The Cotswold Way is one of the UK’s managed National Trail footpaths, running 103 miles from the market town of Chipping Campden in the North of The Cotswolds, to the spa town of Bath in the South. The route crosses typical Cotswold countryside with a patchwork of fields partioned by traditional honey coloured dry stone walls across rolling hillside. The route stops at a plethora of traditional villages and small towns.
By Rail: The nearest railway station to the start at Chipping Campden is at Moreton-in-Marsh, which is easily reached from London by train. Moreton-in-Marsh is approximately 8 miles from Chipping Campden and we suggest a short taxi ride from the station which we are happy to arrange on guests’ behalf.
By Car: The market town of Chipping Campden is relatively small so we instead recommend arrival to Cheltenham where we are able to provide parking and a transfer to Chipping Campden. Cheltenham is easily accessible via the M4/M5 route or by the A40 from London via Oxford.
B&Bs, Hotels and Inns (3*) or Luxury Hotels (5*). Please note the Luxury version includes some taxi transfers at the beginning or end of some days.
The tour includes transfer of luggage as stated. The tour information pack provided to the clients contains luggage tags from Compass Holidays. The clients name and the hotels used throughout the holiday will be on these tags. They should be fixed to the luggage. In the morning the luggage should be left at the reception for collection. Luggage is collected after 9.30am and delivered to the next hotel before 4.30pm.
This grade of this tour is moderate.
- Chipping Campden
Daily Distance Range
- Minimum:11.5 miles / 18.5km per day
- Maximum:17 miles / 27 km per day
This tour runs for 9 days, 8 nights and 7 days walking but can be extended or decreased by changing the daily distance.
This tour is available from January until December
What is included in the tour
- Accommodation at the stated category with breakfast
- Luggage Transfers
- Full Tour Pack
- Smartphone App with GPS routes
- 24-hr emergency helpline
What is NOT included in the tour
- Lunch, Dinner & Drinks
- Entrance to attractions
- Buses and/or Ferries unless otherwise stated
- Tourist Taxes where applicable
Arrive Chipping Campden and stay overnight. Chipping Campden is a traditional market town, with preserved historic features dating back as far as the 14th century. It is also one of the earliest examples of deliberate town planning with a charter from King Henry II to set out a plan of the town.
A: Chipping Campden to Wood Stanway (12.5 miles / 20 km)
After leaving the town, the trail takes you out onto the Cotswold escarpment with stunning views from Dover’s Hill. This is where the annual ‘Olimpick’ games were held in 1612, with leapfrog, wrestling and shin-kicking events happening each year, many continuing to this day. The walk continues across the fields to Broadway Tower and then through the village of Broadway with its historic connections with the Arts & Crafts movement, to Stanton which is built entirely of Cotswold stone. A short easy stroll takes you the final few miles to Wood Stanway –your first overnight stop.
Stay overnight in Wood Stanway. Please note: Wood Stanway is a small place so dinner needs to be pre-booked.
B: Wood Stanway to Cleeve Hill (11.5 miles / 18.5 km)
After a steep climb up onto the escarpment, you will be rewarded with magnificent views across the Vale of Evesham towards the Malverns. Passing the Iron Age hill fort of Beckbury Camp, the trail continues through farmland into the Cotswold town of Winchcombe. Winchcombe is a “Walkers are Welcome” certified town and you can explore its Neolithic, Roman and Medieval past. A highlight of the village is Sudeley Castle & Gardens, the only private castle in the UK, and final resting place of Catherine Parr, Henry VIII’s final wife. From there, proceed out of Winchcombe via the Sudeley Estate and climb steadily to the ancient Neolithic long barrow of Belas Knap before continuing to Cleeve Hill –the highest point in The Cotswolds.
Stay overnight on Cleeve Hill. Luggage will be transferred.
C: Cleeve Hill to Birdlip (15.5 miles / 25 km)
Returning to the viewpoint of Cleeve Hill from your overnight accommodation, proceed across Cleeve Common which affords extensive views to Gloucester and the distant Malvern Hills, before you continue onto Charlton Kings Common with its breath-taking views across Cheltenham and the Severn Vale. Follow the escarpment past Seven Springs and on to Leckhampton Hill where you can spot the distinctive rock pillar known as the Devil’s Chimney. The route continues from Leckhampton Hill quiet tracks, lanes and paths into Crickley Hill Country Park, with its excellent viewpoints and information about the archaeological history, as well as a great café for a pitstop. There is evidence of historic settlements from as early as the Neolithic Period, as well as an Iron AgeHill Fort, indicating many periods of occupation. The trail then crosses the undulating grassland of Barrow Wake before heading into woodland to emerge at Birdlip.At Leckhampton Hill, many people opt to turn off The Cotswold Way and descend into Cheltenham via The Gustav Holst Way or to take a taxi into the town to explore returning later in the day to complete the walk. Cheltenham is the most complete Regency Town in the UK with extensive period architecture, a fantastic foodie scene and museums attributed to Cheltenham’s famous sons –Gustav Holst composer of The Planetsand Edward Wilson, naturalist and fellow casualty on the Scott Antarctic expedition.
Stay overnight in Birdlip. Luggage will be transferred.
D: Birdlipto King’s Stanley (16.5 miles / 26.5 km)
From Birdlip, the trail passes the remains of Great Witcombe Roman Villa, through magnificent beech woodlands and on to Coopers Hill, the site of the crazy annual cheese-rolling event every May which sees competitors chase a cheese wheel down the very steep slope. The route then emerges onto the common land of Painswick Beacon, where the ramparts of an Iron Age hill fort can clearly be seen, heading on to Painswick –the mid-point of The Cotswold Way. Look out for the 99 yew trees in the churchyard which date from the 1800’s -legend has it that the Devil would destroy the 100thtree if it was planted, however there is an additional yew (number 100) planted at the rear of the church to celebrate the millennium. It’s still thriving contrary to the legend without a Devil in sight. Painswick recently featured in J.K.Rowling’s novel “A Casual Vacancy” and is also home to the Rococco Gardens which are worth a visit.Descend from Painswick to cross the Wash Brook before climbing again onto Edge Common. The trail plunges back into woodland before emerging at Haresfield Beacon and the iron-age Bulwarks hillfort, with views of the escarpment and River Severn. The route descends gently through Standish Woods, with beautiful displays of bluebell and wood anemone in the spring and ferns throughout the summer, to emerge into the Stroud Valley through grass pastures to King’s Stanley
Stay overnight in King’s Stanley. Luggage will be transferred.
E: King’s Stanley to Wotton Under Edge (13.5 miles / 22 km)
Exit King’s Stanley via the trail to Dursley then climb steeply up onto Stinchcombe Hill followed by another steep ascent to the Tyndale Monument and Brackenbury Camp Hillfort, with views over Wotton-on-Edge. The trail then makes for the village of Alderley down a delightful sunken woodland track before climbing again. Climb gently to the Somerset Monument before heading towards the village of Hawkesbury Upton and on to Wotton Under Edge. Wotton Under Edge boasts a large number of listed buildings, as well as independent shops and eateries.
Stay overnight in Wotton Under Edge. Luggage will be transferred.
F: Wotton Under Edge to Tormarton (16 miles / 26 km)
Passing an ancient drover’s pond, the Cotswold Way follows Bath Lane south towards Horton, reaching the National Trust property of Horton Court, which is believed to be the oldest vicarage in England. From there the trail climbs up onto Horton Fort with extensive views opening out over the Severn Vale and beyond, before crossing farmland to the village of Horton and on to Old Sodbury. From Old Sodbury, the trail passes through the wonderful Capability Brown parkland of Dodington Park before crossing the final few fields into Tormarton.
Stay overnight in Tormarton. Luggage willbe transferred.
G: Tormarton to Bath (17 miles / 27 km)
What a finale! Leave Tormartonto the south along the Marshfield Road, following the trail as it crosses arable land and eventually leads to a path skirting the perimeter wall of Dyrham Park –an ancient deer park. From Dyrham, the trail climbs through woodland to Cold Ashton. The trail descends into the beautiful secluded valley at Lower Hamswell, passing the promontory hill fort at Little Down and the famous Bath Racecourse. The city can be glimpsed in the valley below and the trail gradually becomes more urban over the final miles, passing parks and regency architecture on its way to Bath Abbey. Here you’ll find a carved stone disc set into the pavement outside the ornate west doors to mark the end of the Cotswold Way. Bath is a fabulous place to stay and many choose to extend their trip to give time to explore the attractions including the famous Roman Baths.
Stay overnight in Bath. Luggage will be transferred.
The routing is subject to accommodation availability and will run from A-G as above. Extra nights can be added in Chipping Campden, Cheltenham and Bath if desired.
The correct clothes are important to ensure comfort during each walk. We suggest avoidanything with seams and buttons in sensitive areas. Clothing should take moisture from the body to the outside. Sweatshirts, thin pullovers and breathable jackets are ideal companions during the cooler days. Take light, waterproof jackets and trousers in case there is rain. On hot days we suggest a cap or hat and sunglasses to protect from the sun.