Writing in 1921, John Drinkwater called the Cotswold country “the most beautiful in England …” proclaiming, “there is no more tender or subtle landscape on earth.” And this superb long-distance footpath wanders through some of the best of it as it follows the limestone escarpment called the Cotswold Edge from Chipping Campden in the north to the magnificent city of Bath, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Almost the entire trail lies within the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the largest in England and Wales. Even the official National Trail guide calls it “100 miles of quintessentially English countryside.”
The Way isn’t difficult, but it isn’t a mere stroll. Over the course of the trail, walkers climb and descend the escarpment countless times, passing through ancient grasslands where sheep have grazed for centuries and woodland trails where a symphony of birdsong fills the air. Along the Way, charming thatched cottages and magnificent churches crafted from the golden-hued Cotswold limestone greet ramblers in a veritable “poem in stone.” Maybe Drinkwater wasn’t so over the top after all!
Photos by D. Larraine Andrews