10. The Cotswold Way National Trail
The Cotswold Way is a 102-mile (164 km) long distance walking National Trail which runs between the beautiful market town of Chipping Campden in the north and the World Heritage City of Bath in the south.
The Cotswolds as a whole is renowned for its wonderful walks, providing walkers from all over the world with some wonderful places to enjoy their passion, but the Cotswold Way is undoubtedly the most famous and popular trail in the area.
Running for most of its length on the Cotswold escarpment, the Cotswold Way passes through many picturesque villages and close to a significant number of historic sites, such as Sudeley Castle near Winchcombe, Hailes Abbey and many beautiful churches and historic houses.
The Cotswold Way has existed as a promoted long distance walk for over 30 years. Following many years of lobbying by the Ramblers Association and others, its special qualities have been recognised and it was formally launched as a National Trail in May 2007.
The Cotswold Way features in Great Walks of the World, a book by Canadian author D. Larraine Andrews which was published in the summer of 2014. This eclectic collection of 12 global walks and hikes includes destinations on every continent apart from Antarctica, with an in-depth chapter on the Cotswold Way National Trail.
Andrews makes no apologies for her obvious bias when it comes to the delights of walking in the English countryside - and the Cotswold Way comes high up the list.
James Blockley, trail manager of the Cotswold Way, said: "England’s newest National Trail provides a remarkably diverse taste of the wider Cotswolds landscape. In just one afternoon you can wander from open wildflower meadows with breathtaking views, into cool shady woodlands carpeted with bluebells, and through sleepy villages and into bustling market towns.
"The Cotswold Way really is the string on which the pearls of the Cotswolds are strung.
"The Cotswolds has a rich and diverse range of experiences to suit all kinds of walkers. Not only are the footpaths some of the best in the country thanks to the Cotswold Voluntary Wardens, but there is also a dense network of well-signed long distance paths, all interweaving to create a spider’s web of walking opportunities."
James added that walkers in general benefit the Cotswolds greatly. "Not only do they contribute enormously to the local economy, supporting a wide range of businesses, but they also have a role in keeping the Cotswolds recognised as one of the key walking destinations in the world."