The Cotswold Way walking trail winds through 102 miles of picturesque Cotswold countryside, from Chipping Campden in the north to Bath Spa in the south. With panoramic views of the Cotswolds found at every turn, there is always something to look forward to on The Cotswold Way. The pretty market towns and villages of Winchcombe, Chipping Campden, Stanton, Snowshill and Broadway can all be explored on your journey. The Cotswold Way was formally launched as a National Trail in May 2007. But what are the most beautiful locations you can experience on The Cotswold Way?
1. Chipping Campden
For most Chipping Campden is the elegant Cotswold market town in which they begin their Cotswold Way journey. Located in the north Cotswolds, the word “Chipping” comes from the Old English word “Ceping”, meaning market place. And today Chipping Campden’s beautiful high street, which dates from the 14th century, is still a great place to shop. With stunning honey-coloured limestone buildings, it’s the perfect location to begin your Cotswold journey.
2. The Broadway Tower Walk
The 1.5 mile jaunt from Broadway Tower to the town of Broadway is a particularly memorable portion of The Cotswold Way. Broadway Tower is a folly on Broadway Hill, and from the top of the tower, visitors can see views of over 16 English counties on a clear day. Broadway Tower stands 1,024 feet (312 meter’s) above sea level, and is an icon of the Cotswolds.
The tower was designed in 1799 by James Wyatt. This portion of The Cotswold Way is an enchanting experience, and the surrounding views of the Severn Vale into Wales are picturesque.
3. Cleeve Hill
At 330 metres (1,083 feet) above sea level, Cleeve Hill is the highest point in the Cotswolds. Located just outside Cheltenham, the hill commands incredible views towards the Malverns and Wales. Cleeve Hill was occupied been during the Iron Age between 400BC up the Roman occupation in 43AD. It is home to Belas Knap; a neolithic, chambered long barrow, which is partially restored and is in the care of English Heritage.
4. Crickley Hill
Crickley Hill is another prominent location on The Way and offers magnificent views. Crickey Hill Country Park is set within 143 acres of countryside and managed by The National Trust. The Park boasts vast expanses of limestone grassland, beech woodlands, and panoramic views of this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). The park also overlooks the Severn Vale, with a fabulous towards the Brecon Beacons in Wales.
5. Bath Abbey
Bath Abbey possesses an incredible 1,200-year history. A former Benedictine Monastery it was founded in the 7th century and restored in the 17th century. And today is a world-class example of Gothic architecture. The Abbey’s interior is celebrated for its fine fan vaulting, which was designed by Robert and William Vertue, who contributed a similar vault to Westminster Abbey in London. There are 212 steps to the top of the Tower arranged in two spiral staircases, which could serve as the perfect last climb on your Cotswold Way journey.