I am a freelance writer, living in Bath with my wife and son.
I love my city, and love to live here. I write about Bath a lot, and sometimes about travels in Ireland and France.
Published July 13th 2020
Cotswold Way: Way better than driving
Follow the acorn!
The Cotswold Way is one of Great Britain's most well-loved National Trails. Also called a long-distance walk, the full way is just over 100 miles long and travels the length of the rolling, beautiful hills and valleys of the Cotswolds.
This walk takes in just six miles of the path (three there and three back). It is part of the first (or last) day's walk for those doing all of the path.
The unmistakable path winds away
If you use the on-street parking on offer along Penn Hill Road, then you can access the Cotswold Way as it snakes through the council recreational ground. Just look for the green signs with an acorn symbol on them, and you can't go wrong. The trail is marked with the acorn icon at every gate, fence or direction change. It is very easy to follow, even if you do not have a map.
One of many ancient Oak trees along the way
The path immediately rises up into the hills that rise above and around Bath. As you walk steeply up, you are given beautiful vistas of the city behind you, and the path winds through fields populated with gigantic Oak trees.
Lovely contrasting colours of fields and sky
Once you reach the ridge that meets Lansdown racecourse, you are treated to big skies and wonderful colours. On a cloudy summer day, the grey of the sky contrasts beautifully with the glowing wheat crops that surround the path.
A most convenient walking stick holder
We used a Garmin GPS watch to track our progress, and were delighted to find an ideal picnic place at a little over three miles. If you do not have a tracker, then you will know you have reached this place because of the fabulous view. The whole of Bristol can be seen beneath you, and on a clear day, it is possible to see both of the Severn bridges, that connect England to Wales.
An inquisitive local...
No walk is complete without some animals and nature, and you will see cows and sheep aplenty here. You may well meet other walkers with their four-legged friends, as this is a very well-known and used path, for locals as well as visitors.
A little over three miles in. Perfect picnic spot
If you do find this place, then you will also find perfect rock ledges to sit down on, and even a handy hole to rest your walking sticks and poles in to. Fear not though, there are benches and ledges aplenty for picnic spots.
Obligatory 'Gladiator' moment
Summer walking entails a breathtaking stroll through crops. The path runs along and through working farmland, and I couldn't resist having a Russell Crowe moment, running my hands along the glowing wheat.
Walking back down in to Bath
The best views and vistas are saved for the second part of this walk. If you do turn back and retrace your steps, then you catch many glimpses of the city as you drop back down the valley sides. You will not see the classic Georgian view of Bath, but this is a rare chance to see some of the other parts of the city, looked over by the famous Beckford's tower, which was built to house the treasures of a wealthy Georgian resident, Mr Beckford. That in itself is well worth a visit.
Ever-helpful route posts
This is a superb walk to have with family, or as a training walk for younger adventurers. My son has just turned eight, and six miles seemed to be just right for him. Brilliantly, the return part of the walk is almost entirely downhill, so the last leg feels very gentle and easy. Weston village (at the bottom of Penn Hill Road) has a well-stocked supermarket and a couple of cafes and pubs, if you want to stock up on some post-walk goodies. If not, then the city centre is a quick 5 minute drive (or 20 minute walk) away.