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A stile free walk that leads you along peaceful woodland tracks and out onto windswept hillsides with breath-taking views. A true jewel in the Cotswolds crown.
Not only is this a stunning route, it is also twinned with an equally beautiful part of the Bruce Trail in Ontario, Canada as a mark of friendship and cooperation between our two trails.
- Distance: 6 miles
- Duration: 2 ½ -3 ½ hours
- Difficulty: Moderate – stile free with moderate slopes
- Parking: Shortwood National Trust car park (charges apply)
- Public transport: No. 63 Stroud to Gloucester bus, now stops at Harefield Farm (no.2 on PDF)
- Refreshments: Edgemoor Inn
Points of Interest:
- Haresfield Beacon and Standish Woods - Occupying a prominent position on three spurs on the Cotswold escarpment, there are views across the Severn estuary towards the Forest of Dean and Brecon Beacons. With its dramatic topography, intimate woodlands, extensive grasslands and exposed and wild promontory hill fort the estate offers a variety of contrasting experiences. The wildlife is some of the best in the Cotswolds, including the bluebells and spring flower displays in May in Standish Wood, the veteran beech trees (over 200 years old) in Shortwood and the orchids and butterflies.
- Crombwells Stone - a stone monument (two chairs back to back) dedicated to the lifting of the siege of Gloucester during the Civil War of 1643-1645. The siege began on 10th August and ended on 5th September 1643. Its thought that the defenders lost about 50 men compared with Royalists losses of 1000 during the siege. The Royalist forces were said to number about 35,000 men and the defenders of Gloucester only 1500. At the beginning of the nineteenth century the Haresfield Estate was purchased by the Niblett family who are thought to have erected the monument. The inscriptions have mostly worn away, the records show that it once read: " seige of gloucester raised 5 sept 1645" .
- Rudge Hill /Edge Common - a fantastic 180 degree view from the top, taking in Painswick, the church, Sheepscombe and into the distance along the Painswick valley. This area of unimproved limestone grassland is grazed by cattle to preserve the habitat for several varieties of orchid and the rare Duke of Burgundy butterfly.