The Cotswold Way runs for 102 miles (164 kilometres) along the Cotswold Edge Escarpment. The trail was proposed by a member of the Gloucestershire Ramblers in 1950 following the passing of the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act of 1949. Initially supported by Gloucestershire City Council, the walk was officially recognised in 1970. In 1998 The Cotswold Way was designated a National Trail, which was finally launched in 2007.

This popular trail, 96% of which lies within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, offers the walker stunning views, hidden villages and ancient monuments in a variety of unspoilt landscapes. Graded 'easy' and well-served by public transport, the entire route can be comfortably walked in seven to ten days.

The trail runs south west from Chipping Campden to Bath. The northern section is mostly characterised by gently rolling hills, dry stone walls and picturesque villages, built from the typical honey-coloured Cotswold limestone.

Chipping Campden itself, served by a railway station in the nearby village of Moreton-in-Marsh, is a gorgeous, sleepy village with a fifteenth century church. It was to Chipping Campden that Robert Ashbee brought his Guild of Handicrafts in 1902 and Dover's Court, just outside the village, houses Dover's Barn, a museum of the Arts and Crafts Movement. Dover's Court was once home to the etcher F. L. Griggs, who helped set up the Campden Trust to protect nearby Dover's Hill from development.

After crossing Dover's Hill, a spectacular natural amphitheatre, the trail leads you over Fish Hill, home to the Broadway Tower, a famous folly with spectacular views much loved by William Morris. A steep descent leads to the village of Broadway and the ancient Lygon Arms Hotel before another climb up Shenbarrow Hill will take you to an Iron Age hill fort. Another steep descent brings you to the village of Stanton, where you can quench your thirst with a pint of local Donnington Ale whilst gazing across the Vale of Evesham to the Welsh Mountains.

After Stanton, an untouched piece of Cotswold charm whose pub constitutes the only commercial enterprise, the trail runs past Hailes Abbey, one of the great medieval places of pilgrimage and mentioned in the Canterbury Tales. The trail joins the historic pilgrim's way for six miles until it reaches the village of Winchcombe, whose church of St Peter is famous for its gargoyles. Winchcombe is also home to Sudeley Castle, wedding venue of Liz Hurley and final home of Catherine Parr, widow of Henry VIII. The castle itself dates from the 10th century, although the portion that is lived in is mainly Elizabethan. Sudeley castle has a long history of changing ownership and can claim to have been the temporary home of the young Princess Elizabeth (later Queen Elizabeth I) and the young Lady Jane Grey.

After Winchcombe the trail continues to Belas Knapp, a multi-chambered tomb that dates from around 3000 BC. It was excavated in 1863 and 38 skeletons were found. After Belas Knapp the path takes you up Cleeve Hill to Cleeve Common, a plateau two miles square of limestone grassland which, at 317 meters, is the highest point on the trail.

After passing through the village of Dowdeswell the source of the River Thames can be seen in the distance at seven springs. Charlton Kings Common offers views to the Devil's Chimney, a detached outcrop left over from quarrying, and from Crickley Hill you can see the Black Mountains and the Brecon Beacons.

After Birdslip come the Beech Woods of Cooper's Hill, and this central section of the trail is characterised by beech woodland, species-rich limestone grassland and steep valleys. Woodland paths lead to Painswick Beacon with its remains of an Iron Age hill fort and further magnificent views.

The village of Painswick is famous for the 99 clipped yew trees in the churchyard and the fascinating Rococo Gardens at Painswick House, created by Benjamin Hyett in the 18th century. Not far from Painswick is Prinknash Abbey, founded in the eleventh century and made over to the monks of Caldey Island in 1928 by the 20th Earl of Rothe. Although the monks have now moved into an impressive new monastery the abbey chapel is open daily for prayers and solitude and the monks have established a working pottery and a Bird and Deer Park, where visitors can feed and stroke fallow deer and see waterfowl, peacocks and African pygmy goats.
After Painswick the trail takes you over Haresfield Beacon, one of the walks finest viewpoints, and continues to the five steep-sided valleys and converted mills that lead to the endearingly un-commercial town of Stroud. Enjoy a fair-trade coffee on the streets of this former capital of the Cotswold woollen industry.

Between Stroud and Wooton-under-Edge the trail passes Hetty Pegler's Trump, a long barrow made of dry stone walling and large slabs of stone that is some 5000 years old and from which 15 skeletons have been excavated. After Hetty Pegler's Trump the trail continues to the village of Dursley, an 18th century cloth manufacturing town, before leading up to the Tynedale Monument, which towers over the Severn Valley in recognition of the man who first had the courage to translate the Bible into English.

The southern and final section of the walk opens into gently rolling arable countryside dotted with attractive small villages and towns such as Wooton-under-Edge, which features a heritage centre and a number of interesting family-run shops. In the charmingly named village of Old Sodbury the route passes through the lych gate of the church, follows the church path, goes through the church and out through the graveyard!

Between Old Sodbury and Cold Ashton the trail takes you past Dyrham Park, a 17th century National Trust House with a deer park, after which it's just ten miles over Hanging Hill and Penn Hill to the end of the trail at Bath.

For those of you who feel the need for still more exercise there is an annual Cotswold Way relay race organised by the City of Bath Athletics Club. The relay is a 10 stage race that usually takes place in late June/early July and has an average total time of 12 hours!