Hiking in the Cotswolds


Walks in the Cotswolds give you a taste of quintessential English countryside. Pretty villages of honey-coloured limestone nestle in the tranquil valleys beneath gentle rolling hills. Historic castles, manor houses and abbeys abound in the towns and villages, whilst the surrounding countryside is bejewelled with historic treasures. 3,000 miles (4,800km) of footpaths and bridleways allow the intrepid to explore every corner of this walker’s paradise.

From the uniquely beautiful, golden-bricked buildings that are archetypal of the region, there are countless possibilities for circular walks. Often abundantly rich in wildlife, these rambles across the meadows, ancient woodlands and hills offer swathes of colour at any time of year. For longer hikes in the Cotswolds, the Cotswold Way follows the full extent of the escarpment, containing sweeping views, an abundance of wildlife and a plethora of historic interest.

Top 20 best walks and hikes in the Cotswolds

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Traversing the Cotswold Way

Running from the pretty town of Chipping Campden in the north east to the city of Bath, world famous for its Roman heritage, in the south west, the Cotswold Way is a momentous 102 mile (164km) route across the roof of the Cotswolds. Hikes in the Cotswolds do not come more committing and adventurous than this.

As you tread from summit to summit, you will be treated to expansive panoramas of the surrounding countryside, with views spanning to the Black Mountains of Wales, the Forest of Dean, the Malvern Hills and beyond. Wide blue skies and the freedom to roam make for gorgeous hill days. As well as stunning scenery, there is a lot to discover beneath your feet. You will explore vestiges of ancient history, such as the Neolithic burial chamber at Belas Knap where the remains of 31 people were discovered in 1863.

Following in the footsteps of history

Some of the best hiking trails in the Cotswolds lead to other startling historical discoveries. The influence of the Romans, Celts and Neolithic folk are keenly felt on the countryside. Many of the hills bear monuments attesting to their rich history, some even retaining the hallmarks of their former use as hill forts. Here you can imagine what it would have been like during the Bronze Age, keeping watch across the land for approaching malevolent raiders. Ancient stone circles, Roman ruins and forgotten battlegrounds are all waiting to be discovered amongst these now tranquil hills.

Beautiful flora and fauna

The green valleys, grasslands, woods and hills of the Cotswolds are famously rich in wildlife. Walks in the Cotswolds offer the opportunity to ramble amongst the deep reds and coppers of the beech leaves in autumn. Whilst spring brings a stunning display of blossom and oceans of yellow cowslips to wade through during a gentle stroll.

Summer is a delectable time here. Birds of prey, such as the kestrel can be seen hovering in the blue sky. Amongst the chestnut trees and redwoods of the forests, rare butterflies flutter from flower to flower in a gorgeous display of colour. Higher up, you are likely to be sharing the hills with the many herds of sheep that graze the land.

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