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The South Cotswold Trail

From £535 per person based on 2 people sharing an en-suite room for 7 nights and start any day

DURATION: 6, 7 or 8 NIGHTS

DISTANCE: 77¾ MILES/124.4 KM FOR 7 NIGHT TOUR

GRADE: MODERATE

Longer walking days on less travelled footpaths and offering different villages and scenery to the northern Cotswolds.


Upgraded accommodation available


bourton on the water

Bourton-on-the-Water © Cotswold Walks

Longer walking days compared to the Cotswold Ring with more undulating terrain on lesser walked footpaths make this a more adventurous walk. The delightful villages of Northleach, Painswick and the town of Cirencester offer a real insight to Cotswold life that can sometimes be lost in some of the more touristy destinations.

Day 1: Arrive in Cheltenham Spa and overnight
You can also transfer straight to Winchcombe to make this a 6 night tour if you wish.

Day 2: Cheltenham to Winchcombe - (8¾ miles/ 14 km)
Starting from the classical Pump Room, the route crosses Cleeve Hill - the highest point of the Cotswolds - to Belas Knap long barrow and descends to Sudeley Castle and the ancient Saxon capital of Winchcombe, with its fine wool church. Overnight in Winchcombe.

Day 3: Winchcombe to Bourton-on-the-Water - (13½ miles/ 22 km)
Follow the Warden's Way up out of Winchcombe towards the Salt Way, passing through Guiting Wood before reaching Guiting Power for a welcome break. The route continues on through open farmland and valleys to join the river Eye through Upper and Lower Slaughter to Bourton.

Day 4: Bourton-on-the Water to Northleach - (11½ miles/18.5 km)
The route passes through Bourton's water park then ascends to the Rissingtons, before descending to Sherborne and then on to the historic village of Northleach with perhaps the finest of all Cotswold wool churches, as well as a fascinating museum devoted to mechanical music.

Day 5: Northleach to Cirencester - (15½ miles/25 km)
Pass close by Hampnet with its charming church and head across country towards the palatial magnificence of Stowell Park. Arrive at the village of Chedworth with its welcoming pub (and nearby fine Roman villa), before walking to Cirencester, the second town of Roman Britain with its excellent Corinium Museum, market square, and the largest parish church in England.

Day 6: Cirencester to Painswick - (14½ miles/23.2 km)
From Cirencester walk to Sapperton, once a centre for William Morris's Arts & Crafts Movement. Follow the remains of the Thames & Severn Canal (one of the great feats of 18th century engineering) and pass through a succession of tranquil villages to Bisley with its handsome church and 'Poor Soul's Light', before journeying through woodland to Painswick, 'Queen of the Cotswolds'

Day 7: Painswick to Cheltenham - (14 miles/22.5 km)
From Painswick walk across Laurie Lee's 'Cider with Rosie' country to Sheepscombe, charmingly scattered along a beautiful valley. Through woodland and across country to Birdlip, joining the Cotswold Way to walk along the Cotswold escarpment with far-reaching views across the city of Gloucester to the Malvern Hills and the Welsh Mountains, before descending into Cheltenham.

Day 8:
Departure after breakfast.

OPTIONAL EXTENSION - Bourton-on-the-Water to Burford  making this a 8 night holiday.

Bourton-on-the Water to Burford - (9½ miles/15 km)
A comfortable walk from Bourton takes you around a series of lakes, the home of flocks of water birds, and passes through Taynton, whose quarries produced the finest Cotswold stone used in the construction of St. Paul's Cathedral in London and many Oxford colleges. For those who want to spend extra time in the area, there are regular buses between Burford and Oxford.

Burford to Northleach - (10½ miles/17 km)
Pass close by Hampnet with its charming church and head across country towards the palatial magnificence of Stowell Park. Arrive at the village of Chedworth with its welcoming pub (and nearby fine Roman villa), before walking to Cirencester, the second town of Roman Britain with its excellent Corinium Museum, market square, and the largest parish church in England.

south cotswold trail map


  • June 2014
    Elfriede Sangkuhl
    "Thank you very much for organising the lovely holiday for me. I had a ball, even though I got lost constantly. This would be a function of my inability to read a map, though considered quite intelligent otherwise. Also, we in Oz have a different perspective of distance, so a short walk for us is probably a longer walk in the UK. When I got lost, I merely waited and asked the first person I saw. One of my nicest experiences in getting lost was on day one when I ended up on Cleeve common and Cleeve hill. The golfers were very kind. They recommended lunch at the golf club, which was lovely and then one of the group took me to the foot of Belas Knap, a special place. "
  • May 2013
    Tony Fulton - UK
    "We had a very good time and were very lucky with the warm sunny weather. We walked the full walk on Thursday from Burford to Northleach and then returned by a slightly different route on Friday. The walk to Northleach was very pretty but the first section to Little Barrington on the road was quite hard work, although the views of the river were nice. We walked this section on the way back on Friday and with tired legs it was an effort. On Thursday, the Australians decided that they didn't want to repeat this road section, as they had walked it on Wednesday. Therefore they took a taxi to Sherborne, where we met up with them. We had lunch at the shop/cafe in Sherborne. This was very good and just what we needed; to be recommended!
    The general comment on the hotels from the Australians and us was very positive and the quality and 'old English' feel about them was perfect. We had dinner in the hotel in Burford and the food was very excellent. The hotel in Northleach was also very attractive. The bed was particularly comfortable and the pillows were just like home! (something that often lets down even the most expensive hotel). Again the food was very good, although at this price, we thought that to pay extra for a cooked breakfast was a little unnecessary.
    We were very pleased to join our friends and we all enjoyed the holiday. Thank you for the map which we will post tomorrow."
  • June 2012
    Pam Winters. South Australia
    "We had a fabulous walk and your organisational support made it really easy and very pleasant for us. Nothing went wrong! We appreciated how easy it was to work with you to make the walk we had in mind a reality. Thank you so much."
Key Points

Extra day's walk and accommodation in Burford will cost from £90.00 per person staying in B+B and £110.00 per person staying in a hotel such as the The Lamb Inn.


WHAT'S INCLUDED
  • Up to date and easy to follow route notes and maps in a handy sized booklet. One set per 2 people.
  • A helpful and comprehensive information pack, including notes on where to eat and what to visit.  
  • Hand-picked, high quality, accommodation from B&B’s to luxury hotels with en-suite facilities. 
  • Breakfast each morning.
  • Upgraded accommodation available on request.
  • Door to door luggage services. 
  • Local knowledgeable support and assistance when you need it not just Monday - Friday, 9-5. 
WHEN TO GO
Any time of year but we suggest March to November. Departure on any day subject to accommodation availability.

REMEMBER - many of our walks can be shortened by using either public transport or taxis. We can also adapt these routes to suit the time you have available and your walking capabilities.
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