Walking Holidays in England - UK - England - The Cotswold Way - Rural Escape

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Following the escarpment of the Cotswold Hills along its western ridge, The Cotswold Way National Trail extends 102 miles rural southern England. This Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) offers quintessential English countryside, featuring rolling pastures with dry stone walls, ancient beech woodlands and picturesque honey-coloured villages. This idyllic walk through the Cotswolds, takes in Neolithic sites, stately homes and historic battle fields with panoramic views towards the Severn Vale and Welsh hills. Ending in the one of England's most beautiful cities, the UNESCO World Heritage Centre of Bath.

Our route follows the southern section of the Cotswold Way from the beautiful historic wool town of Painswick to the Roman city of Bath. The Way runs through the Cotswold Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), following the Cotswold escarpment through undulating rural landscapes. Walk along millstreams and idyllic valleys passing through some of the prettiest villages and market towns in England. Explore the charm of these picturesque honey-hued places and ancient untouched history dating back to the Iron Age.  

Extended stay

The city of Bath has been a wellbeing destination since Roman times. Visit the Roman Baths one of the finest historic sites in Northern Europe. Enjoy stunning Georgian architecture including the iconic Royal Cresent the majestic Circus and the picture perfect Pultney Bridge. Explore the many museums and art galleries and step into the world of the world famous author Jane Austen

Day 1: Arrival

Arrive in the elegant town of Painswick, this old hilltop settlement is one of the best-preserved towns in the Cotswolds and well worth an afternoon to explore.

Overnight Painswick

Day 2: Painswick to Selsley

Leaving Painswick, the route descends westward through open farmland before climbing onto Edge Common and up to Scottsquar Hill, with marvellous views back to Painswick. Passing along the edge of Stockend Wood you eventually emerge at Haresfield Beacon. Once an Iron Age hill fort, enjoy superb panoramic views overlooking the Vale of Gloucester and the River Severn. Continuing to the south, there are more magnificent views to enjoy before dropping down through Standish Woods. Continue into the Stroud Valley, crossing the Stroudwater Canal and up over Selsley Common to reach the village of Selsley.

Ascent: 450m Descent: 375m Distance: 10 ½ miles

Overnight Selsley

Day 3: Selsley to Dursley

From Selsley, The Cotswold Way climbs on a lovely woodland path, traversing the escarpment with views of the River Severn. Crossing open meadows, you pass the Nympsfield Long Barrow, remains of a Neolithic burial site. Continuing along the scarp edge to Frocester Hill, spectacular views appear of two impressive Cotswold hills, Cam Long Down and Peaked Down, isolated from the dominant escarpment.  Follow the route, passing Uleybury Hill Fort before climbing up to Cam Long Down. Wonderful uninterrupted views are your reward, with the winding Severn River backed by the Forest of Dean. The Trail then descends through farmland, skirting Peaked Down before reaching the market town of Dursley.

Ascent: 470m Descent: 460m Distance: 8 ¾ miles

Overnight Dursley

Day 4: Dursley to Wotton-Under-Edge

Leaving Dursley, you climb to Stinchcombe Hill. From here you can enjoy some of the best views on The Cotswold Way, with breath-taking vistas in all directions. Features include Bekeley Castle, the Malvern Hill and the Breacon Beacons. Descend through farmland to reach the popular village of North Nibley. From here, you climb to Nibley Knoll and the tower of the Tyndale Monument. This impressive landmark was erected in memory of William Tyndale, who translated the Bible into English. Continue to Westridge Wood, passing the site of Brackenbury Ditches, another Iron Age hill fort. The path descends leading into Wotton-under-Edge.

Overnight Wotton-under-Edge            

Ascent: 360m Descent: 290m Distance: 7 ½ miles

Day 5: Wotton-Under-Edge to Old Sodbury

Following a lovely stream out of Wotton-under-Edge, you soon re-join the escarpment. Climbing to Blackquaries Hills, with views across Wotton valley taking in the Tyndale Monument. Continue on a sunken track through charming woodland to the edge of Wortley village, crossing farmland to reach the delightful village of Alderley. These small neighbouring villages were once involved in the districts wool and cloth industries. The route now meanders through the peaceful Kilcott Valley and alongside the millstream of Killcott Brook. The track rises to Somerset Monument before heading to the village of Hawkesbury Upton. Joining Bath Lane, an old trading route, you reach Horton Court, this impressive Grade 1 listed manor house is one of England’s oldest inhabited houses. From here you descend through farmland to Little Sodbury, before climbing again to the impressive Sodbury Hill Fort. Follow the footpath through the old churchyard to arrive in Old Sodbury.

Overnight Old Sodbury

Ascent: 510m Descent: 510m Distance: 13 ½ miles

Day 6: Old Sodbury to Cold Ashton

Crossing open farmland to Coomb's End, the route continues through quiet parkland to the small village of Tomarton. From there, you walk south, to high and wide upland before descending to the village of Dyrham. Continue through a stretch of arable land, passing the perimeter wall of Dyrham Park. This beautiful 17thcentury baroque country house and parkland is owned by the National Trust. From the little village of Dyrham, you climb to Dyrham Wood finishing your day in Cold Ashton. An organised transfer will bring you back to your accommodation in Old Sodbury. 

Overnight Old Sodbury

Ascent: 290m Descent: 190m Distance: 9 ¼ miles

Day 7: Cold Ashton to Bath

From Old Sodbury and organised transfer will bring you to the start of todays walk. Descend into the  low-lying valley of Lower Hamswell before climbing to Lansdown Hill. Here stands the Granville Monument which marks the battle of Lansdown. Re-joining the scarp edge at Hanging Hill, you will find magnificent broad views of the surrounding pasturelands. Passing Bath Racecourse, the trail emerges at the popular viewpoint of Prospect Stile. Enjoy your first view of Bath in the valley below before continuing to the top of Kelston Round Hill. Descend to Weston with the route becoming more urban as you make your way to Bath Abbey which marks the end of your walk on the Cotswold Way.

Overnight Bath

Ascent: 310m Descent:470m Distance: 10 ½ miles

Walk Grading

Our Cotswold Way Trek is graded Easy to Moderate with one long day. As this is a National Trail, the route is very well waymarked and following the route is therefore easy.


Our Cotswold Way Trek is offered on a self-guided basis. We provide full walking notes, and all the relevant maps and backup support you may need.

Baggage Transfers

Throughout this trek your luggage (1 bag per person) is transported from hotel to hotel so it will not be necessary to carry more than a light pack containing items you will need during the day.

Night 1: Painswick

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This beautiful Bed and Breakfast nestled in Painswick is lovingly run by Denise and Alan. Having opened in 2015, it has since then been a hotspot to stay in the village with 3 beautifully decorated rooms.

All rooms feature Wi-fi, television, tea & coffee making facilities and private bathroom with WC, shower/bath and complimentary toiletries.


Nights 2 & 3: Dursley

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Situated in a quiet friendly cul-de-sac, a five-minute walk from the historic town of Dursley. This is the perfect countryside retreat. Hosts Ray and Naomi offer you a warm welcome, providing a peaceful haven for a time of rest and relaxation, making your stay a memorable and enjoyable experience.

All rooms feature Wi-fi, television and private bathroom with WC, shower/bath, complimentary toiletries and hairdryer. 


Night 4: Wotton-under-Edge

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This 17th century Hotel is situated in the beautiful and historic town of Wotton-under-Edge. Enjoy the stunning views of the Southern Cotswolds in this converted coaching inn that seamlessly blends modern comforts with traditional touches to create a unique hotel experience.

Offering thirteen beautiful recently refurbished en-suite guest rooms, a light and airy restaurant offering freshly cooked food, and cosy bar and snug that retain a local feel.

All rooms feature free Wi-Fi, television and private bathroom with WC, shower/bath and complimentary toiletries.


Nights 5 & 6: Old Sodbury

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Situated in its own spacious grounds of lawns and fruit trees, this former farmstead dates from the 17th century, its rustic charm complemented by modern restoration. This small country hotel epitomizes warmth and comfort. Owned by two brothers, Guy and Marshall. Guy is assisted by his partner Ellie.

There are 7 rooms, all with Wi-Fi, television, telephone and private bathroom with WC, shower/bath.  


Night 7: Bath

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This family-run guest house is located at the heart of Bath in one of the city’s real historic buildings (circa 1726). Being just two minutes’ walk from the Bath Abbey, Roman Baths and Bath Spa train and bus station, it’s an ideal base from which to explore the city centre and its surrounding countryside.

With 7 tastefully decorated rooms over three levels, all featuring free Wi-Fi, television, tea & coffee making facilities and private bathroom with WC, shower/bath and hairdryer. 


Availability Information

The Cotswold Way can be walked in all seasons. However, if you want to enjoy clear views from the Cotswold escarpment, autumn and spring may be the best time to visit. Late spring and early summer are great times to see the grasslands in all their glory and the beech woodlands are at their best in spring and autumn.

Please note our best to go information is generally referring to the walking which may fall in the early or late season in some places. This may mean that not all tourist facilities will be open at the time you visit.

When to book your walking holiday in England - UK - England - The Cotswold Way - Rural Escape

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