Can I ride my horse or bike on the Cotswold Way?
The Cotswold Way National Trail is a route promoted for walkers only. There are some parts of the Trail that are legally open to horse riders and cyclists (those that run over sections of bridleway, restricted byways, byways or minor roads) but these sections are fragmented. If you are looking for a National Trail riding experience, you can ride your bike or horse along the entire length of the South Downs Way and the Pennine Bridleway and along significant stretches of both the Ridgeway and Peddars Way National Trails. Visit the National Trails website for further information.
If you are looking for a ride near the Cotswold Way, the British Horse Society promotes the long distance riding route, the Sabrina Way and has also recently produced a series of shorter routes, 'Cotswolds on Horseback' which are open to horseriders and cyclists alike. For information on both visit the BHS website here or the 'Emagin' site here.
Can I take my dog with me when walking the Cotswold Way?
You are welcome to walk your dog on the Cotswold Way National Trail, but please make sure that it is on a lead or under close control, taking extra care when you are walking close to grazing livestock. If you see a sign asking you to keep your dog on the lead, please respect this, because the landowner will have put the sign there for a reason. If you are booking accommodation along the
Trail and intend to take your dog, please make sure that the accommodation provider is happy for you to bring the dog too.
Should I book my accommodation in advance or will there be vacancies if I just turn up?
It is advisable to book ahead because in some of the smaller villages the choice of accommodation will be more limited with fewer rooms available, so they may get booked up.
Can I camp along the Cotswold Way?
The number of campsites along the Trail is limited. Please see our Accommodation page in the 'Planning a Trip' section for Camp sites (note some are seasonal). Farmers may allow you to camp on their land if you ask permission first, but please make sure you do get permission before doing this.
Which sections would you recommend if I only want to spend two or three days walking the trail?
That is up to you, it would be hard to recommend one section of Trail over another as it all has special qualities. The northern part of the trail will offer you the “typical” Cotswolds experience of villages and small towns built of honey coloured stone between stretches of gently rolling pasture with dry stone walls (don’t be caught out by the odd steep climb though). The central section is characterised by its magnificent beech woodland, species rich limestone grassland and small Cotswolds Towns & Villages nestling amongst the steeper valleys that can be found on this section. The southern section is different again with more gently rolling open countryside with more arable farming and small, attractive villages leading towards Bath in the south. The main thing you need to think about if you are planning a shorter trip is how you can reach the Trail and get back at the end of your walk. We have comprehensive information available about how to "Walk and Explore the Cotswold Way" using public transport, as well as three "Days out and Short Breaks" information sheets, one for those based in Cheltenham, and two others covering Stroud and Bath.
If I travel to the Trail by car, where can I park?
Many of the towns and larger villages have places to park, but some of the smaller villages are limited in this respect. Please consider this carefully when you plan your walk, and make sure that you park your car considerately where it will not be in the way of access to any properties. Avoiding the smaller settlements is advisable. Advice is available in the "Cotswold Way National Trail Companion" about where to park at the beginning of each section. Why not consider using public transport to travel to and from the Cotswold Way - free information is provided for you to make this easy for you.
I would like to plan a 'challenge' event on the Cotswold Way – what should I do in preparation?
Holding a large-scale event needs careful planning. We have prepared some guidance on the kind of things you should consider to make your event a success. Click here for a copy. It is also helpful to us if you can let us know if you are planning an event and what the dates are, so that we can help you to avoid clashing with other events that may be taking place. Further advice and support is available from the Trail Office if your event is on behalf of a charity or formal education group with no political affiliation. Please contact us to find out more.
Are there published details about circular walks that I can take?
The Cotswold Way Trail team and Cotswold Way Wardens have launched a brand new set of circular walking routes designed to encourage more people to discover and enjoy the National Trail. The series has been developed to appeal to those who do not want to walk the entire Trail, but would like to experience some of the best bits. Each route is accessible by public transport, will be way-marked throughout, includes car parking and refreshments stops and most contain optional short-cuts making them suitable for a much wider audience such as less-experienced walkers, families etc. For more information follow this link.
South Gloucestershire Council has published a booklet of circular walks from the Cotswold Way, see 'Publications' for contact details.
Who manages the Trail and who do I report a problem to?
The Cotswold Way National Trail is managed by the Cotswold Way Team , so contact them in the first instance. Any problems with maintenance of stiles, gates, bridges etc. should be reported to the local highway authority, who carry out maintenance work on the public rights of way. Follow these links for Worcestershire County Council, Gloucestershire County Council, South Gloucestershire Council and Bath & North East Somerset Council.
I’ve heard that there is a new Countryside Code – how does this affect me on the Cotswold Way?
The Countryside Code will help you and everyone else to get the most out of your visit now and in the future. There are three key messages: Respect, Protect, Enjoy.
- Be safe – plan ahead and follow any signs
- Leave gates and property as you find them
- Protect plants and animals and take your litter home.
- Keep dogs under close control
- Consider other people