Running the Cotswold Way
The Cotswold Way is an easily accessible National Trail, which runs c.100 miles from Chipping Camden down to Bath, along the edge of the Cotswolds.
The sections of the Cotswold Way I have been on are well-marked and maintained, and the trail can be joined at any point or linked up with other paths and trails for circular routes. We started last weekend’s run from Wotton-under-Edge, which is around a third of the way up from Bath, and ran north towards Dursley, and then back again.
Not surprisingly, being on the edge of the Cotswolds, parts of the route are very hilly! Not quite mountain fell-running territory, but there were some steep climbs on this segment, where I had to resort to walking – but was then rewarded by some lovely flattish sections along ridges and rolling through fields.
Running the Cotswold Way from Wotton
Starting from Wotton is easy, if driving then the parking in the town centre is free and you can top on snacks and drinks etc at one of the shops on the High Street. The Cotswold Way runs right through the centre of town and is easy to find from the High Street, as it is well signposted (blue signs). If you’re a fan of steep inclines, then the first 0.5km will be enjoyable as it is a steep hike up to Westridge Woods and is a good warm-up!
Out the other side of the wood brings you over a grassy area towards the William Tyndale Monument, with some nice views over the valley below, and then it’s onward down the other side of the hill down a narrow steep path to reach the village of North Nibley.
The next section is relatively flat, rolling through the village and a couple of fields – a good opportunity to get the average pace back up after the first hilly section, before you start to climb up through another wood, Park Wood, to the ridge at the edge of Stinchcombe Hill Golf Club. We were rewarded with nice views while running along the ridge around the edge of the fairways, including back the way we came (you can see the Tyndale Monument for miles). The golf club is on the edge of another town, Dursley, but this marked the turning point for us as we retraced our steps back towards Wotton to complete the c.16km out-and-back course.
Total vertical metres climbed was c.450m, not too shabby over that distance, and the good news is, while my feet were slightly sore, the rest of me could have gone on a lot further… this bodes well for the trail marathon training!
Have you run on the Cotswold Way? I am yet to explore other sections so let me know the best bits to check out next time!