The Cotswold Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) covers about 800 square miles in six counties of England. It is mostly farmland, both cultivated and pasture, with some areas of woodland and open upland. Bearing this in mind staying on signed rights of way is important so as to maintain the important balance between landowner and visitor.
Today villages are scattered across the landscape with church towers and spires forming useful landmarks. Many of these have a number of interesting and picturesque buildings including some beautiful thatched cottages complete with wonderful gardens. This pattern of population has developed through the centuries with much evidence of former inhabitants still to be seen. Five thousand years of history leaves its mark and today there are Iron Age hill forts, Roman Roads, medieval monasteries, grand houses and much more besides.
The Cotswold Hills are perfect for exploring on foot with the northern sector a well known tourist area. The south Cotswolds, less well known, are equally attractive with their steep sided hills, beechwoods and peaceful villages of mellow Cotswold stone. In Shakespeare's day this was sheep country and the centre of England's wool industry. The rich wool merchants built many of the lovely churches and manor houses that date from the 15th to 17th centuries.
The Cotswold Way is the major long distance trail in the area and provides an excellent route for those who prefer a challenge. Away from this major route there are walks to suit everyone from short circular walks lasting an hour or so to more lengthy excursions lasting a full day. With villages hard to avoid there is always a pub close at hand - perhaps explaining why this area has received such popularity in recent years.
For more information on this area visit the
official web site for Cotswolds
Regional Walking Guides
A full list of "Where to Walk" Walking Guides can be found at List of Regional Walking Guides.
Walking in the Cotswolds
Guidebook describing 30 circular walks in the Cotswolds AONB of southern England. The graded routes are 4-12 miles long, visiting hill forts, long barrows and stone circles, picturesque villages and parts of the Cotswold Way National Trail as circular walks. Includes information about history, geology and wildlife encountered along the routes. - More information
Dark Peak Walks - Guidebook to 40 walks in the Dark Peak area of the Peak District National Park. 35 circular routes for most abilities, from 8km to 19km, around Edale, Marsden, Fairholmes, Baslow and Castleton, including Kinder Scout and Mam Tor, and 5 longer (25km to 45km) routes highlighting the best of the Gritstone Edges, High Moorland and Deep Valleys. More information
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Convenient 1:25000 OS maps in booklet form covering the National Trails of Britain. More info.
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Click for a simple guide of how to start walking. Includes a guide on how to select your walks.