- Relax in ancient Roman baths and marvel at the fine Georgian architecture in stately UNESCO-listed Bath
- Walk amidst ancient beech trees, through pretty meadows and along quiet woodland trails
- Explore gorgeous honey-coloured villages and medieval market towns
- Indulge yourself in Bath’s exceptional local cuisine and posh gastro pubs and restaurants
- Marvel at the ancient history of the area including the Neolithic burial mounds of Nympsfield Long Barrow
- Enjoy the charm and quiet elegance of Painswick the ‘Queen of the Cotswolds’
The gently rolling hills of the Cotswold Way skirts England’s largest Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. This stunning region is home to chocolate-box villages surrounded by picture-perfect countryside. This is quintessential England as described in Jane Austen’s Persuasion and Laurie Lee’s Cider with Rosie.
Meander through a patchwork of sheep-dotted fields, see miles of enchanting dry stone walls and enjoy quiet country lanes and lush pastured farmland. Enjoy meandering through gorgeous south Cotswold villages including medieval Painswick and the World Heritage Listed Bath, famed for its stunning Georgian architecture and healing thermal waters.
Are you a first-time or solo traveller?
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Day 1: Arrive Painswick
Often referred to as “The Queen of the Cotswolds” this town is one of the best-preserved villages in the Cotswolds, and is famous for its Rococo Gardens and 99 yew trees surrounding St Mary’s church. According to legend, should a 100th tree grow, the devil would pull it out.
Day 2: Painswick to King’s Stanley (14km)
- Ascent 550m
- Decent 650m
A pleasant descent leads to woodlands, then gentle uphills and open meadowland to Edge Common with views back over Painswick. The path dips then climbs once more for spectacular views over the River Severn and the Vale of Berkeley. Standish Woods offers exquisite spring-time displays of bluebells and wood anemone. Passing between Stroud and Stonehouse on the low level route, the trail crosses the Stroudwater Canal before arriving at King’s Stanley, nestled at the foot of the Cotswold escarpment.
Day 3: King’s Stanley to Wotton-under-Edge (23km)
- Ascent 875m
- Descent 850m
In spring, the scent of wild garlic will greet you on the lovely woodland trails of Penn Wood. There are a few ups and downs today, but you’ll enjoy great views all along the ridge as you dip in and out of various valleys and hills. The trail also passes by another Neolithic burial ground called Nympsfield Long Barrow. There are some longer scenic options, so at this point, you’ll need to make a choice: if it’s a clear day, we suggest the longer route. On the way is the Tyndale Monument, dedicated to writer William Tyndale, translator of the New Testament into English in 1525. After the monument, the woodland path descends into the bustling market town of Wotton-under-Edge.
Day 4: Wotton-under-Edge to Old Sodbury (20.5km)
- Ascent 550m
- Descent 525m
As you leave Wotton, take a moment to visit the 13th-century parish church of St Mary the Virgin. You’ll see stunning views from atop the craggy Cotswold hills before journeying through open fields, valleys and small sections of woodlands. Savour the charm of every little hamlet and the gloriously-named valley Nanny Farmer’s Bottom as you stride the easy paths into quaint Old Sodbury with its 900-year old Norman church. Here we recommend a refreshing ale at the 500-year-old Dog Inn.
Day 5: Old Sodbury to Cold Ashton (14.5km)
- Ascent 250m
- Descent 175m
Today’s short but rewarding walk takes you past some impressive old manor houses reflecting both the past and present wealth of the Cotswold region. Amble through the grand gardens and rolling parklands of Dodington Park. This estate was designed in 1764 by famous landscape architect Capability Brown. The trail skirts the perimeter wall of the National Trust’s baroque-style Dyrham Park which featured in the movie The Remains of the Day. From the village of Dyrham, the trail climbs up through Dyrham Woods before continuing through fertile sheep-filled farmland into charming Cold Ashton with its fine views over the valley.
Day 6: Cold Ashton to Bath (17km)
- Ascent 285m
- Descent 475m
Your final day on the delightful Cotswold Way sees you descend into the peaceful, secluded valley of Lower Hamswell. Climb again to reach the site of the 1643 civil war battle of Lansdown before crossing a plateau to emerge at Prospect Stile. Here, across a patchwork of fields, you’ll see your first views of Bath. As the walk becomes more urban, take the time to reflect on the picturesque golden villages, wild-flower meadows, rare butterflies and welcoming locals you’ve seen on your Cotswold Way adventure. Nearer the city, catch glimpses of fine parks and wonderful Regency architecture as you make your way to beautiful Bath Abbey. A hand-carved blue limestone disc featuring place names from along the route has been set into the pavement outside the ornate west doors to mark the end of the Cotswold Way.
Day 7: Day in Bath
Grand Bath is the original wellness destination retreat, so pamper yourself with a therapeutic spa in the natural hot springs of the Roman baths, or visit one of its many galleries, museums or chic boutiques.
Day 8: Depart Bath
Enjoy a hearty English breakfast before your departure any time prior to 10am.
***IMPORTANT – Please note accommodation along the Cotswold Way is limited, so daily distances may vary from that in your walk notes depending on where your accommodation is located and if you take any optional diversions***
Self-guided trips offer flexibility, independence and choice. Set your own agenda while someone else worries about the logistics. Our self-guided walking holidays are fully flexible which means you can normally start your walk on any day during the season and customise by adding extra days for resting or sightseeing. As you’re walking independently, you’re free to follow the trail at your own pace. You set your own speed as you are not limited by the constraints of group travel.
Please note that completing this booking form does not guarantee confirmation of your trip. Confirmation is subject to availability so please refrain from booking flights and other travel arrangements until you have received confirmation from a RAW Travel staff member.
From May 8th to October 1st 2020 our special offer of $1 deposit applies to new bookings made in this period for website trips*. $1 is all you will pay in 2020 for trips departing in 2021.
From January 1st 2021 we will invoice you the remainder of the standard deposit ($499*) and the remaining balance payment at the standard 2 months before departure. All your arrangements will be fully confirmed then, as per usual. The $1 deposit offer does not apply to private groups or significant tailormade trip requests, please speak to one of our consultants if you have any questions.
If Government restrictions don’t allow for any travel in your chosen destination at that time (when the balance is due at 60 days prior to departure) then we will either postpone your trip or allow you to transfer to another destination and trip that has availability instead.
*Note - the standard deposit for Peru Lodge trips is $1000.
- 7 nights in quintessential Cotswold accommodation including B&Bs, guest houses and small hotels
- Daily breakfast including fresh fruits, yoghurt, cereals and/or a hearty, cooked English breakfast to support your day on the trail
- Pack-free walking with luggage transfers on each hiking day (1 x 20kg bag per person)
- Comprehensive information pack including detailed walk notes, map, luggage tag and laptop case
- 24/7 support from our UK-based RAW Travel staff member
- Pre-trip guidance and planning from experienced and dedicated RAW Travel Destination Experts
Map & Guide
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