If you’re looking to change the pace from steep mountain treks and up and down coastal cliff paths, the Cotswolds can be perfect for short picturesque walks, or longer meandering walks to soak up the scenery without working up a sweat!
While many think of the Cotswolds as cute chocolate box villages, the Cotswolds actually cover over 800 square miles across five different counties. As a result, there are masses of trails for every walker, so just pack your backpack with a women’s lightweight waterproof jacket, a bottle of water, your map and get walking!
Best relaxing walks in and around the Cotswolds
1. Westonbirt Arboretum
Known as the national arboretum, it offers multiple trails and a chance to wonder at more than 2,500 different species of trees. The Gruffalo Trail is loved by kids, while there’s also a canopy walk to take in the scenery on another level. For more information about the fascinating tree collections planted here, guests can enjoy guided walks. However, for a relaxing wander, pick a trail, pack your best women’s waterproof coat and see what you can find.
2. Leckhampton Loop
Part of the Cotswold Way, the Leckhampton Loop is a popular walk in the Cotswolds thanks to its varied scenery and several points of interest in the 4.5mile route. Starting at the Seven Springs Pub, the way navigates past Severn Springs – one of the sources of the river Thames across to a steep incline of Leckahmpton Hill and through a nature reserve full of wildflowers that attract butterflies. The route also takes in the Devil’s Chimney, a limestone formation left above a disused quarry.
3. King Arthur’s Cave And Seven Sisters Rocks Wye Valley Walk
This walk is just under five miles but can be made shorter by skipping King Arthur’s Cave. This route takes in the beauty of the river Wye and the Wye valley. What’s more, this walk also starts in the popular tourist town of Symonds Yat, which is ideal for enjoying a café pitstop before your walk or a pub lunch to recover.
This walk goes past the Seven Sisters rocks in the Wye valley, an extensive rocky outcrop sitting above the river, which makes an impressive view. While not in the Cotswolds, Symonds Yat is close to the Cotswolds border, with the popular Cotswold village Bourton-on-the-Water being just 38 miles from Symonds Yat.
4. Malvern Hills
While very close to each other, the Cotswolds and Malvern Hills are separate Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. There are many steep hikes that take you to the top of the hills. However, for a more relaxing walk, Malvern Hills Trust offers a range of Easier Access trails, allowing you to take in the beauty but at a leisurely pace and altitude. Easier access walks are often surfaced, making for easier walking, and you can find trails at Earnslaw Quarry, Jubilee Drive and Black Hill trail, starting at Black Hill car park.
The Malverns have plenty of commons at the foot of the hills that are perfect for a chilled-out Sunday afternoon dog walk, such as Malvern Common, Hollybed Common and Castlemorton Common.