Walking in the Cotswolds   


The beautiful Cotswold countryside is crisscrossed with hundreds of miles of footpaths offering a large variety of terrain, allowing easy access for all, but still offers a challenge for the avid rambler.   

Our holiday homes in the Cotswold Water Park welcomes guests to reside in and explore the unique wetland habitats home to a large array of amazing wildlife.   

With many of us spending much of our time cooped up in busy cities, walking through these wetlands is a truly magical experience; breathing in the country air and appreciating the beauty surrounding you is the perfect way to unwind with friends and family.   

It’s even scientifically proven that spending time in the great outdoors reduces stress and increases well-being. To help you take advantage of this we have compiled some of our favourite walks below. But before you set out on your adventure remember to respect the countryside. 

A lot of our properties are dog-friendly allowing you to bring your pooch on your walk. Just be sure to follow any signs instructing you to keep your dog on a lead.   

Walk  – Three-Village Walk  

The three-village walk is an excellent opportunity to visit the traditional and quaint villages that surround the Water Park. To visit all three villages in a day takes a total of 3.5 hours covering 8.7 miles.   

Of course, you wouldn’t be expected to cover that distance without the opportunity for refreshments. The White Hart (Ashton Keynes), Royal Oak (South Cerney) and the Bakers Arms (Somerford Keynes) all provide excellent food and drink.   

In addition to the villages, the walk offers a good variety of landscapes. Setting out on this walk you will travel along the banks of the Thames, and venture through luscious grass fields and a section of woodland.   

Walk – To The Pub  

You will be reassured to know that you don’t have to complete the whole three-village loop to visit these beautiful Cotswold villages. The villages of Ashton Keynes, South Cerney and Somerford Keynes are all easily reached, and the attraction of the pubs within these towns provide the perfect motivation to venture out on a warm summer’s evening. Simply follow the signs.  

Walk – Towpaths, Train Tracks and Water Meadows 

Arguably one of the most famous rivers in all of England, the River Thames springs its source in the Cotswolds and meanders through the countryside all the way to London.   

The character of the Thames’s upper reaches is one of tranquillity and beauty. The reinstatement of the historical towpath provides a level surface and easy access for all.   

Interestingly it is one of the longest footpaths in the country stretching for a total of 185 miles, running adjacent to the river and traditional meadows that characterise the countryside in this area.   

There are many access points where you can join the path. We recommend you join at The Gateway Centre, and continue to walk for as long as you like.   

As you gently stroll down the path, be sure to keep an eye out for kingfishers zipping up and down the waterways. If you’re lucky, you might even spot an otter.   

Walk  – Rivers, Brooks and Lakes 

Situated in the Water Park itself, Orion Holidays provides fantastic opportunities for lakeside walks. It is the perfect base to explore the unique habitats that the Water Park has created, characterised by large expanses of reed-edged waterways, and large willow trees which hang lazily over the water.   

 You may notice gnawed tree bark on some of these trees. This is the handy work of the latest new inhabitants. The Beavers introduced in 2005 are now thriving.   

The lakeside walks offer a great opportunity to spot one. The walks surrounding the lake are well signposted, so luckily no map reading skills are required. Generally, the terrain is easy to manage for all, but in times of wet weather be cautious as some areas can become tricky.   

A moderate-length walk of 4.3 miles this walk should take 2-2.5 hours to complete.  

Walk – Cleveland Circuit 

A large circular walk incorporating the Thames path, and some of the most mature and important lakes in the wildlife reserve. The walk is approximately 3.8 miles and should take around 2-2.5 hours to complete. As you pass by the reed hides be sure to pop in and cast your view out onto the lake in hope of spotting some of the exciting waterbird species that call the lake home.   

In wet conditions, wellies are advisable as some areas are prone to some flooding so you may need to tread carefully.    

Walk – Circular Cycle Route  

For those feeling adventurous and wish to take on a greater challenge, why don’t you walk the circular cycle route?   

With a total length of 11 miles, the walk should provide a challenge. The route is classified as off-road so expect to encounter some rough terrain. Undertaking this challenge is well worth the effort, as it allows you to access the most remote and peaceful areas of the park, diving right into the heart of the Cleveland Lakes Nature Reserve.    

Again, you wouldn’t be expected to walk all this way without refreshments. As you pass through South Cerney why not stop for lunch at the Gateway Centre Café, or the Elliot Arms. Alternatively, Jennies Kitchen at Ashton Keynes offers excellent refreshments.   

Want to Find Out More? 

Click here for further details, routes and directions.   

 Orion Holidays provide the perfect base for exploring the Cotswold Water Park by foot and reconnecting with nature. Walks offer perfect opportunities for families to spend time together and unwind in beautiful surroundings that will form the basis of fantastic memories for years to come.   

If you are looking to reconnect with your family and nature don’t hesitate to book a property with Orion Holidays.   

Couple walking in woodlands