Where to start, there are so many...... Let's start with the Daddy, The Cotswold Way. One of the must walk trails, it runs north - south along the Cotswold Edge with breathtaking views, challenging climbs and beautiful villages. We walk parts of it often and the bluebells and wild garlic in the spring is something to behold and the Autumn colours are spectacular.
The Canals are perfect for the those not wanting to do too much climbing. There is the towpath along the Gloucester to Sharpness Canal, or the Cotswold Canals made up of the Stroud Water Navigation and the link to the Thames (earmarked for restoration) and climbing over the Cotswolds to Lechlade.
The Wysis Way, Monks Way, River Severn footpath or Woodchester Mansion and park.
We are scratching the surface.....
There's a palpable sense of what this part of the canal would have been like when it was in use, AND this area is to be redeveloped and opened up again as the canal is renovated.
Take the canal tow-path at East Wharf Cottage, alongside the Brimscombe Port walls and on to Bourne Mill. Excellent opportunities for nature spotting.
Brimscombe Hill, Brimscombe, Stroud, GL5 2QG
a traditional free house pub lying in the heart of 'Cider With Rosie' country in the Sheepscombe valley near Painswick. Still very much a village pub the area is a magnet for walkers, cyclists and tourists, so come and drink in the panoramic scenery from the garden terrace.
Check out the circular walks on their web site too....
Sheepscombe, Stroud, GL6 7RH
Looking for a mixed walk that you can take all day over and feel like you've "done a walk" but not gone too far, had lovely views and a suitable refreshment stop or two? This might be for you...
For the sake of starting somewhere..... from the Stroud Canal at the Lock Keepers Cafe in Stroud, also on hotc, head east up the valley. The path is easy to follow, apart from one small twist as follows: About 1km in you'll go through a tunnel, then turn right and up and over the canal and turn right to swap sides of the canal. not too tricky.
Walk past the viaduct (cool graffiti in the arches), and follow the canal into the countryside to the Stroud Brewery Tap. Organic beer and Pizza (check on line if they are cooking, tends to be weekends only). After refreshment retrace your steps and cross over the canal at the first bridge and head up hill. Straight up!
At the top you're on Rodborough Common. Home of the Bear Hotel, if you need more refreshment, and Winstones Ice Cream if it's just yummy calories. Bear right along the top, follow the "top" road . There are a cluster small car parks as the road turns right, go straight on towards the Castle / house on the end of the Common, amazing views.
Back to Stroud down off the nose of the hill. Pop into the Prince Albert , Rodborough if you've worked up a thirst. Bear left here and into the church yard on the right for an unusual view of Stroud. It's pavements from here: back round past the Prince Albert is easiest to guide you. Left down the hill and right at the bottom and the Upper Locks is through the under pass on the right next to the roundabout.
Easy start, a tough climb, amazing views, lots of refreshment stops and allow most of a day if you're after a lazy wander.
Looking for a walk? Here are a whole host of circular walks provided by Stroud District Council. There are some real crackers in here, not in terms of length, some are only a few miles.....
"Here's a list of some of our favourite circular walks to give you some inspiration on where to go. Please note that these documents are awaiting revision and that some features may now be absent. We advise that these walks are undertaken in conjunction with maps 168 and 179 of the Ordnance Survey Explorer Map series."
NB: to be a little confusing some are NOT circular (Daneway to Stonehouse along the Golden Valley being one)
With breathtaking views of the Severn Vale, Coaley Peak, between Stroud and Uley, is a picture-perfect spot, whether you want to fly a kite or pitch up on one of the picnic tables. It’s on the Cotswold Way too. There is good parking on site and often an ice cream van on a summers weekend.
Walk to the Trig Point, a special spot, and the Nympsfield Long Barrow stands at the other. Constructed in the Neolithic period, it has long been the subject of local legends. It forms part of a chain of 3 sites on this stretch of the Edge, the others make a relatively easy walk, but allow at least 2 hours or so. Head south to Hetty Peler's Tump and Uley Long Barrow. Both also listed here.....
Nympsfield, Stroud, GL11 5AU
The mission: “The preservation, maintenance in good order and improvement of canals, navigable rivers and inland waterways for the use of the public” with the objective to restore the canals from Saul Junction at the western end to Lechlade in the east so linking the two great rivers of Thames and Severn. This will provide navigable links to the wider UK canal network”.
You can volunteer, donate, support, take a boat ride or just walk, jog or cycle the tow path and marvel in the engineering, countryside and beauty of the route.
There are lots of videos about the canal, try this one from 2015. What's interesting is how much work has been done since then.... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jSPUZTgjxhU&feature=emb_rel_end
Wallbridge Lock, Stroud, GL5 3JS
Get on the bus and travel car-free! Perhaps bus in one direction and a leisurely walk back.... Explore Stroud & surrounding towns & villages by bus. Covering Minchinhampton, Cirencester, Nailsworth and many surrounding villages with frequent services.
Unit 27 Nailsworth Mills Estate Avening Road Nailsworth, GL6 0BS
With 102 miles of magical walking, long distance views from the Cotswold escarpment, journeys through picturesque villages and past famous ancient sites.
Passing through the Stroud Valleys, up the escarpment or along the Edge, it's ideal for a gentle stroll or a longer hike. Just follow the yellow markers.....
And now for something completely different..... go trekking with these friendly and fascinating animals in one of the most picturesque spots in the Cotswold hills. Their gorgeous soft and fluffy fleece is incredibly tactile and Alpacas have a kind and curious nature and are deeply intrigued by humans, making them convivial companions for a country walk. Book an hour of fun in the Painswick Valley.
Wick Street, Stroud, GL6 7QN
The Cotswolds aonb web site contains lots of interesting information including self -guided walks, information on places to visit and history of the area too.
The Cotswolds was designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) in 1966. Covering 790 sq miles, stretching from Bath in the south to Banbury in the north. AONBs together with the 15 National Parks cover around 25% of our countryside.
This gem is hidden away in the Sapperton Valley and sits on the Cotswold Canal towpath, this stretch is part of the Wysis Way. Pretty as a picture and cosy inside, there is a beer garden and even a campsite. Even if you don't want to walk far it's a very short walk into the woods to discover overgrown locks and pools, soon to be uncovered and brought back to life/
Dane Ln, Sapperton, GL7 6LN
The Town of Dursley officially "Welcomes Walkers".
It's in a great spot to roam. Surrounded by the Cotswold Edge on 3 sides and the Severn Vale to the west there is so much choice.
The website below has a page of self guided walks and is well worth a look.
This iconic group of trees, planted in 1888 overlooks Wotton-under-Edge and is on the Cotswold Way. There are far-reaching views across the Severn Bridges and Wales, and even the distant Brecon Beacons on a clear day.
Leave the car in Wotton and follow the Cotswold Way signs for a rewarding walk up the edge (or drive up Old London Road and park at the top (where the road widens) then it's an almost flat walk. Take the flat path into the woods, turn left either just inside the field (it's very easy to spot), or go a little further and go left along the woodland path. They both meet a kissing gate. Pass through and drink in the view.....
Click on the QR code for more Wotton Walks....
Extend the walk to Brackenbury Ditches and all the way to Tyndale Monument on Nibley Knoll. It's 126 steps up the tower for a rare 360 degrees bird's eye view.
See the Video on youtube for a" reverse" of this route with music by the Hypthetics, a local band. It's the intro to their first single, "What do you see?".
Old London Road, Wotton Under Edge, GL12 7PS
Far more than a farm shop: tucked in below the Cotswold Edge is a dog friendly Cafe, kitchen takeaway and deli, Roundhouse coffee stop, Walled kitchen garden and garden centre, 20 acres of walks and views.... so don't rush your visit, it's a place to linger. We love the vegan breakfast option, yum (we love bacon too, but this is particularly good).
Popular with cyclists as a stop off.
Dursley Road, Dursley, GL11 6PP
The Commons are full of wildlife. They're designated as Sites of Special Scientific Interest. A mixed herd of around 600 Cattle (and 5 horses and a donkey) roam from late spring to well into the autumn acting as natural lawn mowers for the birds and butterflies, flowers and insects that live here.
So take a stroll and drift through Minchinhampton for a cuppa at the Kitchen, a pint at the Crown or wander around Amberley, drop into the Black Horse (possibly the best view of the sunset from a beer garden in the area), The Bear or The Old Lodge. Grab an ice cream from Winstones, Fly a kite, play some golf or just enjoy the sense of space that no field boundaries gives and drink in the views.
Cirencester Road, Minchinhampton, GL6 9AQ
Opened in the 1860’s as a freight line to shift goods being produced in the Nailsworth Valley such as cloth, timber, dyes, arms and ammunition to name but a few. It was abandoned in the 1960’s.
The route from Nailsworth begins in a lovely wooded valley and follows the delightful Nailsworth stream, it makes a very pleasant easy walk or cycle. It links Nailsworth, Stroud and Stonehouse and is part of Sustrans route 45. A good place to start is the ex goods yard, now the car park for Egypt Mill hotel.
You can join it all along it's route of course, but in the Centre of Stroud it starts just South West of the "double roundabouts" or via a tunnel on the other side of the Sainsburys roundabout, near the Cotswold Way.
Stroud Rd, Nailsworth, GL6 0AE
The National Garden Scheme Garden Visitor’s Handbook is your essential garden-visiting guide. Check out the entries for the Gloucestershire....February to October, your perfect garden awaits.
It includes a diverse range of exceptionally beautiful gardens across England and Wales. With thousands to choose from.
2019 confirmed the National Garden Scheme’s extraordinary dual impact, both within the gardens that open and through the donations made with the funds raised at their open days. The £3 million of donations the National Garden Scheme made in 2019 supports thousands of people across the UK.
A Grade I listed country house of Tudor hunting lodge origins with an estate of 700 acres on the Cotswold escarpment. National Trust since 1946. Built between 1544 and 1556 for Sir Nicholas Poyntz (d.1557). The house, gardens and walks, as well as a cuppa, good parking too. You might like to go and visit the Saxon Church in the neighbouring Ozelworth Estate too.
Ozleworth, Wotton-under-Edge, GL12 7PZ
It's been in the Good Beer Guide for 26 yrs on the trot. Nestled at the foot of Stinchcombe Hill, the OP is and award winning "gem", it's on the Cotswold Way and the building dates from 1776 and has low ceilings and comfortable connecting bar-rooms. Good food and a beer garden too.
2 Hill Rd, Dursley, GL11 4JQ
This is a top 5 favourite of ours and it's free. You can drive to within a short slight uphill walk and be rewarded by fabulous 360 degree views across the Severn Vale to the Forest of Dean and north beyond Gloucester. It's about 283m or 920ft above sea level.
The Painswick Golf Course uses the hill fort and people walk, cycle, horse ride and picnic here. near the King Charles 1st, who on seeing the beautiful valley to the east, said "This must be Paradise". We won't argue with that.
The Wysis Way, linking Offa's Dyke Path National Trail at Monmouth to the beginning of the Thames Path National Trail in Gloucestershire, meets the Cotswold Way at Painswick Beacon.
It is also called Painswick Hill, Castle Godwin and Kimsbury Hill Fort. It has a long history, being first inhabited in the Iron Age as a hill fort between 500 and 100 BC. It is an impressive sight.
This is the country's sole surviving complete rococo garden. Designed in the 1740s as a fanciful pleasure garden for Benjamin Hyett and his guests, this hidden valley offers spectacular views of the surrounding countryside and intriguing garden buildings. Snowdrops and bluebells, lots of interest all year. A cafe too and just off the Cotswold Way.
Stockley Way, Painswick, GL6 6TH
Lots to choose from in the area: Wotton, Stonehouse, Tetbury, Berkeley and Stroud of course.
It's you against the clock. Join in whatever your pace - 5km run - Every Saturday at 9:00am. Free! All ages and abilities are welcome to the runs, including walkers, dogs on leads, babies in buggies & children.
In Stroud it's post Parkrun coffee in the Stratford Park Leisure Centre Café.
Stratford Park, Stratford Road, Stroud, GL5 4AF
Also known as the Ship Graveyard. Ships, barges and other craft were sunk on the tin river bank between the Severn and the Ship canal between 1909 and 1965 to protect the shipping route to Gloucester. Now an important historical site and an easy flat walk, though beware going in poor weather and the trail can get muddy.
It can be a there and back walk or perhaps a loop too. Map: Ordnance Survey Explorer OL14
Purton, BERKELEY, GL13 9HU
Panoramic views overlooking Stroud and the Severn Vale. Many level walks and open spaces above Nailsworth and Golden Valleys. Home to colourful array of wild flowers and butterflies and a roaming herd of cattle in the summer. Good for a bike ride too. Free Parking. Winstones Ice Cream and the Bear of Rodborough!
The web site link is too a National Trust walk, but we'd suggest you go further the point 6 to the "castle" and the view over Stroud and to May Hill in the far distance.
between A46 (Stroud-Nailsworth) and A419 (Stroud-Cirencester),
Saul Junction is where the Gloucester & Sharpness Canal meets the Stroudwater Canal and was a great meeting place for ships and crew, boats and boaters from around the world. Today the junction is still popular and there are many lovely walks along the idyllic waterways. Nearby is Saul Junction Marina and Saul Junction Visitor Centre and a cafe too.
Here is a great link to some self guided walks from our friends at Cotswold Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Click on the web site link and zoom in on the map. There are pdf guides for storing on your phone or printing to bring with you. It's a good place to start your journey of discovery in the hotcotswolds.
Walk in the footsteps of Cider with Rosie (which we recommend) author, Laurie Lee, as you explore the glorious, tranquil & hidden Slad valley. The Laurie Lee Wildlife Way is a beautiful 5-mile walking route, Countryfile Walk from 2018, or / and stop for lunch at much-loved The Woolpack Inn.
The Woolpack Inn, Slad, GL67QA
Great place to enjoy organic beer, other local or organic drinks, wood fired pizzas and tours of the Brewery. The Stroud Brewery Tap is open every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night. One of the top destinations for a night out in Stroud. Event facilities and far reaching views of the beautiful Golden valley.
The video: Greg is the man, but the location is the old tap room, their new brewery is just down the hill, next to the canal, but the video sets the scene nicely...
London Rd, Brimscombe, GL5 2BY
The Stroudwater canal walk from the Royal Geographical Society, along the towpath from Stroud to Stonehouse, tells the story of the Stroud Valley - from the past, present to the future. With plenty to observe along the way including mills, locks, bridges, warehouses, beautiful scenery and wildlife.
High on the valley side it’s in a semi derelict state. It includes fascinating memorials and a Victorian Chapel (shuttered). A nature reserve with pathways to explore. A leaflet detailing the history and wildlife is available on its web site, it’s worth a read.
Bisley Rd, Stroud, GL5 1HJ
Top 5 Historical Sights around Stroud Town Centre
Accessibility: Yes, but steep inclines
Duration: Approximately 45 minutes - 1 hour (why not stop for a coffee. or two?)
Picking just 5 sights is certainly a challenge. Our High Street contains buildings that originated from the 16th and 17th Centuries, though many were rebuilt or remodelled in later Georgian and Victorian times.
The trail starts from the Railway Station, on the Town side (London bound trains).
Route 45 is 276.5 miles from Chester to Salisbury! Our bit goes from Route 41 in the Severn Vale, through Stonehouse to Nailsworth (a 5 miles section) and on to Minchinhampton, Cirencester and beyond. A great way to explore the valleys and hills.
Choose a seat by the beautiful bay window and watch for riders trotting by on horseback or perhaps the occasional herd of cows strolling down from the Common. Serving delicious breakfasts, morning and afternoon teas, and lunches. All prepared fresh daily. Takeaway too.
7 High Street, Minchinhampton, GL6 9BN
7.5 feet (2.3 m) high. The area has numerous prehistoric barrows and near by ornaments, flint and arrowheads have all been found. Supposedly the burial site of a Danish leader after a battle at Woeful Danes' Bottom. The nearby tumuli may be the graves of soldiers.
Minchinhampton Common, Minchinhampton
Positioned on a hill above the village of North Nibley it is dedicated to the martyr William Tyndale. His mission was to translate The Bible into English so that ordinary folk could read it for themselves rather than relying on priests for an interpretation. He was strangled and then burned at the stake as a heretic.
The monument which is 111 feet high was completed in 1866. The reward for climbing the 120 steps is a wonderful view 360 degree view of the Cotswolds, Berkeley Vale and the river Severn to the Black Mountains beyond.
Nibley Knoll, North Nibley, GL11 6DT
Walking from the village: To get to the top of this ancient fort from the village, walk from beside the pub on the main road through Uley. Cross the road and take the narrow footpath to the right of the church. Fork right before the first house and follow the path up towards the kissing gate. Enter the field and head for the edge of the woods to pick up the path towards the gate at the top. Enter the woods and continue straight uphill along the higher path to emerge at the foot of Uley Bury.
By car: drive north out of uley and as the road climbs it passes through woodland. When it opens out again there is parking on the left and an easy pedestrian entrance onto Uley Bury.
Uley Bury is the long and impressive flat-topped Iron Age hill fort dating from around 300 B.C. It commands spectacular views from the Cotswold escarpment over the Severn Vale.
The fort’s double line of ramparts are more than a mile in length overall. Aerial photography has revealed extensive crop marks suggesting that there were once numerous dwellings in the interior of the hill fort. The walk around its ramparts is flat, through woodland rich in Ash, Beech and Oak, carpeted with calcareous grasses and wild flowers.
It was locally once known as the "maiden" hill, since it was said never to have been captured and indeed so steep is the hill it is hard to imagine it being taken unless by surprise at the narrow neck that unites it with high land to the east. Another interpretation is that the name 'maiden' comes from Celtic words for 'great hill'. Occupation seems to have ceased from 100 AD, by which time the Romans had conquered all of England.
Uley, GL11 5TL
Also known as Hetty Pegler's Tump, one of our favourite local names, is a burial mound, or long barrow, built around 3,800 BC, towards the end of the Stone Age. There are 5 chambers and you can crawl inside to take a look (go carefully).
It's just off the Cotswold Way, between Coaley Peak and Uley Bury, and forms part of an ancient and fascinating landscape.
Driving through Uley towards Stroud, the road rises onto the escarpment (past the postcode / sat nav spot so ignore it from now). You'll pass the parking area for Uley Bury. Keep going and after the road levels out there is a big field on your left. You can see the mound in the far left corner. There is an unmarked entrance on the left off the road and space for a car or two.
Crawley Hill, Uley, GL11 5BH
The arboretum is home to 2,500 different species from the far corners of the globe and 5 national tree collections. Discover the perfect place for you to escape, relax or have an adventure! Take a journey up into the canopy on the STIHL Tree Top Walkway, go on a guided walk around the arboretum and stop by the café for a tasty treat.
Westonbirt, Tetbury, GL8 8QS
Rising above the Severn Vale to about 220m, Westridge has become popular with walkers, trail runners, mountain bike riders and horse riders, and is crossed by the Cotswold Way.
Timing: walking from Wotton to Tyndale Monument and back, allow 2hrs. It's quite a stiff climb to the top and then basically flat from there. You can park up on Old London Road too and miss out the climb!!
With the Tyndale Monument at the most westerly point and the Jubilee Clump above Wotton at the other, it's a great place to explore. But be a little careful as it's also fairly easy to get lost, so follow the signs and way markers.
The Cotswold Way passes Brackenbury Ditches, an Iron Age fort over 2,000 yrs old and perched on the Cotswold Edge. Take a walk round it's ramparts. (what three words: designs.sunflower.squabbles)
From the meadow by the monument it's easy to see the futuristic Swinhay House, home of Renishaw plc founder Sir David McMurtry, designed by eco-architect David Austin. In 2014 it featured in the final episode of the third series of BBC One's Sherlock. It is opened to the public on occasions too.
Check out Wotton Trails on this site too....
Old London Road, Wotton Under Edge, GL12 7PS
Est 1925. Still at the same site on Rodborough Common and the same Victorian recipe as the very first day. Producing ice cream in small batches to ensure it’s tasty. Lactose free, celiac and vegan options. Walk, cycle or drive to the parlour, just don’t miss out!
Greenacres, Bowham, Stroud, GL5 5BX
It is an unfinished masterpiece. Building started about 1857, but stopped in the mid-1860s so all the secrets of the construction of the Mansion are visible. Designed by Benjamin Bucknall as a unique Gothic Revival house.
Well known for it's ghosts and breeding colonies of Greater and Lesser Horseshoe bats, so book a tour, it's special.
Allow enough time to explore the valley and lakes too!
Nympsfield, Nailsworth, GL10 3TS
The Park is owned by National Trust. It's a secluded valley and home to the remains of an 18th- and 19th-century landscaped park, a Victorian mansion, a chain of five lakes fringed by woodland and pasture, and an abundance of wildlife. It's a place to revel in "getting lost".
There are 3 way marked walks: Boathouse, Explorers and Landscapes Walks and the house too (though check opening times and booking. See the separate entry on hotcotswolds.uk for a link.
Nympsfield, Nailsworth, GL10 3TS
A group of young adults from Wotton-under-Edge and its surrounding villages working closely with the Wotton Chamber of Trade to help the local economy. The project celebrates the unique ecosystem of Wotton.
"We've installed a set of beautiful waymarker posts in our local woodlands to show you the natural beauty of our home". Using a mobile phone, all ages can learn the creative story about our town and the landscape it sits in.
Chipping Car Park, Wotton-under-Edge, GL12 7BD
Three day Walking Festival around a charming country town, during mid May every year. A variety of short, medium and longer walks each day, led by volunteer walk leaders and often with an interesting theme. Beautiful scenery. a wonderful weekend of walks.
Fancy a walk with a theme? Then perhaps a wander around Wotton Under Edge looking for the Almshouses and reading about their history will be just what you're after.... and then a cuppa for your efforts?
If you are still in need of a challenge then perhaps a walk up the Cotswold Way to the Jubilee Clump. The details are on the Jubillee Clump walk page.
Tabemacle Pitch, Wotton Under Edge, GL12 7ED