Winchcombe is described as the walker’s capital of the Cotswolds in the 2019 Britain’s Outdoor Capitals guide. ‘The perfect English walking town surrounded by stunning countryside’. Winchcombe is a ‘Walkers are Welcome’ town, part of a network of over 100 towns in Britain. We actively promote walking in the area and are constantly looking to improve the walking experience. Many of the town’s businesses support ‘Winchcombe Walkers are Welcome’ efforts in promoting the area and reading endorsements from national media proves that together we are succeeding.
If you are visiting Winchcombe and want to explore, try our downloadable self-guided walks ranging from 2 miles to 13.5 miles. If you prefer a guided walk, visit cotswoldsaonb.org.uk for walks led by the Cotswold Voluntary Wardens.
If you are walking between Winchcombe and Hailes you will encounter some unofficial signs put up at the end of Puck Pit Lane. For those unacquainted with the route the sign may deter you from proceeding. Please ignore the signs and continue following the Cotswold Way way markers. Public Rights of Way are investigating.
Welcomed improvements have been carried out on the Windrush Way adjacent to No Man’s Patch by Gloucestershire County Council to improve the drainage. An old stile and narrow footbridge has been replaced with a stoned surface and a gate. This will be of real benefit to walkers when the rains come.
When you stroll along the well maintained paths in the Cotswolds you may wonder who has fixed the stile, replaced a stile with a gate or repaired the adjacent drystone wall. The volunteers who carry out path maintenance and improvement, educational visits and guided walks has been recognised by being awarded the Queens Award for Voluntary Service. The volunteers help conserve the landscape, improve biodiversity and enable access to the countryside.
Lord Gardiner of Kimble, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Rural Affairs and Biosecurity writes ‘The Cotswolds are such an iconic part of our nation’s landscape, with beautiful villages, towns and countryside. Your voluntary work make such a fulsome contribution to why these places are so special and important. I know your hard work is much appreciated by residents and visitors alike’.
This time of year there are plenty of people walking the numerous footpaths. Farmers mention there is an increase in the number of gates being left open and incidents with dogs and livestock. To avoid this, especially near cattle we suggest you refer to the Countryside Code.
In 2017 WWAW contacted Taylor Wimpey to improve the muddy unofficial path behind Wyndham Way between Riverside and the Dell. Tewkesbury Borough Council (TBC) took control of the project as the path will connect with The Dell, the transfer of land ownership to TBC is still under discussion since April 2015. WWAW is pleased to say the current work, funded by Taylor Wimpey is nearing completion with some minor raising of the path level adjacent to The Dell. The new, official path will finally link with the existing path at The Dell once TBC take ownership of The Dell. Currently the link is not accessible to pushchairs.
During the winter work has taken place to avoid some steep and hazardous steps near Monks Hole on the Gloucestershire Way leading up the escarpment. The path now circumnavigates a badger sett and reduces the gradient making the route safer. Two stiles at the top and bottom of the slope are being changed to kissing gates by the Cotswold Voluntary Wardens. This is another step with improving the surface of the long distance path.
English Heritage’s new museum telling the captivating and dramatic story of the Cotswold abbey that was once one of England’s most important pilgrim destinations. The new museum provides fascinating new insights into the history of the abbey and the lives of the monks who worshipped and lived at Hailes for nearly three centuries.
The new museum vividly brings to life 300 years of piety, culture and tradition at Hailes. Visitors will be greeted by an imposing 13th-century stone sculpture of Old Testament figure Sampson fighting a lion. Symbolising Christ’s defeat of death, the sculpture was once a boss in the ceiling in the abbey’s chapter house.
Among the other treasures inside the museum, visitors will find an exceptionally rare fragment of 14th-century monk’s spectacles, lost for centuries on the site of the monks’ choir-stalls.
Coinciding with the reopening of the museum, the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway reopened the abbey’s station, Hayles Abbey Halt, which now allows members of the public to visit the site by heritage railway for the first time since 1960. The new museum at Hailes Abbey is open daily until 31 October.