Monday, 24 March 2014

Cotswold Way Challenge

Need a Challenge? Walking 100 miles in Fourteen months? Sounds manageable, doesn't it? It is, and is exactly what we did. In addition to being a walk through the beautiful Cotswold countryside , it is a walk through British history.

Historic sites from Roman ruins to Civil War battlefields to Iron Age forts all are on the trail and offer an opportunity to delve into the past. 

Belas Knap Long Barrow

 Country houses, churches, small villages,  castles, and historic monuments all provide contrast to walking in lush woodlands and fields bordered by the dry stone walls.


Broadway Tower in January 2013

Natural beauty and wildlife abound! 

Wildlife such as rare butterflies, heron, hawks, foxes and pheasants  made appearances. Several nature reserves are on the trail as well.

And there is nothing like walking through fields where spring lambs bleet for their mothers! 

Wild orchids and snowdrops, are just a couple examples of the infinite array of plants that line the trail. We found the trail well marked and path well worn with benches at spots with amazing vistas. 



At one point we came across a group of parasailers, riding the air currents on a steep hillside above Stroud. 

We met some very colorful characters on the trails as well! Walkers from all over the UK come to walk here. Many slept rough on the trail others like us, found a nice B&B for the night. 

The logistics: we used the National Trail Guide, Cotswold Way book as our guide which is an excellent resource, it was all we needed. We did occasionally look at the accompanying website for travel information, pub and B&B recommendations. The walks are divided into 15 manageable 5-10 mile well signposted segments, with Ordnance Survey maps. We would park at the finish and take a bus or taxi to the start, hiking usually  between 2-4 hours. We walked throughout the year in all conditions starting in January 2013 (in snow) in the northern town of Chipping Campden and finishing in the south in Bath, March 2014.


On finishing this 100 mile journey, we wanted to celebrate by relaxing in the thermal spa, but being a Saturday afternoon the queue was very long (you can't book ahead). We were able to go on Sunday morning, it was a wonderful treat for our aching legs!