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This beautiful little walk shows you around one of England’s most treasured habitats, beech woodlands, and leads you to the site of perhaps the Cotswolds’ most iconic and intriguing tradition, cheese-rolling. Follow these four short miles and discover the cathedral-like calm of Buckholt Wood, richly carpeted by bluebells in May, and wonder at the dizzy heights of Cooper’s hill where for hundreds of years the foolhardy have risked their necks for cheese and glory...

  • Distance: 4 miles
  • Duration: 2 – 3 hours
  • Difficulty: Easy. No stiles, but some moderately steep sections
  • Parking: there is parking outside the village or at Buckholt Wood
  • Public transport: accessible by bus from Cheltenham, Gloucester and Stroud
  • Refreshments: The Black Horse Inn, Cranham

Points of Interest:

  • Coopers Hill - Cheese Rolling is one of the oldest customs to have survived in Great Britain. It's been going on for hundreds of years and some say it has its roots in pre-Roman times. Today it is as popular as ever and the record-breaking crowds turn out in large numbers at Cooper's Hill in Gloucestershire to watch yet more brave souls risk life and limb chasing after a 7lb Double Gloucester cheese. The winner gets to keep the cheese they've chased after!  The Cheese Roll usually takes place on the second Bank Holiday Monday in May.
  • Cotswold Commons and Beechwoods National Nature Reserve (NNR) - Cranham Common and Buckholy Wood are part of  the largest nature reserve in the Cotswolds.  It is largely made up of a chain of beechwoods and limestone grasslands around the upper slopes of the Painswick Valley, in Gloucestershire. The beechwoods are protected as a European Special Area of Conservation because they are rich in rare wildlife.
  • Buckholt Wood, is richly carpeted by bluebells in May, and is especially noted for being home to over 780 species of fungi.
  • Cranham Common - one of a number of very special “unimproved grassland” commons on limestone soil. The cows you may see are Belted Galloway’s owned and cared for by National Trust, they are all older cows chosen for their docile nature.  Cranham Common is important for wildflowers, reptiles, butterflies and other insects. The common is rich in approximately 180 species of wild flowers, including many orchids such as common spotted, pyramidal, fly, lesser butterfly and early purple orchids as well as other limestone plants like milkwort, rock-rose and thyme. More than half of England’s butterflies have been recorded on the common including the small blue and chalkhill blue.
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