We offer a wide selection of guided walks through the glorious Cotswolds and Oxfordshire countryside.

You, your family or group of friends can join an experienced guide, for a day or more, to explore and enjoy the great British countryside, rich in history, flora and fauna.

Whether your goal is to climb every mountain and ford every stream, or simply meander and take in all the splendour of the route, you’ll be sure to enjoy stopping off in a traditional country pub for a hearty lunch, or relaxing in a country hotel or village B&B for a well-earned rest and delicious dinner at the end of each day.

All of our guides have unbeatable knowledge and passion for the English countryside, which is something we look forward to sharing with you amongst the beautiful landscape which we’re lucky enough to call home.
You can check out our list of guided walks below and let us know the ones you are interested in together with details of your requirements and we will help you plan your guided walking tour.

Walks along the Cotswold Escarpment

Walks in the North Central Cotswolds

Walks in the East Cotswolds and Oxfordshire

Walks through Civil War Battlefields

Walks through Prehistory

Literary and Arts Walks

So, if you’re looking to escape the rat race, enjoy some delicious food and explore a new landscape with a highly knowledgeable guide, then one of our guided walks is certainly for you.  If you would like to try one contact us to book a walk or find out more.

Guided walks along the Cotswold Escarpment

Villages along the spring line

This circular walk starts at Broadway, an important staging post in the 16th and 17th centuries, and a centre for the Arts and Crafts Movement at the turn of the 20th century. From there we’ll amble along the footpaths at the base of the Cotswold escarpment passing through the picturesque villages of Buckland, Laverton and Stanton to take lunch at a pub with a view over a village described as the prettiest in England.

[Grade and Distance: A moderate 7 miles on flat ground with a gentle slope at the start]

The Ups and Downs of Village Life

This walk explores the rich history of the escarpment villages that lie between the Cotswolds and the Severn valley. We’ll pass through settlements such as the hamlet of Saintbury nestled tight against the Cotswold escarpment and the modernised villages of Willersey and Weston sub Edge, and recall the fun and revelry of the 17th century Cotswold Olimpick Games that are still held today.

[Grade and Distance: A strenuous 6.5 miles with two steep ascents]

Broadway and the Cotswold Escarpment

This walk starts in the market town of Broadway, at the base of the Cotswold escarpment. Once an important staging post on the main road from Worcester to London and at the turn of the 20th century the home of artists from the Arts and Crafts Movement, it is now a favourite tourist attraction with an abundance of antique and tea shops. From Broadway we’ll walk along the spring line to Buckland and see the remnants of the Saxon collaborative system of agriculture known as strip farming then visit St Michaels Church built in the late 13th century under the support of St Peter’s Abbey, Gloucester, before climbing to the top of the escarpment to visit Broadway Tower. The view from the tower boasts the most extensive view in England covering thirteen of the original counties of England and Wales.

[Grade and Distance: A strenuous 6.5 miles with two steep ascents]

Monastic Fortunes – Winchcombe and Hailes Abbeys

In the Middle Ages, monasteries were big players in the wool trade with flocks of thousands of sheep grazing over the Cotswold downlands. Making long term contracts with European wool traders they became increasingly rich and powerful. Monasteries also drew the crowds of pilgrims in search of salvation, offering sight of the phial of Christ’s blood and the tomb of a saintly prince murdered when he was just 7 years old. These medieval pilgrims travelled hopefully aiming for a better life, in the next world certainly, and in this world if God willed. We will follow old pilgrimage routes to Winchcombe and Hailes Abbey and beyond.

[Grade & Distance: A moderate 7 miles]

Oysters at the Devil’s Chimney

The Devil’s Chimney, from which it is said Old Nick would hurl stones at pilgrims on their way to prayer, is one of the most well-known landmarks in the Cotswolds. It’s located within Leckhampton quarry, the largest and most famous of the Cotswold stone quarries from which material was used to build Cheltenham and the internal features of the Houses of Parliament. We’ll walk through the quarry to the top of the escarpment and discuss the geological origins of the Cotswolds Hills, the Severn Valley and the hills further to the west.

[Grade & Distance: A moderate to strenuous 7 miles with one steep ascent]

The Dixton Harvesters

During this walk we will compare the landscape as it is today with that in 1715 (before the great agricultural revolution) in two paintings of the ‘Country Round Dixton Manor’ by an unknown artist of the English School. One of the paintings shows the various tasks of the hay harvest with men scything, women forking into stooks and carts carrying away, all done to the music of a group of Morris Men. We will see how the countryside has changed and how traces of the past remain in some of the most intensely cultivated land in England.

[Grade & Distance: A moderate to strenuous 7 miles with one steep ascent. Note: this is a linear walk starting at Oxenton and ending at Winchcombe]

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Guided walks in the North Central Cotswolds

The Windrush and Eye: Valleys that time forgot

We will start this walk in the bustling tourist centre of Bourton-on-the-Water, known as ’Venice of the Cotswolds’ because of its bridges that span the river Windrush, before walking up the Eye Valley, through the villages of Lower and Upper Slaughter and gradually leaving the twentieth century behind. We’ll then walk over the Wold to the upper Windrush valley and far from the madding crowd we’ll stroll down the Windrush valley where English Longhorn cattle and Cotswold sheep continue to graze the pasture as they have done for centuries, passing the deserted medieval village of Lower Harford on the way.

[Grade and Distance: a moderate 10 miles with three gradual ascents]

Bourton-on-the-Water and the Slaughters

Bourton-on-the-Water known as ‘Venice of the Cotswolds’ embraced tourism in a big way following the decline in the wool trade, but the town has a long history being located next to an extensive Iron Age settlement and on the Fosse Way, a major Roman highway linking Exeter with Lincoln. In Old English the name, Bourton means a farmstead next to a camp and during the walk we’ll see why. We’ll also visit the archetypal Cotswold villages of Upper and Lower Slaughter and find out the origin of their name.

[Grade and Distance: An easy 5 miles on flat ground]

Woolly Money

In the 13th and 14th centuries the booming wool trade accounted for half of England’s total income with much produced from the Cotswolds. By the 16th century the Cotswold sheep was known as the Cotswold Lion and the fleeces were described as ‘Golden Fleeces’. During the 18th century there was a change in emphasis from wool to meat production, resulting in a down turn in the wool industry, as the English population increased. On our walk we will discuss sheep farming in the middle ages and today, and see evidence of the wealth that the sheep industry brought to the area.

[Grade & Distance: A moderate 7 miles]

What’s in a Hedge

Hedges are ubiquitous in our landscape. When post-war agriculture policy encouraged their removal to accommodate industrial scale farming implements in vast fields we were concerned about the loss of ancient landscapes. But was this justified? Most of the hedgerows in the countryside had only been around for around 150 years, planted to enclose earlier vast fields that were farmed communally. On this walk we will look at the history of hedgerows, discuss how they are dated and consider their importance in for wildlife and conservation.

[Grade & Distance: A moderate 5-6 miles]

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Guided walks in the East Cotswolds and Oxfordshire

Adlestrop: Where for a moment a blackbird sang

This walk passes through some of the loveliest villages in the east of the Cotswolds. The manor houses and churches in each of the villages are associated with historic figures such as Jane Austen, Robert Catesby the leader of the Gunpowder Plot, Warren Hastings the first Governor of India and Sir Anthony Bamford the JCB entrepreneur. We’ll also visit Adlestrop and the quiet station where, in June 1914, the Paddington to Worcester train stopped unexpectedly, the poet Edward Thomas heard a blackbird sing and later wrote his famous poem Aldestrop evoking memories of all English villages.

[Grade and Distance: A moderate 9 miles with two gradual ascents or an easy 4 miles on flat ground]

Village Redevelopment

We are used to the idea of town redevelopment as over the past 50 years we have seen many of our city centres change almost beyond recognition. By contrast, we tend to think that villages have remained much the same over hundreds of years, especially in the Cotswolds where they are protected by conservation laws. This is far from the case at Adlestrop, Oddington and Daylesford where in the late 18th and early 19th centuries major changes in layout and design occurred. We will walk through these villages and investigate these redevelopments.

[Grade and Distance: An easy 5 miles]

Wychwood – A Royal Forest

Following the Norman Conquest in 1066, William the Conqueror introduced the very un-English concept that all land ultimately belonged to the Crown. Royal Forests, where the King had the right to use areas of private land for hunting, were first recorded in 1086 in the Domesday Book, and Wychwood was one of twenty-five entries. We will walk through what remains of this medieval institution, and discuss its natural history, how it’s been managed over the past 1000 years and its prospects for the future.

[Grade and Distance: A moderate 7 or 8 miles]

Enstone and Heythrop Park

The Upper Glyme valley is today an unspoilt gem of wooded pasture which once supported a string of medieval villages, now shrunken or deserted. In contrast and lying in a parallel valley is Heythrop Park with a magnificent mansion, landscaped grounds, lakes and majestic mature trees recently developed into a major golfing centre.

[Grade and Distance: A moderate 9 (to strenuous) miles]

War and Fire and Destruction

Tucked away in the north Oxfordshire are the quiet and peaceful villages of Aynho, Charlton and King’s Sutton. Today it is hard to believe that their buildings have been ravaged by fire and their inhabitants engaged in battle starting in the mid Iron Age. On this walk through green rolling countryside we’ll look for clues of the eventful past.

[Grade and Distance: A moderate 8 miles]

The Oxford Canal and Tooley’s Boatyard

From the mid-18th century canals were built throughout England introducing aqueducts, cuttings, embankments, tunnels, locks, lifts and many attractive bridges for the first time. Built by an army of navigators (navvies), who went on to build the railways, by the 1820s some 3000 miles of canals had been opened bring with them stables for canal horses, navigation and canal inns, long and narrow canal boats and vastly reducing the cost of carrying heavy materials over long distances. On this town and country walk, we will explore the Oxford canal and visit Tooley’s Boatyard, which is at the centre of the canal revival movement.

[Grade and Distance: A moderate 10 miles over flat ground. Contact us for shorter canal walks]

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Guided walks through Civil War Battlefields

The Battle of Edgehill – 23rd October 1642

On 22 August, 1642 Charles I of England raised his standard at Nottingham and the English Civil War began. The Battle of Edgehill on 23 October, 1642 was the first major encounter and an estimated 1500 men were killed with many more wounded. Both sides claimed victory, the parliamentarians claimed they had won a tactical advantage on the field but following the battle the Royalists were free to continue their march to London. We will walk over part of the battlefield starting from the Royalist position on Edgehill and follow the course of the battle on the ground.

[Grade and Distance: A strenuous 7 miles with one steep ascent]

Revisiting the Battle of Stow – 21st March 1646

In the spring of 1646 the last Royalist army of 3000 troops, under Sir Jacob Astley, marched from Worcester towards Oxford to meet the King’s cavalry. The plan was to meet the King, help him to avoid surrender and gain help from overseas. They didn’t make it, but met the Parliamentarians in battle on the slopes of the hill below Stow on the Wold. On our walk we will retrace the route of the battle to its bloody end in the market square in Stow, and return through quiet Cotswold villages.

[Grade and Distance: A moderate 6 miles with two gentle ascents]
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Guided walks through Prehistory

The Rollright Stones

The Rollright Stones is a special place steeped in history and folklore. Located on a prehistoric trackway the stones were a sacred place for our ancestors from around 3000BC. The purpose of the Kings Stone is still eluding us but the Whispering Knights are known to be part of an ancient tomb and the King’s Men stone circle was a meeting place with the nearest similar site in Cumbria.

[Grade & Distance: A moderate 7 miles with two gentle ascents]

Roman Remains

In 1864 two men were digging for their ferret during a day out rabbiting at Chedworth, when they unearthed a handful of coloured stones they thought were from a Roman mosaic pavement. This led to the excavation of what would have been the very large and luxurious villa, built to impress in the prosperous Romanised area near to the towns of Corinium Dobunnorum (Cirencester) and Glevum (Gloucester). On the walk we will explore the villa and the surrounding area.

[Grade and Distance: A moderate 7 miles]

Prehistory in the Cotswold Landscape

The North Cotswolds is rich in ancient monuments with evidence of ancient roads, long barrows, round barrows, standing stones and even a henge and stone circle. They are particularly abundant in the area around the Swells, and on this walk we’ll see what remains of Roman, Bronze Age and Stone Age structures after 2000 to 5000 years.

[Grade and Distance: A moderate 7 miles. Note: this walk is over private ground and needs the permission of the landowner]

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Literary and Arts Guided Walks

Lark Rise to Candleford

In Lark Rise to Candleford, Flora Thompson describes rural life in north Oxfordshire in the late 19th century when the countryside was on the cusp of change. With great affection and in vivid detail, Flora compares the humility and poverty of the lives of the residents of Lark Rise with the sophisticated life in the town of Candleford, giving us fond portraits of characters such as Miss Lane the postmistress, Queenie the lace-maker and bee-keeper, and Sir Timothy the local aristocrat. We will walk between Lark Rise and Candleford and see the places where Flora grew up, went to church and to school.

[Grade and Distance: An easy 4 miles walking with driving between sites or 10 miles for a longer circular walk on flat ground]

Landscapes familiar to the Mitford Sisters

In The Pursuit of Love and Love in a Cold Climate Nancy Mitford paints a light hearted picture of the privileged and uninhibited lives of the aristocracy between the two world wars, closely modelling her characters on members of her controversial and notorious family. We will visit the area where the Mitford sisters grew up and the churchyard where many of the family are buried.

[Grade and Distance: An easy 4 miles or 8 miles walking with car sharing between sites]

The Arts and Craft Movement

The Cotswolds became an important centre for the Arts and Crafts Movement in the early 20th century. Craftsmen and women followed William Morris and settled in villages throughout the area. In 1902, 150 craftsmen from the East End of London, led by Charles Ashbee, chose to settle in Chipping Campden. where they occupied the abandoned Silk Mill in Sheep Street, Chipping Campden and a Guild of Handicrafts was established.

In Broadway a workshop and showrooms were set up by Gordon Russell. Here, a Great Hall was added as a new dining room to the Lygon Arms, the former manor house dating back to 1620. This walk takes us past the places where the craftsmen lived and worked and stops off a Broadway Tower to visit the William Morris collection.

[Grade and Distance: An easy 2 miles, a moderate 8 miles, or a quite strenuous 12 miles. Note: the 8-mile walk is a linear starting at Chipping Campden and ending at Broadway. The day can be extended by visiting arts and crafts museums locally.]

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Group of walkers at Oddington
Guided Walks: Anne leading a walk

Reviews

Excellent for leaving all your stresses behind and a good way to experience taking up walking as a hobby or just for exercise.

Désirée Fraser, London, 2009

 

Yesterday we took the train to Kingham (1.5 hours from London) and met Anne Martis, a guide very knowledgeable about the Cotswolds. She had suggested two walks for us, and we chose one which was delightful (about 5 miles with many stops–pub lunch, historic churches, Iron Age Fort, and a wonderful dairy farm shop). If you would like a day trip out of London, I would highly recommend Anne and the Cotswolds.

Carolyn Williams, Minnesota, 2009

 

Very personable – wonderfully detailed information and more than willing to do the extra mile to make our experience memorable and enjoyable.

Susan and Gary Ciolino, San Francisco, 2009

 

Guided Walks: Margaret Leading a walk
Guided Walks: Arts and Crafts house in Broadway
Guided Walks: Rollright Stones
Guided Walks: The Shahbazians
Guided Walks: Barges on Oxford Canal
Guided Walks: Hailes Abbey
Guided Walks: Carol and Art
Guided Walks: St Nicholas, Oddington
Guided Walks: Bluebells
Guided Walks: Cottages at Fringford, Lark Rise to Candleford
Guided Walks: Astell Manor where the Mitford sisters lived
Lambs suckling from their mother in a Cotswold pasture
Cotswold Walks: Primroses