This itinerary has been created by The Carter Company, who specialise in luxury self-guided walking holidays in the UK and Europe. The Carter Company prides itself on booking superior accommodation in quality hotels and boutique B&Bs and drawing on unrivalled local knowledge to provide a real ‘insiders’ tour of the Cotswolds.
This luxury holiday includes superior accommodation on a bed and breakfast basis, all transfers, an Adventure Handbook packed with local tips, 24-hour contact number and luggage transfers. Additional tours such as brewery tours or garden visits can be booked if required.
Starting amid the honey-coloured Cotswold stone buildings of the delightful market town of Chipping Campden, this busy itinerary hops on and off the Cotswold Way to condense the scenic highlights of this gloriously rural trail into a short itinerary while still leaving time to explore the cultural and historic delights of Bath and a string of gorgeous Cotswold villages and stately homes.
Day 1 - Arrive Chipping Campden
Transfer from Moreton-in-Marsh station to Chipping Campden to check into your comfortable accommodation with time for a short (three or five-mile) orientation walk around the village and surrounding woodland or potentially a visit to the beautiful gardens at the nearby National Trust property of Hidcote Manor.
Day 2 - Chipping Campden to Stanton
The trail takes you out onto the Cotswold escarpment with stunning views from Dover’s Hill, continuing across the fields to Broadway Tower and then down into the village of Broadway with its historic connections with the Arts & Crafts movement. From Broadway, the trail climbs up onto the escarpment, following broad tracks to the Iron Age hill fort of Shenberrow Camp. The trail then descends into the unspoilt Cotswold village of Stanton. Transfer to Winchcombe for overnight accommodation in a 15th Century coaching inn. Option to spend two nights in Winchcombe, taking the extra day to explore Sudeley Castle. 9.7mi/15.5 km
Day 3 - Winchcombe To Dowdeswell
Leaving the ‘Walkers Welcome’ town of Winchcombe, the trail heads through the Sudeley Estate, climbing steadily to the ancient Neolithic long barrow of Belas Knap. The trail then descends through Breakheart Plantation past Postlip Hall before climbing again to the Golf Club House at Cleeve Hill. Heading south, you are now on the highest part of the entire trail. The route continues across Cleeve Common with extensive views over Cheltenham and far beyond, before descending to Dowdeswell. Transfer to your accommodation. 11.1mi/17.7km
Day 4 - Dowdeswell to Birdlip
Return transfer to Dowdeswell. Climb through Lineover Wood and Wistley Plantation and on over farmland before descending to Seven Springs – believed by some to be the source of the Thames. Admire the breathtaking views across Cheltenham and the Severn Vale from Charlton Kings Common then follow the escarpment onto Leckhampton Hill. Follow quiet tracks, lanes and paths into Crickley Hill Country Park, crossing the undulating grassland of Barrow Wake before heading into woodland to emerge at Birdlip, where your hotel is located. 10.3mi/16.5km
Day 5 - Birdlip to Painswick
From Birdlip, the Trail passes the remains of Great Witcombe Roman Villa, through magnificent semi-natural beech woodlands and on to Coopers Hill, the site of the annual cheese-rolling event (first bank holiday Monday in May). The route then emerges onto the common land and golf course of Painswick Beacon, where the ramparts of an Iron Age hill fort can be clearly seen. The section ends in the picturesque town of Painswick, the mid-point of the Cotswold Way. Overnight in the historic village of Painswick. 8.6mi/13.7km
Day 6 - Painswick to Kings Stanley
Descend from Painswick across the Wash Brook before climbing again onto Edge Common. The Trail then plunges back into woodland emerging at Haresfield Beacon and the iron-age Bulwarks hill-fort, with views of the escarpment and River Severn. The route descends gently through Standish Woods – where you can see beautiful displays of bluebell and wood anemone in the spring – to emerge into the Stroud Valley. At the Stroudwater Navigation, cross the canal into Kings Stanley. Transfer to your hotel. 7.8mi/12.5km
Day 7 - Dursley to Newark Park
Transfer to Dursley followed by a choice of walks to the historic Tudor stately home of Newark Park. From Stinchcombe Hill, the path descends to the village of North Nibley, then climbs again to the Tyndale Monument (commemorating William Tyndale, translator of the Bible) before crossing grassland and woodland to Brackenbury Camp Hillfort. At Wotton-Under-Edge, the trail climbs again onto the escarpment to Newark Park – perched on an elevated plateau among the folds and crinkles of the Cotswold Hills. Transfer to Bath for overnight stay. 6.7 or 9.2mi/10.7 or 14.7km
Day 8 - Bath
Take an optional two-hour guided city walking tour or explore this magnificent city for yourself. Arrive early to gain admission to the Roman Baths then take a walk along the River Avon to the Pulteney Bridge, followed by a climb through the bustling city streets to admire the Regency delights of the Circus and the Royal Crescent. The Jane Austen Centre is nearby. Second night in Bath.
For this itinerary, The Carter Company accommodates walkers in small boutique hotels, luxury inns, renovated old mills, and a luxury city centre hotel in Bath for two nights.
Air / Car
Heathrow Airport via M40 & A40 (app 1hr 30min; 80 miles). Birmingham Airport via M40 (app 50 mins; 40 miles). Bristol Airport via M5 (app 1 hr 30min; 75 miles)
London Paddington to Moreton-in-Marsh (app 1hr 45min) then bus to Chipping Campden (app 45min) or taxi (app 15min; 10 miles)
Birmingham Moor Street to Stratford-Upon-Avon (app 50min) then 7 min walk to bus stop then bus to Chipping Campden (25-45min)
Bristol Temple Meads to Moreton-in-Marsh via Didcot and Oxford (2hrs 30min) then bus to Chipping Campden (app 45min) or taxi (app 15min; 10 miles)
London via M40 & A40 (app 2hr). Birmingham via A435 (app 1hr; 36 miles) or M40 (app 1hr; 50 miles). Bristol via M5 (app 1hr 15min; 65 miles)
The Carter Company collects guests from Moreton in Marsh station
All transfers on the tour are included
The route is generally of moderate difficulty with a number of hills – some steep – most days, but the distances covered are moderate too. Option to travel with the luggage any day of the itinerary. Best walked end of March to end of October.
Food & Drink
There are some notable inns on the route including: the Eight Bells in Chipping Campden, the Crown and Trumpet or Horse and Hound Broadway, The Boathouse in Bath and the Lion Inn at Winchcombe, where guests stay overnight. There’s also an interesting variety of lunch stops in villages like Broadway or Wotton under Edge, with several choices of café, fish and chips, restaurant or inn. In Bath there endless choices of places to eat, including taking tea at the Pump Rooms or trying a famous Sally Lunn Bun.
Maps, Guidebooks and Merchandise
The official guidebook and map for the Trail are available from the National Trails Shop along with a wide range of gifts and other merchandise.