Message from Terri
So we’re into May already, the month for the long-awaited launch of the Cotswold Way National Trail. Living where I do, I’m a bit spoilt for choice with the Thames Path, the Ridgeway and now the Cotswold Way on my doorstep – it seems like it was my destiny to be involved with National Trails especially as I previously lived about 5 miles from the Pembrokeshire Coast Path!
Jane and I are leading a walk on Sunday 27 May 2007 as part of the Dursley Rural Festival and to celebrate the launch of the Trail – we’d love to see you there if you are in the area. You can find details here.
Personally, I like walks that combine the best of two worlds – the evidence of human presence sitting alongside the perfection of the natural landscape. Just yesterday, whilst doing a bit of a practice for the launch walk, I could see that the Cotswold Way would live up to these expectations There was the River Severn, glittering in the sunshine, the Black Mountains of Wales in the distance and the Stroud Valleys overflowing with buildings of all kinds right below us – gorgeous!
Hope you manage to get out and about on the National Trail network in the next few months – the long-range weather forecast was good the last time I heard so get those boots on and get out into the outdoors.
Jo Ronald the Cotswold Trail Officer writes -
Well, we have finally made it! After a long time in the planning, and eight years in the making, we have reached the point where the Cotswold Way will officially join the ranks of the National Trails.
The development work to upgrade the Cotswold Way to National Trail standards began in 1999, and over the intervening years we have worked on over 100 alignment cases (either negotiating changes to the route or securing permissive sections of path), installed over 300 new fingerposts, 500 new waymark posts, repaired, restored or replaced over 400 items of path furniture and 12 bridges, and carried out path surface improvements on approximately 50km of the Trail (surface improvements usually mean drainage work, but where necessary a stone surface has been put down). All of this done as sensitively as possible to make sure that any new work blends in well with the local environment so as not to alter the character of the Trail.
On the information side, you will be able to find out what you need to know to plan a walk on the Cotswold Way very easily now. The new National Trail Guide “The Cotswold Way” by Anthony Burton and published by Aurum has just been released, with full route information and maps, plus a wealth of other information about the area and places of interest along the Trail. We have also just published the new “Cotswold Way National Trail Companion” – a book that sits alongside the National Trail Guide and provides information about local accommodation and services such as shops, banks, post offices, public transport services, car parking and other useful planning information including distance calculators and gradient charts for each section – it contains all the advice you will need about planning a walk on the Cotswold Way. There is also a lot of useful information on our web site (including accommodation) and the new Cotswold Way leaflet that is now available will give you a “taster” of what the Trail offers.
The launch celebrations are planned over a series of dates towards the end of May. If you are interested in joining in with the celebrations, then there is an opportunity to try out the Cotswold Way on a series of guided walks that are being run as part of the Dursley Rural Festival on the May Bank Holiday (26th / 27th) and to find out more by visiting the Cotswold Way stand at the festival. There are also a series of guided walks being run in the South Gloucestershire area. For details of these events visit our web site.
There will also be a commemorative beer to mark the launch during 2007 being produced by the Wickwar Brewing Company, so for those of you who fancy a tipple, keep an eye out for it, or come along to the Dursley Rural Festival where it will be featuring in the beer festival.
If you are thinking about trying out a National Trail this summer, why not give the Cotswold Way a try?
The Cotswold Way starts in Chipping Campden
The uninterrupted views from the Cotswold Way on the Cotswolds escarpment stretch for miles
Bluebells carpet the beech woodlands in spring time
Charming Cotswold villages offer hospitality along the way.
The National Trail acorn shows the way
102 miles from Chipping Campden, you reach your destination in the City of Bath