As quickly as Christmas came around, it’s gone again for another year and the month of January is upon us. Many find January a tough few weeks, everything seems a bit boring after the festive fun of December and a lot of us have given up drinking for the month and are dieting off those extra pounds gained over Christmas.
We’ve found the best winter walks in the area that will get you out of the house, get that blood pumping, and will put a smile back on your face, after exercise is well known for increasing those endorphins and making you feel happy. Which Cotswold walk are you going to choose?
Painswick to Slad circular walk
This 6-mile, circular walk begins from the car park in Painswick and drops down into the pretty Painswick Valley and up the other side, before your final descent into the Slad Valley.
Painswick is located between Stroud and Cheltenham and is on the Cotswold Way. It is often referred to as ‘the Queen of the Cotswolds’.
The nice thing about doing this Cotswold walk in the winter is teaming it up with a pub stop at the halfway point. The Woolpack pub is a lovely spot with a roaring log fire to warm you up before you head back to Painswick, although you might wish you could just stay in the pub all afternoon depending on how chilly it is out there!
Tetbury to Westonbirt Arboretum
This popular Cotswold walk is circular, around 5.5 miles in length, and is really beautiful at any time of the year.
The walk takes you through country lanes, parks, and farmlands, skirting the Highgrove estate to the Hare & Hounds hotel.
You’ll return through Doughton using old roads and farm tracks so you’ll get a real feel for the countryside in this area.
As with all of the best winter walks there are an abundance of places to eat, drink, and warm up in Tetbury, or you could head for the cafe at Westonbirt Arboretum for a cuppa and some cake.
Stroud to Stonehouse Canal Walk
This lovely Cotswold walk follows the canal towpath from Stroud to Stonehouse passing Mills, locks, bridges, wildlife, and beautiful scenery along the way.
The journey along the towpath from Stroud to Stonehouse is about 3.5 miles and you can either return by foot, bus, or train depending on your energy levels.
A nice plan would be to end your Cotswold walk with a mooch around the lovely town of Stroud where you will find a good choice of cafes and restaurants, as well as the famous Saturday Farmers’ Market.
The Malvern Hills
Separating the counties of Herefordshire and Worcestershire, 3000 acres of varied landscape await a keen walker on the Malvern Hills.
Walking these hills isn’t for those of you just looking for a gentle stroll though, described as a miniature mountain range, expect endless walking routes crossing all over the length of the Hills with a promise of stunning views out across the surrounding counties.
If you pick a sunny winter day then your hard work will pay off because of the beautiful views you’ll be rewarded with in the hazy winter sun, so pack a camera. Do remember that it’s going to be very cold on top of those hills so take layers and supplies and if the weather looks like it’s turning then be safe and come on down.
A Cotswold walk around Crickley Hill exudes the beauty that the Cotswold countryside has to offer, there is no other Cotswold walk quite like it.
The limestone grassland is rich in plant life, glorious beech woodlands, and steep valleys, and the views are incredible.
If you can make it up to Crickley Hill as the sun goes down you’ll be in for a treat, but bring layers as it can get very cold up on the hillside with no protection from the biting winds that can sweep in.
There are plenty of trails all over Crickley Hill including a National Trust walk beginning at the Edworth Centre, and featuring magnificent views out towards Robinswood Hill, May Hill, the Brecon Beacons, and Black Mountain beyond.