Exlore the Cotswolds walking the Southern section of the Cotswold Way
Explore the south section of the Cotswold Way as it stretches from Painswick to Bath, taking you along picturesque country lanes, over rolling hills of grassland, and through the idyllic towns and villages that form the very heart of the Cotswolds.
This is the English countryside at its finest, with a variety of landscapes including river valleys, forest footpaths, and farmlands that stretch out to the horizon. You’ll end your self-guided walking tour in the historic city of Bath, where the namesake ancient Roman baths await your discovery.
Travelling through the Cotswolds’ unparalleled countryside on foot is the perfect way to experience this region, allowing you to connect with the land and its people. Enjoy true hospitality during your stay in family-run bed and breakfasts with all the authentic and historic charm of the region. The Cotswold Way South Section walking tour is an unforgettable adventure!
Highlights of the Cotswold Way South Section
Cotswold Way South Section Walking Tour Itinerary
Day 1 Arrive in Painswick
Welcome to Painswick, the midpoint of the Cotswold Way National Trail. This small town features a number of boutique shops and independent restaurants. Take time to visit the Rococo Gardens and the churchyard from the 1800s. While in the churchyard, notice the yew trees. There are 99 of them because, according to a legend, the devil would destroy the hundredth tree if they planted it. The church planted yew tree number 100 in celebration of the millennium and it continues to thrive. Fans of J.K. Rowling might recognize the town of Painswick from her novel, The Casual Vacancy.
Overnight Location: The Falcon Inn, Painswick
Day 2 Painswick to Stonehouse
Start your walk today from Painswick, following the trail as it descends and crosses the Wash Brook. After this, climb back up to the Edge Common and continue through a section of forest. You’ll reach a clearing in the trees at Haresfield Beacon, which offers wonderful views of the River Severn, the longest river in Great Britain. There is also a hillfort here from the Iron Age. Descend down into woods again and enjoy a springtime carpet of bluebell and wood anemone, or ferns in the summer in the lovely Standish Woods. Emerge from the forest once again into the grassy pastures of the Stroud Valley. You will soon reach historic Stonehouse, where you will spend the night. This village was listed in England’s earliest records, the Domesday Book from 1086.
Overnight Location: The Stonehouse Court Hotel, Stonehouse
Distance: 9.5 miles / 15 km
Day 3 Stonehouse to Wotton-under-Edge
Continue walking today through Dursley, after which the trail climbs steeply to the top of Stinchcombe Hill. Soon you’ll climb again up a steep ascent as the trail takes you to the Tyndale Monument and the Brackenbury Camp Hillfort. Pause here to catch your breath and enjoy the view of the surrounding area, including the town of Wotton-under-Edge. Follow the trail as it follows the ups and downs of the rolling hills, through wooded areas and up to viewpoints before coming to Wotton-under-Edge, where you’ll spend the night. Enjoy this historic town with its many listed buildings and independent shops and restaurants.
Overnight Location: The Swan Hotel, Wotton-under-Edge
Distance: 13.5 miles / 21.5 km
Day 4 Wotton Under Edge to Old Sodbury
Begin today by walking past an old drover’s pond and continue on the Cotswold Way as it takes you south toward Horton, following Bath Lane. You’ll come to Horton Court, a National Trust property which is believed to be England’s oldest vicarage. After this, the trail ascends to Horton Fort, where you’ll enjoy expansive views of the Severn Vale and beyond. Follow the trail across local farmland, through Horton village, and continue to the village of Old Sodbury where you will stop for the night.
Overnight Location: Rock Cottage B&B, Old Sodbury
Distance: 12.5 miles / 20 km
Day 5 Old Sodbury to Cold Ashton
Begin today by following the trail through Dodington Park, which is a wonderful parkland laid out by architect Capability Brown in the 18th Century. Crossing a few more fields brings you to the town of Tormarton. Pass through Tormarton and continue south following the Marshfield Road for a time before the trail crosses an area of arable land then skirts the perimeter of Dyrham Park. Dyrham Park is a 17th Century manor built on an ancient deer park now owned by the National Trust and featured in the BBC adaptation of Poldark. From here, conclude today’s walk by ascending through a woodland until you reach the village of Cold Ashton and stop for the night.
Overnight Location: Whiteways B&B, Cold Ashton
Distance: 10 miles / 16 km
Day 6 Cold Ashton – Bath
Today’s walk is a beautiful finale to this wonderful tour! Begin by descending past Little Down promontory hillfort and the well-known Bath Racecourse into a lovely and secluded valley at Lower Hamswell. You’ll catch glimpses of the city of Bath in the valley below you as you notice that the trail is gradually becoming more urban. You’ll pass a number of parks and great examples of regency architecture as you approach Bath Abbey. Outside the western doors of the abbey, you’ll find a stone disc in the pavement that marks the ending point of the Cotswold Way. You have made it to the end of the trail!
Bath has a lot to offer tourists and you may want to extend your stay here to allow time for exploring this fascinating and historic city. Don’t miss the Roman baths from which the city gets its name. Unless you are in a hurry to depart, spend the night here in Bath.
Overnight Location: The Rising Sun Inn, Bath
Distance: 10 miles / 16 km
Day 7 Departure Day
Sadly, your time on the Cotswold Way has come to an end. Public transportation is readily available to help you return to your car, if you parked one, or to reach nearby Bristol Airport. You can take a train from Bath Spa to London, which takes about 1.5 hours.
Overnight Location: N/A
Prices for Self-guided Cotswold Way South Section Walking Tour
Pricing for this self-guided walking tour on the Cotswold Way is based on the number of guests on your trip. The best time to travel to the Cotswolds for this tour is during the warmer months from May to September, but the trip is available year-round.
Self-guided Cotswold Way South Section Walking Tour
Prices below are per person:
- Self-Guided Group of 1: $1,350 USD per person
- Self-Guided Groups of 2-7: $875 USD per person in a double room
- Self-Guided Groups of 8+: $825 USD per person in a double room
Accommodation on the Cotswold Way South Section Walking Tour
This tour is based in 3-4-star hotels and bed and breakfasts. In some cases, accommodation listed below may need to be substituted for other, comparable accommodations.
Single Rooms and Solo Travelers
You can pay a supplement of $500 USD to have a private room in a hotel.
Hotels on Standard Tour
The Falcon Inn, Painswick ★★★★
After offering hospitality and comfortable lodgings to travelers for about 500 years, the Falcon Inn knows how to get it right! An old coaching inn from the 16th Century, the Falcon offers authentic old-world charm with modern amenities.
The Stonehouse Court Hotel, Stonehouse ★★★★
This incredible 17th Century Manor House offers excellent service with an impressive ambiance. Explore the expansive grounds, full of beautiful gardens that overlook the Stroud Water Canal.
The Swan Hotel, Wotton-Under-Edge ★★★★
This popular hotel has retained the charm of the 17th Century coaching inn that it used to be while modernizing to include all the amenities travelers desire today.
Rock Cottage B&B, Old Sodbury ★
This is a family-run bed and breakfast, and your hosts offer all the small, personal touches that make you feel at home.
Whiteways B&B, Cold Ashton ★
Whiteways is a comfortable bed and breakfast with spacious rooms and personal service from your host. This is popular with Cotswold Way walkers.
The Rising Sun Inn ★★★
The Rising Sun Inn is a great balance of comfort, service, and value in a great location.
What’s included in the Cotswold Way South Section Walking Tour?
6 breakfasts are included with accommodations. Lunches, dinners, and drinks are not included.
Accommodations for 6 nights along the tour. Extra nights may be added for an additional fee.
- Accommodation at the stated category with breakfast
- Luggage Transfers
- Full Tour Pack
- Smartphone App with GPS routes
- 24-hr emergency helpline
- Lunch, Dinner & Drinks
- Entrance to attractions
- Buses and/or Ferries unless otherwise stated
- Tourist Taxes where applicable
- Add an extra night in Cheltenham, Painswick, or Bath
Frequently Asked Questions about Cotswold Way South Section
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