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#3771 - 10/10/04 06:36 PM First time walker
Wendy Offline

Registered: 03/05/06
Posts: 10
Loc: UK
We plan to hike the Cotswals Way in May. We do alot of 3 - 4 mile walks here in California, but the weather is usually dry. Will there likely be alot of rain then? Are there any advantages in going N-S or S-N route? My husband will be taking alot of photographs & we'd like to avoid real steep descents if possible. Also, do people recommend luggage transfer services?
Thanks for whatever information people can give, as specific books aren't available in the US.

#3772 - 12/10/04 12:01 AM Re: First time walker
Ken in Boston Offline

Registered: 20/11/04
Posts: 48
Loc: Vancouver, British Columbia, C...
Hi Wendy,

My wife and I walked the Warden's Way (Lower Slaughter to Winchcombe), and then the northern part of the Cotswold Way (Winchcombe to Chipping Campden) at the end of May this year. The weather was amazing--only one 30 minute shower the whole trip, with weather in the 15-22 celsius range (60s to low 70s?). But I think we were blessed with such an unusual stretch of sunny weather. I'd be prepared for weather from the upper 50s to low 70s. We dressed in layers to adjust to different temps and rainfall. I usually had shorts, a thin non-cotton undershirt, and a long-sleeve non-cotten outer shirt (I also had a fleece for colder weather, though I didn't need it as much), and we used ultralight raincoats (from REI) as either windbreakers or for rain (they did come in handy for the one shower we had, a pretty strong one). We packed light enough so we didn't have to use baggage service, but we had to sacrifice variety and handwash every couple of nights, so it's really up to what you want out of it. Many people use the baggage services (especially on the C2C route), and I'm sure that would be nice, to be relatively unencumbered.

On the part of the Cotswold Way we walked, there were some rather steep hills, but it was never a case of having to "climb" and I never felt the "scared of heights" feeling I sometimes got in the Lake District when descending the fells.

I'd have to leave to others (try a google search, there are a few websites out there with peoples' diaries of their walks) their opinions on which direction to go, since we only walked a rather short section. (By the way, I'd heartily endorse "North Farmcote B&B" as a nice place to stay; although it is 3 miles outside of Winchcombe. "The Mount Inn" in Stanton was a great place to take a lunch break, and the breakfast at "Learmonth House" in Broadway was the best of our entire England trip.

I hear that the southern part of the Cotswold Way has fewer B&Bs, necessitating longer walks, but for the Winchcombe to Chipping Campden section it was 2 easy day walks. You might want to slightly increase your "training walks"--especially if they don't involve hills.

Best wishes & happy planning!

#3773 - 19/10/04 07:41 PM Re: First time walker

Hi Wendy
I have lived in Cheltenham (about half way along the Cotswold Way) for about 30 years & have so far only summoned up enough energy to do half the Cotswold Way ( Chipping Norton to home) but can assure you it is well worth it. In terms of books, I would recommend The Cotswold Way by Ted Fryer - an Aerofilms Guide published by Ian Allan as a book to take in your pocket on the way. It's not very in depth but is easy to follow. There are two currently available on but they do seem stupidly expensive at about $100 each - I paid about $15 new for mine in the UK - you might want to hunt for a cheaper copy.
The walk isn't too strenuous with only a few steep bits and the weather in May should be good - but no guarantees. Go North to South - it feels like downhill !

#3774 - 24/11/04 10:51 PM Re: First time walker

The Cotswold Way is around 100 miles. I am sixty two but I have done a reasonable amount of walking and regard parts of the route as challenging. The terrain is hilly with some long ascents. We plan to spend a week to get from the start at Chipping Campden to the end at Bath. There are helpful inexpensive books available from You may need to improve your walking fitness to get the best out of this route, looking to cover at least double the distances to which you are used. Very good luck to you. Enjoy!!

#58889 - 07/11/10 09:34 AM Re: First time walker [Re: Wendy]
Bliss 60 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/05/07
Posts: 273
Loc: Birmingham
Firstly - I would certainly recommend the Cotswolds Way for first time walkers - but I would suggest that you need to up your 3-4 mile walks considerably to get into training for longer distances. If you are first time walkers - I would recommend that you use a baggage carrying service (ie. Sherpa - who I think do the Cotswolds Way). Carrying all your gear is a lot different from carrying a day pack and should not be done unless you are used to it.

As has been noted here - the CW has lots of sharp ups and downs, but I don't have a good head for heights and there is nothing problematic. The CW basically follows the line of an escarpment that runs for about 100 miles down the UK - which is high enough to give you nice views, but not so high as to be worrying for those with problems with heights.

N to S or S to N? Not a lot in it. Scenically – the North is probably nicer than the South, but there are nice bits down South. If you do it S to N – you are saving the best bits till last. But one thing to note is that public transport to or from Chipping Campden is not easy (if I remember rightly you have to get to Stratford on Avon and then get a bus) – and it would be unwise to expect that you will walk 15 miles to Chipping Campden and then be able to get away from there on the same day. There is a train station and regular trains to and from Bath.

I did the CW in 7.5 days:

Chipping Camden to Broadway (5 miles) – Olive Branch B&B (OK) 01386 853440
Broadway to Winchcombe (11 miles) – Wesley House (excellent) 01242 602366
Winchcombe to Leckhampton (11.5 miles) – California Farm (good) 01242 244746
Leckhampton to Painswick (15.5 miles) – Cardynham House (excellent) 01452 814006
Painswick to Frocester (12.5 miles) – The George (awful – see below)
Frocester to Wootton Under Edge (11 miles) – Sunrise House (good)
Wootton Under Edge to Tormarton (14 miles) – Chestnut Farm (good) 01454 218563
Tormarton to Bath (15.5 miles)

The George at Frocester was a disaster. It came about because the place I had originally booked into had a new owner after I booked it – and they decided to stop doing rooms – and they booked me into the George. Firstly it was off the escarpement – so a big descent (and climb back up the next day) – then it was about a mile down a very busy trunk road – then the George itself was like squatting (ie. illegally entering an empty house and living there) – everything was appalling about it.

As for the English weather – no way of predicting anything. Its part of our national psyche. May can be good weather – can be rubbish. I did the CW at Easter this year. I had some sunshine and some rain and some in between. And take no notice of UK weather forecasts. Again its part of our national psyche that UK taxpayers pay these people to predict our unpredictable weather and then have something to moan about when it’s all wrong. UK weather forecasters often get them wrong after the weather has happened!

But May is probably the best month to do the CW anyway because the spring flowers will all be in bloom – some of the way goes through long stretches of forest which were actually a little dull at Easter – but a little while later, they would have been carpets of bluebells. So stick with May…. but make sure you pack your light weight rain gear.

And enjoy. I think you will.

#59285 - 01/01/11 06:27 PM Re: First time walker [Re: Bliss 60]
Harland Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 29/04/05
Posts: 1328
Loc: North Yorkshire
This account of the walk by a Buddhist monk is well worth reading, not so much for the detail but of people's kindness:-
Pennine Way 2005&2014; C2C 2006; SWCP 2007; WHW 2008; GGW 2008; Dales Way 2011; Clev.W 2012; Yorkshire W.W. 2012; Offa's Dyke 2013; Peddars Way & Norfolk Coast Path 2014; Pembrokeshire Coast Path 2015: LEJoG in stages 2018: Camino 5/2019.

#59288 - 02/01/11 01:27 AM Re: First time walker [Re: Harland]
Gregg Offline
Full Member

Registered: 18/01/05
Posts: 369
Loc: Cotati, CA, USA
Thanks Harland, it's an engrossing account of a monk in unfamiliar situations and how he copes both mentally and physically. I've not met a bhikkhu in the UK but have encountered them in Sri Lanka, Thailand and India, all quite gentle souls full of secretive winks and nods.

#59328 - 06/01/11 10:28 PM Re: First time walker [Re: Gregg]
landryrk Offline
Full Member

Registered: 17/11/05
Posts: 275
Loc: Austin, Texas
We did it in May 2006 in 11 days. We had difficulty dividing these 11 days into equal milage days. We found the terrain steep in places but not as challenging as the C2C.

We did not use the baggage transfer service like we did on our last walk, the Hadrian's Wall Path.

Here was our itinerary (that 3-mile day was an 'accident'. The little lady was not happy with just a three-mile day -- but there was a big hill and we watched some glider aircraft):

Day 1: Chipping Campden to Broadway (6 miles)
Windrush B&B
Station Road
1386-853577 (Evan & Judith Anderson)

Day 2: Broadway to Winchcombe (11 miles)
Oaklands B&B
16 Gretton Road
1242-602272 (Pat Anderson)

Day 3: Winchcomb to Woodmancote (8 miles)
Home Farm Cottage B&B
Stockwell Lane
1242-674935 (Jenny)

Day 4: Woodmancote to Cheltenham (9 miles)
Langett B&B
London Road
1242-820192 (Jennifer Cox)

Day 5: Cheltenham to Painswick (16 miles)
Orchard House
4 Court Orchard
1452-813150 (Barbara & David Harley)

Day 6: Painswick to Kings Stanley (9 miles)
Old Chapel B&B
Broad Street
1453-826299 (Jean Hanna)

Day 7: Kings Stanley to Nympsfield (3 miles)
St. Theresa's B&B
Front Street
1453-860531 (Ian & Chrissy Whittard)

Day 8: Nympsfild to Wotton-u-Edge (13 miles)
Old Farmhouse B&B
7930-367621 (Sarah Shearer)

Day 9: Wotton-u-Edge to Tormarton (10 miles)
Portcullis Inn
High St
1454-218263 (Dudley - Check In after 1800)

Day 10: Tormarton to Cold Ashton (7 miles)
The Chestnuts B&B
1225-892020 (Dave, Carol & Asher Watts)

Day 11: Cold Ashton to Bath (10 miles)
Cranleigh B&B
159 Newbridge Hill
1225-310197 (Denise & Colin Potter)

I hope this helps.
The older we get, the better we were.

C2C September 2004
Cotswolds Way May-June 2006
Dingle Way August-September 2007
Hadrian's Wall September 2009
Essex Way April 2013


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