Guidebooks and Maps for Walking in the Cotswolds
If you plan to do any walking while you are in the Cotswolds, you need a good walking guidebook (or two) and an Ordnance Survey Map (Explorer series, 1:25,000). The guidebooks list popular hikes, rate them by time and difficulty and give detailed directions for the walk. The Ordnance Survey Map is for backup. It shows all the walking trails in the Cotswolds. Use it if the guidebook does not show any walks in an area or in case you get lost.
Note for North American travelers: Not all Cotswolds walking guides are available in the US. You can order from Amazon.co.uk and have them mailed to the US.
Most of these walking/hiking guides show the complete, circular walk - so that you end where you started.
Recommended Walking Guidebooks
Cotswold Classic Walks (Goldeneye, 2014): These are my favorite walks in the Cotswolds. This book has 25 circular walks with excellent maps and hike descriptions, plus information about the area. Most hikes are two to three hours long, some have shorter versions. Purchase on Amazon.co.uk
The Cotswolds - Short Walks (Pathfinder Guide, 2009): 20 walks ranging from one to three hours (most are two hours long) covering all the main areas of the Cotswolds. Good descriptions and detailed maps, plus interesting notes about the area. Purchase on Amazon.co.uk
The Cotswolds - Walks, More Cotswolds - Walks, (Pathfinder Guide, 2009): These two Pathfinder Guides for the Cotswolds give very good coverage for the Cotswolds, with easy, medium and harder hikes. They are light and easy to tuck into your backpack. The maps and hike descriptions are excellent. Purchase on Amazon.co.uk
Available in the US
Walking in the Cotswolds, (Cicerone, 2014): 30 classic hill and valley routes, by Damian Hall. Good maps and descriptions, plus photos, in a small, "easy to carry in your pocket", format. A great selection of walks/hikes.
50 Walks in the Cotswolds (Automobile Association - AA, 2013): The maps and descriptions are not as good as Goldeneye or Pathfinder, but they offer a wide variety of hikes in the area.
Walking Maps (Ordnance Survey)
The Cotswolds are crisscrossed with walking paths, so you need a good map to find your way. The Ordnance Survey Explorer maps are the best for hiking. Buy them from Amazon.co.uk before you leave. In the Cotswolds you will find them for sale at tourist offices, newsagents and book shops.
Ordnance Survey has two map series:
- Explorer (orange) at 1:25,000 scale, perfect for walking
- Landranger (purple) at 1:50,000 scale, good for driving
The Ordnance Survey Explorer Maps are detailed maps, showing every town, village, hamlet, farmhouse, road, lane, trail, etc. and are just what you need when out walking in the countryside.
You will find descriptions of local walks on local tourist office websites and on the National Trust site.
Great British Walks from National Trust: Downloadable walks throughout the United Kingdom.
Escape to the Cotswolds - Walking from Cotswolds AONB: Downloadable walks.
Cotswold Way Circular Walks from National Trails: Downloadable walks covering several sections of the Cotswold Way.
Gloucestershire County - Country Parks: Downloadable walks in Gloucestershire.
Web Resources for Walking in the Cotswolds
You will find descriptions of local walks on local tourist office websites.
National Trails: Government maintained National Trails.
Ramblers.org: Descriptions of long distance paths in England.
South Cotswolds Ramblers Association: Associations of walkers.
Walking Britain: Detailed descriptions of walks throughout Britain, with several in the Cotswolds.
Walking Pages : Descriptions of the long distance paths in England.
Walking Guidebooks and Maps
Countryside Matters: Publisher of detailed guides to walks.
Live for the Outdoors: Country Walking Magazine, a good UK magazine for walkers. Get this magazine when you are in England.
Ordnance Survey: Official maps of the United Kingdom. Create your own small scale (1:25,000) map online with their OS Get a Map.