One of Britain’s most popular National Trails is the Cotswold Way which is located in the South West region of England. This is a long-distance trail that comes in at 102 miles in total length. It runs from Bath Abbey in the famous Roman city of Bath in the south and ends up in the north at Market Hall in Chipping Camden, a quaint market town.
Most of the trail runs alongside the Cotswold escarpment and takes hikers through numerous picturesque and charming villages as well as many historic sites. Some of these include the city of Bath itself, the Belas Knap Neolithic burial chamber, Sudeley Castle, Hailes Abbey, and numerous historic homes and churches.
(photo by graeme)
The trail has been in use for more than 30 years and it was named as one of Britain’s National Trails in the spring of 2007. If you’d like to tackle the entire length of the trail, it takes about seven days on average to complete. About a fifth of the trail is suitable for horseback riders and cyclists. If you’re into climbing, the highest point along the Cotswold Way is at Cleeve Common, which reaches 1,066 feet.
The views along the way are quite exceptional, especially when you reach the Severn Vale where you’ll be able to see Brecon Beacons across the way in Wales. You’ll pass through beautiful open fields and beech woods. Some other scenic areas include the Forest of Dean, Malvern Hills, Horton Court, Dyrham House, the Somerset Monument tower follies, Broadway Tower, and Leckhampton Hill, where you’ll see some exceptional and colorful wildflowers.
Some of the nearest communities that you’ll pass include Bristol, Birmingham, Gloucester, Cheltenham, Stow on the Wold, Stratford upon Avon, Dursley, Wotton-under Edge, and Winchcombe. You can reach Bath from London by train in about 90 minutes and in 15 minutes from Bristol. Chipping Camden take 45 minutes by train from Birmingham. Many of the towns along Cotswold Way can also be reached by local bus service.
When walking the famous trail there will be plenty of opportunities to visit local pubs and restaurants. If you’d like to stay overnight there are all types of accommodations to choose from including inns, bed and breakfasts, hotels, guest houses, hostels, pub accommodations, and campgrounds.
When hiking the trail or any part of it you’ll come across some wonderful British countryside and you may want to pack a camera away in your knapsack. If you decide to stop and visit some of the many interesting sites along the way, the hike could take a bit longer than average. Many people travel to Britain and take a week or two vacation to walk the Cotswold Way from start to finish.
If you’d like to cycle the trail or try it on horseback, it’s a good idea to get in contact with the appropriate authorities for Britain’s National Trails. They will be able to let you know which specific parts of the path are designated for bikes and horses. No matter which method of transportation you use to explore the trail, you’re bound to be impressed by its natural beauty and historical sites.