Tell me more about the Cotswolds
The Cotswold National Landscape is famous the world over for its stunning English countryside, picturesque villages, vibrant towns, and heritage cities.
Recognised as an area of outstanding natural beauty, it covers nearly 800 square miles and stretches across five counties; mainly Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire and parts of Wiltshire, Worcestershire and Warwickshire.
The wonderful countryside, rich in heritage and history is ideal for recreational walking. The breath-taking landscape is cross-crossed by 3,000 miles of historic footpaths, bridleways and trails to explore. Beautiful villages in characteristic honey-coloured stone, nestle between rare grassland habitats, ancient woodlands and wildflower meadows, with 4,000 miles of historic stone walls dividing the landscape. If you step away from the more popular destinations and well-trodden routes, there lies another world. It is to these undiscovered gems and often overlooked beauty of the “real southern Cotswolds” that we would like to take you.
What are the walks like?
The Cotswolds are always beautiful and always changing and so every walk is a unique adventure. The countryside looks different in every weather and season. What remains the same is that it always looks stunning!
As we guide you through the landscape we will tell you about the woodlands we pass through and the streams we cross and point out some of the flora and fauna. We will also tell you a little of the history of the places and how the footpaths on which we are walking have developed over time. Much of the southern Cotswolds also has a rich industrial heritage and evidence of its remains can still be seen today.
Some of our guests prefer to absorb the peacefulness and freshness of the air, gaze at the views, imagine people from bygone times walking the same routes and sit quietly hoping to spot a deer or a particular bird. It is entirely up to you.
Where will I walk?
Our experience and knowledge have allowed us to design a variety of interesting routes to suit everyone - see Our Walks. These have been specially chosen to include different, off-the-beaten-track locations to provide an authentic experience of the “real Cotswolds”. They differ in length and difficulty but all are immensely enjoyable.
Alternatively, we are happy to design a bespoke route to just for you. If a particular location really appeals, or there is somewhere you have heard about and always wanted to see, then we can create a perfect itinerary. Just let us know what you would like.
Where does our walk start from?
When you book your walking tour with us, we will email you details of where and when to meet. Our walking tours are mostly circular in nature, so we will end up at the same place we started!
If you are not travelling by car, we work closely with two local limousine and taxi companies who can assist you to get to the start points and pick you up afterwards. Their details are below:
Graeme Robertson 07732 798 060
Pete Law 01453 767 777
Which days do your walks in the southern Cotswolds operate?
Our guided walking tours of the southern Cotswolds operate 7 days a week, subject to availability.
How many people?
Currently our walks are for between 2-6 people (including the walking tour guide). This is in line with current governmental Covid-19 regulations.
If you are travelling alone you can choose to have an exclusive walk tailored to your interests or opt for a small group walk with other independent guests.
Are there any age limits?
We welcome walkers of all ages. There is no upper age limit provided you have adequate insurance to cover all your medical and repatriation needs as appropriate. We will take things at whatever pace you are comfortable with.
Families and children are always welcome. Some of our best walks include children, it's great to see them out and about in nature! However our walks are not suitable for very young children. As parents, please consider whether your children would enjoy the day and/or affect the enjoyment of other guests.
You should be confident that they can walk the distance specified. Sometimes we walk along small tracks also used by tractors and other vehicles so everyone needs to be sensible and aware! Children below 16 must be accompanied by an adult.
How long do the walks last?
A typical walk/hike in the southern Cotswold region is between 2 and 6 hours. We can walk at a relaxed easy pace, or at a brisker speed if you prefer. On the Our Walks page, each listed route is shown with an estimated duration and level of difficulty.
Do I need to be fit?
The nature of walking in the Cotswolds is that the terrain can vary a lot. The paths can be narrow and uneven, it could be muddy or slippery after rain, and there will certainly be some ups and downs and often quite steep bits to climb or descend.
Climbing over stiles is also a frequent feature of most walks! A certain level of fitness is therefore needed. If you are unsure, we recommend you check first with your doctor.
The reward will be stunning views, access to places very few people go, and the opportunity to be at one with nature in peaceful and tranquil places.
As you can see from the Our Walks page, each walk is indicated with a difficulty level to guide you further to help you choose the correct level of activity for you. It’s best to be honest with yourself about your capabilities, and do some practice walks if you don’t walk often or far. The more practice you have done, the more you will enjoy walking with us!
We do also offer shorter walks which are mostly “on the level” and more suitable for guests seeking a more relaxed walk in the countryside. It’s our aim to meet your individual needs.
Easy – These are relaxed walks suitable for walkers with average levels of fitness and generally good health. The walks are usually on maintained paths and tracks. There are no steep uphill or downhill sections. They are suitable for beginners and different age groups.
Easy to Moderate – These walks are mostly like the Easy walks but may include longer some moderate downhill and uphill sections and steeper parts (up and down). The paths are usually well maintained but could include some rougher ground.
Moderate – These walks are designed for more regular walkers who are generally fit. There will be steeper descents and ascents. The ground may sometimes be rocky and uneven in places.
Moderate to Strenuous – These walks are for those looking for more challenging and demanding routes, and having a corresponding fitness level. There will be steep ups and downs, rough ground, and exposed areas.
What do I need to bring with me on the walking tour?
We suggest a small backpack with a full water bottle, waterproof jacket, packed lunch (if required), a hat, spare top and sunscreen. You could also bring your mobile phone, and walking poles if you are on a hilly walk! We advise you to wear comfortable clothes and walking boots or comfortable trail shoes or trainers. Please don’t wear jeans as these will stay wet if it rains!
On our walks, we do pass through villages with pubs and cafes, and we also end most walks with the option of a pub stop where there are, of course, toilets.
Do we stop for lunch?
We find that most guests like to bring a packed lunch to allow for flexibility on the choice of lunch spot, as well as allow more time for seeing the countryside. Imagine sitting at the top of a hidden valley gazing at the view whilst eating your sandwiches!
On some of our walks, we will pass through villages where there is a pub to stop at for you to buy a drink or a snack. Most of our walks also finish near a pub. Just tell us what you prefer.
Will there be vegetarian or vegan food options available during our walk?
If we stop at a pub or café during or after our walk, then you will certainly find some kind of vegetarian option(s). Vegans are also well served, and the wider Five Valleys area in particular is a hotbed of veganism and vegetarian food, so you will certainly find some tasty options there.
How do we book our walking tour?
Bookings can be made via this website. Once paid using the secure online payment system, your tour will be instantly reserved and you will receive a booking confirmation by email.
We accept all VISA and MasterCard credit and debit cards via our secure payment processing partner - just follow this link...
How far in advance do I need to book?
We suggest you book as soon as you decide on your dates. April to October is usually the busiest period, but from November to March, the days are of course much shorter, so walking opportunities are reduced and spaces therefore fill up fast. The Cotswolds are beautiful all year round! We will always try and accommodate your plans whenever you book.
We do understand that, especially in the current situation, your commitments might change and there are things which you cannot always control. We do recommend that you have insurance to cover cancellation and other eventualities. If you do need to cancel, we will return all monies paid to us, minus a small £5 administrative charge per person. We will happily deduct this amount from a future booking at any time.
Tours will only be cancelled by us due to unavoidable or extraordinary circumstances which are beyond our control or which might jeopardise your safety. If a tour has to be cancelled, we will notify you as soon as possible and will refund you in full.
Do you cancel the walks if the weather is bad?
Unless the weather is particularly bad and walking would be unsafe, our walks will always take place. It’s a good idea to check the weather forecast on the morning of your walk and important to dress appropriately, particularly if rain is forecast. Subject to availability, you can change the same walk to a different date at no cost.
What about insurance?
We strongly recommend that all walkers and hikers have appropriate travel, medical and cancellation insurance. By booking one of our walks, you accept that you and those you have booked on behalf of are taking part in the walk at your/their own risk. Whilst we make every effort to ensure that our walks are safe, including carrying out Risk Assessments for each one, we cannot accept responsibility for loss or damage to your possessions or personal injuries sustained whilst on the walks or whilst travelling to and from the walks, and by booking with us, you are deemed to have accepted this for you and your party.
We collect your personal details, name, address, email, telephone number and credit card details when you place a booking, and these details are used for the purposes of managing your booking and receiving your payment. If you’d like your personal details to be removed from our booking database after your walk with us, please send us an email.
If you opt in to our mailing list whilst placing your booking, we will add your name, address and email details to our marketing database, we will use these details in order to communicate with you in the future. All of our marketing emails will include the ability to have your data removed from our marketing database.
How do we get to the Cotswolds?
If you are coming by car from Bath or London, then we recommend driving along the M4 and exiting at junction 15 to take the A417 to Cirencester and onwards to Stroud, Painswick, etc. There is also a good regular train service from London Paddington to Stroud. For more information on train times take a look at www.trainline.com, or you’re welcome to contact us at email@example.com.
Can you suggest anywhere to stay or to eat?
Please click HERE for a selection of great places to stay and eat, as recommended by some of our previous clients. These include local B&B’s, pubs, restaurants and small hotels.
Like everyone else we have had to adapt to meet the challenges of Covid-19. Thankfully, walking in the open air is a safe and healthy activity. Our walking groups are currently limited to 6 people (including the guide, who will provide hand sanitiser and appropriate advice when required). Wearing face masks in the UK is not necessary when walking outside, but is required in indoor public spaces.
Do you speak other languages?
Our guides are all local, experienced walkers and our tours are conducted in English. However, we’re happy to converse in Italian or French as well, and tours can also be arranged with a Chinese speaker.
Can I stop for photos?
Yes, you can do this anytime. There will be many times that you will want to! And please send a few of your favourite snaps to firstname.lastname@example.org if you'd like us to include some of them on our website!
Follow-up, feedback and comments
We would love you to give us your feedback. If there are any issues arising, please make them known during the walk. And please do leave us a review!
Please follow us on social media. We are often adding photos and information from our latest walks on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, so please follow us or give us a like and share the photos of your walk using the hashtag #CotswoldTrails.
Private Guided Walking Tour Experiences
The cost for a private guided walking tour created especially for you and your group only is as follows:
Half Day Tour (around 3½-4 hours of walking)
Full Day Tour (around 5½-7 hours of walking)
See the 'Our Walks' page for more information about the various walks we provide, or get in touch and we'll be happy to talk you through the options.