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Cotswold Way - Charlton Kings to Seven Springs - Digital Delivery

Hiking route · Cheltenham
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  • Dowdeswell woods
    / Dowdeswell woods
    Photo: Macs Adventure
  • / Hedge laying at Lineover Wood
    Photo: Macs Adventure
m 300 200 100 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 km Dowdeswell Wood & Reservoir. Hungry Horse Pub & Restaurant Lineover Woods

Today’s walk starts with a short ascent to rejoin the Cotswold way before descending through Dowdeswell Woods. The route then passes through Lineover Woods and out onto Wistley Hill before arriving and Seven Springs junction.


Distance 7.7 km
2:30 h
331 m
207 m
290 m
85 m

A short climb out of Charlton Kings rejoins the Cotswold Way to descend through Dodeswell’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 down to Seven Springs. The name deriving from the disputed claim to be the source of the River Thames.


Author’s recommendation

A short walk through shaded ancient beech woods and open common is particularly interesting for the varied habitats they support. Walking in spring or summer the area is a myriad of plant and insect species. Splendid views are also seen along the edge of the escarpment on Wistley Hill.


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Macs Adventure
Update: October 21, 2020
Highest point
290 m
Lowest point
85 m
Best time of year

Rest Stop

Hungry Horse Pub & Restaurant

Safety information

Care should be taken when crossing the busy A40 at Dowdeswell and at the roundabout at Seven Springs. 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.


The Cotswold Way is well marked so navigation should be easy. Look out for the acorn signs which are the National Trail markers.


Tips and hints

Points of Interest


Dowdeswell Wood & Reservoir

The wood is a carpet of bluebells and wild garlic in the spring. Largely planted during the Great Depression of the 1930s when agricultural land was of little value it now provides an important habitat for wildlife. The reservoir was created in the 19th century by the damming of the River Chelt to provide additional water supply for the fast-growing town of nearby Cheltenham.

For more information:

Lineover Wood

Owned by the Woodland Trust the reserve has both ancient beech woodland and open common. Many rare species of plants can be seen in the spring including several varieties of orchids.

For more information:

Severn Springs

Derives its name from a disputed claim to be the source of the River Thames. However, it is actually the source of the River Clun which is only a tributary of the Thames. The springs themselves emanate from beneath Hartley Hill and maybe found a short distance down the A436.

For more information:,_Gloucestershire


Food and Drink

Charlton Kings is a large suburb of Cheltenham and has a wide range of facilities. There are a number of shops, café, pubs and supermarkets where you can stock up with food and drink. However, they may be some distance from your accommodation so it is best to check first. However, this is only a short section to Seven Springs where you can grab a bite to eat at the Hungry Horse pub.


Red Post Box, Charlton Kings (94 m)
OS Grid
SO 97342 20526
51.883295, -2.040021
51°52'59.9"N 2°02'24.1"W
30U 566073 5748493


Roundabout, Seven Springs

Turn-by-turn directions

*** To help you follow the route with confidence we have provided full written turn by turns to aid you on your walk from Charlton Kings to Seven Springs. Whilst, the Cotswolds are waymarked it can be featureless and off the beaten path at some sections so we strongly suggest that you follow the GPS tracks in the Macs Adventure smartphone app to ensure you have a safe, enjoyable and problem-free day.  The daily maps can also be printed from the web version of the app should you wish to take paper copies with you. ***


0.00 km – At the red post box and standing with your back to the main road, GO STRAIGHT ON along the footpath signposted to Colgate. Cross the small road and GO STRAIGHT ON between the houses, over the stream and up to a metal gate.

0.20 km – After the gate, TURN RIGHT by the post and follow the smaller path towards the hedge line. BEAR LEFT uphill as you near the hedge and GO STRAIGHT ON along a better-defined path with the hedge to your right.

0.70 km – At a metal gate GO STRAIGHT ON uphill, through another gate, onto a lane, and past some stables.

1.00 km – Just past the stables BEAR LEFT up through a metal gate and GO STRAIGHT ON, steadily uphill. Views of Cheltenham are emerging behind you.

1.20 km – At a metal gate GO STRAIGHT ON uphill, to arrive at a wooden stile.

1.40 km – Cross the wooden stile and GO STRAIGHT ON around the edge of the field, with the hedge to your left, towards the power lines. Go through the metal gate and GO STRAIGHT ON across the open field to a smaller metal gate. Follow the path around the farm, past the barn and under the power lines.

2.00 km – Immediately under the power lines TURN RIGHT back onto the Cotswold Way. GO STRAIGHT ON along the well-defined path down along the edge of Dowdeswell Woods.

3.00 km – At the bottom of the hill, BEAR LEFT through a wooden gate and go over the bridge. Then TURN RIGHT onto a tarmac track for 100m. A t wooden gate, TURN LEFT uphill to the busy main road.

3.20 km – Cross the main road with care and TURN LEFT, following the Cotswold Way signpost. GO STRAIGHT ON up to Lineover Wood car park and BEAR LEFT through a wooden gate. (Do not go straight on). GO STRAIGHT ON uphill, with the power lines to your right.

4.00 km – At the top of the wooden steps, GO STRAIGHT ON through the wooden gate following the waymarked path.

4.40 km – At the top of the hill GO STRAIGHT ON through the wooden gate, then immediately BEAR RIGHT, onto the path with a stone wall on the right. GO STRAIGHT ON along the edge of the escarpment for approx 1 km. (Do not be tempted to take any of the paths down to the right).There are good views on the right over the surrounding area.

5.40 km – Leaving the woods at a wooden gate, TURN LEFT onto the path signposted Cotswold Way and out onto Wistley Hill. Here panoramic views unfold in front of you. GO STRAIGHT ON following the edge of the escarpment and the wooden marker posts for approx 1.4 km.

6.80 km – Arriving at some wooden steps, GO STRAIGHT ON down then BEAR RIGHT down the path parallel to the main road.

7.70 km – Arriving at the busy main road and roundabout you have reached the end of your walk.


*** This is the end of our Charlton Kings to Seven Springs route. If you are walking to Birdlip today, then please move onto the Seven Springs to Birdlip route***











all notes on protected areas


OS Grid
SO 97342 20526
51.883295, -2.040021
51°52'59.9"N 2°02'24.1"W
30U 566073 5748493
Arrival by train, car, foot or bike


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.

Basic Equipment for Hiking

  • Sturdy, comfortable and waterproof hiking boots or approach shoes
  • Layered, moisture wicking clothing
  • Hiking socks  
  • Rucksack (with rain cover)
  • Protection against sun, rain and wind (hat, sunscreen, water- and windproof jacket and suitable legwear)
  • Sunglasses
  • Hiking poles
  • Ample supply of drinking water and snacks
  • First aid kit
  • Kit para bolhas
  • Bivy / survival bag  
  • Survival blanket
  • Headlamp
  • Pocket knife
  • Whistle
  • Cell phone
  • Cash
  • Navigation equipment / map and compass
  • Emergency contact details
  • ID
  • The 'basic' and 'technical' equipment lists are generated based on the selected activity. They are not exhaustive and only serve as suggestions for what you should consider packing.
  • For your safety, you should carefully read all instructions on how to properly use and maintain your equipment.
  • Please ensure that the equipment you bring complies with local laws and does not include restricted items.

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Photos from others

7.7 km
2:30 h
331 m
207 m
Highest point
290 m
Lowest point
85 m
Scenic Linear route Botanical highlights


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