The Cotswold Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and covers around 800 square miles of countryside across six counties in the south of the UK. The region was first designated as an area of outstanding natural beauty in 1966, however it’s been increased in size over the last 50 years to the stage where today it covers part’s of almost six counties across the UK.
The park has borders with regions of South Warwickshire and Worcestershire, through West Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire, however it also take in the counties of Wiltshire, Bath and Somerset into it’s borders.
The area is predominantly reserved for rural landscapes, farmland, both cultivated and pasture, with some areas of woodland and open upland, however there are also some of the best stone-built villages, historical towns, and stately homes and gardens that you will find anywhere in the UK. If you’re visiting for this region make sure that you take in these views, but also the beautiful thatched cottages that are abundant in this area and the thousands of years of history that has left it’s mark on the region to include the Iron Age Forts or Medieval Monasteries.
The Cotswold's Hills are fantastic to explore by foot and offer both some relaxed walking conditions but also some challenging walks that can easily be tagged together to form long walks over a period of time. The northern part of the Cotswold's offer fantastic walking and contains thousands of miles of pathway and some beautiful walk, however given the popularity of the region, this part of the Cotswold’s does get very busy with many visitors coming to the area. The Southern part of the Cotswold's are much less popular and therefore much less busy especially during the summer months, however they are equally attractive and offer walkers a few nice hills many that come with challenging steep slopes. This area also contains the highest point within the Cotswold's being Cleeve Hill which is located just to the north of Cheltenham and with a summit of just over 1,000Ft offers both a fantastic challenging climb and an amazing view of the Cotswold's and surrounding area.
If you’re looking for a slightly longer walk, then try the Cotswold Way which is the best long distance trail in the area and provides a challenging over night walk. If you’re planning to visit the area and don’t want to spend the whole time walking, the Cotswold offers many other things that you can be doing with your time.
Whilst there are no theme parks in the area, there are many historic gardens, pubs and inns for a fantastic lazy lunch and farms that offer tours a guides showing you how and where the food that eat comes from. On the topic of food, the area has a strong association with Farmer’ Markets where local farmers bring their organic produce to be sold at the market and offer a fantastic opportunity to buy some locally made organic produce.