This itinerary is being operated by Compass Holidays, who specialise in walking, cycling and activity short breaks and holidays in a variety of UK, European and worldwide destinations.
With more than 25 years’ experience, Compass Holidays allow you to get under the skin of the history, culture and natural beauty of some of the world’s most iconic and stunning locations.
Compass will arrange your whole tour: you just need to arrange transport to your first location.
All accommodation including breakfast; in B&Bs, inns and Hotels of 3, 4 or 5 star quality
Fully comprehensive tour pack with maps, available in English, German, French and Italian as standard, with other languages available on request.
Access to a smartphone digital app which offers GPS tracking for the routes (downloaded prior to save on data costs)
Access to our 24/7 helpline in case of any emergencies.
Compass can also arrange airport/train station pick-ups and drop offs at an additional charge.
Starting in the pretty Cotswold market town of Chipping Campden, this 102-mile route follows the ridge of the Cotswold escarpment through delightfully undulating countryside and picturesque villages to Bath. Daily distances are very manageable to allow plenty of time for further discovery and exploration.
Day 1 - Arrive Chipping Campden
Check into your accommodation and explore the lovely shops, tea rooms and beautiful high street in the town. Chipping Campden is a traditional market town, with preserved historic features dating back as far as the 14th century. It is also one of the earliest examples of deliberate town planning with a charter from King Henry II to set out a plan of the town.
Day 2 - Chipping Campden to Stanton
After leaving the town, the Trail takes you out onto the Cotswold escarpment with stunning views from Dover’s Hill. This is where the annual ‘Olimpick’ games were held in 1612, with leapfrog, wrestling and shin-kicking events happening each year. The walk continues across the fields to Broadway Tower and then through the village of Broadway with its historic connections with the Arts & Crafts movement. Stanton is built entirely of Cotswold stone and will be your rest stop for the night. 12 km/ 7.5 miles
Day 3 - Stanton to Winchcombe
After a steep climb up from Wood Stanway onto the escarpment, you will be rewarded with magnificent views across the Vale of Evesham towards the Malverns. Passing the Iron Age hill fort of Beckbury Camp, the Trail continues through farmland to Winchcombe. Stay overnight in this “Walkers are Welcome” certified town and explore its Neolithic, Roman and Medieval past. Explore Sudeley Castle & Gardens, the only private castle in the UK, and final resting place of Catherine Parr, Henry VIII’s final wife. 12 km/7.4 miles.
Day 4 - Winchcombe to Cheltenham
Leave through the Sudeley Estate, climbing steadily to the ancient Neolithic long barrow of Belas Knap to Cleeve Hill – the highest point of The Cotswolds. The route continues across Cleeve Common with extensive views over Cheltenham, and then onto Charlton Kings Common with views across the Severn Vale. Follow the escarpment onto Leckhampton Hill and look out for the distinctive rock pillar known as the Devil’s Chimney before descending into Cheltenham, the most complete Regency Town in the UK. 12 km / 7.5 miles
Day 5 - Cheltenham to Birdlip
The Trail follows quiet tracks, lanes and paths into Crickley Hill Country Park, with its excellent viewpoints and archaeological history, as well as a great café for a pitstop. There is evidence of historic settlements from as early as the Neolithic Period, as well as an Iron Age Hill Fort. The Trail then crosses the undulating grassland of Barrow Wake before heading into woodland to emerge at Birdlip. 9.6 km/6 miles.
Day 6 - Birdlip to Painswick
From Birdlip, the Trail passes the remains of Great Witcombe Roman Villa, through magnificent beech woodlands and on to Coopers Hill, the site of the annual cheese-rolling event. The route then emerges onto the common land of Painswick Beacon, where the ramparts of an Iron Age hill fort can clearly be seen. The section ends in the picturesque town of Painswick, the midpoint of the Cotswold Way. Painswick recently featured in J.K.Rowling’s novel “A Casual Vacancy” and is also home to the Rococo Gardens which are worth a visit. 9.6 km/6 miles
Day 7 - Painswick to Stonehouse
Descend from Painswick to cross 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, with beautiful displays of bluebell and wood anemone in the spring, to emerge into the Stroud Valley through grass pastures. The village of Stonehouse actually appears in the Domesday Book of 1086. 9.6 km/6 miles
Day 8 - Stonehouse to Wooton Under Edge
Continue through Dursley then climb steeply up Stinchcombe Hill followed by another ascent to the Tyndale Monument and Brackenbury Camp Hillfort, with views over Wotton-under-Edge.
The Trail then makes for the village of Alderley down a delightful sunken woodland track, before climbing again to the Somerset Monument before heading towards the village of Hawkesbury Upton. Wotton-under-Edge boasts a large number of listed buildings, as well as independent shops and eateries. 17.7 km/11 miles
Day 9 - Wooton Under Edge to Old Sodbury
Passing an ancient drover’s pond, the Cotswold Way follows Bath Lane south towards Horton. Before reaching the National Trust property of Horton Court, probably the oldest vicarage in England, the Trail climbs up to Horton Fort with extensive views opening out over the Severn Vale and beyond. The Trail then crosses farmland to the villages of Horton and Old Sodbury where you will stay for the night. 14.5 km/9 miles
Day 10 - Old Sodbury to Cold Ashton
From Old Sodbury, the Trail passes through the wonderful Capability Brown parkland of Dodington Park before crossing the final few fields into Tormarton. Leave Tormarton to the south along the Marshfield Road, the trails crosses arable land and eventually leads to a path passing round the perimeter wall of Dyrham Park – an ancient deer park. From Dyrham, the Trail climbs through woodland to Cold Ashton. 11.2 km/7 miles
Day 11 - Cold Ashton to Bath
What a finale! The Trail descends into the beautiful secluded valley at Lower Hamswell, passing the promontory hill fort at Little Down and the famous Bath Racecourse. The city can be glimpsed in the valley below and the trail gradually becomes more urban over the final miles, passing parks and regency architecture on its way to Bath Abbey which marks the end of the Cotswold Way. Bath is a fabulous place to stay and many choose to extend their trip to give time to explore the attractions including the famous Roman Baths. 9 km/5.6 miles
Compass Holidays use a variety of pubs, guest houses and B&B’s, all of a minimum 3 star grading standard. All accommodation providers are well established and understand the needs of walkers along the Cotswold Way.
Overnight stays include famous old pubs such as The Eight Bells, The Ebrington Arms, The Churchill Arms – all in Chipping Campden; the Royal George at Birdlip and the Rising Sun Hotel on Cleeve Hill. In Bath itself, the Wheelwrights Arms and The Boathouse are highly regarded.
Air / Sea
The nearest airports for the trail are Birmingham and Bristol, however access is still easy from London. Trains to Cheltenham Spa or Moreton in Marsh provide the best start with the option of a bus to Chipping Campden or alternatively Compass Holidays can arrange a transfer for a small additional charge.
The sea ports of Dover, Portsmouth or Southampton will require a train journey to Cheltenham Spa/Moreton in Marsh and then a bus or transfer as outlined above, or with prior notice Compass can arrange parking for your own car.
A number of local buses and taxis run along the route. Compass Holidays will be more than happy to assist visitors in booking a taxi transfer. Local timetables can also be obtained and shared with visitors. The times are seasonal and vary throughout the year.
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 & 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)
By 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
The Cotswold Way is extremely popular during the summer months, however walking in the springtime enables the sights of new blossom and animals. Autumn provides a spectacular explosion of colour. If you are reasonably fit then you will be able to walk the Cotswold Way, there are a number of steep hill climbs, which can prove more challenging.
Food & Drink
The overwhelmingly rural landscapes of the Cotswolds are something of a foodie paradise, where a string of enchanting old inns make the most of abundant local produce. Along the route, look out for Gloucestershire Old Spot Sausages, Double Gloucester and Single Gloucester Cheese, Stinking Bishop Cheese, Bibury Trout, Tewkesbury Mustard and a vast array of local ales and beers and ciders. Ask Compass Holidays for recommendations of where to eat within your budget, but be warned there are so many places, it might be hard to make your mind up!
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.