Golden footsteps

Cotswold Life|May 2020

Golden footsteps
As celebrations get under way for the 50th anniversary of the Cotswold Way, Siân Ellis looks at why it is such a popular long-distance trail
Sian Ellis

Spring’s swell of bluebells in Standish Wood; summer’s flit of butterflies over flower-rich chalk grasslands; dramatic views from the escarpment slowly revealed through autumn mists; ghosts half glimpsed as winter shadows tip-toe around Belas Knap Neolithic long barrow. If you’re after a taste of the Cotswolds in all its seasonal variety, its diversity of landscapes and manmade heritage, then go for a walk along the 102-mile (164km) Cotswold Way following the limestone scarp between Chipping Campden and Bath.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Cotswold Way, originally devised by Gloucestershire-area Ramblers spearheaded by the late Tony Drake and Cyril Trenfield. Now a National Trail and hosted by the Cotswolds Conservation Board, it has gone from strength to strength thanks to an army of volunteers including the Cotswold Voluntary Wardens and Cotswold Way Association, who maintain and improve pathways – helping to make the Cotswold Way one of the best-loved long-distance walking trails in the country.

Lots of celebratory events, activities, and guided walks are planned for the anniversary year (see box) and it’s aimed to raise £50,000 In order to make sure that the trail is looked after for the next50 years.

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May 2020