STARTERS FOR 10

Cotswold Life - - COTSWOLD COUNTRYSIDE - For more in­for­ma­tion about the Cotswold Way, maps, cir­cu­lar walks and route de­scrip­tions, visit www. na­tion­al­trail.co.uk/cotswold-way. 20 hours and 36 min­utes Record for the fastest run of the en­tire length of the Cotswold Way, set by Dar­ryl Carter on Sun

While steeply up and down in parts, the Cotswold Way can be en­joyed by walk­ers of all abil­i­ties and ap­peal to all in­ter­ests. Here are just ten ideas for starters to get ex­plor­ing:

1. PO­ETRY IN MO­TION

Get in the mood to con­nect with the land­scape at Chip­ping Cam­p­den, read­ing TS Eliot’s words on the Cotswold Way start (or fin­ish) marker at the Mar­ket Hall: “Now the light falls across the open field, leav­ing the deep lane shut­tered with branches, dark in the af­ter­noon...”

2. LAND­SCAPE LOOP

From rich grass­land to peace­ful wood­lands, from Iron Age re­mains to Vic­to­rian quar­ries, the cir­cu­lar Leck­hamp­ton Loop of­fers up a taste of the en­tire Cotswold land­scape in 4.5 shel­tered and windswept miles (7.3 km).

3. THE WILD WAY

Down­load ‘Go­ing Wild’ ac­tiv­ity sheets from the Cotswold Way web­site and have fun with the kids as you ex­plore, in­clud­ing mak­ing crowns and masks from au­tumn leaves.

4. PAUSE FOR THOUGHT

Pause at Be­las Knap Ne­olithic long bar­row, en route be­tween Winch­combe and Cleeve Hill, to be in­fused with a deep sense of his­tory – all the more so when au­tumn sun­shine casts deep shad­ows or frost speck­les the grassy mound.

5. BREATH­TAK­ING VIEWS

Of course, the views are breath­tak­ing through­out – how about those from Charl­ton Kings Com­mon (en route be­tween Dowdeswell and Leck­hamp­ton Hill) look­ing over Chel­tenham and the Sev­ern Vale to make you feel high above the hurly burly.

6. EASY AC­CESS

Easy ac­cess sites for less mo­bile ex­plor­ers in­clude Coa­ley Peak (Nymps­field), Dover’s Hill (Chip­ping Cam­p­den), and Hares­field / Short­wood.

7. UP (AND DOWN) FOR A CHAL­LENGE

If you like some ups and downs, tackle the 7.2mile (11.6 Km) sec­tion be­tween King’s Stan­ley and Durs­ley, which has 771 feet (235 me­tres) of as­cent and 951 feet (290 me­tres) of de­scent. 8. RE­FRESH­ING THE PARTS Re­fresh­ments are never too far away. The puff over Shen­ber­row Hill, for ex­am­ple, is am­ply re­warded by the de­scent into Stan­ton for a lunchtime or evening en­ergy-recharge in The Mount Inn.

9. GEOCACHING

Get on the geo­cache trail – like high-tech trea­sure hunt­ing – right along the Cotswold Way.

10. BATH TIME

Feel a gen­uine sense of pil­grim­age as you slide from open hill­top into the World Her­itage City and right to the carved stone disc in the pave­ment out­side Bath Abbey – mark­ing the end of the Cotswold Way.

Be­las Knap Ne­olithic long bar­row, en route be­tween Winch­combe and Cleeve Hill

Above: Have fun with the ‘Go­ing Wild’ ac­tiv­ity sheets from the Cotswold Way web­site

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