Cheltenham’s idyllic backdrops provide for beautiful countryside walks and with the Cotswolds just a stone’s throw away there is an abundance of choice when it comes to walking. Our award winning breakfasts are always a favourite with customers before a day exploring beautiful Cheltenham and its surroundings.
So, if you’re planning a stay in Cheltenham this summer, here a few of the most popular walking routes in Cheltenham and the Cotswolds – rated on their difficulty.
Visit the Devils Chimney on Leckhampton Hill – Beginner
If you don’t have enough time to complete the longer walks around the area, several smaller routes of the famous Cotswold Way have been devised, allowing you to experience its beauty across a less significant distance. Most notably The Leckhampton Loop, sitting just 2 miles away from Cheltenham, this route takes you around rich grasslands and peaceful woods featuring quarries from the Industrial Revolution. There are remains of Iron Age architecture to discover and being a site of special scientific interest the route features rare wildlife and plants along its course. The loop has a total distance of 4.5 miles, it is well signposted and avoids busy roads – you can find a map of the full route here.
Near the peak of Leckhampton hill lies the Devils Chimney, not much is known about the origin of this limestone formation which protrudes from the ground around it, according to folklore the formation rises from hell. However, geologists theorise it’s simply a column of harder rock which has been left standing following erosion of the softer rock around it. Regardless of its origin, the iconic landmark is a favourite with visitors to the area.
Enjoy the Cotswolds From Its Highest Point – Beginner
The Cleeve Hill circular route features the highest point of the Cotswolds, with the peak standing at an altitude of 1,083ft (330m) the route offers unparalleled views of the Cotswolds in its entirety. You can see from Cheltenham and the racecourse to the river Severn and Wales to the West, over to Winchcombe and its surrounding areas to the north. The duration of the route is 6 miles, however, there is a shorter route which spans 4 miles, the route makes use of the Cotswold Way so is well signposted and accessible. You can find a map of the route here.
Explore Cheltenham on the Circular Footpath – Intermediate
An interesting 24 mile route, Cheltenham’s circular footpath runs around the outskirts of Cheltenham, devised by Cheltenham Borough Council to visit some of the town’s main attractions en-route. The journey begins and ends at Pittville Park and in addition to the beautiful view of the Cotswolds you will enjoy, the walk passes by the famous Cheltenham racecourse and Dowdeswell Reservoir. Every year the Cheltenham Challenge sees hundreds of participants walk, run or jog sections of the Cheltenham circular footpath, an event offering 5k, 10k, half marathon and full marathon routes.
Being a more urban route, the trail is split between town and countryside, however, you may have to endure a section on roads; the route is clearly signposted throughout its duration and avoids busy roads where possible. View the walk here.
Take On the Cotswold Way – Experienced
The famous Cotswold Way is one of 15 National Trails and is the longest route we feature on this list. It runs between the market town of Chipping Campden and the world Heritage City of Bath – with a length of 102 miles. The route was granted National Trail status in May 2007 and most walkers take on the route over the course of a week – stopping at hotels and B&B’s en route. Hilden Lodge is perfectly placed for an overnight stay in the first third of the route and if you are planning on walking the entire Cotswold Way, we can put you in touch with companies to arrange luggage transfer. On the journey, you’ll find yourself passing through a number of towns including: Chipping Campden, Stanton, Winchcombe, Cheltenham, Birdlip, Painswick, Kings Stanley, Uley, Little Sodbury, Cold Ashton and finally, Bath.
Along with the great views, the Cotswold Way takes you through several areas of outstanding natural beauty, a great view over the River Severn, Malvern Hills and Forest of Dean; as well as several historic monuments including, Sudeley Castle, historic battlefields and burial grounds. If you’re planning to take on the Cotswold Way, you can find a map of its entirety here.
Start Your Day Right at Hilden Lodge
If you’re planning on taking a walk along one of these trails during your next trip to Cheltenham, start your day right with an award winning breakfast at Hilden Lodge. We can provide a cosy bed at the end of your day, a drying area for your clothes if you’re caught in the rain and a packed lunch to see you through the day – Give us a call now on 01242 583242 or book one of our newly renovated rooms.