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Cotswold Way - Cleeve Hill to Charlton Kings - Digital Delivery

Hiking trail · Tewkesbury
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  • Cotswold farmland near Dowdeswell
    / Cotswold farmland near Dowdeswell
    Photo: Macs Adventure
  • / Cleeve Hill summit marker
    Photo: Macs Adventure
  • / Hill fort ramparts on Cleeve Hill
    Photo: Macs Adventure
  • / Cowslips on Cleeve Hill
    Photo: Macs Adventure
  • / Prestbury Hill Nature Reserve
    Photo: Macs Adventure
m 300 200 100 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 km Cleeve Hill Prestbury Hill Nature Reserve

A short walk from Cleeve Hill follows the edge of the Cotswolds down to Prestbury Hill Nature Reserve. A gradual descent leads through the classic Cotswold countryside to the small town of to Charlton Kings.


Distance 8.7 km
2:30 h
68 m
290 m

The walk starts from the summit of Cleeve Hill and follows the western edge of the Cotswold escarpment high above Cheltenham. From here the path passes through a nature reserve, woodland and agricultural land on its way to Charlton Kings and the end of this section.


Author’s recommendation

Cleeve Hill is the highest point on the whole of the Cotswold Way, and panoramic views extend over Cheltenham and the surrounding area. The Prestbury Hill Nature Reserve is a site of special scientific interest particularly for its butterflies and rare plants.
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Macs Adventure
Update: October 21, 2020
Highest point
317 m
Lowest point
86 m
Best time of year

Safety information

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.


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


Cleeve Hill

This is the highest section of the Cotswold escarpment at 330 m and the last area of unenclosed land in the region. It covers an area of 3 square miles and is an area of Special Scientific Interest for its flora and fauna. There are panoramic views from the plateau and in good conditions, the Malvern Hills and the Brecon Beacons may be seen in the distance.

For more information:

Prestbury Hill Nature Reserve

Situated on the western slopes of Cleeve Hill the Cotswold Way passes through the southern section. The reserve has a rich mix of limestone and grassland varieties as well as heathland. It is particularly important for the large varieties of butterflies it supports including some rarities.

For more information:


Food and Drink

There are no facilities at the summit of Cleeve Hill or anywhere else on this short section until you arrive at Charlton Kings. Therefore you will need to carry everything you need for today’s walk.



Summit markers, Cleeve Hill (316 m)
OS Grid
SO 98575 26373
51.935868, -2.022128
51°56'09.1"N 2°01'19.7"W
30U 567226 5754357


Post box and signpost, Charlton Kings

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 Cleeve Hill to Charlton Kings. 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 – Standing By the triangulation pillar summit marker and with your back to the viewpoint, GO STRAIGHT ON over the golf course following the wooden post markers. (NB; there is a direction arrow on the side of the triangulation pillar to show the way). Follow the edge of the steep escarpment on your right with panoramic views over Cheltenham.

0.90 km – Just through some hill fort ramparts and by a wooden seat, GO STRAIGHT ON, again following the edge of the steep slope and the wooden marker posts to a metal gate.

1.40 km – Go through the metal gate off the common and GO STRAIGHT ON following the wooden marker posts. The path traverses the escarpment gradually descending with the transmitter masts visible on the ridge to the left.

2.00 km – Just through a wooden gate and by Prestbury Nature Reserve, TURN LEFT and GO STRAIGHT ON slightly uphill. In 50 m where the path forks, BEAR RIGHT following the marker sign. Go through the wooden gate into Prestbury Nature Reserve and GO STRAIGHT ON.

2.50 km – At a path, junction GO STRAIGHT ON, following the waymarked sign up through a narrow valley. There are good views as you emerge onto the common again.

3.20 km – At the edge of the Nature Reserve cross the wooden style and GO STRAIGHT ON.

3.60 km – Arriving at a path junction TURN LEFT following the Cotswold Way signpost, then in 50 metres BEAR RIGHT, following the wooden marker posts by the power cables.

4.10 km – Emerging through a gate onto a tarmac lane, TURN LEFT through a metal gate and GO STRAIGHT ON along the path signposted to Dowdeswell.

4.40 km – At a tarmac road TURN LEFT and GO STRAIGHT ON for approx 300 m, then TURN RIGHT at the road junction following the sign for the Cotswold Way.

5.50 km – As the road bends to the left, BEAR RIGHT through the metal gate and GO STRAIGHT ON to reach another tarmac road.

6.30 km – At the tarmac road cross over and GO STRAIGHT ON along the opposite signposted path.

6.70 km – At a wooden gate TURN RIGHT under the power cables and leaving the Cotswold Way and past the farm.

7.00 km – Emerging through a metal gate, GO STRAIGHT ON through another gate and BEAR RIGHT around the edge of the field.

7.30 km – Where the path divides BEAR RIGHT over the wooden stile then in 100 m  BEAR RIGHT through a wooden gate and GO STRAIGHT ON to a gate.

7.70 km – TURN RIGHT through the gate and GO STRAIGHT ON past the stables, through some metal gates and onto a track. Then in 100 metres BEAR RIGHT onto the footpath through a metal gate and descend towards Charlton Kings.

8.30 km – At a bend in the path, BEAR LEFT onto a smaller less distinct path. GO STRAIGHT ON with the hedge to your left and aiming for a large white-topped post by a metal gate.

8.50 km – Go through the metal gate and GO STRAIGHT ON over the stream and up between the houses to a tarmac road. GO STRAIGHT ON up Chase Avenue to reach the main road in Charlton Kings.

8.70 km – Arriving at the main road, red post box and signpost back to Colgate Farm you have reached the end of your walk.


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



all notes on protected areas


OS Grid
SO 98575 26373
51.935868, -2.022128
51°56'09.1"N 2°01'19.7"W
30U 567226 5754357
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.

This walk is isolated with few opportunities to buy food or water so 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
  • Blister kit
  • 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

8.7 km
2:30 h
68 m
290 m
Scenic Botanical highlights


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