We're lucky to have the Cotswold Way National Trail running through South Gloucestershire and Bath & North East Somerset.
The Cotswold Way is a long distance walking Trail that runs between the market town of Chipping Campden in the north and the city of Bath in the south.
The Trail is 102 miles (164 km) long, and runs for most of its length on the Cotswold escarpment. It passes through many picturesque villages and close to a significant number of historic sites, for example the Roman heritage at Bath, the Neolithic burial chamber at Belas Knap, Sudeley Castle near Winchcombe, Hailes Abbey and many beautiful churches and historic houses.
It enters (or leaves, depending which way you follow it) the OutdoorsWest area just by Hawkesbury Upton, then, if heading south, it passes Little Sodbury, Old Sodbury, Tormarton, Dyrham, Pennsylvania, Cold Ashton, Lansdown and Weston into Bath.
Whether you follow the whole route, choose to explore a section of it, or follow a circular route somewhere along the route, it's a spectacular route maintained and signed to National Trail standards.
The Cotswold Way has existed as a promoted long distance walk for over 30 years, early users following the pictorial guide written and illustrated by Mark Richards. Following many years of lobbying by the Ramblers Association and others, its special qualities have been recognised and in 1998 the government approved its development as a National Trail. The Cotswold Way was formally launched as a National Trail in May 2007. This designation is a very special one and there are only a few other Trails in England with this special grading. Information about the others can be found on the main National Trails web site
The Cotswold Way is now looked after by Bath & North East Somerset Council, South Gloucestershire Council, Natural England, The Cotswold AONB Board and a raft of volunteers, many with the Cotswold Voluntary Wardens service.
For more information:
The Cotswold Way pages on the National Trails website
The Cotswold Way on 'Escape to the Cotswolds', a website of the Cotswold AONB, including information on shorter circular routes along the Cotswold Way.