A short walk from Cleeve Hill to its summit following the edge of the Cotswolds down to Prestbury Hill Nature Reserve. A gradual descent leads through the classic Cotswold countryside descending through Dowdeswell Woods passing through Lineover Woods and out onto Wistley Hill before arriving at Seven Springs junction. The section between Seven is a classic Cotswold escarpment ridge walk, with panoramic views along the route into Birdlip.
The walk starts when you retrace your steps to the summit of Cleeve Hill and follows the western edge of the Cotswold escarpment high above Cheltenham and descends through Dowdeswell’s ancient beech woods to the busy A40. Crossing the road, the route ascends up through Lineover Wood, owned by the Woodland Trust. Finally emerging from the wood, the way opens out onto Ravensgate Common, then alongside Wistley Plantation, before descending to Seven Springs. The name derives from the disputed claim to be the source of the River Thames! Leaving the busy roads of Seven Springs, you are soon in open countryside, ascending Hartley Hill and onto Leckhampton Hill with its panoramic views and interesting rock faces. The route then passes through the countryside and a short road section to climb Crickley Hill and finish in Birdlip.
The views on this section of the walk are genuinely spectacular. Extensive sections follow close to the edge of the Cotswold Escarpment, revealing interesting rock formations such as the Devil’s Chimney and unique meadow land habitats. Red Kites can be seen over Crickley Hill.
Rest stopsCleeve Hill
Rising Sun Hotel
Prestbury Hill Nature Reserve
Dowdeswell Wood & Reservoir.
Hungry Horse Pub & Restaurant
Crickley Hill Cafe
The Royal George Birdlip
Clavell & Hind Brewery
There are a few climbs and descents which are not particularly steep but which might be tricky during or after wet weather. When walking off the summit of Cleeve Hill and along the edge of the escarpment take care, especially in strong winds or poor visibility. This section is fairly straightforward with no particular hazards.
Care should be taken when crossing the busy A40 at Dowdeswell and at the roundabout at Seven Springs and Birdlip. There are a few climbs and descents which are not particularly steep but which might be tricky during or after wet weather. Be careful along the steep edge of the escarpment on Wistley Hill, especially in windy weather and poor visibility.
Care should also be taken crossing the main road at and at the start and the busy Birdlip roundabout. Also, there is only a narrow path up the main road into Birdlip at the end of the walk.
The Cotswold Way is well marked so navigation should be straightforward. Look out for the acorn signs which are the National Trail Markers.
Tips and hints
Points of Interest
Please see the interactive map for notable points of interest along the walk, including recommended pubs/restaurants and cafe stops. Simply click the icons on the map for more information as you walk.
Food and Drink
There are no general convenience stores in Cleeve Hill however there are plenty of opportunities for refreshments on this walk. There are various pubs and cafes you pass next to the Way.
Packed lunch today is not essential but recommended. There is a pub in Seven Springs, a café and a visitors centre on Crickley Hill and there is also a pub (Air Balloon) on the busy roundabout near the end of the walk before Birdlip.
Post walk Drinks
The Royal George in Birdlip. There is also a craft beer brewery, a short walk away from the centre of Birdlip that is mainly open on weekends. It has a draught taproom and serves food outdoors. Check the point of interest on the app and call ahead to see if it's open when you arrive
A taxi is probably a better/cheaper alternative than public transport.
There are various ways to get to Birdlip by bus from Cleeve Hill but it likely requires multiple connecting journeys (varies depending on the time of day and a google search is probably the best option to check this at the time you wish to make this journey).
Please note that bus services may be affected by public bank holidays in the UK and in some cases may run a limited service or no service at all on weekends.
Recommended Local Taxi Services along the Cotswold Way
Northwick Private Hire (Chipping Campden Area): +44 (0) 1386 701 806
TDM Taxis (Broadway Area): +44 (0) 7919 160 630
Starline Taxi (Cheltenham/Charlton Kings Area): +44 (0) 1242 250 250
Galaxy Private Hire (Dursley/Painswick/Wotton-Under-Edge Area): +44 (0) 7796 545 261
V Cars (Alternative for Wotton-Under-Edge Area): +44 (0) 1793 701 701
Book recommendation by the author
Good comfortable boots or walking shoes are recommended. The ground can be quite soft and the paths are well used by walkers and riders. Whilst the terrain is not particularly difficult it can be muddy with some waterlogged stretches after heavy rain. Walking poles are an option if preferred. The British weather is changeable so waterproofs should also be carried just in case.
Ensure your phone is fully charged; if you doubt the battery will last throughout the hike, it might be beneficial to bring a power bank.
There are some opportunities to buy food/water today but be sure to bring enough with you.
Weather at the route's trailhead
- 14 Waypoints
- 14 Waypoints