Neil Walden explores one of the most ‘quintessentially English’ and unspoiled regions of England. The Cotswolds are known for their gentle hills, outstanding countryside with river valleys, water meadows and beech woods, sleepy ancient limestone villages and historic market towns.
Walks for all ages The Cotswolds features 20 circular walks of up to 6 miles, suitable for all the family, that have been chosen to show what the Cotswolds has to offer.
Neil describes the local area at the start of each walk, and then provides a detailed description of each walk with snippets of information as you go along.
Including Ordnance Survey mapping and useful pre-walk information. Walks for all ages 20 Circular walks in the Cotswolds is superbly priced at just £5.99.
The Cotswolds has been designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) since 1966. It is also reputed to have more specially protected or ‘listed’ buildings than any other region in the UK. The countryside, with its rolling hills and ancient woodlands, is simply stunning. It is a magical landscape that is perfect for ramblers.
Everywhere in the Cotswolds it’s possible to see the history of the people who worked and shaped the landscape over the last six thousand years. There are Neolithic long barrows and Iron Age hill forts to be seen throughout the Cotswolds. Of course, the Romans also left their roads, villas and forts, the remnants of which can also be discovered while walking in this region. There are still more sites, from later historical periods that have shaped the history of the whole country, where battles were fought and peace treaties signed.
It seems incredible, but some estimate that in the Middle Ages 50 per cent of England’s economy was based on the wool trade. At that time the Cotswolds became well known throughout Europe as being the source of some of the best wool. The Cotswolds were ideal for sheep and so the abbeys and monasteries owned huge flocks. Merchants became wealthy and spent part of their fortunes on the wool churches that we will see throughout the region. In fact, everywhere the legacy of the wool trade can be seen. For example, even the attractive cottages at Arlington Row in Bibury were originally constructed for the processing of wool.
By the 18th century cloth manufacture became centred on the Stroud valleys in order to harness the waterpower available there. Many of the mills from that time still exist today and we will also see them on our walks, although many are now used for other purposes such as office space and even the creation of artificial snow.
Quaint and quintessentially English villages abound in the Cotswolds, and while each one has its own flavour, most of them share a similar distinctive look thanks to the Cotswold stone from which they are cut. Burford, Castle Combe and Bourton-on-the-Water are some of the most handsome villages in England. In fact, the colour of the stone used in the villages varies depending on the location of where it was quarried. Generally, in the northern part of the Cotswolds, the stone is a beautiful honey colour. With the walks in the south (the first half of the book) you will see that the stone used for building is just as striking, but is of a slightly lighter shade.
As well as admiring the architecture, visitors can always peruse the wares in one of the many antique shops or visit one of the welcoming pubs for a pint and enjoy some of the fine Cotswold cuisine. Where there is room I have tried to include details of any interesting pubs encountered on the walks. I feel that the opportunity to see, and perhaps visit, a traditional Cotswold pub is very much part of the fun of walking in this area.
Running the length of the region is the Cotswold Way. You will see how the walks to the west of the region regularly cross, and sometimes share a route with, this hundred-mile trail as it snakes its way between Chipping Campden and Bath. But we will also go to the east where there is just as much to explore and enjoy.
It all adds up to making the Cotswolds region a superb place to go walking.
Walk 01 - Castle Combe - 5½ miles
Walk 02 - Marshfield - 4 miles
Walk 03 - Tetbury - 2 miles
Walk 04 - North Nibley - 2¾ miles
Walk 05 - Stroud - 3½ miles
Walk 06 - Cowley - 3¾ miles
Walk 07 - Cirencester - 3½ miles
Walk 08 - Bibury - 4 miles
Walk 09 - Deerhurst - 3¾ miles
Walk 10 - Guiting Power - 4 miles
Walk 11 - Northleach - 4 miles
Walk 12 - Bourton-on-the-Water - 4¼ miles
Walk 13 - Burford - 4 miles
Walk 14 - Stow-on-the-Wold - 3½ miles
Walk 15 - Chipping Norton - 2½ miles
Walk 16 - Moreton-in-Marsh - 3½ miles
Walk 17 - Stanton and Snowshill - 6 miles
Walk 18 - Broadway - 4 miles
Walk 19 - Bretforton - 4½ miles
Walk 20 - Tewkesbury - 2 miles
Released: April 2018
Size: 220 x 120mm
Author: Neil Walden