A circular walk through two beautiful Cotswold villages past an Alpaca herd or two. Look out for more animals in the parkland near Cowley and head over the hill and down through the valley of sheep. Beautiful in May when the hawthorn is in flower. If you are lucky you'll spot orchids on the downs too.
Calculated time is computed with the distance, the height difference, and an average speed of 2.2 mph. For an intermediate walker, this time includes small breaks.
Drive into the village of Coberley either from the A435 or take the gated road from the A436. There is a lay-by between the village and the church where you can park.
(D/A) From the lay-by walk back towards the village and go through a gate to the left. Follow the steep steps downhill, cross the stream via the footbridge and enter a small wood. Take the left bearing path. When you leave the wood at the stile bear left across the field.
Follow the footpath until you reach a lane leading to a large house. Cross the lane and follow the footpath across a small field towards a wood.
Go into the wood, cross a stream and bear right until the path exits the wood to the left. You will come out of the wood to a lane by a farm (home of Cotswold Alpacas). Crossing the lane and keeping the line of trees on your right follow the path that runs alongside a field of Alpacas. It's a good place to stand and enjoy their company for a while.
(1) Continue on the path in the same direction and you will come to an open parkland with an orchard on the left. The path runs through the private parkland so you will need to stick to the path. The observant will spot goats, horses, a fox and a bull. Once through the parkland you come to the village of Cowley.
(2) Walk through the village to Cowley Manor Hotel. If you want to visit the village church you can access it through the car park of the hotel. The churchyard is a quiet spot to sit on a bench and contemplate.
Return to the road through the hotel and follow the road west out of the village towards Stockwell and Nettleton. Keeping the fields and the hill on your right walk along the road for about half a mile. Just past a junction with a road to the left, take a footpath on your right leading into a field and up the hill.
The path goes up the hill and then bears left heading roughly northwest. It goes up and over the hill then descends steeply down the hill into the valley. There are lots of sheep grazing here and, if you are lucky, you may see a deer. Stay on this path walking in the same direction up the steep hill on the far side of the valley until you meet the Gloucestershire Way.
(3) Turn right onto the Gloucestershire Way and follow it along the side of the valley until you exit the path onto a lane through a gate. On the way you will pass the site of a long barrow though there is nothing to see today except a seat where you can take a rest
(4) Join the lane for a short distance then bear left along a track and across a field for a short stretch before entering a wood. This is the same wood you walked through near the beginning of the walk and in a few moments, you will be back at the footbridge. Cross the stream and climb the steep steps back to Coberley village where you will find your car.(D/A)
D/A : mi 0 - alt. 630ft - Coberley village and start of walk.
1 : mi 0.55 - alt. 610ft - Path
2 : mi 1 - alt. 627ft - St Mary's church, Cowley
3 : mi 2.08 - alt. 748ft - Gloucestershire Way
4 : mi 2.72 - alt. 709ft - Lane
D/A : mi 3.2 - alt. 633ft - The walk ends back in Coberley
There are no shops or public toilet facilities on this walk though at Cowley you may be able to get a drink or lunch at Cowley Manor Hotel or take a 1 mile detour to visit the Green Dragon Inn at Cockleford.
The route 51 bus travels between Cheltenham and Cirencester along the A435. Coberley is approx. 8 minutes walk from the bus stop.
Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.
A good walk at any time of year though May to September is best. In the summer you are likely to see the Alpaca young in the field with their mothers. In May you will see the hawthorn flowering in the valley and lots of lambs.
The only steep bit is the walk up and over the hill from Cowley to Coldwell Bottom. There are plenty of places to stop for a picnic though not in the parkland as the path runs through private property.
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