Walks in the Cotswolds

Walks in the Cotswolds – an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty – are plentiful. There is a wide range for ability, age and aspiration. 

Gable Cottage is set in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds and we have a wide choice of charming walking routes, which are literally on our doorstep. 

Ramsden is the perfect starting point for six popular circular walks which intertwine with parts of The Wychwood Way.

The Ramsden village website provides some fantastic walks that you can do, starting straight from the cottage.

We tend to favour the easy to moderate walks because we have our two dachshunds with us, called Molly and Tara. They only have little legs – well, that’s our excuse anyway!

Some of our favourite walks in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds are circular walks, particularly those that involve a pub lunch along the way.  

In this post we will share:

  • a circular walk in Oxfordshire with pubs, 
  • and a lowdown of circular walks on The Wychwood Way.

There is a good mix of easy, moderate and challenging routes in the region around our cottage. 

Walks in the Cotswolds - the view on The Wychwood Way
A view from one of the walks in the Cotswolds on The Wychood Way

Oxfordshire circular walk with pubs

We especially enjoy this circular walk in the Cotswolds and that might be because there are two very inviting traditional English pubs along the way.

This is walk 4 on the Ramsden Village website and the directions say it takes 1.5 to 2 hours to complete.

However, with a pub at the start, in the middle and at the end … well, you might just want to allow a little extra time!

Start of the Oxfordshire circular walk with pubs
Start of the Oxfordshire circular walk with pubs

We start this Oxfordshire circular walk in Ramsden at the war memorial.

Then continue to walk up Wilcote Lane which runs alongside The Royal Oak car park. Depending on the time of day, you may just be able to walk straight past. 

There are directions on the Ramsden village website, but we recommend doing the walk in the opposite direction. That way you get most of the walk in before the pub-stop in Finstock – if that is your intention.

The walk takes us to the tiny Oxfordshire hamlet of Wilcote with its pink-washed Cromwellian manor house.

It then sweeps down to Topples Wood, from which you emerge to the welcome sight of The Plough Inn in Finstock.

The Plough is a lovely traditional thatched 18th century Cotswold pub offering local ales and a seasonal menu. The welcome here is second to none and they are dog friendly too! 

Following this refreshing pit-stop, the route loops back to Ramsden where you can reward yourself with another well-deserved beverage (and dinner) at The Royal Oak.

Happily, you are now within a few minutes walk of Gable Cottage.

For our visitors, this is a perfect circular walk in Oxfordshire with good pubs.

Circular walks in Oxfordshire

The village of Ramsden, where our cottage is based, is right in the middle of The Wychwood Way.

There are numerous circular walks, many of which you can find on the Oxfordshire.gov website. They have downloadable PDF maps and directions.

You’ll also find some on the Ramsden village walks page. Very useful. 

Here are a couple of our favourite circular walks. 

Ramsden-Finstock Oxfordshire circular walk 

This is the Wychwood circular ‘walk number 5’ on the Oxfordshire.gov.uk website. 

There are two choices – we frequently walk the shorter Ramsden-Finstock route of just under 5 miles (8 km). 

The longer walk of 7.5 miles (about 12 km) loops around Mount Skippet and the back of Finstock. Then, like the pub walk, will take you through Topples Wood and past Wilcote Manor, a Grade II listed building. 

The walk can start at The Royal Oak in Ramsden, our fabulous family and dog friendly Cotswold village pub.

The pub is situated at number 18 on the circular walk map.

All Wychwood walks on the Oxfordshire.gov.uk website are within 20 minutes drive of Gable Cottage. 

For ease, we’ve chosen five circular walks in Oxfordshire. Each has a starting point within a 10 minute drive of Gable cottage and there is parking close to each. 

North Leigh – East End Oxfordshire circular walk

Walk length: approximately 4 miles (6.4 km).
Parking: Park Road and Perrott Close.

North Leigh is a village that sits halfway between Witney and Woodstock. The remains of a Roman Villa can be seen in North Leigh so do plan at least an hour at the start or end of your walk to take in the sights. It makes a good picnic spot on a nice day. It’s free and accessible all year round.

During this walk, you’ll see rolling farmland, small copses and woodland areas. ‘East End’, another quaint Cotswold village. 

North Leigh to East End, Oxfordshire circular walk map and directions

North Leigh – Wilcote

Walk length: Approximately 4.75 miles / 7.5 km.
Parking: Park Road and Perrott Close.

Rolling farmland, historic tracks, ancient woodland and the remains of an ancient historic sacred well (known as the Lady’s Well) – number 7 on the circular walk map.

North Leigh to Wilcote, Oxfordshire circular walk map and directions

Charlbury and Spelsbury

Walk length: Approximately 5 miles / 8 km.
Parking: On street locally.

On this walk you’ll pass by the All Saints Church in Spelsbury, parts of which date back to the late 11th century. This is at point number 6 on the map.

Look out for the Thor stone and medieval preaching cross at Taston. The Thor stone is likely to have originated from a prehistoric stone circle, although it gets its name from the myth that Thor cast a thunderbolt down from the heavens and the stone appeared where it struck the earth.

The very name Taston derives from Taston from Thorstan meaning ‘Thorstone’.

Charlbury and Spelsbury, Oxfordshire circular walk map and directions

Charlbury and Fawler

Walk length: Approximately 7 miles / 11.2 km.
Shorter route of  2.5 miles / 4 km – excludes Stonesfield and Ditchley.
Parking: Spendlove Centre car park, Charlbury.

During this walk you’ll pass along the edge of Cornbury Park Estate, a Cotswold country estate full of parkland, farmland and ancient forest. There are official footpaths around the estate if you’d like to detour. 

You’ll cross The Saltway, a major Roman road running east and southeast, along which salt was taken from Droitwich to Princes Risborough. The road was later used for cattle. 

Charlbury and Fawler, Oxfordshire circular walk map and directions

Leafield

Walk length: Approximately 5.5 miles / 7 km.
Parking: Leafield Village Green.

This walk circles around the village of Leafield, part following the line of the Roman road, Akeman Street between points 4 and 6.

On your way you pass Chasewood Farm, after which, on your left and right you’ll notice traces of a World War 2 airfield.

There are views of the rolling Cotswold hills and you’ll walk parts of the ancient Wychwood Forest. 

Leafield, Oxfordshire circular walk map and directions

The Wychwood Way

Located around West Oxfordshire, The Wychwood Way is a circular path connecting villages within a historic Royal Hunting ground. 

From Ramsden, where Gable Cottage is located, it is possible to walk full circle – to Woodstock, Chipping Norton, Ascott-under-Wychwood and back to our village. 

However, The Wychwood Way is 37 miles. We know we wouldn’t want to do it all at once! It is entirely possible to complete it with a combination of smaller walks, some of which are included in our circular walks above. 

Why not make that your objective for your Cotswold holiday?

The Wychwood Project website explains more about The Wychwood Way route and provides a map.

Gable Cottage supports The Wychwood Project. It is a local charity that encourages residents to conserve and restore Cotswold landscapes and wildlife habitats.

Buy A Guide to The Wychwood Way from The Wychwood Project.

So, you can see there are plenty of walks in the Cotswolds, near Gable Cottage. You’ll easily fill the week just by walking!

What to bring for walks in the Cotswolds

Cotswold pathways are generally well signposted and maintained.

A good walking stick can come in handy to do battle with the local nettles, particularly during the summer months. 

Solid walking boots or shoes are also a must, especially if it’s been raining. 

Our two dogs could really do with little wellies too; being so close to the ground they invariably need a post-walk bath after a particularly muddy outing!

What to bring for walks in the Cotswolds

Wild garlic on walks in Oxfordshire

Look out for local wild garlic while on your walks in Oxfordshire. It grows quite freely in the shaded areas of the local woodlands. 

Ramsden is well known for it.

Ramsden actually means ‘wild garlic valley’ and there’s certainly plenty. You will most likely smell it before you see it. 

The leaves are perfect for foragin, if you fancy rustling up some homemade wild garlic pesto back at the cottage kitchen.

The pesto keeps for several weeks in the fridge. We still have some in our freezer from a recent walk. 

Why not try out this Wild Garlic Pesto recipe whilst you are enjoying your stay? It goes really well with fresh pasta and a glass of wine, of course!

Wild garlic pesto - the wild garlic is found in and around Ramsden, Oxfordshire whilst walking.
Homemade pesto – made with wild garlic found on our walks around Ramsden, Oxfordshire

Relax at our holiday cottage after your walks in the Cotswolds

After all that walking and foraging, you’ll want to meander back to our Cotswold holiday cottage for a well-earned rest! 

Don’t forget, there is a handy outside tap at the cottage for washing muddy paws (and walking boots). You’ll also find a special dog towel for a nice post-walk rub down. 

Why not then take a relaxing hot soak in the bath? Or freshen up under the walk-in shower?

These are our environmentally friendly complimentary toiletries from Basic Earth. You’ll find them waiting for you in the cottage.

Complimentary toiletries for some post-walk pamper time
Complimentary toiletries for some post-walk pamper time

It may then be time to settle down in the cosy cottage sitting room for some relaxing post-walk down-time and a good book.

Post-walks in the Cotswolds – it’s tea time!

Please do remember that Gable Cottage is situated in a rural area so walking routes may include fields with livestock.

Download The Ramblers’ Dog Walking Code, here.

It gives some really helpful advice on how to enjoy safe and happy walks with your dog.

There’s lots of useful Cotswold guides and maps in our handy Guest Information Handbook.

Our handy guest information folder to welcome you to Gable Cottage
Our handy Guest Information Handbook to welcome you to Gable Cottage

We wish you lots of happy walking in the Cotswolds!

Whether you’re looking for pub walks or healthy walks to take in the fresh Cotswold air, we hope we have helped.

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