If you’re keen on spotting steam trains powering by, enjoy strolling along old, disused railway tracks, or simply want to rely on using a train to or from your walk, we are certain there is a Cotswold railway walk for you and have outlined some of our favorites below.
The Cotswold is blessed with the Great Western Steam Railway which runs from Cheltenham through to Buckland, passing through some real Cotswold highlights and making for some perfect Cotswold railway walks for the train enthusiasts amongst you. A lovely route to take starts with a steam train ride from Toddington to Gotherington and heads back over the Cotswolds through Winchcombe, which splits off into either an easier downhill walk to Toddington or a more difficult 600-foot ascent to the top of the Cotswolds and then back down. Both walks are wonderful and whichever choice you make you won’t be disappointed, plus you get a ride on one of the magnificent old trains.
The Cricklade circular walk is another Cotswold railway walk, starting out at the town center of Cricklade it follows along the Thames Path and Severn Canal eventually turning left into Cerney Wick along the edge of the Cotswold Water Park (which is certainly worth a day’s visit – full of lakes, activities, a beach, and walking / cycling tracks). The route turns southeast and follows a dismantled railway track past Hailstone Hill, the track then wanders back to the town. If you fancy a stroll around the town itself it’s really beautiful with plenty of 17th and 18th century architecture and you can treat yourself to a well-earned cuppa.
A fabulous walking area is Charlbury in Evenlode Valley which has the Cotswold railway line running right through. If you fancy a Cotswold railway walk then it’s ideal, either just to catch a glimpse of passing trains, or to hop on/off a train to Oxford/London or Moreton in the Marsh and Worcester in the other direction. The railway station at Charlbury is a listed building so worth a little look. Our suggested walks in this area either take you through the ancient Wychwood Forest in Cornbury Park and pass through some stunning countryside or alternatively, you could follow the Evenlode Valley, a section of the Oxfordshire Way. Both are quite different walks and equally lovely. These two walks do contain a number of stiles and kissing gates so wouldn’t be recommended for wheel or pushchair users.
If you’re a wheelchair user or a family with a buggy then a nice Cotswold railway walk for you could start in Bradford on Avon at the railway car park. This is a pretty easy 4km canal side walk on hard surfaces so ideal for wheels and feet alike. The walk follows along the Kent and Avon towpath through a beautiful valley crossing the River Avon twice. You’ll finish up in Bath and there are pubs and tea rooms along the way for thirsty hikers! If you fancy extending the route you can continue along the disused railway path all the way to Bristol.
The lure of the railway seems to pull in people of all ages; there is something rather lovely about seeing a train going by be it a grand old steam train or a fast express. Combining this with a stroll can make for a lovely and different experience, so a Cotswold railway walk would come highly recommended.