A circular walk at the southern end of the Cotswolds

This circular walk set in the southern end of the English Cotswold, a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The walk is a mixture of open fields, quiet country lanes, with one section of the walk using pathways within the National Arboretum at Westonbirt. The walk passes through two Cotswold villages : Tresham and Leighterton.

Technical sheet
No. 2696394
A Hillesley and Tresham walk posted on 26/10/19 by Jenner. Update : 29/11/19
Calculated time Calculated time: 3h50[?]
Distance Distance : 7.75mi
Vertical gain Vertical gain : 276ft
Vertical drop Vertical drop : 285ft
Highest point Highest point : 653ft
Lowest point Lowest point : 427ft
Average Difficulty : Average
Back to starting point Back to starting point : Yes
Walking Walking
Area Area : Cotswolds
Location Location : Hillesley and Tresham
Starting point Starting point : N 51.613553° / W 2.277284°
Download : -


(D/A) The walk starts and ends at a Lay-by on the A46 (ST 8071 9055). Cross over the A46 onto the grass verge opposite, walk heading south-west to a road sign for Tresham (ST 8079 9051).

(1) Turn right and follow the road into the village of Tresham.

(2) As the road turns sharp left, look for a Finger Post on your right (ST7945 9112) close to a line of houses. Follow the narrow path that runs alongside a house on your right, up a small incline, to a stile on your left. Cross over the stile, turn right and continue ahead to a gate and stile (ST7954 9127). Cross over the stile into a large field. Follow the reinstated footpath across this very large field to a stile at the far side. The stile is obscured by a rise in ground level. Should the footpath have not been reinstated, follow a 78° - grid bearing, to a wooden stile at the far side of this field. Cross over this stile into a second field, turn ¼ right and aim for the end corner of a stone wall (ST8056 9136). At the corner, follow the wall to a stile (ST8062 9134), cross over the stile and continue ahead to the corner of a copse (ST8081 9130).

(3) At the copse, turn left, follow the line of a broken wall for approximatively 40meters, into the adjoining field. Here, continue along the edge of a large field towards the A46, which can be seen in the distance.

(4) Cross the A46, with caution, to the opposite verge, down several steps cut into the bank, to a ladder stile (ST8133 9111) bridging a wall. Cross over the ladder stile and continue ahead along a wide verge, in the direction of Leighterton church tower, which can be seen in the distance. There is a need to cross from this field into the adjacent field, on your right, before reaching Drew's Farm and buildings at (ST8194 9441). Continue ahead in the 2nd field, in the direction of Leighterton village, to a stile in a boundary wall (ST8221 9107). Cross over the stile onto Back Lane. Turn left and follow this road, past the Royal Oak pub, to Tetbury Lane (ST8234 9122).

(5) At the junction with Tetbury Lane, turn right, continue along this road, out of the village. As the road turns sharp left (ST8270 9097), look straight ahead for a gate leading into a field. Go through the gate and follow a footpath over the field to a stone stile (ST8295 9078). Cross over the stile and turn left. Continue ahead. Follow the footpath over two fields, to the corner of a boundary wall (ST8342 9035). Turn ¼ left and walk down the hill to the bottom right-hand corner of the field to a stile (ST8377 9023). Cross the stile into a wooded valley area (Hawkesbury Spinney). Continue ahead, passing through a gate, before turning right onto an un-signposted bridle path (ST 8402 9021).

(6) Follow the bridle path uphill, continue ahead to a gate (ST9409 8993). This is an entrance gate into Westonbirt Arboretum. Continue ahead, down a shallow hill and onto a long, wide and straight path – the MacMillan Way. Follow this path to a junction of paths – Willesley Drive on your left and Oak Avenue on your right. Continue ahead, now on a wide grassy path, to a gate at the edge of the wood (ST 84371 88867). Pass through the gate into a field.

(7) Turn right and follow along the boundary hedge on your right, continue ahead over four fields, and stiles, without deviation. The kissing gate leads out onto an access road to the Arboretum. Cross directly over the road and follow the footpath across a field, to a kissing gate at the top left-hand corner of the field (ST8298 8936). Pass through the kissing gate onto a small access road.

(8) Turn left and walk to the metalled road ahead for approx. 6meters. Turn right and follow the road. As the road starts to turn to the right (approx. 0.6km), look for a Bridle Path directly ahead (ST8298 8936). Follow the bridle path, keeping to the right-hand side of the field until the path joins a road at (ST8232 8961). At the road turn right, and walk downhill, look for a restricted byway - fingerpost near a substantial Cotswold Stonewall (ST8225 8973) on your left. With the stone wall on your right, continue along this restricted byway, without deviation, all the way back to the starting point (D/A)

Waypoints :
D/A : mi 0 - alt. 568ft - Lay-by
1 : mi 0.07 - alt. 591ft - A46
2 : mi 1.15 - alt. 607ft - Tresham
3 : mi 2.04 - alt. 600ft - Copse
4 : mi 2.37 - alt. 558ft - A46
5 : mi 3.07 - alt. 571ft - Leighterton
6 : mi 4.32 - alt. 456ft - Entrance to Westonbirt Arboretum
7 : mi 5.2 - alt. 446ft
8 : mi 6.71 - alt. 469ft
D/A : mi 7.75 - alt. 571ft - Lay-by

Useful Information

The walk starts from a Lay-by on the A46 (ST 8071 9055); it is large enough to take several cars, however, there are no facilities there, or nearby.

This walk is based on : UK - OS Explorer Map 168, 1:25 000 scales.

Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.

During the walk or to do/see around

The route from Tetbury Lane, Leighterton to Hawkesbury Spinney, is part of the Monarch’s Way, a 625-mile long-distance footpath in England that approximates the escape route taken by King Charles II in 1651 after being defeated in the Battle of Worcester. It runs from Worcester via Bristol and Yeovil to Brighton.

The MacMillan Way is a long-distance footpath in England that links Boston, Lincolnshire to Abbotsbury in Dorset. The route's distance is 290 miles. It is promoted to raise money for the charity Macmillan Cancer Relief.

The Westonbirt National Arboretum is in Gloucestershire, England, about 5 km, south-west of the town of Tetbury and is Managed by Forestry England, it is perhaps the most important and widely known arboretum in the United Kingdom.
The Arboretum was planted in the heyday of Victorian plant hunting in the mid-19th century as part of the Westonbirt House estate, and comprises some 18,000 trees and shrubs, over an area of approximately 600 acres (2.4 km²). It’s 27 km of marked paths are popular with visitors, and provide access to a wide variety of rare plants.
There are two main areas to explore. The Old Arboretum has carefully designed landscapes offering beautiful vistas, stately avenues, and a host of rare and exotic trees from across the globe dating back to the 1850s. The Silk Wood is a very different experience: although it also contains many exotic plantings, at its heart is a traditional working woodland, dating back to the 13th century.
Throughout the arboretum, each specimen tree is labelled, either on the trunk or one of the low-hanging branches. Blue labels indicate Westonbirt's "champion trees", the tallest or largest of their kind in Britain.

Opinions and comments


Global average : 4/5
Number of opinions : 2
Description quality : 4/5
Routemap quality : 4.5/5
Walk interest : 3.5/5

on Mon 14 Jun 2021 13:16:26 CEST

Global average : 3.33 / 5

Date of walk : 02/06/21
Description quality : Average
Routemap quality : Good
Walk interest : Average

This was a great walk for getting some exercise and there are some beautiful villages on the way. There were too many enormous agricultural fields for our liking, though. We could have skipped the first part to the west of the road. The part to the east was more interesting and varied, particularly around the Arboretum.

on Mon 02 Mar 2020 09:32:35 CET

Global average : 4.67 / 5

Date of walk : 02/03/20
Description quality : Very good
Routemap quality : Very good
Walk interest : Good

Nformation about th walk has mad us decide to o it at the weekend. Good stuff

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