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.
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.
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.
Rest StopHungry Horse Pub & Restaurant
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, hints and links
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: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dowdeswell_Reservoir
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: https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/visiting-woods/wood-information/lineover-wood/
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: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seven_Springs,_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.
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.