- The National Trails
- Cleveland Way
- Cotswold Way
- England Coast Path
- Glyndŵr's Way
- Hadrian's Wall Path
- North Downs Way
- Offa's Dyke Path
- Peddars Way / Norfolk Coast Path
- Pembrokeshire Coast Path
- Pennine Bridleway
- Pennine Way
- South Downs Way
- South West Coast Path
- Thames Path
- The Ridgeway
- Yorkshire Wolds Way
Trail Information and FAQs
We have tried to provide answers to the most common questions about the Trail here. If you can't find the information you are looking for please contact us directly and we'll do our best to help.
About the Trail
The Cotswold Way is a 102 mile (164Km) long National Trail running between the market town of Chipping Campden and the city of Bath. For most of its length it follows the Cotswold escarpment giving wonderful views of the surrounding landscape.
There are a number of circular walks based on the Trail including 1 and 2 day walks and shorter easy access walks for everyone to enjoy. You don’t have to do the Trail in one go to enjoy the best it has to offer.
The official guidebook suggests a seven to ten day trip. You might want to take a little longer if you want to see more of the sights along the way.
On Sunday 22nd July 2012, Darryl Carter broke the official record for running the entire length of the Cotswold Way. The record now stands at an incredible 20 hours and 36 minutes!
Anyone who is reasonably fit can walk the Cotswold Way although many walkers are surprised at the frequency of steep climbs. The route is very well way-marked so finding your way is easy. However, it is always a good idea to take a guidebook or map.
Getting to and from the Trail may take a little planning, there is information to help on the transport page.
There are several places suitable for those with restricted mobility, and even an off road mobility scooter for hire to explore the Cotswold Way around Crickley Hill Country Park, through Countryside Mobility.
Exploring the Trail
The Cotswold Way is easily reached by public transport. See the Public Transport page for full details.
Parking is limited along the Trail. Many of the towns and larger villages along the route have places to park but some of the smaller villages have very limited parking spaces. Please consider this when you plan your walk. Advice on where to park is available in the official guide book published by Aurum.
Walking for more than a day can be really wonderful, but it can mean you end up carrying a heavy bag. It can also be tricky to book accommodation on the right days. If you fancy the walk and want help with baggage or booking there are several companies that can transport your bags for you, or help you plan your trip, or arrange a full package.
The Cotswold Way can be walked right through the year so there is not really a best time. However, if you’re looking for clear views from the escarpment, then winter may be for you; whereas late spring / early summer are the best times to see the woodland and grasslands in all their glory.
The guide book is written from north to south but there is no right or wrong way – plenty of people enjoy walking it in the other direction. If you are planning to use public transport to get to the start and finish of the Trail you may wish to start in Chipping Campden and end in Bath where there are more transport options.
Phone reception can be patchy along the Trail, don’t rely on being able to use your phone to help you navigate. Wi-Fi is available at some accommodation and pubs/cafés along the route.
As a National Trail, the Cotswold Way is well signed throughout its length. You will see a distinctive acorn symbol on stiles, gates and signposts. This is the symbol used by all the English and Welsh National Trails. In addition many of the signs will include the name of the Trail.
To report a problem on the trail go to the report a problem page. From here you will need to identify where the problem is on the map, and add some details. If you want to be informed about progress to resolve the problem please add your email address.
Trail staff aim to resolve problems as quickly as they can, but some things do take a long time. Please be patient if you do not see immediate resolution.
Who can enjoy the Trail
The Cotswold Way National Trail is a route promoted for walkers only. Some parts of the Trail 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.
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. 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 your dog.
In some areas you may encounter cows with calves, these can be very protective and may be aggressive towards dogs. Try to avoid walking close to cows with calves, if you encounter any aggression release your dog, do not try to pick it up.
For information about dog friendly accommodation, restaurants and shops visit the Dog Friendly Cotswolds website.
The Cotswold Way is mainly for walkers, with some short sections suitable for cyclist and horse riders. It is not suitable for motor vehicles.
Some sections follow minor roads where you may encounter traffic.
You can hire a tramper to explore the Cotswold Way from Crickley Hill Country Park. To book or find out more call 01452 863170 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Walks on Wheels is a series of fifteen short routes throughout the Cotswolds AONB that can be explored by users of wheelchairs, power scooters and children's buggies. All of the routes have been tested by disability and access groups and have been carefully chosen to ensure that they are appropriate for users. However, some of the routes are not suitable for all wheelchair users and some may be difficult or impassable in bad weather and after rain.
Download the Walks on Wheels as pdf leaflets from the Escape to the Cotswolds website. From here you can also download the Miles Without Stiles short walks designed for anyone wanting to avoid climbing stiles.
Holding a large-scale event needs careful planning. If you plan to organise a large event, ie one with more then approximately 50 participants, then please contact the Trail Officer. It is important that they are aware of your event. A large number of events use the Trails, the Trail Officer can advise you to ensure your event does not clash with any other event or major works that may affect or close parts of the Trail. You will be asked to contribute a minimal donation of £1 per entrant for paid events. 20% of your donation goes to support the website and promotion of National Trails, including promotion of events and 80% goes to the Trail.
For more information download our guidance notes about planning an event on the Cotswold Way.
What is special about the Trail
The Cotswold Way is one of the 15 National Trails in England and Wales. National Trails are designated by the Secretary of State and are administered by Natural England and Natural Resources Wales, and managed by the local authorities and National Park Authorities whose area they pass through.
Most National Trails have a dedicated Trail Manager responsible for maintaining the high quality standards on the Trail. National Trails are waymarked with the distinctive “acorn” symbol.
National Trails are special because they pass through some of the best landscapes, and they are managed to a very high standard. Because of this you can be confident that any journey you make along a National Trail will be one of the best you have taken.
Natural England sets quality standards for National Trails and their management. You can find out more on the Natural England website.
The Cotswold Way has existed as a promoted long distance walk for over 30 years. Following many years of lobbying by the Ramblers and others, its special qualities were recognised and in 1998 the government approved its development as a National Trail. The Cotswold Way was formally launched as a National Trail in May 2007.
The Trail is 102 miles (164 Km) long, and runs for most of its length on the Cotswold escarpment. It passes through many picturesque villages and close to a significant number of historic sites, for example the Roman heritage at Bath, the Neolithic burial chamber at Belas Knap, Sudeley Castle near Winchcombe, Hailes Abbey and many beautiful churches and historic houses. However, what is perhaps so unique about the Cotswold Way is its concentrated variety and diversity. One minute you will be in internationally important wildflower meadows, the next shaded beech woodlands rich with the colour of bluebells and the scent of wild garlic. You could breakfast in a sleepy little village, lunch in a thriving market town and eat dinner under the stars – no two days on the Cotswold Way will be the same!
Maps, guides, certificates and merchandise
The official Guide Books for the National Trails are produced by Aurum Press. The guides are regularly updated and all details are checked by the trail managers. The books include sections of Ordnance Survey 1:25,00 maps and are the very best accompaniment to your walk. You can buy them from the National Trails shop.
As well as a guide book we recommend a good quality map and you can buy these in paper or digital format - to browse the maps and books available please visit the Maps and Guide Books page.
The Cotswold Way Hall of Fame is a scheme to recognise the achievements of walkers that complete the Cotswold Way and to encourage others to consider undertaking one of the nation’s finest walks. Potential ‘end-to-enders’ will be given a card to be stamped or signed at the start, end and a number of locations in between. Once submitted along with contact details, they will be offered a quality brass pin badge or embroidered patch, and invited to add a photo and brief synopsis of their journey to an ever-growing list. As the hall of fame expands, potential walkers will have more and more chances to find out about walking the Cotswold Way from people who have actually completed the Trail.
Contact the Trail Team for more information.
How to add information to the Trail map
Anyone can add information to the website. We hope that people who have enjoyed the National Trails will want to share their good experiences and that businesses will promote their services by adding information to the map.
You can add information to the map.This includes:
- Points of interest or attractions
- Services - for example shops, pubs, vets, cycle hire shops etc
- Details of your accommodation business
- Events - for example farmers’ markets, village fetes, guided walks
- Information to help horse riders or cyclists such as busy road crossings or water points
To add content you will need to sign up – click the join button in the top right corner. You’ll need a username and an email address. We won’t give your email address to anyone, we’ll only use it if you need a password reminder or if we need to contact you directly. For more information read our data protection policy.
Once you’re signed in you can add information to the map by clicking here.