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Cheltenham to Winchcombe

· 1 review · Hiking route · United Kingdom
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    Photo: Macs Adventure
  • / Monday, 9 April 2018, 11:48
    Photo: Macs Adventure
  • / Monday, 9 April 2018, 11:48
    Photo: Macs Adventure
m 300 200 100 12 10 8 6 4 2 km
Starting in the thriving regency town of Cheltenham, you will skirt past an iconic horse racing course before climbing through fields to Cleeve Common. Crossing the common and passing tumbledown farmhouses and country cottages, you finish the day in the scenic village of Winchcombe.
Distance 12.7 km
3:30 h
286 m
242 m
328 m
61 m
This short day of walking is classic Cotswolds. Starting your day at the Pittville Pump Room, an integral part of Cheltenham's history as a spa town, you will then head to Cheltenham Racetrack. The racetrack is one of the U.K's most iconic tracks and is steeped in history. As you begin to climb up to the expansive plain of Cleeve Common, you will wind through fields and around small wooded forests, with the view back over Cheltenham becoming more impressive the higher you walk. After crossing the common and passing an abandoned Wontley Farm (be aware of the danger of old buildings and do not enter the ruins) you will be treated to a piece of ancient history, the burial ground of Belas Knapp, recently restored and in fantastic condition for a site that is over 4500 years old! The day is finished with an easy descent down narrow country paths into the picture postcard village of Winchcombe, replete with cosy country pubs and fantastic restaurants. It is worth noting that the paths are not always clear and can often be a little overgrown, pay careful attention to the map throughout the days hiking.

Author’s recommendation

It is a rare opportunity to see a human-made structure that is more than 4500 years old. Make sure you leave some extra time to have a look around the long barrow of Belas Knap 8.3 km into your walk.
Highest point
328 m
Lowest point
61 m
Best time of year

Safety information

There are some road crossings, always be aware of traffic and be sure to use a pavement/sidewalk where possible, where it isn’t walk on the right-hand side of the road,

Some of the ground can be uneven, with steep descents and muddy/boggy ground. Ensure you have suitable footwear and step cautiously where needed.

When crossing the streams, be wary of slippery and loose stones, if you feel unsure bring walking poles for support, and you can always find a more suitable crossing a little up or downstream.

Tips and hints

Points of Interest


Pittville Pump Room

The healing and rejuvenating benefits of the Cheltenham sprigs had been recognised since the early 18th century, In 1788 King George III visited and was very complimentary of the town, and it became a popular spot for the well-heeled to visit. In 1825, Joseph Pitt invested int he town as a spa town, and Pitville Pump Room was borne. When the building is not under hire for an event, you can still visit the Pump Room and sample some of the vital waters yourself. 

Opening times:

Wednesday to Sunday inclusive

10 am to 4 pm

Opening times are subject to bookings for private events

Opening times may vary for Bank Holidays

More information:


Cheltenham Racecourse

Cheltenham Racecourse is an iconic and historic racecourse for horse racing events.. Its most prestigious meeting is the Cheltenham Festival, held in March, which features several Grade I races including the Cheltenham Gold Cup, Champion Hurdle, Queen Mother Champion Chase and the Stayers' Hurdle.

The racecourse has a scenic location in a natural amphitheatre just below the escarpment of the Cotswold Hills, at Cleeve Hill, with a capacity of 67,500 spectators. The racecourse also has its own steam railway station (of the same name), although this no longer connects to the national rail network but has since rather been the current southern terminus of the preserved Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway.

More information, including when race days occur:


Belas Knap

Bela Knap is a Neolithic barrow, or burial ground. It is accessible at any time in the day and is free to look around.

The impressive entrance is a dummy and the burial chambers are entered from the sides of the barrow – when closed and covered by earth they would have been invisible from the outside.

It was probably constructed around between 2500 and 3000 BC and was used for successive burials over a period of years until eventually the burial chambers were deliberately blocked.

Opinion differs as to the reason for the false portal. It may have been to deter robbers, although little in the way of value has been found in undisturbed tomb chambers. Alternatively, it could be that the false entrance functioned as a ‘spirit door’, intended to allow the dead to come and go and partake of offerings brought to the tomb by their descendants. 

More information:


Food and Drink

There is no food or drink stops en route so be sure to pick up supplies before you leave Cheltenham. Both Cheltenham and Winchcombe have some excellent places to eat and drink.


Pittville Pump Room (62 m)
OS Grid
SO 95471 23709
51.911896, -2.067246
51°54'42.8"N 2°04'02.1"W
30U 564159 5751650


Winchcombe Tourist Information Centre

Turn-by-turn directions

0.00 km - Start with your back to the steps and pillars of the Pittville Pump Room, TURN LEFT and pass through a small green gate joining East Approach

0.16 km - At the T-junction, TURN LEFT onto Albert Road, marked by a red postbox

0.45 km - You will reach a small roundabout/T-junction, TURN RIGHT, then after 20 metres TURN LEFT crossing the road carefully and joining a path signposted ‘Public Footpath’ and ‘Green Acres’

0.66 km - You will see Cheltenham Racetrack in front of you, continue until you reach the boundary fence and the TURN RIGHT, circling the racetrack to your left

1.00 km - BEAR LEFT over a footbridge, staying on the path

1.50 km - Pass through a small metal gate and continue STRAIGHT ON

1.60 km - TURN RIGHT, leaving the main track and moving away from the racetrack towards a metal gate, head STRAIGHT ON through the gate and on to a residential street

1.90 km - BEAR LEFT through the small junction on to a larger road, ignoring the sharp left turn to the dead end and the right turn onto the main road

2.50 km - When you come to the main road, cross it carefully, heading STRAIGHT ON down Gravel Pit Lane

2.60 km - Pass the farm and O’Connors Construction on your left, then TURN LEFT following signage for ‘Public Footpath’ ascending a vehicle track

2.80 km - BEAR LEFT off the track, crossing a fence with the wooden step provided and BEAR RIGHT across the field, following the path to a river crossing. Stay on the path and be aware of the livestock in the field

3.10 km - Cross the small bridge over the stream and BEAR RIGHT as the faint grassy path ascends, skirting Queens Wood to your left and following the tree line

3.20 km - Ignore left turn into the woods and continue STRAIGHT ON

3.60 km - BEAR RIGHT and follow the path as it ascends slightly

3.70 km - Cross the wooden fence and stream using the step provided and TURN LEFT crossing a second wooden step then head STRAIGHT ON ascending up the field on the grass path

3.80 km Continue STRAIGHT ON through the second field and through the gate following the pale green way marker for the Gustav Holst Way

4.10 km - BEAR RIGHT as the path ascends, ignoring the two left turns

4.20 km - As the path turns into a stone and earth surface, BEAR LEFT to continue on the main oath ignoring the smaller turns to your right as the path ascends steeply

4.30 km - BEAR LEFT to stay on path, ignoring left turn, you will immediately pass a Cotswold Way marker to the right of the path

4.40 km - TURN RIGHT, leaving the main path, ascending a smaller path to a fence with a wooden step, cross the fence and continue for 10 metres then TURN RIGHT to join a large, well-marked path across Cleeve Common

4.90 km - BEAR LEFT as the path becomes fainter, moving away from the radio towers to your right

5.60 km - Pass a large circular fenced off area to your right, continue STRAIGHT ON as the path begins to descend

5.90 km -  Pass a yellow ‘Winchcombe Way’ marker post on our right, the path is wide and grassy and begins to descend

5.80 km - Head STRAIGHT ON through a metal gate, joining a vehicle track that ascends, keeping the woods to your left

6.60 km - The track descends into an abandoned Wontley Farm, be cautious of loose bricks and TURN LEFT at the T-junction, ascending a vehicle track

7.10 km - Ignore left turn, continue STRAIGHT ON following the track

7.60 km - TURN RIGHT off the main track and into a field with a path running along the edge, signposted for Belas Knap

8.30 km - At the end of the field you will come to Belas Knap Long Barrow, pass it to your right crossing two small stone gates and TURN LEFT through the metal gate to join a dirt path, ascending away from Belas Knap

8.40 km - The path turns to slate and wood, head STRAIGHT ON

8.50 km - Pass through the metal gate passing the sign for Belas Knap ancient monument and BEAR RIGHT descending the hill following the wall to your right

8.90 km - As you reach the bottom of the hill, BEAR LEFT following the wall line at  the base of the field for 40 metres until you reach a wooden wall crossing where you TURN RIGHT descending a clear path down towards a main road

9.30 km - At the bottom of the hill there is another fence crossing, cross it and you will immediately meet the main road, TURN RIGHT as the road gently ascends

9.80 km - TURN LEFT off the main road, following a sign for Public Footpath Winchcombe Way, this road is private and is only usable as a footpath

9.90 km - Pass the country cottage to your right and BEAR LEFT to stay on the main path

10.30 km - BEAR RIGHT past the farm and then BEAR LEFT as the path narrows and descends

10.70 km - Head STRAIGHT ON over a fence using the step provided, descend the field following the faint path, when you reach the bottom of this field, cross a second step over a fence and over a small footbridge before you BEAR LEFT to continue on the same path

11.10 km - The path descends, crossing a small footbridge and entering the next field before you BEAR RIGHT to cross the middle of the field along the faint grass footpath

11.40 km - At the other side of the field, cross the small footbridge and over a vehicle track (ignore this) before you BEAR RIGHT to continue on the grass path across the next field, at the other side of the field, you will cross another footbridge signposted for the Winchcombe Way, cross this bridge and enter the next field where you will BEAR RIGHT diagonally across the field

11.90 km - Reaching the end of the footpath you will pass through a small metal gate on to a main road where you will TURN LEFT, ascending slightly towards Winchcombe

12.40 km - You are now in Winchcombe, when you reach the T-junction, TURN RIGHT following the sign for Town Centre, Shops and Toilets

12.60 km - On the left-hand side you will see the Tourist Information centre and museum you have finished your days walking


all notes on protected areas


OS Grid
SO 95471 23709
51.911896, -2.067246
51°54'42.8"N 2°04'02.1"W
30U 564159 5751650
Arrival by train, car, foot or bike


Sturdy waterproof boots as the path can be slippery and wet in parts.

Walking poles for stream crossing and muddy descents if the weather is wet.


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George Crumbleholme
April 29, 2019 · Community
Instructions confusing over Cleeve Common
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When did you do this route? April 29, 2019
Cleeve Common
Photo: George Crumbleholme, Community
Photo: George Crumbleholme, Community

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12.7 km
3:30 h
286 m
242 m
Highest point
328 m
Lowest point
61 m


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