High Street, dating from the 14th century to the 17th century. ("Chipping" is from Old English cēping, "a market, a market-place"; the same element is found in other towns such as Chipping Norton, Chipping Sodbury and Chipping (now High) Wycombe.)
A rich wool trading centre in the Middle Ages, Chipping Campden enjoyed the patronage of wealthy wool merchants (see also wool church), most notably William Greville (d.1401). Today it is a popular Cotswold tourist destination with old inns, hotels, specialist shops and restaurants. The High Street is lined with honey-coloured limestone buildings, built from the mellow locally quarried oolitic limestone known as Cotswold stone, and boasts a wealth of fine vernacular architecture. At its centre stands the Market Hall with its splendid arches, built in 1627.
Other attractions include the grand early perpendicular wool church of St James – with its medieval altar frontals (c.1500), cope (c.1400) and vast and extravagant 17th-century monuments to local wealthy silk merchant Sir Baptist Hicks and his family – the Almshouses and Woolstaplers Hall. The Court Barn near the church is now a museum celebrating the rich Arts and Crafts tradition of the area (see below). Hicks was also responsible for Campden House, which was destroyed by fire during the English Civil War possibly to prevent it falling into the hands of the Parliamentarians. All that now remains of Hicks' once imposing estate are two gatehouses, two Jacobean banqueting houses, restored by the Landmark Trust and Lady Juliana's gateway. Hicks' descendants still live at the Court House attached to the site. The town is the end point of the Cotswold Way, a 102-mile Long-distance footpath.
There are two famous and historic gardens nearby: at Hidcote Manor Garden, owned and managed by the National Trust, and at Kiftsgate, in private ownership but open to the public. Two miles to the west, in the grounds of Weston Park near Saintbury, are the earthwork remains of a motte-and-bailey castle.The town has hosted its own Olimpick Games since 1612.Cleeve Hill
Cleeve Hill (also known as Cleeve Cloud) is the highest point both of the Cotswolds hill range and in the county of Gloucestershire, at 1,083 feet (330 m). It is located on Cleeve Common which is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) looked after by a small charity called Cleeve Common Trust (formally Cleeve Common Board of Conservators). It commands a clear view to the west, over Cheltenham and the racecourse, over the River Severn and into Wales; and to the north over Winchcombe. It is a conspicuous outcrop on the edge of the limestone escarpment, (sometimes called the "Cotswold Edge"). It is crossed by the Cotswold Way footpath.
With the hill's south slopes draining to the River Coln, Cleeve Hill is the highest point in the drainage basin of the River Thames.Crickley Hill and Barrow Wake
Crickley Hill and Barrow Wake (grid reference SO929161 & grid reference SO931154) is a 56.8-hectare (140-acre) biological and geological Site of Special Scientific Interest in Gloucestershire, notified in 1974.The site (two parts) lies within the Cotswold Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It was formerly known as Crickley Hill and includes some of a site known as Tuffleys Quarry. Part of the site is owned and managed by Gloucestershire County Council and the National Trust as a Country Park. The Cotswold Way National Trail passes through Crickley Hill and Barrow Wake.Barrow Wake and Tuffley's Quarry are listed in the 'Cotswold District' Local Plan 2001–2011 (on line) as Key Wildlife Sites. Crickley Hill is listed in the 'Cotswold District' Local Plan 2001–2011 (on line) as an SSSI and Regionally Important Geological Site.Dodington, Gloucestershire
Dodington is a village in South Gloucestershire, England. It lies in a small, fertile valley between Codrington and Old Sodbury, and runs together with the even tinier hamlet of Coombes End. It is about 2.5 miles southeast of Chipping Sodbury and four miles from Yate railway station.
The River Frome rises within Dodington Park, the estate that originally formed the economic basis of this small village. The Cotswold Way also passes through the north end of the village. The River Boyd rises just south of the village.Frome Valley Walkway
The Frome Valley Walkway is an 18-mile (29 km) footpath which follows the River Frome from the River Avon in the centre of Bristol to the Cotswold Hills in South Gloucestershire. The path also links the Cotswold Way National Trail at one end with the Avon Walkway at the other.
Starting in Bristol's Castle Park, the path skirts public parks in the city, where the river is culverted, and only becomes rural as it passes through Eastville Park. The walk then continues past Snuff Mills and on to the Oldbury Court Estate, passing beneath Frenchay Common, then to Cleeve Bridge before passing under the M4 motorway at Hambrook. Next, the path passes through Winterbourne Down, and under the Winterbourne Viaduct.
The path continues through parkland to Frampton Cotterell, then south of Iron Acton before it reaches Yate and the Goose Green Fields Nature Area. A large section of the walkway is along suburban pavement here, before the final stretch of fields leading to Old Sodbury where the Walkway officially stops.
It is, however, possible to continue along the Cotswold Way to Tormarton, past the source of the Frome, where there are views from the top of the escarpment.Hawkesbury, Gloucestershire
Hawkesbury is a hamlet consisting of a few cottages around a triangular green. It is also the name of a civil parish in the South Gloucestershire unitary authority in England in which Hawkesbury itself lies, it is located west of Hawkesbury Upton, off the A46 road.
The civil parish includes Hawkesbury itself, the larger village of Hawkesbury Upton and the hamlets of Dunkirk, Petty France and Little Badminton. According to the 2001 census the parish had a population of 1,235, increasing to 1,263 at the 2011 census. Prior to 1991 what is now the Hillesley and Tresham parish in Stroud District formed the northern part of the parish.
The village is in 'Cotswold Edge' electoral ward. This ward starts at Hawkesbury in the north and stretches south to Tormarton. The total population of this parish taken from the 2011 census was 3,381.The Cotswold Way passes by the two settlements.
There is a monument (the 'Somerset Monument') on the Cotswold Edge at grid reference ST772878. The monument was erected in 1846 to commemorate General Lord Edward Somerset. He was a soldier son of the 5th Duke of Beaufort, (whose ancestral home is at Badminton), who had served with distinction at Waterloo. The first keeper of the monument was Shadrack Byfield, a one-armed veteran of the Anglo-American War of 1812, whose memoirs of that conflict have achieved a measure of fame.Hawkesbury Upton
Hawkesbury Upton is a village in South Gloucestershire, England, east of the much smaller Hawkesbury. It lies north of Horton, east of Dunkirk and south of Alderley and Hillesley.
Hawkesbury Upton is close to the A46 road. The village lies on the Cotswold Way and exhibits many of the characteristics of a Cotswold village, including use of the local limestone in the majority of the buildings.
The village has two pubs – the Beaufort Arms and the Fox Inn, both on the High Street – a primary school, a village shop, a post office and a hair salon. There is also a village hall with a recreation ground and a cricket club.
On the last Saturday in August, the annual Hawkesbury Horticultural Show takes place at the village hall & recreation ground. The show features a large marquee, where the best fruit, vegetables and flowers, as well as home baking, varied crafts, home made wine & beer, original photographs and pictures are exhibited – all produced by the local community. In addition, there is entertainment in the arena, a carnival procession, fairground rides and a wide range of local craft, trade and charity stalls. The show has been running continuously since 1885 - never once cancelled for adverse weather or war - something which villagers are extremely proud of.Heart of England Way
The Heart of England Way is a long distance walk of around 160 km (100 mi) through the Midlands of England. The walk starts from Milford Common on Cannock Chase and ends at Bourton on the Water in the Cotswolds passing through the counties of Staffordshire, Warwickshire and Gloucestershire.
The walk provides links to a number of other long distance walks: the Beacon Way, Staffordshire Way, Two Saints Way, Arden Way, Cotswold Way, Oxfordshire Way, and Thames Path. It is maintained by the Heart of England Way Association.
On 20 July 2013, Ultra Runner David Hollyoak set a solo course record of completing the entire length of the Heart Of England Way (South to North) non stop in 25 Hours 11 Minutes. The run is corroborated by having a relay of runners to run sections with him all the way. GPS statistics showed the route to be 105 miles.Limestone Link
The Limestone Link is a 36 miles (58 km) long-distance footpath in England, from the Mendip Hills in Somerset to Cold Ashton in Gloucestershire. It is marked by an ammonite waymarker.
The Mendip section starts between Churchill and Rowberrow, near Dolebury Warren and travels roughly west to east, passing above the villages of Blagdon and Compton Martin, close to the northern boundary of the Mendip Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty; it then passes through West Harptree. It passes through Temple Cloud, Hallatrow and Durcott before turning north through Dunkerton and Southstoke, south of Bath.
The path then follows Cam Brook to Midford and then follows Midford Brook before joining the Avon Walkway at the Dundas Aqueduct. It continues north alongside the River Avon and the Kennet and Avon Canal, past Claverton and the Claverton Pumping Station to Bathampton. Here it crosses the A4 and goes through Batheaston and then, following a stream, through Northend and St Catherine. The final part of the path goes past Monkswood reservoir and alongside St Catherines Brook to reach Cold Ashton.
The footpath connects with the Mendip Way and the Cotswold Way.Lineover Wood
Lineover Wood (grid reference SO987187) is a 20.3-hectare (50-acre) biological Site of Special Scientific Interest in Gloucestershire, notified in 1986.The site is owned and managed by the Woodland Trust, and is near the communities of Charlton Kings, Cheltenham and Dowdeswell. The Cotswold Way National Trail runs through the site, crossing the A40 from the opposite side of the valley where it runs along the edge of Dowdeswell Woods and below the dam of Dowdeswell Reservoir.
The site is listed in the 'Cotswold District' Local Plan 2001-2011 (on line) as a Key Wildlife Site (KWS).Little Sodbury
Little Sodbury is an English village in South Gloucestershire, located between Chipping Sodbury, to the West, Old Sodbury to the South, Badminton, and the A46 road to the East and Horton and Hawkesbury Upton, to the north.
The "manor of Sodbury" comprises the nearby Chipping Sodbury and Old Sodbury: it is distinct from that of Little Sodbury.
St Adeline's Church was built in 1859 by William James.
The 15th century, 17,385 square feet (1,615.1 m2) Little Sodbury Manor was the home of Sir John Walsh who employed William Tyndale as chaplain and tutor to his grandchildren in 1522-3; by tradition he began his translation of the Bible in his bedroom here. The manor retains the porch and Great Hall, with a timber roof resting on corbels carved as shield-bearing angels, of the fifteenth-century courtyard house. The house fell into disrepair in the nineteenth century, but was restored by architect Sir Harold Brakspear for Lord Grosvenor and later Baron de Tuyll.
Little Sodbury's Iron Age hill fort reshaped by the Romans is accessible from the village via the Cotswold Way at grid reference ST760826. There is a Royal Observer Corps post at grid reference ST766838. Little Sodbury is one of three Thankful Villages in Gloucestershire - those rare places that suffered no fatalities during the Great War of 1914 to 1918.Macmillan Way
The Macmillan Way is a long-distance footpath in England that links Boston, Lincolnshire to Abbotsbury in Dorset. The route's distance is 290 miles (470 km). It is promoted to raise money for the charity Macmillan Cancer Relief.
The fully waymarked route follows existing footpaths, bridleways and byways, and small stretches of minor roads when these are unavoidable. It runs across open fen country for its first 30 miles (48 km) and for the rest of its journey it then follows the course of the oolitic limestone belt.
The Macmillan Way starts from Boston and then runs across the Fens to their western edge at Kate's Bridge near Bourne before joining the limestone belt. From Boston it heads to Stamford and then along the shore of Rutland Water to Oakham. It then leads south and west via Warmington to Stow-on-the-Wold, then through the Cotswolds via Cirencester and Tetbury to Bradford-on-Avon. Then through Somerset and into Dorset via Castle Cary and Sherborne to Abbotsbury on the coast.
The route links with the Viking Way at Oakham, the Thames Path National Trail near Thames Head and with the South West Coast Path at the finish.The Macmillan Ways are a network of long-distance footpaths in England. Others are:
The Macmillan Way West from Castle Cary in Somerset to Barnstaple in Devon, 163 kilometres (101 mi) (Boston to Barnstaple is 557 kilometres (346 mi));
The Macmillan Abbotsbury Langport Link, which creates a 38.5 kilometres (23.9 mi) short-cut for walkers from Abbotsbury to Barnstaple, a total of 202 kilometres (126 mi);
The Macmillan Cross Cotswold Pathway from Banbury to Bath, 138 kilometres (86 mi), mostly on the main Macmillan Way;
The Cotswold Link, 33.5 kilometres (20.8 mi) from Banbury to Chipping Campden where it links to the Cotswold Way National Trail.Old Sodbury
Old Sodbury is a small village in the valley of the River Frome just below and to the west of the Cotswold escarpment and to the east of Chipping Sodbury and Yate in South Gloucestershire, England. It is situated in the Hundred of Grumbald's Ash. The village extends from Chipping Sodbury in the West to the Cotswold Edge in the East and is on the Cotswold Way. The Badminton Road (A432) winds eastwards towards Badminton, Gloucestershire through the village, up to the Cross Hands junction with the A46, which runs along the top of the Cotswold escarpment from Bath to Stroud.
The village lies on an old coaching route, and is much more ancient than its westerly neighbour, Chipping Sodbury: hence the name 'Old' Sodbury.Stanway, Gloucestershire
Stanway is a small crossroads village in the county of Gloucestershire, England, and about 1 mile south of Stanton: both villages are on the Cotswold Way. The population of Stanway taken at the 2011 census was 343. It is part of the Tewkesbury Borough Council area.
The village is dominated by Stanway House, a Jacobean manor house, owned by the Earl of Wemyss and March. In recent years the house has seen restoration which is ongoing.
The Estate contains the single highest gravity-fed fountain in the UK at just over 300 feet. It was restored for operation in 2004 and can be seen for several miles when running.
The gate of Stanway House is the finish of the 1st Stage (and start of the 2nd Stage) of the Cotswold Way Relay race.
St Peter's Church was rebuilt in the 12th century, the tower added in the 13th century and the whole building thoroughly restored in 1896.
The Tithe Barn was built in the 14th century for Tewkesbury Abbey. The bell tower contains a ring of five bells dating from (in order 1-5 wish founders) 2014 (Whitechapel, London) 1625 (Worcester Foundry, possibly James Keene), 1904 (Bond of Burford), 1826 (Rudhall, Gloucester) and 1634 (Unknown founder). They are hung for English Change Ringing and were restored in 2015. The largest (Tenor) bell is a maiden (untuned) bell and is listed for preservation. It weighs just over 11cwt.Stanway war memorial is situated at the south side of the village, at the junction of the B4077 road (which runs from Stow-on-the-Wold to the A46 at the Teddington Hands, 3 miles north of Bishop's Cleeve) and the southernmost end of the Stanton Road. The bronze of St George and the Dragon is by Alexander Fisher, the stone column and plinth by Sir Philip Stott carved by Eric Gill. The war memorial in the church chancel is also by Fisher and Gill.Stanway has a cricket pitch, a fenced ground, in the middle of a field. The field has an undulating surface, which was reportedly made uneven to make landing difficult for - possibly hypothetical - German gliders during the Second World War. The cricket ground - itself flat - possesses a pavilion, which is built on staddle stones, and was the gift of the author J. M. Barrie who stayed at Stanway House in the 1920s. It is famous lore among the area, that Barrie formed his own “literary cricket team”, promising the club he would help pay for the pavilion if he took a hat-trick.
The manor house has recently reopened its brewery, one of only two coal-fired brewing houses in the country.For many years, the Stanway Flower Show was held in the hamlet - and many people travelled to visit the show. The Tithe Barn hosted the exhibits, which included flowers, vegetables and handcrafts, and there was a number of stalls - including a coconut shy and nine-pin bowling - in the grounds of Stanway House.Stonehouse, Gloucestershire
Stonehouse is a town in the Stroud District of Gloucestershire in southwestern England.
The town centre is 2.5 miles east of the M5 motorway, junction 13. Stonehouse railway station has a regular train service to London.
The town is situated approximately 9 miles south of Gloucester city centre and 3.5 miles west of central Stroud, though following recent development it is partially contiguous with the Ebley district of Stroud. It includes the sub-villages of Bridgend (to the south) and Ryeford (to the east). Stonehouse's population in 2016 was estimated at over 8,000 residents.Tormarton
Tormarton is a village in South Gloucestershire, England. Its name may come from Thor Maer Tun meaning The settlement with the thorn (tree) on the boundary. Another source suggests the name derives from the church tower (Tor) on the border between Wessex and Mercia (Anglo-Saxon Meark). It is one mile North-East of junction 18 of the M4 motorway, with the A46 road and close to the border between Wiltshire and South Gloucestershire. In 2001 and 2011 there were 144 households and the population was 348. A National Trail, the Cotswold Way passes through the village. There is a church, a hotel, a pub and also a number of bed and breakfasts in the village. A Highways Agency depot with a salt dome is situated near to the village.Wotton-under-Edge
Wotton-under-Edge is a market town within the Stroud district of Gloucestershire, England. Located near the southern end of the Cotswolds, the Cotswold Way long-distance footpath passes through the town. Standing on the B4058 Wotton is about 5 miles (8.0 km) from the M5 motorway. The nearest railway station is Cam and Dursley, 7 miles (11 km) away by road, on the Bristol to Birmingham line.Wotton Hill
Wotton Hill (grid reference ST753942) is a hill on the edge of the Cotswold Hills in Gloucestershire, England, 0.5 miles (0.80 km) north of Wotton-under-Edge. The Cotswold Way passes over the hill.
The escarpment forms a 26.1-hectare (64-acre) biological and geological Site of Special Scientific Interest in Gloucestershire, notified in 1954 and ratified in 1986.The site is in the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and is divided into 5 units of assessment. The site is owned by the National Trust and the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust owns and manages unit 2, which is called Old London Road reserve.
(Links to map resources)
|OS Grid Ref||Notes|
|ST721697||Battle of Lansdowne|
|Somerset Monument||ST772876||Hawkesbury, Gloucestershire|
|Tyndale Monument||ST743956||Tyndale Monument at North Nibley|
|Highest point||SO996245||Cleeve Hill|
|Sudeley Castle||SP031276||Sudeley Castle|
|Hailes Abbey||SP050299||Hailes Abbey|
|Broadway Tower||SP113362||Broadway Tower|
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