A short, but demanding walk in places. Leaving Winchcombe you gradually ascend to long barrow of Belas Knap. From here a steep descent takes you down to Postlip Hall before a long and steady climb up to Cleeve Common and the eventual summit of Cleeve Hill.
A scenic and historically interesting walk from Winchcombe, passing Sudeley Castle in the distance, and the Neolithic long barrow of Belas Knap. From here you ascend onto Cleeve Common with panoramic views over the Cheltenham countryside. Finally, the route takes you to the summit of Cleeve Hill, the highest point on the Cotswold Way.
Rest StopCleeve Hill Golf Club
Traffic should not be a problem today as the route out of Winchcombe is relatively quiet. There are a few climbs and one steep descent which might be tricky during or after wet weather. Care is needed particularly if you are tiring.
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
Although only glimpsed on the walk, Sudeley Castle is easily visited from Winchcombe. The original castle dates from the 12th century and was confiscated by Edward IV after the War of the Roses. The castle eventually became the property of Henry VIII and on his death, his widow Katherine Parr lived here. She is buried in a lead coffin in the St Mary’s Chapel. There are also the remains of the Elizabethan banqueting hall, a tithe barn and the Portmore tower.
For more information: https://sudeleycastle.co.uk/
This chambered long barrow is one of the finest historic remains on the Cotswold Way and dates from around 3000 BC. When excavated some 31 burials were found to have taken place here along with some Roman coins and pottery.
For more information: https://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/belas-knap-long-barrow/
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: http://www.cotswoldjourneys.com/cotswolds-guide/cleeve-common/
Food and Drink
Winchcombe is a large Cotswold Town with a full range of facilities. There are a number of shops, small supermarkets, cafes and pubs where you can stock up with food and drink. There is also a Tourist Information Office, a post office and a pharmacy in the town. A cash machine is available in the Coop supermarket during opening hours, or an external machine can be found further down North Street at the larger supermarket on the edge of town.
There are no facilities on this walk so make sure to carry what you need. Cleeve Hill Golf Club is open to non-members for refreshments but this is near the very end of the walk.
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. They may be especially useful on some of the day’s descents. 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.