September 26, 2023

Destination: Cotswolds


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Best Winter Walks in the Cotswolds

Boasting charming villages, rolling hills and plenty of cosy pubs to warm your rosy cheeks and fires to thaw out your hands, the Cotswolds is a winter wonderland for walkers.

Spanning over 780 square miles and covering six counties, whether you want a short ramble or a long hike, the routes are endless – one of the many great reasons to visit the Cotswolds.

So grab your woolly hat and gloves, and a good pair of walking boots, and let’s explore some of the best winter walks in the Cotswolds.

1. Rollright Stones Circular

The Rollright Stones is a beautiful off-road route, which begins in Salford, near Chipping Norton. It follows a section of Shakespeare’s Way to the Rollright Stones, a group of three ancient sites that date back to the Bronze Age: The King’s Men, the Whispering Knights burial chamber, and the single King Stone.

A well-marked route, which ends back in Salford, where you can warm up and have some refreshments. It can get muddy in fall and winter, so sturdy walking boots are recommended. 

Distance: 5 miles (8 km)

Starts & ends: Salford (near Chipping Norton)

2. Slad Valley Circular

A scenic woodland route, which takes you through Longridge Wood, High Wood, Catswood, and Snow’s Farm Nature Reserve. 

The signage and phone signal isn’t great among the trees, so we recommend downloading the route before you go.

Distance: 5.25 miles (8.4km)

Starts & ends: Bull’s Cross (near Painswick)

3. Little Solsbury Hill Circular

If you find yourself near Bath this winter, there are plenty of trails to explore from the centre of town.

This 4-mile circular walk takes you to the top of Little Solsbury Hill. It has around 230m of elevation, which is worth it for the beautiful views of the city.

You can easily extend this route too, as there are many northern Cotswolds paths, which intersect at the top.

Distance: 3.9 miles (6.4km)

Starts & ends: Bath

4. Cleeve Common Circular

Cleeve Hill, Cotswolds

A moderately challenging walk to the highest point in the Cotswolds, Cleeve Hill, and the surrounding woods. Enjoy breathtaking views, dabble in a little history at the old hillfort, and look out for grazing livestock (if it isn’t too cold for them).

There’s a car park at the beginning of the route, too.

Distance: 5.4miles (8.7 km)

Starts & ends: Cleeve Hill Car Park (near Cleeve Hill Golf Club)

5. Box Wood Circular

An easily accessible route by public transport, this walk starts by Weighbridge Inn bus station heads to Box and then follows the beautiful Box Woodlands.

There’s a small climb up Culver Hill, before dropping down into the small market town of Minchinhampton and back to the bus station.

Distance: 5.1 miles (8.25 km)

Starts & ends: Weighbridge Inn Bus Station

6. The Winchcombe Way 

Cleeve Hill, Cotswolds

The Winchcombe Way is a 42-mile (67 km) figure-of-eight route, which weaves in and out of the beautiful northern Cotswolds. 

The route starts in the town of Winchcombe and passes a number of iconic sites like Belas Knap, Cleeve Hill (the highest point in the Cotswolds), and Snowshill Manor. 

It’s a long route, so split it up, staying in Winchcombe and doing one loop each day.

Distance: 42 miles (67 km)

Starts & ends: Winchcombe

7. Winchcombe & Belas Knap

Belas Knap in the Cotswolds

If a 42-mile route is a little long for a winter walk, this 5-mile one might be more the order of the day.

It takes in the beautiful town of Winchcombe and up to Belas Knap – a Neolithic long barrow dating back to the 1800s – and Sudeley Castle, the only private castle in England to have a queen buried within the grounds.

Distance: 5.25 miles (8.4km)

Starts & ends: Winchcombe

8. Sapperton Valley Circular

This walk has a bit of everything: paths, roads, farmland, woodlands and even a stretch along the River Frome. An added bonus is that it starts and finishes at The Bell pub, the perfect place to warm up and refuel.

Distance: 6.2 miles (10 km)

Starts & ends: The Bell at Sapperton 

9. Broadway Tower Circular 

Jason Humphries-Brown - Broadway Tower

This enchanting 4-mile walk leads you through the high street of Broadway and along the historic tracks to Broadway Tower. The views are spectacular, reaching across the Severn Vale and to Wales.

If you’re an early bird, or someone keen on grabbing a great photo, it’s worth doing the walk at first light for those beautiful, uninterrupted hazy winter morning views.

Distance: 4 miles (6.4km)

Starts & ends: Broadway

10. Bourton-on-the-Water Circular Walk

Lower Slaughter in the Cotswolds

One of the most popular Cotswolds villages, Bourton-on-the-Water is famous for its small stone bridges over the River Windrush, which flows through the centre of the village.

This circular walk is 10 miles long and takes in many delights such as the River Eye, Warden’s Way, the Old Mill at Lower Slaughter where there’s a lovely riverside cafe, and finishes back in the beautiful town.

There are plenty of bakeries, pubs and cafes to warm up afterwards.

Planning a winter walking tour in the Cotswolds, take a look at our 5-day-, 4-night tour. Or to see the very best that the area has to offer on foot at other times of the year, check out our range of guided and self-guided walking tours.

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