With rolling Cotswold hills, ancient woodlands and picturesque countryside to explore, wanderers can find a whole host of beautiful walks across Gloucestershire and the Cotswolds.
Whether you’re after a gentle stroll through the forest or a heart-pumping hike up a hill, SoGlos has handpicked 11 of the most scenic strolls across the county, perfect for soaking up some fresh air and getting those steps in.
Bursting with colour in the autumn months, beautifully crisp in the winter and offering endless picnic spots in the spring and summer, the Forest of Dean is a fantastic year-round destination for walkers of all ages and abilities.
Weekend wanderers can soak up the sights of the Sculpture Trail at Beechenhurst or take a stroll around Mallards Pike Lake, while those up for a more challenging hike can enjoy amazing views at Symonds Yat Rock.
For more information, visit forestryengland.uk.
Covered in a canopy of towering trees, the Sculpture Trail in the Forest of Dean promises a stunning stroll all year round. Starting from Beechenhurst, walkers can enjoy the famous four-and-a-half-mile trail, looking out for various impressive spectacles along the way.
Meanwhile for children, there’s the new Superworm trail at Beechenhurst, which is buggy-friendly on a dry day and perfect for keeping kiddies entertained.
There are a host of trails for walkers to choose from at Symonds Yat Rock in the Forest of Dean. Head up high to the ancient hill fort, or wander down to the river for a gentle stroll along the glorious banks of the River Wye.
As well as being one of the best places in the UK to spot peregrine falcons, visitors to Symonds Yat Rock can also spot goshawks, sparrowhawks, buzzards and owls – so bring your binoculars, as well as a picnic.
Breathtakingly beautiful all year round, Mallards Pike has two glorious lakes and a looping path for leisurely strolls, as well as a dog-friendly café, which offers a pitstop for refreshments.
Particularly special in the autumn, this leafy walk is covered with towering trees and also boasts shady grass areas, which are perfect for a picnic on warmer days.
Starting off in the picture-perfect village of Broadway, this lovely loop to Broadway Tower and back boasts some of the most impressive views over the surrounding countryside.
With a choice of distances, from around four miles, walkers can expect to amble up steep hills, over stiles and across gloriously green fields around Broadway.
Anyone looking to tick a mountain off their bucket list doesn’t need to travel far, with Gloucestershire’s highest point, Cleeve Hill, being named the ‘fastest mountain to climb’ in the UK in a 2021 study.
As the highest point of the Cotswold Hills, the Gloucestershire peak offers spectacular views over Cheltenham, its famous racecourse and out towards Wales from the top; while keen explorers can also find the neolithic monument, Belas Knap, close to the summit.
Starting off in the heart of Gloucester Docks, this canal route leads walkers to Sharpness Port and promises plenty of opportunities to spot beautiful birds from Slimbridge Wetland Centre en route.
Spanning 16 miles in total, walkers can take on as much or as little as they like on this clear pathway, soaking up glorious views of the Severn Estuary and the Cotswolds along the way.
Fall in love with the Cotswolds on this leisurely walk from Bourton-on-the-Water to Lower Slaughter, spotting postcard-worthy honey-coloured cottages and snapping some quintessential countryside views.
Perfect for littler legs or those who prefer strolls to hikes, the short walk is approximately one-and-a-half miles long, leading through the village green and past the parish church.
Don your walking boots and head out on a hike across the Cotswold Way. Spanning 102 miles from Chipping Campden to Bath, this challenging walk offers views across some of the most stunning parts of the county.
Covering Leckhampton Hill and the mysterious Devil’s Chimney, pretty Painswick and heading all the way to the spa city of Bath, it offers lots of great walking routes for those looking to choose their distance and embrace the elements.
With spectacular views across the Stroud Valley, Minchinhampton and Rodborough Commons promise plenty of space to roam freely, passing some of Gloucestershire’s most interesting archaeological sites along the way.
Promising a superb spectacle of wild flowers in the spring, Rodborough Common also offers stunning views of the Severn Vale and is a great place to blow away the cobwebs.
Rich in history, Tewkesbury is a great place to take a walk and includes the chance to explore battlefields, take in views of the impressive Norman Tewkesbury Abbey, as well as admire the sights in the medieval town centre itself.
With both the River Avon and River Severn meeting in Tewkesbury, a riverside walk is one of the nicest ways to while away an afternoon – with peaceful pathways and plenty of self-guided options to explore. And if you’re looking for a long-distance challenge, it’s also the end point of the 88-mile Shakespeare’s Avon Way walk.
With 250 acres to explore, Robinswood Hill on the south east side of Gloucester is the perfect spot to wistfully wander along the marked trails or alternatively, weave through the orchard.
Head up to the summit for fabulous views to the south as well, as a chance to see the Malvern Hills, Black Mountains and beyond.
For more information about Forestry England and the Forest of Dean, visit forestryengland.uk.
By Annabel Lammas
Monday 20 December 2021
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