Take a break from a hectic journey along the A40 and spend some time exploring the charming Cotswold market...
Image courtesy of www.cotswoldsaonb.org.uk
While we would thoroughly recommend getting yourselves to the Local Tourism offices and collecting a few guided walks, we would also suggest that you consider going a little ‘off-piste’ when deciding where to walk when holidaying in or near Stow on the Wold. Keep to the paths, but take different routes to see some of the best bits of the Cotswolds and savour locations that often get overlooked by the popular walking brigade.
The picturesque Cotswolds town of Stow On The Wold provides a beautiful setting for quaint gift shops, ancient churches and historical buildings. It is also situated in some of England’s most scenic countryside, with rolling hills, untamed meadows, protected woodlands and quiet country paths. It is this stunning landscape that brings visitors to Stow time and time again. So whether you are a keen rambler or just fancy a relaxing stroll, check out our favourite walks in and around Stow below. Although you could manage these by following some basic signs, we strongly urge you to get an Ordnance Survey map and then follow the paths.
As the crow flies this isn’t too far, but if you want to see typical Cotswold’s villages, with honeyed stonewalls and quaint, sleepy houses, then this walk from Stow to Bourton-on-the-Water ticks all the boxes. Starting off from Stow you pass the pretty village of Icomb, which is home to a 13th century parish church and about as traditional a Cotswolds’ village you could imagine. Proceed up the hills and then down towards Wyck Rissington, a village with golden stone buildings that also epitomises the Cotswolds and is set along winding lane. Carry on through the Salmonsbury Water Meadows, which is a 44-acre of Site of Special Scientific Interest and finish in the bustling town of Bourton-on-the-Water.
Did you know that famed comedian Ronnie Barker lived and owned an antiques shop in Chipping Norton? The funny man was often seen walking around the town centre, and now you can follow his footsteps. This walk has been devised as part of the Cotswolds Green Tourism Project, and comprises of a relaxing stroll of around 2.5 miles, taking you from the shopping town of Chipping Norton, across green lush countryside, to Over Norton and back to Chipping Norton again. This is an ideal walk for those who want to visit a typical busy Cotswold’s town alongside some more green and rural areas. It’s a very easy and simple walk, and relatively flat.
There’s something about Cleeve Common that calls to anyone who has a love of wildlife and nature and wide-open spaces. The common is famed amongst locals for its diversity, for where else can you walk upon a Jurassic seabed, drink from natural water springs which feed hidden lakes and find somewhere to sunbathe in private on common ground? The common covers 450 hectares of public land and you could literally spend a whole week on it and not have covered it all. Standing at the top of the common provides stunning views across Cheltenham and the Severn Valley, so long as the wandering sheep and livestock don’t get in the way.
Part of the Miles without Stiles walks, the Stow to Maugersbury route is around 3 miles long and, as it suggests, is an easy walk suitable for the whole family. Maugersbury is a beautiful old Cotswolds village, with historical roots in the Iron, Stone and Bronze Age, so ideal for the history lovers amongst you. It is also situated in an Area of Outstanding Beauty. For this walk start off in Stow and head down the hill towards Maugersbury, and why not take in a pub or two on the way, well you are on holiday after all!
Finally, for the wheelchair bound, the Hinchwick Manor walk is just one of the Walks on Wheels routes, specially devised to be suitable for wheelchair users. Hinchwick lies a few miles north of Stow and comprises of single-track roads, endless fields with livestock and farm buildings, so watch where you step. Start off at Hinchwick Manor on a quiet private road and carry on down the gentle slope for about 2 miles, following the road, surrounded by stunning countryside.