A Walker’s Journal by Anthony Linick
We chose to divide our walk on the Cotswold Way into two roughly equal divisions, beginning the first trip in 2002 in Chipping Campden and ending in Ryeford, near Stroud, and resuming here the following year for the rest of the route to Bath. There is a debate over which is best: north to south or south to north and guidebooks exist for both directions. (As you check these out on the Internet make sure your guide complements the direction you have chosen.) Among other sources we utilized was the Aurum Press Recreational Path Guide by Anthony Burton – which contains pages featuring the relevant Ordnance Survey maps. I should pay tribute to Mark Richard’s earliest efforts in guiding the walker along this path – a little pamphlet-like book, The Cotswold Way, A Walker’s Guide, inspired by the map-drawing skills of Alfred Wainwright – and dedicated to him and his wife Betty in 1973. Richards later produced a more complete book about the route under the Penguin imprint, but I believe I was inspired to add this route to my own dream list though a close study of the original effort.
We chose to begin in the north, perhaps because there is more difficulty in starting in a place without rail service and we wanted to get this chore over with first. You will soon read how we accomplished this but I will also say that it does make sense to have a short first day – since there is plenty of accommodation in Broadway, some six miles into the walk. I believe I did all my own accommodation booking on our trips but if I were doing it today I would let one of the professional companies who specialize in supporting this route do it for me. I did utilize a firm that ferried our packs forward for us and you can easily spot such organizers in both categories by having a look at the Internet. If you are entirely new to the long-distance walking lark I might also suggest having a look at my book, A Walker’s Alphabet: Adventures on the Long-distance Footpaths of Great Britain – published in 2010 and available from the publisher at www.authorhouse.co.uk or from www.authorhouse.com or from www.amazon.co.uk or from www.amazon.com. Here you will see what I recommend in terms of planning and packing.
The Cotswold Way provides plenty of up and down moments in the course of its 100 miles, mostly in Gloucestershire, though none of these are protracted struggles and there is plenty of level walking too. I was surprised that the route was so often close to civilization; the area, after all, is a favorite tourist destination and you will encounter many a road and quite a few parking lots. This is a small price to pay for the amazingly beautiful countryside and the charm of the route’s many villages. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did; you can always let me know how you got on by sending me an email via my Contact Page.
Our stages were as follows:
Day 1: Chipping Camden to Broadway – 6 miles
Day 2: Broadway to Winchcombe – 12 miles
Day 3: Winchcombe to Dowdeswell – 11 miles
Day 4: Dowdeswell to Air Balloon Inn – 10 miles
Day 5: Air Balloon Inn to Painswick – 9.5 miles
Day 6: Painswick to Ryeford – 8.5 miles
Day 7: Ryeford to Uley – 6 miles
Day 8: Uley to Wotton-under-Edge – 10 miles
Day 9: Wotton-under-Edge to Old Sodbury – 13 miles
Day 10: Old Sodbury to Pennsylvania – 8 miles
Day 11: Pennsylvania to Bath – 11 miles