If you like your walks to hold your interest, you have come to the right place. You only have to look around to realise that the Stroud valleys obviously are anything but flat! No apologies on that front. After all, that is what makes this part of the Cotswolds what it is.
Are you looking for a weekend away? See further below for our NEW Cotswold Weekends with Walks suggestions.
Ramblers with a zest for steep slopes, whether it's going up or down, may find that their muscles ache after a few miles... but the scenery is worth the effort.
Downloadable Walks - Including The Cotswold Way National Trail
Cloth, Coal & Canals (Stroud Canal Walk) - Royal Geographical Society's Discovering Britain Series
Strolling in the Stroud District - Guided and Self-Guided Walks
These walking trails allow you to explore not only the countryside around us, but some of the sites within the town itself. This includes some of the history and culture of the town and valleys that surround it.
- Stroud Valleys Project - Walks, talks and events
- Stroud Rambling Club
- Walking with Artists
- Walks on Wheels (available to pick up at Tourist Information Centres
- Treasure Trails Amberley, Box, Minchinhampton, Frampton, Nailsworth, Painswick, Stroud, Wotton under Edge
- National Trust Walks in Gloucestershire
- Ordnance Survey Maps - relevant maps for the Stroud District are 168 & 179 of the Ordnance Survey Explorer
|Poetry Post - 'Field of Autumn' on Swift's Hill|
NEW Laurie Lee Wildlife Way
This six mile circular walk, created by Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust, follows 10 poetry posts around the wildlife-rich Slad Valley. Each cedar post features a different poem by Gloucestershire's most famous twentieth century writer, inspired by the landscape around him. The walk is very steep in places, but well worth the effort! An 11th post is located at the Museum in the Park in Stroud.
The Laurie Lee Way map is available to buy from Stroud TIC, Stroud Bookshop or Stroud Valleys Project in Stroud, The Woolpack Inn in Slad or direct from Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust on 01452 383333.
|Stroudwater Canal near Ebley|
Cloth, Coal & Canals - Stroudwater Canal walk
This new walk from the Royal Geographical Society, along the canal towpath from Stroud to Stonehouse, tells the story of the Stroud Valley - from the past, present to the future. With plenty to observe along the way including mills, locks, bridges, warehouses, beautiful scenery and wildlife. It is available in audio or downloadable format or can be purchased from the Canal Visitor Centre and Tourist Information Centre in Stroud.
Download the walk - Cloth, Coal & Canals
Whiteshill and Ruscombe
A NEW circular walk has been created with 40 beautiful waymarkers to follow around Whiteshill and Ruscombe. It is approx 4.5 miles, taking a good 2 hours. Although it does include some steep hills, it is a pleasant ramble through typically beautiful cotswold countryside. Maps can be purchased for £1 at the Whiteshill and Ruscombe village shop.
The W.A.S Way
The W.A.S Way, is an ambitious 11-mile circular route following public footpaths around the entire boundary of Stroud. It offers fantastic views from each of the five valleys plus a stretch of canal, exploring many quiet, hidden corners of the town.
To find out more and link to a PDF leaflet click on the link below.
Download the walk - The W.A.S Way walk
Cranham to Sheepscombe is a six mile woodland walk encompassing these two delightful villages - each with popular local pubs and attractive cricket grounds - surrounded by sheep pastures and conserved woodland.
The Cotswold Way
|Cotswold Way, Nick Turner|
Another area of interest is the 102 mile Cotswold Way National Trail which passes through the Stroud District between Alderley and Birdlip. The Cotswold Way passes through a significant landscape of national importance and it provides a quality walking experience that offers pleasure to visitors from near and far. Transport publications linking walks along the Cotswold Way and other Cotswold villages to bus routes are available.
Perhaps one of the most famous of these lonely hollows is the Slad valley. Secluded, yet not forgotten. The village has now lost its most popular and most famous resident, Laurie Lee, who will be sadly missed. He spent his whole life in this delightful part of Stroud and many a school boy and girl from all over the world studies his childhood through his widely acclaimed book Cider with Rosie.
Walking around Slad is fairly strenuous but rewarding, walking up and down hidden combes offering breathtaking views. Venture on this rewarding walk and you will see what inspired Laurie Lee to capture in words the delights of nature, hidden until sought out.
"But the mole sleeps, and the hedgehog lies curled in a womb of leaves, the bean and the wheat-seed hug their germs in the earth and the stream moves under the ice."
|View from Rodborough Common|
Minchinhampton, Rodborough and Selsey Commons are stretches of common land providing an ideal open space for walking, horse-riding, kite and model plane flying, or simply relaxing while listening to the soaring song of the skylark.
Across the valley you can see the slow stately movement of the wind-turbine at Nympsfield, the very first one in the Cotswolds Area Of Outstanding Beauty.
Winstone's home-made local ice cream is irrestible on warm sunny days, especially when served directly from their shop-front on Rodborough Common!
Outstanding View Points
|View from Cam Peak, Nick Turner|
The views from Coaley Peak Picnic Site are truly magnificent but, for many, the countryside around Cam Peak and Cam Long Down, cannot be beaten. Or, why not leave the car and discover the Site of Special Scientific Interest at Stinchcombe Hill. Here, you can enjoy the views and also admire the conservation projects which are reclaiming large areas of limestone and grassland for protected flora and butterflies, as well as the threatened skylark.
The South Cotswolds epitomises all that is best about an unspoiled English landscape – listen to the birdsong, enjoy the butterflies, delight in the rare orchids … and escape from the pressures of everyday life.
Base yourself in one of our colourful market towns or pretty villages for a weekend or mid-week break with walks. These downloadable itinerary ideas are full of inspiration for places to stay, things to do and a selection of wonderful walks, whether you want a gentle stroll or a longer hike.
The itineraries below feature some of our favourite walking routes in the undiscovered south Cotswolds. Some of the included routes are available to buy from the Tourist Information Centre in the town/village, others are available to download free of charge. The TIC staff will be delighted to suggest lots more great walking ideas too.
This small market town nestles in a steeply sided wooded valley, sitting alongside the Cotswold Way national trail. From the summit of any of the hills surrounding the town, you will get breathtaking views of the Gloucestershire countryside. It is close to Uley and WWT Slimbridge.
Often described as 'the Queen of the Cotswolds,' Painswick has a good choice of accommodation, fantastic dining options and wonderful walks. It is located between Stroud and Cheltenham and is on the Cotswold Way.
Known as the 'Covent Garden of the Cotswolds,' the colourful market town of Stroud sits in the beautiful Five Valleys of the south Cotswolds. It is close to the Cotswold Way and the small, pretty towns of Painswick and Nailsworth.