This is perfect pastoral England: a place to appreciate glorious scenery, nibbled by sheep that shaped the fortunes of the region, to explore bucolic villages of honey-coloured stone, and to visit gracious country manors and gardens. Running through five counties, the rolling hills of this handsome district cover an area of about 800 square miles. A largely rural area, crossed by over 3,000 miles of footpaths, the Cotswolds offers walkers the chance to take in breath-taking landscapes, lakes, and acclaimed reserves. Beautiful towns and cities including Bath, Cheltenham, Stroud and Moreton-in-Marsh provide rail hubs from which to explore this beautiful region.
There are over 3,000 miles of public footpath and rights of way in the Cotswolds.
The Cotswolds was designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in 1966
Westonbirt The National Arboretum has some 2,500 different types of trees, among them 80 champions ie the tallest or largest of their species.
At more than 91m (300ft), the single-jet fountain at Stanway House is Britain’s highest fountain and the world’s tallest gravity fountain.
There are more than 4,000 miles of dry stone walls in the Cotswolds AONB.
The native Cotswolds sheep is known as the Cotswold Lion and one time provided wool for over half of England’s cloth
Bibury was acclaimed the most beautiful village in England by Victorian Arts & Crafts pioneer William Morris
The Cotswolds AONB contains over half of the country’s flower-rich Jurassic limestone grassland.
Nicola Greaves, Information & Interpretation Officer, Cotswolds Conservation BoardThe Cotswolds is quintessential England at its very best. It is a place where you can truly get away from it all and enjoy peace, tranquillity and of course some amazing scenery.
Many people visit the Cotswolds to see the picturesque towns and villages, so many of which seem to have simply stopped in time. However, in my opinion the best way to enjoy the Cotswolds is to get off the beaten track and explore the hidden gems, away from honeypots. There are over 3,000 miles of public rights of way which take you through rolling hills, farmland, wildflower grasslands and ancient woodlands.
One of the most spectacular ways to explore the Cotswolds is to follow the Cotswold Way National Trail - just over 100 miles between the traditional town of Chipping Campden and the World Heritage Site of Bath. Whilst many choose to walk the entire trail, many others prefer to just follow one of the short, circular walks which take in some of the best parts of the trail, plus of course there is always an excellent refreshment stop along the way!
We are delighted to work with Greentraveller to produce this Greentraveller's Guide to the Cotswolds AONB that will help you make the most of a trip to this wonderful part of England. With nearly 800 square miles of beautiful countryside, the Cotswolds is the perfect destination to switch off, chill out and recharge the batteries, naturally.
[map provided by Cotswolds Conservation Board]
Photo credits in Slide show: [Signpost: Windrush Cycles]
Photo credits in general through this guide have been supplied by the Cotswolds Conservation Board