This is one of Gloucestershire’s hidden gems that lies tucked away between a sweeping bend in the River Severn’s southern course. Centuries of floods and silt have made this peninsula into rich agricultural land. You can enjoy all of this by following one or all of the four circular walks that start from a map board beside the Red Lion Inn on Arlingham’s High Street. All walks have kissing gates and bridges and can be muddy. So take your pick of either; the Hare Walk, Gloucester Cattle Walk, Salmon Walk, and or, the Skylark Walk before or after lunch. All walks take about 2.5 hours and are between 4.5 to 5 miles in length.
Cam Long Down
A humpbacked ridge of oolitic limestone that once seen is never forgotten. From the top it’s a good viewpoint crossed by the Cotswold Way surrounded by beech woods and bracken.
At 1,083 feet this is the highest point in the Cotswolds and thus a superb viewpoint across to the Malvern Hills, Welsh Mountains, and northwards across the Cotswold landscape. A popular dog walking area and in winter snow ideal for tobaggan runs. In 1901 a tramway was built from Cheltenham to Cleeve Cloud but sadly closed in 1930. Cleeve Cloud is the site of an Iron Age hill fort and just below the scarp is The Ring, a site of religious/pagan rituals, 100 feet in diameter. Castle Rock is popular with novice rock climbers.
137-acres of common land in which to roam wild crossed by nature trails. Start from the car park at Fiddler’s Elbow. The scene of the Cheese-Rolling ceremony on Whit Monday at 6pm - a large cheese (originally representing the Sun in a Pagan ceremony) is chased down the hill. Only for the fittest, and craziest at heart for limbs have known to be fractured here on many occasions. Scene of an Iron Age fort.
Cotswold Water Park
This covers an area of 40-square miles of countryside and is split into three sections: the Western section, the Keynes Country Park and the Eastern Section (near Fairford). waterpark.org. There are 140 lakes, 74 fishing lakes, 10 lakes with SSSI status, 40 different lake owners and 150km of pathways, bridleways and cycleways. 20,000 people live in the park’s 14 main settlements. The extraction of the gravel and sand deposits from the ‘catchment area’ of the Upper Thames left large holes that were in 1967 designated to become a water park.
From its humbled beginnings at the South Cerney Sailing Club the park now attracts more than half-a- million visitors a year. Children love the sandy beach and sculptures at Keynes whilst the more active are beckoned to the wakeboarding and slalom skis at WM Ski on Spine Road wmski.com
A visit to the Gateway Centre on Spine Road is recommended before you explore the park where you can eat and drink at the Coot’s Café daily from 9-5. Just opposite, the retailer, Cotswold Outdoor, for all your walking and camping supplies. Further down the road overlooking Spring Lake, the Lakeside Brasserie for coffees, beers, pizzas, burgers and childrens meals.
A long distance footpath covering 97 miles from Chipping Campden to Bath. It follows the edge of the escarpment meanders through picturesque villages past pre-historic sites and provides spectacular views. It is signposted. For short excursions set out from Cleeve Hill, Winchcombe, Broadway, Painswick, Coaley Peak or Brackenbury Ditches. cotswold-way.co.uk
Dover’s Hill, Chipping Campden
A natural amphitheatre on a spur of the Cotswolds with magnificent views over the Vale of Evesham. The ‘Olympick Games & Scuttlebrook Wake’ have been held here since 1612 and take place on the Friday and Saturday following the Spring Bank Holiday.
Bluebells and white garlic bloom in Spring and a web of footpaths are spread throughout this tangled woodland. Best approached from Birdlip in early summer when the foliage is green and new.
Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust, Robinswood Hill Country Park
Visitor Centre, exhibition and giftshop.
Open daily 9-5, W/Es 11-4.30.
Crickley Hill Country Park
Nature trails, geological and archaeological trails are signposted as isthe Cotswold Way. There are traces of Stone Age and Iron Age settlements. Fine views. Open daily.
Woodland walks through beech woods rich in wildlife managed by English Nature. No parking facilities.
Runs from Sapperton to Chalford and is especially fine with the arrival of the Autumnal colours of beech, ash and oak.
Haresfield Beacon & Standish Wood
High open grassland at 700 feet that was a natural fort held by Iron Age and Roman settlements. Delightful when the bluebells and primroses bloom in the Spring.
Macaroni Downs, Nr Eastleach
Quite a sight. These rolling sheep pastures were once the location for Regency derring-do, gambling and horse racing. Now just munched by sheep, cattle and ridden through by mountain bikers.
800 acres of open space provides great walks and views across the Stroud Valleys.
The Bottoms: Waterley Bottom, Tyley Bottom and Ozleworth Bottom
Deep combes (valleys) of rare, and solitary beauty rich in wild flowers and bird life. And all can be viewed from countless footpaths. Strange to believe but in the C17 and C18 Waterley operated 15 fulling mills (to cleanse and thicken cloth) within a radius of 5-miles.
The Lakes, Bourton-on-the-Water
These are flooded gravel pits from the 1960s and 70s. Now used for a carp farm, windsurfing centre and angling lake. There is a great abundance of wildlife: plants, insects and birds.
Cattle Country Park, Berkeley
Unusual breeds of cattle and a full panoply of kids activities; play area, pets corner, climbing net, assault courses and more.
Open daily East-Oct 10-5.
St Augustine’s Farm, Arlingham
Working farm where you can stroke and feed the animals, and buy free range eggs.
Open Mar to Early-Sept W-Sa from 11 & school hols.
Cogges Manor Farm Museum, Church Lane, Witney
Historic buildings, exhibitions, traditional breeds of animals, daily demos and special weekends. Garden, orchard and riverside walk. Café.
Open Apr to Oct Tu-F & BH Ms 10.30-5.30, W/Es 12-5.30.
Cotswold Farm Park, Nr Bourton-on-the-Water
A unique survival centre for rare historic breeds of British farm animals including the Cotswold Lions (the Golden Fleece), lies elevated, high on the Central Wolds, three miles from Bourton. Pets and tots corner. Farm trail. Lambing, shearing and seasonal exhibitions. Camping. Café.
Open daily mid-Feb to Nov 10.30-5.
Photos supplied by Goldeneye Guides, National Trust & Subject
Photographers - William Fricker, David Sellman, Stephen Robson, Arnhel de Sera, Andreas Von Einsiedel, Chris Lacey, Derrick E. Witty, James Dobson, Paul Barker, James Dobson, John Hammond, Mark Bolton, Nadia Mackenzie, Andrew Butler, John Millar, Nick Meers, Stuart Cox, Rupert Truman