National Trails in the Cotswolds
Several long distance footpaths, that take many days to complete, run through the Cotswolds. The best known, the Cotswold Way, is part of the National Trails system, maintained by the government and marked with an acorn symbol. The others are Long Distance paths maintained by local counties and volunteers.
On our walks we have met people doing these long distance paths, either all in one shot or locals doing it piece by piece one weekend at a time. There are companies that will help you do these long distance paths, carrying your bags to that night's B&B.
The following long distance paths run through the Cotswolds. You may come upon them when doing the walking trails. The benefits of walking on one of these paths is that it is maintained and well signed.
Cotswold Way (100 miles - National Trail): Straight walk from Bath to Chipping Campden, along the western edge of the Cotswold escarpment. Passes through Wotton-under-Edge, Dursley, Painswick, Winchcombe and Broadway. website
Cross Cotswold Pathway - Macmillan Way (86 miles): The Macmillan Way (290 miles) is a straight walk from the south coast in Devon to the Boston on the east coast. The part from Bath to Banbury, called the Cross Cotswold Pathway, passes through Cirencester and Stow-on-the-Wold. website
Cotswold Round (207 miles): Combine the Cotswold Way with the Macmillian Way - Cross Cotswold Pathway to get a circular walk in the Cotswolds.
Cotswold Canals Walk (37 miles): The Stroudwater Canal starts at the River Severn and meets the Thames and Severn Canal near Stroud, which continues through the southern Cotswolds reaching the River Thames at Lechlade. This walk joins the The Thames Path. Guide from Countryside Matters
Diamond Way (60 miles): Circular walk in the northern Cotswolds from Northleach to Chipping Campden, passing through Moreton-in-Marsh, Blockley and Guiting Power.
Gloucestershire Way (100 miles): Almost a circle starting and ending near the River Severn. Chepstow to Glouchester to Stow-on-the-Wold, then back to Winchcombe and Tewkesbury. Guide from Countryside Matters
Heart of England Way (100 miles): Straight path from Bourton-on-the-Water north to Milford, passing through Lower Slaughter, Bourton-on-the-Hill, Chipping Campden and then north into the West Midlands. website
Monarch's Way (615 miles): Straight walk from Worcester to Shoreham, passing through Stratford-on-Avon and into the Cotswolds (Stow-on-the-Wold, Cirencester) to Bristol and then down to Shoreham on the south coast. Following a historical path of Charles II in 1651, fleeing after his defeat in the Battle of Worchester. website
Oxfordshire Way (65 miles): From Bourton-on-the-Water in the central Cotswolds into Oxfordshire, ending at Henley-on-Thames.
Thames Path (184 miles - National Trail): Follows the River Thames from the source near Cirencester, through the Cotswolds Water Park, to Lechlade, then leaving the Cotswolds and ending in London at the Thames Barrier. website
Wardens Way (14 miles): In the northern Cotswolds, from Winchcombe to Bourton-on-the-Water, connecting the Cotswold Way with the Oxfordshire Way. Combine with the Windrush Way to make a circular long distance walk.
Windrush Way (14 miles): Following the River Windrush from Winchcombe to Bourton-on-the-Water in the northern Cotswolds. Combine with the Wardens Way to make a circular long distance walk.
Wysis Way (55 miles): A southern Cotswolds walk linking three rivers - Wye, Severn and Thames. Starts west of the Cotswolds in the Forest of Dean, comes into the Cotswolds above Stroud to Bisley, then down into the Frome Valley to the source of the Thames south of Cirencester. Guide from Countryside Matters
- The Long Distance Walkers Association - details of Long Distance trails in the UK.
- National Trails - National trails in England and Wales.