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
Chipping Norton and Over Norton Walk
The Chipping Norton and Over Norton Walk is a fantastic route that will lead you from the market town of Chipping Norton to a small village, by means of crossing the picturesque Oxfordshire countryside. While out on the trail, you will visit the remains of a castle in the area before looping around the rolling hills and fields that make this region so beautiful. This is a quick and fairly easy journey that is perfectly suited for a leisurely weekend stroll.
Idbury Circular Walk
Walking the Idbury Circular is a lovely adventure that will not only take you through the beautiful terrain of The Cotswolds AONB, but also through several charming villages. While out on the trail, you will pass through varied terrain that includes open farmland, rolling hills, serene woodlands, and sleepy villages, making for a relaxing afternoon outdoors. For those who feel like turning their adventure into a bit of a pub walk, you can pop into the pubs in Nether Westcote and Bledington for some mid-walk refreshments.
New Yatt Circular Walk
The New Yatt Circular Walk is an amazing, family-friendly adventure that will allow you to experience the beautiful landscapes that can be found in the eastern portion of The Cotswolds AONB. While out exploring this charming trail, you will traverse a variety of terrain that stretches across the rolling green hills, picturesque fields, and coursing rivers that characterize the landscape here. There is likely to be livestock grazing in the area, so make sure to keep your dog on a lead to avoid any interactions.
Stanton, Snowshill, and Stanway Circular Walk
The Stanton, Snowshill, and Stanway Circular Walk is a fantastic adventure for those who enjoy leisurely strolls through the country, historic villages, and laid back pub walks. While out walking the trail, you will make your way through a variety of terrain that features several brief elevation gains throughout the countryside, as you pass through charming village streets that are lined with historic buildings. Don’t forget to pop into The Mount Inn at the start/end point of the route, as the food and views from the garden are incredible!
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