Walks in The Cotswolds
Cotswolds walks are one of the best ways to bask in the honey-hued thatched cottages and charming villages that are scattered across the undulating terrain of this region. Instead of thinking about tired limbs carrying you across the rolling hills, your eyes will be fixated on the magical scenery unfolding in front of you—whether you’re immersed in a natural setting or passing through a village harking to medieval times. Carved throughout the English countryside, you’ll find a plethora of paths leading you over hills to stunning views overlooking the countryside or into quirky villages adorned with charm. Cotswolds walks are definitely the key to this wanderer’s wonderland!
A popular route in the Cotswolds is the long-distance Cotswold Way, which stretches across 164km and takes you along the National Trail. This is a great way to immerse in the magical scenery glittering this historic area and its phenomenal villages, but you can always take on a section or two of the route to catch a glimpse of what it’s all about. However, outside of the National Trail, you will find a collection of incredible Cotswolds walks with routes packed into the six counties that make up the region.
The 10 Greatest Walks in The Cotswolds AONB
Experience surreal, historical scenery on some of the greatest walks in the Cotswolds! You’ll find a selection of walks that cater to all fitness levels and age groups, making this a fun place for anyone to explore the undulating countryside etched with fascinating imagery and ancient tales. Start your adventure by checking out some of the incredible Cotswolds walks listed below!
Newark Park Loop
Cleeve Hill - Winchcombe Circular Walk
Great Barrington Circular Walk
Chedworth Roman Villa Walk
Westonbirt Arboretum Walk
Painswick and Slad Loop
Cotswold Way: Birdlip to Painswick
Bourton on the Hill and Sezincote House Loop
Castle Combe and Nettleton Mill Walk
Cleeve Common Circular Walk
Marvel at the green-cloaked scenery stretching across the Newark estate. This family-friendly loop curves through woodlands, meadows decorated with wildflowers while also unveiling exceptional Newark house and garden views!
Take on a steeper incline on the Cleeve Hill - Winchcombe Circular Walk! Stretching across 14.8km and boasting an elevation of 467m, this walk is one of the more challenging ones in the region, but the views from atop Cleeve Hill are incredible. Walk along a section of the Cotswold Way National Trail!
Revel in the Gloucestershire countryside while you meander above the village of Great Barrington on the 8.2km Great Barrington Circular Walk. Look out for Skylarks, sheep, and cattle as you wander along this easy-to-follow trail!
Intertwine history with adventure on the family-friendly Chedworth Roman Villa Walk! After leaving charming Chedworth village behind, the countryside will envelop you as you search for the ruins of a Roman villa. The National Trust operates this site!
The Westonbirt Arboretum Walk takes you on a magical loop through a collection of various tree and plant species! Enjoy walking along the aerial walkway along the Silk Wood area of the park. Do note that dogs are allowed in only some sections of this park but not in the old Arboretum, so you’ll have to skip this section. However, they will enjoy the off-leash area on this walk.
Enjoy a blend of countryside and historic villages on the Painswick to Slad Loop. This 11.7km walk takes you along fields and streams, dipping you deep in the serenity of the lovely English countryside!
Take on a section of the famous Cotswold Way on the one-way Birdlip to Painswick route! Meander through secluded woodland and revel in the relaxing views as you travel between two villages exploding with history. You’ll also pass by Cooper’s Hill, which is where the Cheese Rolling Festival takes place.
Bourton on the Hill and Sezincote House Loop begins from the charming Bourton on the Hill before immersing you in stunning quintessential Cotswolds scenery: pastures and history. En route, you’ll discover the Sezincote estate, harking back to 200 years ago!
Explore one of the most idyllic villages in the Cotswolds: Castle Comb. Admire the ancient stories spanning this village and the pretty countryside on this family-friendly loop! You’ll also stop by Nettleton Mill, a historic location. Talk about a walk with the perfect blend of history and natural beauty!
Take your family on the 8.7km Cleeve Common Circular Walk and bask in the countryside scenery rolling across the land. However, your heart rate will pick up as you climb Cleeve Hill to the highest point in the Cotswolds! Spend a moment at the top to take in the pastoral views, which bleed into Wales (you can see this on a clear day!).
When Is The Best Time To Walk in the Cotswolds?
To avoid super wet weather, the best time to walk in the Cotswolds is between the end of March and the start of October. During this period many Cotswolds walks will have dry trail conditions, making the summer months the ideal time to head out on an adventure.
Best Regions for Walking in the Cotswolds
To take advantage of some of the best walks stretching across the Cotswolds, kickstart your time in this historic area by staying in Winchcombe. Some even call this the walking capital of the Cotswolds! Plus, the village unravels like an unspoiled magical ancient painting.
Other Outdoor Activities in the Cotswolds
Outside of Cotswold walks, other popular activities in the Cotswolds include cycling and horseback riding! Cyclists will enjoy the routes ranging from on-road to off-road, as well as ones that stretch across a variety of distances, making it fun to choose a path that tailors to your exercise mood of the day. Meanwhile, horseback riders will appreciate the long-distance Sabrina Way, as well as a few shorter rides carved into the area. Lastly, the 164km Cotswold Way is a long-distance walk worth adding to your bucket list!
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the prettiest village in the Cotswolds?
While the Cotswolds AONB boasts a surplus of beautiful villages, Castle Combe ranks as the prettiest—and not just in the Cotswolds, but all of England.
What is the main town in the Cotswolds?
Most refer to Cirencester as the Capital of the Cotswolds! It’s a lively market town worth visiting, for sure.
What are some big attractions in the Cotswolds?
Some major attractions include Gloucester Cathedral, The Roman Baths, Cotswold Wildlife Park, Cotswold Distillery, Sudeley Castle, to name a few.
Find more walking regions
- Lake District Walks
- Peak District Walks
- South Downs Walks
- Loch Lomond & The Trossachs Walks
- Chiltern Hills Walks
- Snowdonia Walks
Or use this link to find all walking regions in the UK.
View Walks in The Cotswolds on Map
- Map Data: ©OpenStreetMap
- Tiles: ©CyclOSM
Best Hikes in The Cotswolds
Bradford-on-Avon Canal Walk
The Bradford-on-Avon Canal Walk begins in the picturesque market town of Bradford-on-Avon. You’ll follow the Kennet & Avon Canal as it winds its way through the Cotswolds. Along the way, you’ll enjoy walking through scenic woods, beautiful countryside, and across the spectacular Avoncliff Aqueduct.
Upper Langridge Circular Walk
The Upper Langridge Circular is a nice walk through the woods and countryside of Somerset, near Bath. You’ll circle the historic 1643 battlefield of the Battle of Lansdown and walk towards the Cotswolds village of Lansdown and Langridge. You’ll enjoy the peaceful scenery as you journey along fields and woods in this beautiful area.
North Stoke Circular Walk
The North Stoke Circular is a beautiful walk through the Cotswolds countryside. Just a short drive from the spectacular city of Bath, you’ll escape the hustle and bustle for some quiet walking through the rolling hills and meadows. This trail starts and ends in charming North Stoke and skirts the Lansdown Golf Club and Piley Wood.
Upton Cheyney Walk
The Upton Cheyney Walk is a lovely circular route situated just outside of Bristol in Somerset. Start from a quintessential village pub in Upton Cheyney and then walk through the rolling hills of the Cotswolds countryside. You’ll love the beautiful views, and the kids will love all the animals you’ll encounter along the way.
Monarch Way Circular Walk
The Monarch Way Circular Walk takes you through the incredible Cotswolds AONB. Starting from the village of Cold Ashton, you’ll travel the countryside along sprawling fields and rolling hills that afford sweeping views of this spectacular landscape. Along your way, you’ll also come across some lovely churches and charming Cotswolds villages.
Castle Combe and Nettleton Mill Circular Walk
The Castle Combe and Nettleton Mill Circular is a great way to extend your visit to the beautiful village of Castle Combe. Once you’ve explored the cottage-lined streets in town, you can take this route through the lush rolling hills to discover the incredible beauty of the Cotswolds countryside. This route will take you through the sprawling fields, quiet woods, and picturesque villages that represent the region.
Newington Bagpath Walk
The Newington Bagpath Walk is a countryside walk in the Gloucestershire Cotswolds, You'll walk through beautiful fields, woods, and to a small seasonal pond.
Dursley and Downham Hill Circular Walk
The Dursley and Downham Hill Circular is a lovely walk through the Cotswolds countryside. Begin in the historic market town of Dursley, and then journey along quiet country roads and a bridal path to walk a circuit around Downham Hill. If you have extra energy, you can climb Downham Hill. The beautiful views are worth the effort!
Ragged Hedge & Sister Wood Walk
The Ragged Hedge & Sister Wood Walk is a lovely circular route through the Gloucestershire countryside. Enjoy the mix of open fields and wooded areas, where deer and sheep can often be seen grazing. End your walk with a visit to Cirencester, the Cotswolds’ largest town, where you’ll find many great pubs for refreshments.
Edgeworth to Bisley Walk
Explore the beautiful Cotswolds countryside on the Edgeworth to Bisley Walk. This circular walk begins in the charming village of Edgeworth and ventures into the open fields and rolling hills of Gloucestershire. You’ll walk through picturesque wooded areas and cross a few streams as you walk towards the village of Bisley.
Sapperton Cotswold Walk
The Sapperton Cotswold Walk follows the Thames and Severn Canal as it meanders through the countryside between Frampton Mansell and Stroud. You’ll enjoy walking through quiet woodland and rolling hills as you pass by charming Cotswolds villages. When you reach the midpoint at Stroud, you can take some time to explore the shops and galleries in this historic town. Or stop in at a café for some refreshments before you start the return walk.
Haresfield Beacon Circular Walk
The Haresfield Beacon Circular includes beautiful farmlands and spectacular views from the Cotswold escarpment. You’ll find plenty of wildlife as you walk through the estate and into the tranquil Standish and Maitland woods. The return walk brings you up past the natural boulder known as Cromwell’s Stone.
Painswick and Edge Circular Walk
Explore the incredible Cotswolds countryside on the Painswick and Edge Circular Walk. This walk explores the rolling hills and historic towns between Painswick and Edge. The lush landscapes, big views of the Severn valley, and the many animals and livestock along the route make this walk particularly memorable.
Sapperton Valley Circular Walk
The Sapperton Valley Circular is a beautiful walk through the incredible Cotswolds countryside. The rolling hills are high enough to get your heart rate up and offer amazing views of Gloucestershire. This walk follows the Thames Severn Canal and then loops through some historic Cotswolds villages and scenic woodlands.
Eastleach Martin and Fyfield Walk
The Eastleach Martin and Fyfield Walk takes you around the villages of Eastleach Turville, Eastleach Martin, Fyfield, and Southrop. Much of the trail follows the River Leach as it winds its way through the farms and pretty countryside. There are amazing views of the Southrop estate near the end of the walk.
Coln St. Aldwyns and Bibury Circular Walk
Walking the Coln St. Aldwyns and Bibury Circular is a fantastic Cotswolds adventure that will take you along the banks of a winding river between two lovely villages. While out on the trail, you will walk along the Coln River between Coln St. Aldwyns and Bibury before looping around to the southeast to traverse some rolling hills with breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside. This walk is packed with beautiful scenery and is steeped in local history, making it perfect for a fun weekend stroll.
Coln St. Aldwyns Circular Walk
Walking the Coln St. Aldwyns Circular is a charming adventure in The Cotswolds AONB that will take you along the beautiful banks of the River Coln. There is a similar walk that heads to the northwest to visit the village of Bibury; however, this route leads more directly to the west to explore the scenic farmlands and tranquil forests that can be found on the opposite side of the river. There are several sections along this walk that are perfectly suited for off-leash dog walking, allowing your canine companions to run wild across the open fields.
Brimpsfield to Caudle Green
The Brimpsfield to Caudle Green is a family-friendly circular walk through the Cotswolds countryside from Brimpsfield. Lose yourself in the wide country views from the grasslands and the tranquil forest paths. You’ll love the peaceful soundtrack that the babbling stream provides for your walk.
Stonesfield via Roman Villa Walk
The Stonesfield via Roman Villa Walk is an amazing route in Oxfordshire that will allow you to explore the natural beauty and fascinating history that can be found in the southeast corner of The Cotswolds AONB. While out walking the trail, you will traverse the open terrain to the south of Stonesfield to visit the ruins of the North Leigh Roman Villa before looping around to the east across the picturesque grounds of Blenheim Park. This is a great adventure for walkers that have natural and historical interests.
Lower Slaughter & Bourton on the Water Walk
Walking the Lower Slaughter & Bourton on the Water Trail is a lovely experience in The Cotswolds AONB that will take you between the two of these charming villages for views of the surrounding Gloucestershire countryside. While out on the trail, you will walk along the River Eye and experience the historic sites around Lower Slaughter before walking through the countryside to cross over the River Windrush in Bourton on the Water. This is a fantastic adventure if you enjoy strolling through picturesque country villages.
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