12 Wonderful pick ‘n’ mix wintery walks
Need some fresh air to clear your head? Pull on your woollies and wellies and shake off the carbwebs on one of these pick-and-mix walks, from easy strolls to heart-pumping hikes.
Time for some much needed fresh air, a gorgeous walk is the perfect antidote to that winter fug, so head out on one of these lovely routes, all with stunning views.
Bibury to Coln St Aldwyns, Cotswolds
Head out from Bibury towards Coln St Aldwyns for a gorgeous walk full of sweeping views. Follow the winding River Coln into the village (Bibury to Coln is about a 45 minutes walk) before returning to Bibury through the open countryside on wide footpaths and bridleways. One of our all time, fresh-air faves. Refuel at The Trout Farm where they have a warm, outside gazebo area, serving hot drinks and snacks, or The Twig, which sells great artisan coffee and cake, or refuel at the other end at the New Inn in Coln.
Rodborough Common, Stroud
Rodborough Common is one of Muddy’s favourite fresh air go-tos. With more than 300 acres of rolling National Trust land to explore (that should balance out the goose fat spuds) this place has stunning 360 degree panoramas over the famous Five Valleys. You really will feel like you’re blowing off the carb-webs. Refuel at the Bear of Rodborough.
Details: Distance, 4 miles; duration, 1-2 hours; easy.
Blaize Bailey Viewpoint, Cinderford
Head up to the Blaize Bailey vewpoint near Soudley Ponds overlooking the River Severn. You’ll get glorious views over a horseshoe bend in the River Severn and on a fine day, you can see Newnham-on-Severn below and the Cotswold Hills on the opposite side of the river, plus Gloucester Cathedral to the north. There are woodland walks in all directions, including down the hill to Soudley Ponds. There is some parking near the viewpoint which is accessed via a small hamlet between Newnham and Littledean.
The Bathurst Estate, Cirencester Park, Glos
This walk up to the monument at Cirencester Park on the Bathurst Estate is a brilliant New Year’s Day jaunt. The parkland covers hundreds of acres which border the stunning Bathurst Estate House, with its sociable main drag, secluded glades, and peaceful woodland trails, plus kids love it here for tree climbing. End up at the Beano Trailer, a converted horse box which serves up barista coffees, gluten-free hot chocolates, homemade cakes and soft drinks (check ahead for NY opening times).
Details: Very easy; duration, 1-2 hours; distance, 2-3k
Painswick Beacon, Painswick
Start this stunning walk in the pretty village of Painswick if you are feeling energetic, or nearer to the Beacon itself at the Beacon Car Park. It takes you up a long hill, through gorgeous woodland, across a golf course and past a quarry. Reach the top of the escarpment (once an Iron Age Fort) and be rewarded with incredible views of the Cotswold Hills, the Severn Vale, the Forest of Dean and the Brecon Beacons mountains. While you take in the scenery, cattle graze on the wild common below. A real beauty.
Leckhampton Loop, Glos
This walk guides you around one of the most beautiful and varied stretches of the Cotswold Way. From rich grassland to peaceful woodlands, from Iron-Age remains to Victorian quarries. A taste of the entire Cotswold landscape in 4½ miles.
Details: Distance: 4 and a half miles; duration 2 and a half hours; difficulty: moderate
Chipping Campden and Escarpments, Glos
This delightful, short walk leads you around shaded woodlands, grazing sheep (does it get more bucolic?) and breathtaking views, then back to charming Chipping Campden. A great intro to the Cotswold way and a nice family walk.
Details: Difficulty, easy to moderate; duration, 2 hours; distance, 4 miles (3 with a short cut)
Minchinhampton Common, Minchinhampton
Head to Minchinhampton village and walk up to the wild and high up National Trust land with beautiful, deserted trails and footpaths with stunning views across the valleys. Along the way make a beeline for Burleigh Court Hotel, an exquisite boutique hotel with a friendly team for a hot choc by a roaring fire in the lounge with views over rolling countryside.
Cranham, Coopers Hill and Buckholt Wood, Gloucester
This beautiful walk whisks you around one of England’s most treasured habitats and beech woodlands. Follow four miles of dappled sunlight to discover the cathedral-like calm of Buckholt Wood, and then head up to the dizzy heights of Cooper’s Hill where for hundreds of years the foolhardy have risked their necks for cheese and glory! Check it out on Netflix first – it’s so good they’ve even made a show about it.
Cotswold Way, Wotton-Under-Edge Circular Walk
Gorgeous rolling farmland and woodland tracks make up this enchanting walk which leads you from scarp top to valley bottom, back into one of the Cotswolds’ most charming and thriving small towns. Expect some spectacular views.
The details: Difficulty, moderate; duration, 3 hours (4 hours if you detour to Newark Park); distance, 5 miles
Broadway Tower, Broadway
This walk’ll get your heart pumping, go through the picturesque Cotswold lanes of Broadway, along historic tracks and then take the energetic amble up to the stunning Broadway Tower (the second highest point in the Cotswold after Cleeve Hill). A beautiful spot that has spectacular views for miles around including across the Severn Vale into Wales.
Details: Distance, 4 miles; duration, 2-3 hours; difficulty, Moderate, some steep sections and stiles.
Hollybush Walk, The Malvern Hills
You can’t get much higher than the ridge on the Malvern Hills – and you’ll be rewarded with incredible views. One of our faves is the Circular Hollybush Walk. It forms a figure of 8, loops around the Ragged Stone Hill, passes through the pretty village of White Leaved Oak and loops north to Midsummer Hill with its stunning Iron age fort – dramatic views guaranteed.
The details: Difficulty, moderate; duration, 2 hours; distance, 3.2 miles.