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10 Winter Walks in the Cotswolds

A unique destination for winter holidays, the Cotswolds is full of charm. Covering almost 800 square miles, the area runs through five counties (Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Warwickshire, Wiltshire and Worcestershire) and encapsulates an array of mesmerizing settings. 

While there are many ways to explore the Cotswolds, one of the best is on foot. Leading you through an incredible variety of honey-stoned hamlets, thick woodlands, diverse countryside and hummocky hills, walking allows you to truly familiarise yourself with the land and see its beauty up-close. 

Especially beautiful in winter when delicate frosts and thick snow make a magical appearance, we have put together our 10 favourite winter walks in the Cotswolds so you can enjoy the most unforgettable Cotswolds escape, pink-nosed and starry-eyed. 

Walks Around Sherborne

Sherborne is a small and scenic village, home to a cute village shop-come-tea room and three waymarked trails. Between 30 minutes and 2.5 hours-long, each walk is a real delight, although the paths through the watermeadows are particularly good for spotting some of the birds that visit in the winter. Just make sure you remember to pack a pair of binoculars.

The Eastleach Twins 

There is a wonderful 4.5-mile circular walk that loops between the twinned villages of Eastleach Turville and Eastleach Martin either side of the River Leach. Boasting softly folded landscapes, picturesque churches, wooded copses and clematis-clad cottages, this walk is also a firm favourite for the lovely pub that awaits in Eastleach Martin. 

Swinbrook and Asthall Walk 

This 5-mile walk begins at the little village of Asthall where the splendid 17th Century Asthall Manor, the childhood home of the talented and somewhat controversial Mitford Sisters, takes centre stage. Crossing rivers, following country lanes and wending through bucolic countryside, this is a great walk for all ages with only a few stiles to navigate along the way.

Arden Way and River Arrow Walk 

The Arden Way and River Arrow walk is hailed as an excellent choice for dog-walkers. Starting from Coughton Court car park, the 2-mile route cuts across wild meadows, traces the fluid ribbon of the River Arrow and passes through the Heart of England Forest. Bundle up in layers, grab a towel for your pup and set off for a memorable winter stroll.

Newpark Walking Trails

Within the sprawling Newark Park estate, there are a number of glorious winter walks that reward amblers with both untouched countryside and magical woodland settings. Featuring a family-friendly 2-mile orange route, a 3-mile purple route and a slightly more demanding pink route, the estate has something for all abilities. 

Painswick to Slad Circular Walk 

Nearly 7 miles long, this looped trail  begins in Painswick, a Gloucestershire town dubbed ‘the Queen of the Cotswolds’. Traversing the pretty Painswick Valley before a descent into the Slad Valley – made famous by Laurie Lee’s novel Cider with Rosie – this is a slightly more challenging walk but definitely worth it. To reward your efforts afterwards, head to the local Woolpack pub for a brew by the log fire.

Tetbury to Westonbirt Arboretum

This popular yet lengthy 10-mile walk takes you along quiet country lanes, through park and farmlands and even skirts the Highgrove Estate, one of Prince Charles’ country homes. As an optional extra, you can also take a detour to explore the enchanting Westonbird National Arboretum which stays open through winter.

Batsford Arboretum 

Well-known as one of the finest places to enjoy fiery autumn colours, Batsford Arboretum is also brilliant for winter walks when frosty jewels and, if you’re lucky, powdery snow adorn the arboretum's trees and plants. Hardly void of life, from December you can also spot early snowdrops and aconites that come to life in this winter wonderland.

Cotswold Way Circular Walk 

A perfect introduction to one of the UK’s top national trails, the Chipping Campden circular route is the designated start of the Cotswold Way. Heading through woodlands and affording tremendous views, this walk also leads you along Dover’s Hill, the site of the famous Cotswold Olimpick Games. Warm up afterwards with a hot drink and hearty meal in one of the lovely pubs and cafés, or head straight back to your luxury retreat to snuggle up. 

The Malvern Hills

Last but not least, no list of the best winter walks in the Cotswolds would be complete without talking about the Malvern Hills, an area that covers 3,000 acres of varied landscape laced with paths and trails. Described as a miniature mountain range, winter walks here are really amazing but not for the inexperienced as they can be seriously challenging even on fine days.

Feeling inspired? Take a look at our luxury cottages in the Cotswolds for an unforgettable winter escape.

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