Skip to main content

Trail Information

With over 102 miles (164km) of magical walking, magnificent views, ancient sites and beautiful villages, the Cotswold Way offers a taste of the South you won’t forget. The route offers a quintessentially English experience through flower-filled meadows, wonderful beech woodland, charming towns and villages and past historic sites – with amazing views from the Cotswold escarpment.

Prepare for your trip

Select the blue arrow tabs below for more details.

Exploring the Trail

The Trail is 102 mile (164 km) long. 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 interesting places along the way.

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.

If you wish to find out more take a look at the Cotswold Way Hall of Fame where others who have walked the Trail have recorded their experience.

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.

For most of its length it follows the Cotswold escarpment giving wonderful views of the surrounding landscape.

You can walk the route from Chipping Campden to Bath (which a lot of guide books are written for), or from Bath to Chipping Campden, the route is signposted well in both directions.

A description of the route broken down into 15 sections can be viewed here.

Many walkers have enjoyed completing the Cotswold Way with their canine companions.

Just bear in mind the trail is not stile free and does pass over farm land that will have livestock (including sheep, cows and horses) freely grazing, nature reserves and sites of special scientific interest. Some holiday accommodation, even campsites, may not allow pets so do check beforehand.

We do ask that you watch the film below and follow the Canine Code to strike a balance between getting out and about with your dog and giving wildlife and wild places space to thrive.  This has been produced in partnership with Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust,  Cotswolds National Landscape and The National Trust.

Play your part and pick up after your dog

Dog poo can introduce extra nutrients and unwanted chemicals from medication into the soil, making it harder for wildflowers to flourish by encouraging nettles and thistles.

It can also pose a threat to grazing livestock – dog poo contains bacteria that can cause disease in people and animals, as well as spoiling others’ enjoyment of these wild places.

Always pick up after your dog, even if there are no dog bins provided. Where there are no dog bins provided, please pick up and take it home with you.

Be aware of where your dog should be on a lead

Keep your dog on a lead unless otherwise advised and note where landowners may request you to not take your four-legged companion.

Even fields/common land where there may not be grazing livestock may not be suitable to having dogs running off leads due to the  delicate nature of the habitat – this could be due to ground-nesting birds, rare plants or insects, grazing animals or other reasons.

Do not let your dog approach or chase wildlife, including birds, squirrels, rabbits and deer, as it can cause stress and exhaustion.

Give livestock a 10m distance at all times

Cows and horses can be very protective of their young, and sadly pregnant ewes and other livestock can abort during pregnancy from the stress of being chased or worried by dogs.

Ensure total recall

When letting your dog off the lead in safe areas, be certain they will come back when called and that they don’t roam too far – sticking to the paths as much as possible means wildlife isn’t disturbed and you can keep a closer eye on them.

Other people may not be as comfortable around canines, and dogs of any size can cause serious fright and anxiety.

Dogs can knock people over when they get excited, which can be especially dangerous or frightening to those who are elderly or to small children.

Do respect other visitors

Other people may not be as comfortable around canines, and dogs of any size can cause serious fright and anxiety.

Dogs can knock people over when they get excited, which can be especially dangerous or frightening to those who are elderly or to small children.

Follow requests from nature reserve staff and landowners

The land management teams want your visit to these wild places to be as safe and get as much enjoyment from your visit as possible, while making sure that livestock and wildlife is given the space it needs. Please follow their instructions and guidance at all times.

Water safety

Some dogs love the water, and we’d love to find a balance between them having fun and caring for nature. If your dog is a swimmer, please read the information below.

  • Dogs running in and out of ponds can erode the banks, damaging plant life and releasing sediment into the water. This sediment can cloud the water, blocking out light for the plants and animals living below.
  • To help with this, take them to designated dog ponds or dog dip sections of rivers.
  • Flea treatments that are added to the back of dog’s necks contain pesticides that can kill freshwater invertebrates. This treatment is very soluble, washing off easily when your dog goes for a swim and potentially harming invertebrates like beetles, dragonfly larvae and mayflies.
  • You can avoid this by not letting your dog go swimming for a few days after you have applied flea treatment.

 

Top Tips for Enjoying the Trail

The closest airports to the Cotswold Way are at Birmingham and Bristol. All airports offer excellent public transport links.

Moreton-in-Marsh is the nearest main line train station to the start of the trail at Chipping Campden. For rail information please see www.nationalrail.co.uk

There are many local bus services linking main towns close to the Cotswold Way.

You can find up-to-date public transport information including a journey planner at www.traveline.info

The Cotswold Way has excellent road links to the M4, M5 and M40, providing easy access to and from London, Birmingham and the national motorway network.

There is a good choice of accommodation close to the Trail and it can be viewed on the Interactive Map below or on the Create Your Own Trip page here.

Download and print a list of accommodation for each section of the Trail.

The area is popular and accommodation can book up quickly in peak season so we recommend that you book it well in advance.

There are plenty of campsites along the Trail and they can be viewed on the Interactive Map, or  you can download and print a list of accommodation for each section of the Trail.

If you plan to camp please note it is not legal to wild camp in England or Wales – you will need to stay on official campsites.

There are several companies that will arrange to move your bags for you, help you plan your trip, or arrange a full package.

View a list of these companies here.

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.  The “Walking the Cotswold Way” guide book by Circone covers the trail in both directions.

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.

We recommend that you take a map and/or guidebook with you, or a copy of the walk leaflet if you are doing a shorter walk. You may also find a compass useful.

If you are walking solo you may want to tell somewhere where you are going as there can be mobile black spots along the Trail. Ensure your phone is fully charged before setting off.

Weather in the UK can be changeable so it’s wise to be prepared. You’ll need good footwear, waterproofs and warm layers. Take plenty of water and just in case, pack a few plasters for your feet. In the summer you may need sun cream.

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.

The UK is unique in having a network of paths that the public can use, this is the Public Rights of Way network. You can see these paths on Ordnance Survey maps.

National Trails are signed with an acorn symbol and/or the Trail name which you will see on stiles, gates and signposts. This is the symbol used by all the English and Welsh National Trails.

As you are walking along the Trail you will also see waymarkers pointing to other paths. You can use the public rights of way network to leave the Trail to explore places of interest, reach your accommodation and find places to eat and drink.

You will often find a coloured arrow on signs which indicates the status of that section of path. The most common are yellow arrows which are footpaths and blue which are bridleways.

A GPX file can be downloaded here.

Holiday Inspiration

Enjoy magical walking with long distance views from the Cotswold escarpment on a journey through picturesque villages, stunning woodlands, pretty pastoral scenery and past famous ancient sites, ending in the World Heritage City of Bath. Explore the Cotswold Way for three days, a week or even longer. You can find inspiration for your walking adventure using our suggested itineraries, or select one of the bookable itineraries which are provided by walking tour operatives.

Visit our Walking Holidays Page for holiday inspiration for the Cotswold Way.

Walking with Belas Knap behind
View of Sudeley Castle
View from Stinchcombe Hill

 

Cotswold Way Hall of Fame

Share your experience and success

The Cotswold Way Hall of Fame is a scheme to recognize the achievements of walkers that complete the Cotswold Way National Trail and to encourage others to consider undertaking one of the nation’s finest walks.

Hall of Fame membership is free and open to those that walk the trail in one journey or complete it in stages, as well as those who have walked it in the past.

Becoming a member is simple, click on the link below to record your achievement.

And dont forget to Purchase a Badge, Patch or other memento* to celebrate your achievement.

*Cotswold National Landscape work in partnership with the Cotswold Way Association to look after the Cotswold Way. If you would simply like to donate towards the upkeep of the trail, please do so via the Cotswold Way Association website.

We no longer require a card to be completed to become a member of the Hall of Fame, as with the digital world we live in getting cards stamped made it difficult to continue that way.

Some guide books may still reference the old card system.

Leaflets, Maps, Guidebooks and Merchandise

The official guidebook and map for the Trail are available from the The Trails Shop along with a wide range of gifts and other merchandise.

You can find a list of Ordnance Survey maps for the Trail here.

The Cotswold Way National Trail has both an enamel badge and iron on material patch available for a small donation.  These are available from the Cotswolds AONB website.  All monies raised go towards the ongoing maintenance of the Trail.

You can also record your achievement for free in the Cotswold Way Hall of Fame.
Record your entry here.

There are useful information leaflets to download here.

Interactive Map

Use the Map Filter to see places to visit and where to stay along the Cotswold Way.

View information on the map by ticking the boxes in the Map Filter.
You can find accommodation, attractions, food & drink establishments using the filters.
If you wish to add your own business details you can do so here
(c) Crown Copyright 2020. Ordnance Survey 100022021

Use the Distance Counter top right of the map to measure sections of the trail you are planning to undertake.
A route desciption is available with distances between recommended sections of the trail here

Wedi’i ychwanegu at eich Cynllunydd Taith isod

Cyfrifiannell pellter

Pellter a fesurwyd: - Milltiroedd (- km)

Cael proffil graddiant llwybr

Cynhyrchu
Hidlwyr Map

Customise your trip with our filters.

Hidlwyr Map

Ewch o un opsiwn i’r llall isod i ddangos y marcwyr sydd ar gael.

Cyffredinol Marchogaeth Beicio

Llety

Pwyntiau o ddiddordeb

Gwasanaethau

Llwybrau

Llety

Pwyntiau o ddiddordeb

Trafnidiaeth

Llety

Pwyntiau o ddiddordeb

Trafnidiaeth

Mae'r proffil o uchder eich teithlen yn cael ei greu pan fyddwch yn defnyddio’r cyfrifiannell pellter (uchod) i dynnu llinell.

Create your own trip

Feeling inspired? Build a bespoke itinerary and start planning your visit to this great National Trail here.

Contact the Trail Officer

If you have feedback or a question about the Cotswold Way, please contact the Trail Manager.

Cysylltwch â Rebecca Jones