Cotswold Way Transportation
Trail marker on the Cotswold Way
Most visitors to the Cotswolds who want to walk the Cotswold Way do it by walking the whole trail on consecutive days, staying in B&Bs along the way.
People who live in this are have the flexibilty of walking the trail in many ways. They can walk a few days one month, a few days the next. Or they can do the whole trail but return home each evening.
A visitor can easily combine staying in a vacation rental (holiday cottage) and walking the trail. Rent a vacation rental in the north Cotswolds for a week for the first half of the walk and then move to another in the south for the second week. Or pick a vacation rental in a central place and spend two weeks there. From your vacation rental, drive out for each day's walk, park at the starting point, do the walk and return to your car by bus or taxi. (It sometimes works best to park at the end point, then take a bus or taxi to the starting point and walk back to your car.)
The information below tells you how to do the Cotswold Way as a series of day walks using buses or taxis to get you back to your starting point each day.
We walked the Cotswold Way in June 2013 as a series of day walks. The information on this page is based on the way we did the walk. At that time we lived in Painswick, the mid-point of the trail.
Most of the towns along the Cotswold Way have car parks for visitors. Check to see if they have a "Long Stay" car park because the usual "Short Stay" car park will have a time limit. The Long Stay car park is less expensive or free, but is usually further out than the Short Stay car park.
Many places along the Cotswold Way have infrequent bus service. In some cases it may be easier to park at the end point of the walk, take a morning bus to the start point and then walk to your car. From some points you may have to take a taxi or do an extra walk to the bus line.
Buses for each location are listed below. Find bus schedules on Traveline South West.
Note that buses do not run on Sunday.
Check on Google or go to the local tourist office for a list of local taxis. Many taxi companies in these small Cotswold towns are one-man shops and may be busy when you need them. Either book ahead or be prepared to make several phone calls. Taxis are easier to get on the parts of the walk near larger cities (Cheltenham, Stroud, Chipping Sodbury, Bath).
Day 1: Chipping Campden - Broadway (6 miles)
This is an easy first day to start your walk. You climb out of Chipping Campden to Dover's Hill, then walk along the escarpment to Broadway Tower. From there you go down into Broadway.
Lunch: There are several places to get sandwiches in Chipping Campden. Stop at the picnic area at Fish Hill or the tea room near Broadway Tower.
Parking: Start of walk - Chipping Campden, free long term parking is on Back Ends, park on road or in the few spaces provided. End of walk - Broadway, paid long term parking lot on Leamington Road.
Transportation: Buses run between Chipping Campden and Broadway. Either park in Chipping Campden, walk to Broadway and take the afternoon bus back or park in Broadway, take the morning bus to Chipping Campden and walk back to your car.
Day 2: Broadway - Wood Stanway (6.5 miles)
Climb from Broadway back up to the top of the escarpment, then follow farm tracks until the descent into Stanton. Walk through Stanton, then across fields to Stanway. The National Trail Guide suggests you walk to Wood Stanway, but if you are taking a bus back, stop at Stanway, then walk .8 miles to the Toddington roundabout on B4632 where you can get a bus.
Lunch: Great sandwiches at Broadway Deli on the village green. A few benches along the trail.
Parking: Start of walk - Broadway, paid long term parking lot on Leamington Road. End of walk - no parking in Stanway/Wood Stanway.
Transportation: From Stanway, walk to the Toddington roundabout to catch the bus.
We thought it would be easy to call a taxi from Wood Stanway but we had to phone eight companies before we found one available (£20). We should have walked to Toddington roundabout for the bus.
Day 3: Wood Stanway - Winchcombe (5.4 miles)
From Wood Stanway you climb back up to the escarpment, walk along it, then descend to Hailes Abbey (remains of a Cistercian abbey). From there you walk across fields to Winchcombe.
Lunch: No shops in Stanway or Wood Stanway. Tea room near Hailes Abbey at Hayles Fruit Farm.
Parking: Start of walk - no parking in Stanway/Wood Stanway. End of walk - Winchcombe, paid long term parking lot in Back Lane.
Transportation: Buses run between Winchcombe and Broadway, stopping near Wood Stanway, Stanway and Stanton.
Day 4: Winchcombe - Cleeve Hill (5.6 miles)
From Winchcombe you walk out through fields, slowly climbing towards Belas Knapp, a pre-historic burial mound on the edge of the escarpment. From there you go along the escarpment, down to Postlip, then up again to Cleeve Hill.
Lunch: Food Fanatics in Winchcombe has good sandwiches.
Parking: Start of walk - Winchcombe, paid long term parking in Back Lane. End of walk - Cleeve Hill, free Quarry parking near Golf Course.
Transportation: Bus from Cheltenham goes between Cleeve Hill and Winchcombe.
Day 5: Cleeve Hill - Dowdeswell (5.5 miles)
The next three days take you around the large town of Cheltenham. Today's walk goes over the Cleeve Hill Commons with views back up the escarpment to where you started and down to Cheltenham. The walk ends at Dowdeswell Reservoir, on the A40 road that runs from Cheltenham to Oxford.
Lunch: Bring your own for today.
Parking: Start of walk - Cleeve Hill, free Quarry parking near Golf Course. End of walk - Koloshi Restaurant on the A40 (London Road) across from Dowdeswell Reservoir (they allow walkers to use their large parking area).
Transportation: Buses run from Dowdeswell to Cheltenham where you can transfer to a bus to Winchcombe. Or take a taxi from Cheltenham.
Day 6: Dowdeswell - Leckhampton Hill (4.7 miles)
This is a short day of walking. Even though you are walking near busy roads and are not far from the edge of Cheltenham, this walk is very rural and beautiful. The Lineover Wood with the old Lime Trees is spectacular. Leckhampton Hill has beautiful views over Cheltenham.
Parking: Start of walk - Koloshi Restaurant on the A40 (London Road) across from Dowdeswell Wood (they allow walkers to use their large parking area). End of walk - quarry on Hartley Lane off Leckhampton Hill Road.
Transportation: Buses run from Leckhampton Hill to Cheltenham where you can transfer to a bus to Dowdeswell. Or take a taxi from Cheltenham.
Day 7: Leckhampton Hill - Birdlip (5.6 miles)
This is the worst day of the walk because of the very busy A417 roadway. The noise from the road dominates the walk, plus you have to cross a very busy roundabout and walk beside the road for about 5 minutes. You walk through an interesting pre-historic fort on Crickley Hill.
Parking: Start of walk - quarry on Hartley Lane off Leckhampton Hill Road. End of walk - car park at Barrow Wake Viewpoint near Birdlip.
Transportation: You may be able to do this by bus, but a taxi is quicker.
Day 8: Birdlip - Painswick (8.6 miles)
Finally a mostly flat walk. You walk through beautiful woods along the edge of the escarpment with one short climb to the top of Cooper's Hill (where they do the cheese rolling contests), then out along the beautiful Painswick Beacon, and into Painswick.
Lunch: Sandwiches in Painswick at the tea room or the local shop. A pub just off the trail before the Painswick Beacon.
Parking: Start of walk - car park at Barrow Wake Viewpoint near Birdlip. End of walk - Walker's Car Park on Golf Course Road off the Gloucester Road in Painswick.
Transportation: The bus routes are complicated here. Use a taxi from Cheltenham or Stroud.
Day 9: Painswick - King's Stanley (7.8 miles)
This day takes you from Painswick up to the Haresfield Beacon with views south to the River Severn, then through the beautiful Standish Wood and down to the Stroudwater Canal. This is a populated area but the walk goes through rural parts.
Lunch: Sandwiches in Painswick (see above), pub in Edge.
Parking: Start of walk - Walker's Car Park on Golf Course Road off the Gloucester Road in Painswick. End of walk - parking lot off the Ebley Bypass (A419) on the road into Kings Stanley (Ryeford Road).
Transportation: Buses run along the Ebley Road near King's Stanley. There is a bus stop where the trail crosses the road. Buses go to Stroud where you can catch the bus to Painswick. There are taxi companies in Stroud.
Day 10: King's Stanley - Dursley (7.2 miles)
The guide offers two routes. We took the more direct route along the edge of King's Stanley and Leonard Stanley then through Middleyard and up to the escarpment, instead of the longer route that goes through Selsley. This walk goes through woods along the edge of the escarpment to a viewpoint at Coaley Peak Viewpoint (with the pre-historic Nympsfield Long Barrow), continuing along the escarpment to pre-historic Uley Bury where you go down to the valley bottom and a steep climb up to Long Cam Down, with more lovely views. Then a long downhill to Dursley.
Lunch: There are some options in King's Stanley to get sandwiches.
Parking: Start of walk - parking lot off the Ebley Bypass (A419) on the road into Kings Stanley (Ryeford Road). End of walk - long stay car park in Dursley near the college (down Long Street off the market square).
Transportation: Bus from Uley/Dursley to Stroud (bus stop in the center of town just down from the market square near the Sainsburys). This is a 45 minute bus ride - it meanders through many villages.
Day 11: Dursley - Wotton-under-Edge (7.3 miles)
This walk starts with a climb through woods up to the escarpment and a golf course. You are then offered the option of a quick 1/2 mile across the golf course or two miles walking along the edge of the escarpment, woods on one side, golf course on the other, ending up almost where you started. We did the long route because that is the official trail and it was a nice walk.
Lunch: Sandwiches in Dursley. The trail goes along the main pedestrian shopping street with many options, or try the Sainsbury's.
Parking: Start of walk - long stay car park in Dursley near the college (down Long Street off the market square). End of walk - long stay car park in Wotton. The main car park in the center of town has two sections - short stay and long stay.
Transportation: Bus from Thornbury - Dursley stops in Wotton.
Day 12: Wotton-under-Edge - Hawkesbury (7.4 miles)
This walk starts with a long climb to the escarpment, then takes you to the village of Hawkesbury.
Lunch: Many options in Wotton.
Parking: There is Long Stay Car Park in the town center.
Transportation: Bus from Hawkesbury to Wotton.
Day 13: Hawkesbury - Tormarton (7.7 miles)
Today you walk through a large estate, cross the busy A36 and end up in another village. Not much climbing.
Lunch: Not many options here.
Parking: Parking on the road in Hawkesbury or Tormarton.
Transportation: Buses difficult in this area, arrange for a taxi. Tax companies in Chipping Sodbury.
Day 14: Tormarton - Cold Ashton (6.6 miles)
Another day without big climbs. You cross over the M4 motorway on a bridge, cross the busy A36 again.
Lunch: Not many options here.
Parking: Parking on the road in Tormarton or in the car park in Cold Ashton.
Transportation: Buses difficult in this area, arrange for a taxi.
10-Day Walk: Combine Days 13 and 14.
Hawkesbury - Cold Ashton (14.3 miles)
Day 15: Cold Ashton - Bath (10.2 miles)
The final day is a long downhill to Bath.
Lunch: Not many options here.
Parking: Park in the car park in Cold Ashton.
Transportation: Taxi or bus from Bath back to Cold Ashton.
- Cotswold Way (National Trail Guides) by Anthony Burton. Purchase on amazon.co.uk to get the latest version.
- National Trails - Everything you need to know about the Cotswold Way.
- National Trails - Cotswold Way Distance Chart (PDF)
- Long Distance Walkers Association - Cotswold Way - Information about the walk and an elevation chart.
- Traveline SouthWest - Transportation information