From wondering through a “lost” Medieval town to seeing the Devil’s Chimney, Musement shares six of the best walks in the Cotswolds.
Any time of the year warrants a getaway—even if only for a night or two. If you’re in or around London, the Cotswolds, just two hours west of the English capital, is the perfect destination. The rolling landscapes, sunken valleys, occasional castle, and quaint villages of this quintessentially English region feature several walking paths. These trails suit anyone looking to spend some quality time in the great outdoors without too much strenuous activity. Here are six of the best walks in the Cotswolds.
1. The Cotswold Way
At 102 miles/164 kilometers, the Cotswold Way is one of the region’s longest trails. Starting in Chipping Campden and finishing in Bath, this trail takes about 10 days to complete in full. If you’re not in it for the long haul, choose from one of its shorter routes. The summer, as well as the spring, is especially scenic as lavender blooms and 35 different varieties adorn the landscape.
2. The Rollright Stones
Intersecting with Shakespeare’s Way, a 146 mile/235-kilometer route linking Stratford-upon-Avon with Shakespeare’s Globe theater on the South Bank of the River Thames, the Rollright Stones is a 5-mile/8-kilometer route marked by three Bronze Age stone sections. A stone ring (the King’s Men), a second stone ring (Whispering Knights burial chamber) and a single stone (theKing Stone). Legend says these represent a king and his knights who a witch turned to stone.
3. The Diamond Way
The Cotswold Diamond Way is a 60-mile/96-kilometer diamond-shaped trail starting in Moreton-in-Marsh to Northleach then heading to Chipping Campden and Bourton-on-the-Water before concluding at its starting point. It takes around four to seven days to complete, though you can choose to walk a smaller route.
4. Leckhampton Loop
Also known as Circular Loop 6 on the Cotswold Way trail, the Leckhampton Loop walk covers around 4.5 miles/7 kilometers of mostly grasslands and wildlife. See an Iron Age hillfort and a natural landmark known as the Devil’s Chimney, a limestone rock formation perched over a quarry. Legend says that once upon a time, the devil would emerge from subterranean home, sit on his chimney and hurl stones at churchgoers.
5. The Windrush Way
Also a circular walk, the Windrush Way runs 14 miles/22 kilometers and, if you’re up for the challenge, can take a single day to complete. The enchanting sights and sounds encompass the flowing of the Windrush river, a mysterious “lost” Medieval village, the elegant Sudeley Castle, and wondrous rural scenery. The route includes Winchcombe, on the Cotswold Way, and Bourton-on-the-Water, on the Oxfordshire Way, a path that leaves from Bourton-on-the-Water through the Chiltern Hills to end in Henley-on-Thames.
6. The Cleeve Hill Ring
Cleeve Hill is the highest Common in the Cotswolds, and this circular walk showcases breathtaking landscapes and hilltops as you cross streams and limestone grassland spangled with flora. The route also boasts some of the most spectacular views that even stretch all the way to Wales. Choose from 6 mile/10 kilometer or 4 mile/6 kilometer options.