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WALKING IN THE COTSWOLD RING

a walking holiday in England

 

This seven night circular walking tour will take you into the heart of the romantic Cotswolds, one of the most scenic areas of England, loved in all seasons by tourists from all over the world. The area is famous for its gently undulating green landscapes,  its beautiful woodlands and the idyllic villages with characteristic cottages in the typical honey-coloured Cotswold stone. This unique village-to-village walking tour (55 miles / 88 km) starts close to London (about 2 hours away) in the elegant town of Cheltenham (County of Gloucestershire). This is a rich and lively town with mineral water springs, broad lanes, beautiful manor houses and lush greenery. Cheltenham is situated on the River Chelt and is well-known for its Regency architecture, beautiful parks and gardens, elegant shops, horse racing and the international music and literature festivals. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Programme

Day 1

Arrival in the 'Regency Town'  of Cheltenham

 

Day 2 

 

Cheltenham to Winchcombe (8 miles / 13 km)

Today's walk starts from the grand Pittville Pump Room (1825-1830) with its spa water spring, once believed to cure all ails. The route crosses Cleeve Hill, the highest point of the Cotswolds (326m), to the Neolithic long barrow burial chambers of Belas Knap. It then descends to Sudeley Castle, which dates back to the 10th century, although the inhabited portion is chiefly Elizabethan. Sudeley has a remarkable garden. The route descends further to the ancient Saxon capital of Winchcombe, with its fine 'wool church' (a church built primarily from the proceeds of the medieval wool trade).

Day 3  

Winchcombe to Broadway (10.5 miles / 17 km)

The first stretch follows the pilgrims' route to Hailes Abbey. The abbey was founded in 1245 by Richard, Earl of Cornwall, the younger brother of king Henry III of England.  Hailes Abbey became a site of pilgrimage after Richard's son Edmund donated to the Cistercian community a phial of the Holy Blood, purchased in Germany, in 1270. All that remains of the abbey are a few low arches in a meadow with outlines in the grass. Surviving remains include the small adjacent parish church, with unrestored medieval wall-paintings. Following this you walk over the hills to Jacobean Stanway House, a notable example of a manor house dating back to the period of King James I Stuart (1603-1625), and on to the idyllic Stanton, before reaching the old coaching village of Broadway, often called 'the pearl of the Cotswolds'.

 

Day 4

Broadway to Chipping Campden (4.5 miles / 7 km)

Today's route is shorter, but not less beautiful. Walking over the hills via Broadway Tower, a small 18th century castle and highest in the Cotswolds, with magnificent views over the surrounding landscape, you will reach Chipping Campden. In the afternoon you can explore this charming town with its silversmiths, wool church, nice restaurants and great pubs. You could also visit Dover's Hill, site of the annual 'Cotswold Olympics', or the beautiful gardens of Kiftsgate or the National Trust gardens at Hidcote. You may even have time to spend the afternoon at nearby Stratford-on-Avon, birthplace of William Shakespeare. 

Broadway Tower

 

Day 5  

Chipping Campden to Moreton-in-Marsh (8 miles / 13 km)

You walk through a beautiful landscape with small villages like Broad Campden and the charming Blockley and Batsford, famed for its arboretum and falconry centre. Then on to the market town of Moreton-in-Marsh, straddling the old Roman road, the Fosse Way. The high street of Moreton-in-Marsh has many elegant old inns and other 18th century buildings, such as the Redesdale Market Hall.  

 

Day 6 

Moreton-in-Marsh to  Bourton-on-the-Water (12 miles / 19 km)

The first stretch of today's route crosses the high wolds to Stow-on-the-Wold, complete with village stocks and picturesque market square. At the height of the Cotswold wool industry this town was famous for its huge annual fairs where as many as 20,000 sheep were sold at one time. The Cotswold Ring then passes through Lower Slaughter, situated on the little stream called the Eye. The old Mill, built in the nineteenth century and last used commercially in 1958, now has a tea and gift shop.
The last stretch of today's route will take you to Bourton-on-the-water, situated on the River Windrush. This lovely town has many attractions including Birdland, an authentic zoo with exotic birds including penguins.  

 

Day 7  

Bourton-on-the-Water to Cheltenham (Prestbury; 15 miles / 24 km, which can be shortened using public transport)

The Ring follows the pretty River Windrush through the lovely villages of Naunton and Guiting Power. Finally, a descent from the high wolds through the meadows of the Cotswold escarpment leads you to your journey's end at the village of Prestbury, on the outskirts of Cheltenham. Prestbury has a nice medieval church dating back to the 12th century. 

   

Day 8

Departure after breakfast

 

 

 

 

 

 

The package includes:

  • 7 overnight stays with breakfast in Bed & Breakfast (Cat B) and a hotel & Inn (cat B)

  • luggage transportation

  • Tour information

  • route notes and maps

  • local back-up service

 

 

 

Period

Leave any day of the week, all year round (the best walking period is from April to mid October)  

Level 1-2

Moderate. Walking in a hilly country side with not too many level differences.  Daily distances between 12-24 km (an average of 3/4 km an hour)

Price 2017

Hotels Category A (on request)

Hotels Category B

In double room   660,00

In single room on request