Leaving busy Seven Springs you are soon in open countryside ascending Hartley Hill and onto Leckhampton Hill with its panoramic views and interesting rock faces. From here the route passes through countryside and a short road section to ascend Crickley Hill and on to finish in Birdlip.
The views on this section of the walk are truly 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 StopHungry Horse Pub & Restaurant
There are several sections of the walk today where you might encounter traffic but most minor roads are quiet. However, 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. Although only a short distance the road is narrow and busy. 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 especially in windy weather and poor visibility.
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
This is one of the Cotswolds major archaeological sites. From Neolithic times the area was occupied by a large camp protected by a ditch and bank. Later the defensive position was settled by Iron Age farmers and their livestock. The final occupation was ended by fire. There is an observation platform and information boards describing the various stages of the settlement.
For more information: https://www.gloucestershirewildlifetrust.co.uk/nature-reserves/crickley-hill
The flat-topped plateau of the hill has a summit triangulation pillar and viewpoint with fine panoramas over the surrounding area. The steep scarp slope and exposed rock crags have been extensively quarried for building stone and one of the landmarks; the Devil’s Chimney is a remnant of those days. The rock pinnacle projecting from the lower shelf of the escarpment is a major attraction.
This is the site of an ancient female burial unearthed by quarrymen in the 19th century. Objects including a silver broach, bronze owls, a decorated bucket and a richly ornamented bronze mirror were discovered and are now displayed in Gloucester City Museum.
For more information: https://www.gloucestershirewildlifetrust.co.uk/nature-reserves/barrow-wake
Food and Drink
There are opportunities for refreshments on this walk. There is a café on the way to Crickley Hill and toilets, café and visitors centre on Crickley Hill itself. There is also a pub on the busy roundabout near the end of the walk before Birdlip. For those walking Charlton Kings to Birdlip. The Hungry Horse at Seven Springs is a good lunch spot.
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 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.