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Summary

  1. The rambling route through the Cotswolds has been captured on Google Street View
  2. It's a glorious 102-mile (164 km) path between Bath and Chipping Campden
  3. This summer marks 10 years since it became an official National Trail
  4. We spent a day on the route meeting some of those making the most of the sunshine

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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A day on the Cotswold Way: A 'real eye opener'

David Bailey

BBC News

Well that's it for my short taster of what it's like walking the Cotswold Way.

Staff I've just spoken to at a pub in Winchcombe, where walkers stay, say they're normally all checked in by 5.30pm at the latest.

Plenty of time for them to down a couple of local beers and get a hearty meal.

Then it'll be up early again tomorrow for their next leg of the Cotswold Way.

Winchcombe
BBC

Today has been an eye opener for me.

When I became one of the first people to walk the full 102 mile length of the route after it had been made an official National Trail, I never thought I'd be retracing part of the route a decade later.

I'm surprised about how much I remember about specific parts of the route - the steep climb up to Dover' s Hill for example.

But also I realise there are lots of it that I'd forgotten. Were there really that many steps up to the top of Broadway Tower a decade ago?

One thing that hasn't changed is the beautiful English countryside. I'd recommend a hike along the Cotswold Way to anyone who appreciates getting away from it all and experiencing nature at its finest.

Cotswold Way: 'Just wonderful' according to US couple

David Bailey

BBC News

Bob and Connie Greenlee, from the US state of Oregon, have been walking the Cotswold Way for the last two days.

Supping a well deserved beer at the White Hart in Winchcombe, they said it had been "wonderful".

Watch: Bob and Connie Greenlee speak highly of the "beautiful scenary"

And Karen Charlton, who works at the pub, notices different groups of walkers who stay at the inn have different demands:

Watch: Karen Charlton says walkers from overseas "like to try the local ales"

Cotswold Way: Ultramarathon runners, 5k runners and amazing views

Ira Rainey

Bristol author and ultramarathon runner

Cotswold Way sign
Ira Rainey

Ultramarathon runner and Fat Man to Green Man author Ira Rainey has run the Cotswold Way before. Here, he shares his memories of the route.

Following the path down through to Wotton-under-Edge and on to Hawksbury Upton is a great section. The views from Wotton Hill are amazing and Hawkesbury Upton is a nice little village, where they hold a family charity 5K run each summer, running on some of the Cotswold Way itself.

I’ve run it with my kids a couple of times and it’s great to see so many families out on the trail. I’ve also run the last section from Lansdown down into Bath many times, as it’s close to my house.

Taking a short detour off the path to climb Kelston Roundhill is a great way to spend half an hour or so sitting beneath the iconic copse of trees. On a clear day the view looking out over Saltford, Keynsham and far beyond is breath-taking.

Views on the Cotswold Way
Ira Rainey

Working in Bath I also sometimes run-commute on the Cotswold Way down from Lansdown into Weston and into the centre of Bath. It’s a great way to wake yourself up in the morning and beats sitting in traffic. On a bad weather day you can even occasionally have the path to yourself for most of the way.

The beauty of a path like the Cotswold Way is that it takes you to places you would never normally get to see. Not only is the countryside the trail passes through really is some of the best the West Country has to offer, but you also get to pass through the grounds of places like Dodington Park that were designed by Capability Brown in the 1760s.

Cotswold Way sign

The 102-mile walking route from Bath to Chipping Campden has been captured on Google Street View.

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A day on the Cotswold Way: Climbing a Gothic folly

David Bailey

BBC News

Broadway Tower
BBC

Another landmark near the northern end of the Cotswold Way is Broadway Tower.

The 18th Century folly was designed by the famous landscape designer Capability Brown.

Broadway Tower
BBC

From the top of the tower, the views of the Vale of Evesham are spectacular.

Although, it's pretty windy up here today.

Cotswold Way: View from Dover's Hill

David Bailey

BBC News

View from Dover's Hill near Chipping Campden
BBC

Dover's Hill near Chipping Campden is the first major viewpoint on the route - or last, depending on which way you're walking.

It's also home to the famous Cotswold Olimpicks.

Gary Porter and Christy Hendrix.
BBC

Gary Porter and Christy Hendrix, who live locally, say they often come up to Dover's Hill for a walk, some fresh air and to admire the views.Gary says: "We feel lucky to live here."

Reflections from the Cotswold Way

David Bailey

BBC News

David Bailey
BBC
Ten years ago (left) and today (right) in Chipping Campden

What struck me about the Cotswold Way was that you never have to walk far to see the next noteworthy site along the way - whether it be ancient long barrows, hill forts, Victorian follies, man-made towers, historic churches, or simply the wonderful views from the Cotswold escarpment.

And I was so lucky with the weather ten years ago.

It didn't rain at all during my hike, which was incredibly lucky - the following week the heavens opened and Gloucestershire saw some of the worst flooding in living memory.

David Bailey
BBC
It took a week for me to walk the entire trail in July 2007 - finishing at Bath Abbey

A day on the Cotswold Way: Souvenir t-shirt anyone?

David Bailey

BBC News

Chipping Campden
BBC

I'm at the start/end of the Cotswold Way - the northern end of Chipping Campden.

I've just met Richard Fermor and Jane Glennie at the town's tourist information centre which is right opposite the trail's start.

Richard says since the Cotswold Way became an official national trail he's definitely seen an increase in the number of people walking it, especially people from overseas.

Richard Fermor and Jane Glennie
BBC

He says they have people coming in asking for maps and guides to assist them with planning their walk.

And people who finish the walk here, often pop in to buy a souvenir t-shirt.

A Cotswold Way t-shift on sale
BBC

Cotswold Way timelapse

Take a trip through the 102-mile route.

Enjoy part of the Cotswold Way, in timelapse form

This is a stretch of the path between Wotton and North Nibley:

Watch: A timelapse stretch of the walk between Wotton and North Nibley

A personal view from the trail

David Bailey

BBC News

David Bailey
BBC
I walked the Cotswold Way - starting in Chipping Campden, exactly a decade ago

With Matt having finished his morning stint, and Daniel looking for his car many miles away, we turn to our third reporter of the day who has already walked the route.

David Bailey will be joining us soon from Chipping Campden where he will trace the route south for a second time.

I'm back walking a section of the Cotswold Way today, exactly 10 years after I spent a week trekking along the whole route.

In July 2007 I must have been among the first people to complete the route after it was made an official national trail in the May of that year.

And even though it's now a decade ago, I still fondly remember the seven days I spent - walking about 15 miles each day, and camping each night.

Gorgeous Gloucestershire views from the Tyndale Monument

Tyndale Monument
BBC
Tyndale Monument
BBC
Views of Gloucestershire
BBC
Tyndale Monument
BBC

Well I made it to the top. The views are stunning and up there there is a very welcome breeze! It's quiet and peaceful and you feel at one with the landscape. Today's journey along the Cotswold Way to reach The Tyndale Monument is one I won't forget in a hurry. It has been an archetypal hazy English summer's day, the countryside has been inspiring and the many people (and dogs!) I've met on my travels have been warm and friendly and eager to talk of their great love of this most beautiful corner of England.

Daniel Garrett

Reaching the Tyndale Monument

Daniel has finally reached the Tyndale Monument, and the views from the base are spectacular. From here you can see all the way back to the Severn Bridge.

Tyndale Monument
BBC
Tyndale Monument
BBC
Tyndale Monument
BBC

Well after a character-building steep climb, I've made it to my destination - the Tyndale Monument high on a hill overlooking North Nibley. The views are breathtaking and I can even see as far the Severn Bridge in the distance. The monument was built in 1866 in honour of William Tyndale, a bible translator. It is 111ft high and I'm about to brave the spiral staircase to the top - all 121 steps!

Daniel Garrett

Marathon man Matt reaches his finish line

We're not quite sure how he did it, but our first walker Matt has rambled all the way from Bath Abbey to just short of the M4. We predict sore legs tomorrow.

Crown pub
BBC

Sitting by the side of the thundering A46 it's obvious to me what's been the most precious thing about the last seven hours: the silence. Just me, the wind and the birds surfing the thermals rising up out of the West. No cars, few people and the most incredible views, one after another. I've lived in this area my whole life and never been to most of the places on this route. What a joy to be able to explore Britain like this - and oh look, the pub's open as well. Cheers.

Matthew Ford

Well, he's probably deserved a drink after walking solidly since 6am.

The North Nibley village shopkeeper who meets Cotswold Way walkers

Cheryl's shop is halfway along the Cotswold Way, a vital stopping-off point for ramblers.

A vital refreshment stop before the steep climb to the Tyndale Monument

It's getting pretty warm outside now. Thankfully our man Daniel has found a much-needed rest stop in North Nibley.

Village shop
BBC

Finding Cheryl's village shop on North Nibley after two solid hours of walking up hill and down dale on a hot summer's day - not even knowing if I was heading in the right direction - was like finding an oasis in the desert! After vital ablutions and an ice cold soft drink, I heard some of Cheryl's stories of meeting Cotswold Way walkers from all across the world. Now I was ready to continue on my journey up to the famous Tyndale Monument.

Daniel Garrett
Monument sign
BBC

Californian ramblers enjoying Gloucestershire

Michael and Theresa are visiting from California to walk the Cotswold Way. They're off to Bath today, and said all the locals "are so nice”.

Walkers
BBC

Cold Ashton view is amazing

Matt's made it to Cold Ashton in an amazing-paced walk towards the M4 motorway. He was in the centre of Bath at 6am!

But, we're sure he's glad he's got as far as he has for the view.

Cold Ashton view of the Cotswold Way
BBC

On the Cotswold Way walk - a guitar gently weeps

Daniel Garrett

BBC News

For a Tuesday I have encountered a fair number of fellow walkers.

A mum taking her young family out at the start of the school holidays, two older gentleman - friends out for a walk "putting the world to rights"

There was also a lone fellow strumming his guitar quietly at the Beacon above Wotton taking in the spectacular view.

I also encountered a woman out with four of her seven dogs - among them a lurcher and my favourite - an adorable daschund.

Sign at Wooton
BBC
Path on Cotswold Way
BBC

Rambler is walking Cotswold Way in six days ... he's nearly finished!

This walker has come from Glasgow to explore the route.

What's it like to run the Cotswold Way? Ultramarathon runner tells us

Ira Rainey

Bristol author and ultramarathon runner

Running in fields in the Cotswolds
Ira Rainey

Ultramarathon runner and Fat Man to Green Man author Ira Rainey has run the Cotswold Way before. Here, he tells us his memories of the route.

Preferring to run off-road than on tarmac, I’ve taken in lots of the Cotswold Way over the years. It’s a great route with a lot of variety.

As I understand it, the route was originally designed to take in lots of the high points along the way, so as to maximize the views over the land below. It certainly does that, with lots of up and down delivering spectacular sights along the way.

That is, of course, if you’re running in in daylight. As part of my training for a 100-mile ultramarathon, I ran a 30 mile section of the path through the night, from Dursley back to the edge of Bath. It started off well, but we very quickly lost our way in the darkness of the woods which meant for a longer run than originally intended.

Running in the dark
Ira Rainey

Despite not having the views, running the trail at night is equally as stunning. Sitting eating flapjack at midnight under the glow of the lights from the Tyndale Monument at North Nibley, with Gloucestershire laid out far below is memorable by itself. As is filling water bottles in a churchyard by moonlight.

Following the path down through to Wotton-under-Edge and on to Hawksbury Upton is a great section. The views from Wotton Hill are amazing, and Hawksbury Upton is a nice little village, where they hold a family charity 5K run each summer, running on some of the Cotswold Way itself. I’ve run it with my kids a couple of times, and it’s great to see so many families out on the trail.

We'll have more from Ira later.

Cotswold Way: heading to North Nibley

Our second reporter Daniel Garrett has joined Matt, and he's heading for North Nibley.

Footpath
BBC
Footpath
BBC

It's very quiet and I've not encountered any fellow walkers as yet. It's warm and humid too. The sky is hazy, the ground is very dry underfoot and the path is getting steeper. Glad I brought water!

Daniel Garrett
Cotswold Way view
BBC

Cotswold Way: Battle of Lansdown site remembered

The Cotswold Way also contains several sites of historical importance. One of them is where the Battle of Lansdown was fought in 1643.

The field here is where the Royalist and Parliamentarian armies fought in the English Civil War.

Monument
BBC

A monument marks the spot where the Royalist commander Sir Bevill Granville was mortally wounded.

The wall, where the signs are, is where Parliamentarian forces took refuge as both armies bombarded each other.

One contemporary observer wrote that the battle saw "legs and arms flying all over the place".

Monument
BBC

You can see Bristol - just - from the Cotswold Way

Bristol can be seen in the distance of this view from the Cotswold Way.

Cotswold Way looking over Bristol
BBC

Our walker Matt has stopped for a rest at one of Mrs Jean Higham's (1942-1998) favourite spots, which has an incredible view looking north west to the Severn valley and Wales

Cotswold Way
BBC
Cotswold Way
BBC

Walking the Cotswold Way: meet the dog walkers

The beauty of the Cotswold Way attracts plenty of ramblers and dog walkers.

While out walking the Cotswold Way this morning, we met Chris Nicholson at the top of Penn Hill. He says he loves the views there.

Chris Nicholson walks his dog at Penn Hill on the Cotswold Way

Walking the Cotswold Way: bye bye Bath!

Our man Matt has now well and truly left Bath behind as he heads along the Cotswold Way. The city is now a few specks in the distance as the rolling countryside continues.

Here is the view at the top of Penn Hill ridge.

The view from the top of Penn Hill Ridge is quite something!

At the top of Prospect Stile, the view is even more spectacular. Matt says this is the highest point he will get to on this stretch of the walk, at an elevation of 230m or 764 ft.

Cotswold Way
BBC
Cotswold Way
BBC

This is the view looking west from Lansdown towards Bristol and the Welsh hills.

Cotswold way
BBC

Meeting those who walk the Cotswold Way

Dozens of people use the Cotswold Way daily, and Helena is one of them.

She has been living in Weston near Bath for the last 20 years, and commutes along part of it daily for work, as well as using it to walk her dog.

Helena has been living here for the past 20 years.

History of the Cotswold Way

Cotswold Way sign
BBC

The Cotswold Way has existed as a promoted long distance walk for more than 30 years, but it wasn't officially launched as a National Trail until ten years ago.

Following many years of lobbying by the Ramblers and others, the government approved its development as a recognised route in 1998, and it was formally launched as a National Trail in May 2007.

It runs for most of its length on the Cotswold escarpment, passing through picturesque villages and close to a significant number of historic sites, such as the Neolithic burial chamber at Belas Knap, Hailes Abbey and the Roman heritage of Bath.

We've made it to Penn Hill

The Cotswold Way path stretches off into the distance. Here's the view from Penn Hill, just outside of Weston near Bath.

Cotswold Way
BBC

Leaving Bath on the Cotswold Way

We think our first walker, reporter Matt Ford, was sprinting out of Bath because he has already left the city.

This is the view looking west towards Kelston Roundhill.

Matt is heading north - so if you're out walking the dog, do say hello!

Cotswolds Way
BBC

Walking the Cotswold Way

Cotswold Way sign
BBC

It's ten years this summer since the Cotswold Way became an official National Trail.

The 102-mile (164 km) long distance footpath runs from Bath to Chipping Campden, passing through some beautiful countryside.

And now you can even walk it virtually from the comfort of your living room, with the route being available in Google Street View.

Today we'll have reporters out and about on various bits of the footpath, bring you a flavour of the sights, and meeting people who are walking the route.

Come with us for a walk across the Cotswold Way

Hello! We're doing things a bit differently today. Throughout the whole course of the day we will be out walking the Cotswold Way.

Why I hear you ask? The route has been photographed for Google Street View, so we'll be out exploring the route and hearing from people who will be using it.

The starting line is outside Bath Abbey.

Cotswold way
BBC

From there we'll be taking in highlights of the route to Chipping Campden, a total of 102 miles.

Here's the view as the route heads through Bath...

Bath Abbey
BBC
Royal Victoria Park
BBC

After leaving the Abbey we head to Royal Victoria Park. Before Bath expanded in the 18th Century this area was farmland known as Barton Fields.