About the Trail
What is the Cotswold Way?
The Cotswold Way is a 102 mile (164 km) 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.
How long does it take to complete the Trail?
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.
How hard is it?
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.
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
How do I get to the Cotswold Way?
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.
Where can I stay on the Trail?
There is a good choice of accommodation close to the Trail and it can be viewed here.
The area is popular and accommodation can book up quickly in peak season so we recommend that you book it well in advance.
Can I camp along the Trail?
There are plenty of campsites along the Trail and they can be viewed here. 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.
Can I get my bags carried or my accommodation booked?
What is the best time of year to walk on the Trail?
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.
Which direction should I walk it in?
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.
What should I take with me?
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.
Will I have mobile phone and internet access?
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.
Is there signage on the Cotswold Way?
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.
Can I download a GPX file?
You can download a GPX file of the whole Trail here.
Maps, Guidebooks and Merchandise
Can I get a guidebook and map for the Trail?
The official guidebook and map for the Trail are available from the National Trails Shop along with a wide range of gifts and other merchandise.
Can I get a certificate if I complete the Trail?