7 countryside walks in the Cotswolds (with a cream tea on the way)
PUBLISHED: 11:54 11 September 2018 | UPDATED: 16:00 06 December 2018
Awe-inspiring views, picture-perfect scenery and iconic landmarks, the Cotswolds is the perfect place to enjoy a countryside ramble. We pick 7 walks for you to try with nearby cafes to rest your weary feet and indulge in a cream tea
A rambler’s paradise, Minchinhampton Common is acre upon acre of open grassland sitting on a hill top and slopes of a Cotswold escarpment. Rodborough Common rests nearby boasting dreamlike vistas of Stroud’s town buildings, and the rolling patchwork fields of Severn Vale and beyond.
The commons are a pleasure to explore all year round. Wrap up warm and embrace the exhilarating winds that whip around the location’s height in the colder months while the summer is the perfect time to spot an array of gorgeous wild flowers and butterflies with a Winstones ice cream in hand.
Expect to be in good company; Minchinhampton and Rodbourough Commons attract ramblers, runners, families, dog walkers, horse riders and golfers, among many more all year round.
The cream tea: Running between 3 and 5pm, an afternoon tea from The Kitchen Café in Minchinhampton could be on the cards if you time your walk well. Whether you opt for the classic, the traditional or the vintage tea party, expect a selection of dainty finger sandwiches, warm scones and a choice of tea. We can assure that you’ll leave this charming café feeling satisfied!
Cotswold Way Walk, Chipping Campden
A picturesque stretch of 102 miles, the Cotswold Way is a national trail winding its way through the region’s countryside from the charming market town of Chipping Campden to the historic city of Bath.
With the way marked path beginning at the War Memorial in Chipping Campden, try this four and a half mile circular walk which encompasses rolling greenery, stunning views and wildlife-rich woodland. You’ll reach Dover’s Hill, a National Trust managed natural amphitheatre which was the home to the original English Olympic Games. Standing at 230 metres above sea level, gorgeous views are guaranteed from the top of its height.
For those enjoying the walk at the beginning of the summer, Lynches Wood which sits along the route boasts a beautiful display of bluebells.
The cream tea: A delightful guest house, Badgers Hall not only provides comfortable lodgings for weary travellers but also a menu of delicious dishes for those who have worked up an appetite. Relax with a Badgers Hall Cream Tea – Aga baked scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam alongside a pot of tea.
For those who fancy a short stroll but don’t want to miss out on the charming scenery the Cotswolds has to offer, try this one mile bimble beginning and ending in Stow-on-the-Wold.
Along Digbeth Street and then Park Street, an alley will then lead you into the sleepy hamlet of Maugersbury, which had a tiny population of 149 reported in the 2001 census. Maugersbury is home to plenty of pretty dwellings that are bound to cause house envy for passers-by! From the centre of Maugersbury, turn left and stay on a small country road which will lead you back to the delightful market town of Stow-on-the-Wold.
The cream tea: Popular with locals and newcomers alike, The Old Bakery Tearoom provides friendly, personable service and a menu full of homemade fare including a highly recommended cream tea. Think warm, delicate scones with homemade jam and thick clotted cream – perfection.
With gorgeous, warm-toned cottages lining its streets, you’d be forgiven for thinking the pretty aesthetic of Winchcombe has come straight from a storybook. The small town, a short drive from nearby Cheltenham, is the starting point of a roughly five mile walk along the Cotswold Way and includes the ancient monument of Belas Knap.
Approximately halfway along the route you’ll encounter the Neolithic long barrow of Belas Knap, now in the care of English Heritage. The first recording of excavation took place in 1863, and then again in 1865, where the remains of 31 people were discovered. It’s a truly remarkable sight to behold, and there are plenty of information boards to discover more about the structure’s fascinating history.
Past the Wadfield Farm buildings, beautiful views over Winchcombe and Sudeley Castle reveal themselves, making it a perfect spot to stop for a moment and catch your breath before making your way back to the town.
The cream tea: Reward your walking efforts with a traditional afternoon tea at the award-winning Wesley House. The hotel’s restaurant is well-known for its delicious menu and attentive service, and the same can be said for their tiered selection of finger sandwiches, freshly baked scones and assortment of cakes.
For those after a quiet few hours in the countryside, try the seven mile jaunt from Chalford, the ‘alpine village of the Cotswolds’ to Toadsmoor Valley. Encompassing miles of the Thames and Seven Canal path, as well as stretches of gorgeous greenery, it’s the perfect walk for your four-legged friend to enjoy too.
Starting at Chalford, and then heading through the Golden Valley, you’ll walk alongside the canal and the River Frome before turning north near Brimscombe and making your way into the beautiful, undisturbed woodland of Toadsmoor Valley.
The map can be downloaded here.
The cream tea: Sate those sugar cravings with a homemade cake or patisserie at the Lavender Bakehouse and Coffee Shop in Chalford. We think a long walk in the countryside definitely warrants one of their sweet treats, especially their beautifully presented afternoon tea.
One of the most iconic monuments in the Cotswolds is Broadway Tower, an 18th century folly that commands exhilarating views from its position high up on Broadway Hill. A climb to the top allows visitors to see for miles around, with views stretching across the Severn Vale into Wales.
This walk begins in the picture-perfect village of Broadway, noted for its honey-coloured homes, thatched cottages and independent stores, and then past the 12th century St Eadburgha’s Church and along historic tracks before reaching the Tower.
Rolling countryside surrounds Broadway Tower, home to groups of grazing deer and sheep. The route then takes you along part of the Cotswold Way and back into the village, with plenty of cafes and pubs to rest your feet.
The cream tea: Tisanes Tea Rooms is a quintessential village tea room, in the heart of Broadway, offering an extensive menu of lunchtime favourites. For sweet toothed patrons who don’t fancy one of the freshly made sandwiches, order a cream tea with either a plain or fruit scone with lashings of jam and clotted cream.
Pretty pink blossom in the spring and glowing autumnal hues in the autumn, the 15,000 trees and shrubs of Westonbirt Arboretum are a spectacle to see all year round.
This circular walk, beginning in the small village of Leighterton, takes you through pleasant stretches of Gloucestershire farmland before you reach the Arboretum, and enjoy exploring the outstanding specimens that are on display.
The cream tea: Tetbury is just a three mile drive from Leighterton, and the lovely Lyndseys Café on the town’s Church Street serves a number of hearty lunches, lighter bites and, of course, a delicious slice of homemade cake and cup of coffee. Sit back with one of their cream teas, crumble-in-the-mouth scones with all the trimmings, and watch the world go by. For those who would prefer to stay put in Leighterton, the Royal Oak is a quintessential country pub serving an array of comforting, and inventive, pub classics.
There’s plenty more of the Cotswolds to explore (whatever the season)...