A pleasant woodland walk leads away from Birdlip before the ascent onto Cooper’s Hill. Continuing on through Buckholt Wood the path crosses Painswick Golf Course before the leisurely walk into Painswick itself.
A gentle woodland walk leads out of Birdlip following the foot of the escarpment towards Cooper’s Hill. The woods are a carpet of flowering plants in the spring. The path then climbs steeply up to the top of Cooper’s Hill, the scene of the famous annual Cheese Rolling festival! Continuing on through Buckholt Wood and Painswick Golf Course a short detour to Painswick Beacon is recommended. From here the path leads downhill into the delight that is Painswick itself.
On the pleasant woodland sections of the path look out for the occasional views which can be glimpsed through the trees. At the top of Cooper’s Hill look down the steep slope and imagine the sanity, or not of chasing a large roll of cheese down the hill. The short detour from the way onto Painswick Beacon is rewarded with extensive views over the surrounding area.
The Cotswold Way is well marked so navigation should be straight forward. Look out for the acorn signs which are the National Trail Markers.
There are several sections of the walk today where you might encounter traffic but most minor roads are quiet. However, care should be taken when leaving Birdlip at the start of the walk as there is only a narrow path. Although only a short distance the road is narrow and busy. Also when crossing the main road at Cranham Corner. The main street down into Painswick is also narrow and traffic can be busy at peak times. There are a few descents and one steep climb up Cooper’s Hill which might be tricky during or after wet weather.
When crossing Painswick Golf Course be alert for golfers playing their shots and always remember to give way if needed.
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.
There is only one hotel in Birdlip so if you require a packed lunch it would be advisable to check with your accommodation. However this is only a relatively short walk. Refreshments are available at Painswick Golf Club but that is nearing the end of the walk. Several cafes and pubs can be found in Painswick itself.
Points of Interest
This is a superb viewpoint and a very steep section of the Cotswold escarpment. However its claim to fame is the annual Cheese Rolling Festival held here at the end of May. The origin of this spectacle is unclear. Contestants plunge headlong down the steep slope in pursuit of a mock roll of cheese, the winner awarded with a real 7lb Double Gloucester cheese.
Painswick hill was originally settled by Iron Age tribes and later used as a temporary Saxon camp during their conflict with Mercia. It was also occupied by Royalist forces in 1643 following the lifting of the siege of Gloucester. It has commanding views over Gloucester and the Severn Vale.
Painswick is a delightful town roughly at the half way stage of the Cotswold Way. In common with other Cotswold towns it owes its elegance and wealth to the cloth trade. At its height mills 25 were powered by local streams in the area. During the Civil War Royalists attacked the town and damaged the church. Cannonball marks are still visible today in the walls. The church yard is famous for its avenues of clipped yew trees and unusual table tombs.