We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Cotswolds Self Guided Walking Tours

Des Moines, Iowa
Level Contributor
688 posts
36 reviews
Save Topic
Cotswolds Self Guided Walking Tours

Am looking into a self guided walking tour in the Cotswolds for part of a honeymoon.

Does anybody have any experience with self-guided tours in the Cotswolds or any recommendations? I really do not know much about the Cotswolds yet and think developing my own walk may be a bit tough. Although if anybody has any resources and directions I would certainly consider it.

Would like to work the Shaved Crown in Shipton Under Wychwood (thanks Henneth!) and the Wychwood Brewery at Witney into my itinerary. Have not really firmed up how much time we would spend in the area but am thinking five days.

warrensburg,MO
Level Contributor
7,685 posts
Save Reply
1. Re: Cotswolds Self Guided Walking Tours

I've been to the Wychwood Brewery in Witney. Back then it was known as the Glenny Brewery. Although part of the building is old it does lie on an uninspiring industrial estate. In fact most of Witney town is a mixture of old and new. As it lies just outside the Cotswold region you'll find a few modern shops and houses. Partly pretty, especially around the Buttercross and main streets, partly ugly, around most other places. Not worth lingering longer than the brewery visit.

Anyway take Stagecoach run the X3 and 233 services linking Shipton with Witney. I think the walking distance is about 12 miles. The X3 is Oxford to Shipton via Witney and Burford and the 233 is a village service but both have very limited pick ups in Shipton, most terminate in Burford.

If you've time you can get some great food at The Maytime pub in Astall. It's a village that lies in the Windrush valley between Witney and Burford. It's also a free house but the ale range is limited, however they have an extensive wine list and fantastic food.

Salem, Oregon
Level Contributor
5,414 posts
14 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Cotswolds Self Guided Walking Tours

Hi, IowaLad. I spent a week walking on my own in the Cotswolds in April 2002 so maybe my experience can be helpful. I have a question and a recommendation, for starters. Will you have a car? The one indispensible item you should have is the Ordnance Survey map to the Cotswolds, 1:25,000 scale.

OK, a second question: have you done any walking anywhere else in England?

Des Moines, Iowa
Level Contributor
688 posts
36 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Cotswolds Self Guided Walking Tours

Thanks for the info Henneth. Witney fits in primarily to check out the new Brakspear brewing there.

Britfan: I have not done any walking in England. My trips to England so far have been limited to London and day trips out of London.

I am pretty early in the planning stages. Anticipate the need for a car but wouldn't mind avoiding if possible. Not covinced I would get the hang of driving on the other side of the road! Thanks for the tip on the ordance maps. Any more thoughts and suggestions are welcome.

Salem, Oregon
Level Contributor
5,414 posts
14 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Cotswolds Self Guided Walking Tours

IowaLad, you are so going to love the English countryside. Walking there is unlike anything you've ever done before. At least it's unlike any walking/hiking I've ever done in the Pacific Northwest. Since I discovered their footpath system in '98 I've gone back 3 more times for extended country walking holidays. That's given me 18+ weeks of walking. This is my favorite topic.

I recently did a presentation titled "Britain's Coast & Countryside" so I'll excerpt the segments on walking, OS maps, and the Cotswolds. I'll do it in bits because it's rather lengthy. The 9-dots are slide signals -- imagine illustrative photos! Consider this a primer -- I also do it in classes here in Salem.

"• Walkers rule in Britain’s countryside, at Dunkery Beacon and elsewhere. • This is the world of Wellies and walking sticks, and perhaps the most profound distinction between American and British cultures. • It’s this: Where we have “no trespassing” signs they have public footpath waymarks.

"• Walking in the countryside – they call it rambling – is the top holiday activity of over 80% of Britons, even teenagers in Sussex. • This young couple at the Merry Maidens stone circle explained that they’re mad for walking, that’s why they walk in spite of the weather. • The English have come to terms with wet weather, as you can see by this (plastic-enclosed) stroller at Rievaulx Abbey."

Salem, Oregon
Level Contributor
5,414 posts
14 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Cotswolds Self Guided Walking Tours

Excerpt continued:

"•The canals in Britain are quite nice. This is the Shropshire Union Canal. There are • thousands of miles of reclaimed canals in Britain, like the Kennet & Avon, and they all have towpaths for walking. • The OS maps show the location of the canals, bridges, locks, pubs and boat basins.

"• Castle Howard in Yorkshire is one of many huge private estates with gardens, • woodlands and deer parks. Powys Castle in Wales is another place • where you can arrive in a car or tour bus then go even further into the • countryside on foot. The same is true at the Ickworth Estate in Suffolk. • If you’re lucky riders will be using the steeplechase jumps. • In a large formal garden like Sissinghurst in Kent, you can walk from the most • highly managed and manicured areas into the less formal orchards and parklands • and finally into the woodlands of the estate."

Gloucester, United...
Level Contributor
3,835 posts
79 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Cotswolds Self Guided Walking Tours

Both books and cards with detailed information about circular walks in the area are available in virtually every bookshop. I prefer using the cards as the detail is generally better and they also come with a waterproof holder.

The packs contain walks varying from just a couple of easy miles to total lung bursters.

A quick search for "Cotswold walk*" on www.amazon.co.uk brings up 70+ titles.

Salem, Oregon
Level Contributor
5,414 posts
14 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Cotswolds Self Guided Walking Tours

Excerpt continued:

"• The British footpath system is a dense, centuries-old network of traditional walking trails like this direct route to church in Worcestershire. • These footpaths are simple rights of way that go everywhere, including across private property where cars and horses are forbidden.

"• The footpaths tend to cut across the shortest distance. That takes you right through planted fields, such as here at Leighton Buzzard, and through • dairy herds like this one in Cheshire. This is a very foreign idea for Americans. You'll feel like you're trespassing but you’ll quickly • get used to the wonderful freedom of walking off-road in a pastoral setting."

Salem, Oregon
Level Contributor
5,414 posts
14 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Cotswolds Self Guided Walking Tours

WHAT THE FOOTPATHS ARE LIKE

"• Sometimes the path is so faint as to be invisible, like here on Offa’s Dyke in Wales.

• You can only see some trails as a darker line off in the distance, like this one in North Wales. • The trail to this stone circle in Cornwall is unmistakable.

"• Then there are places, for instance at 7 Sisters on the south coast, where people might walk 6 abreast. On the other extreme, • on this part of the Ridgeway, the trail is only as wide as your foot. You can’t even see it until you part the grass.

"• Sometimes the footpath is mowed, like here at Cold Comfort Farm in Worcestershire, or sprayed out • by a Cotswold farmer so there is no question about the route."

Des Moines, Iowa
Level Contributor
688 posts
36 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Cotswolds Self Guided Walking Tours

thanks for the info and keep it coming! If only I could see the pictures.

Amazon UK is a great idea, the American version did not provide me with much options.

Salem, Oregon
Level Contributor
5,414 posts
14 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Cotswolds Self Guided Walking Tours

WAYMARKS SHOW THE WAY

"• The waymarks vary widely but usually include an arrow on a post. • Sometimes the waymark is painted on a rock, like this one is on Holy Island. • The waymark on this barn in Pembrokeshire is visible only to the trained eye.

"• The acorn is the symbol of most long-distance paths. The Ridgeway Path, • which runs through Wiltshire and Oxfordshire, is the oldest road in Europe, in continuous use from prehistoric times to the present.

"• Other routes sometimes have their own symbols, like this one on Offa’s Dyke in Wales. • This elaborate waymark on the Sandstone Trail is in Cheshire, with Beeston Castle behind it. • Some waymarks are disguised, like this acorn that looks like part of the design on a fancy gate. This footpath in central Wales actually goes through the gate and down the driveway.

"• Bridleways also are waymarked, in blue, and some places are better waymarked • than others. (numerous, duplicate waymarks -- I wish I knew how to put the pictures up!)

"• Sometimes the best waymark is a walker coming from the other direction, like this fellow in Wiltshire who had been visiting a friend in the neighboring village. I tell you, it’s like being in a Jane Austen novel."