walking in the cotswold water park

There are many kilometres of picturesque and peaceful footpaths around the Cotswold Water Park, with the added bonus of it all being very flat!

Head for the Gateway Information Centre for a Leisure Map showing footpaths, bridlepaths and cyclepaths. Or choose the Walks Guide which will show you six of the best walks and rides in the area.



Walking ( and cycling) in the Cotswold Water Park

There is plenty of choice of good flat routes for walkers in the area, along with great wildlife, peaceful villages, and a chance to watch some sporting action on the water.

Dogs are allowed on all public footpaths and bridleways, but it is recommended that you keep your dogs on a lead to minimise disturbance to all wildlife. Letting your dog swim in the lakes is going to have an impact on wildlife at all times of the year, so why not use the designated dog swimming beach at Cotswold Country Park


Suggested walks

There are many great circular walks around the Cotswold Water Park, varying in distances from 2km to 18km, and even longer! Most routes are well marked with Public Rights of Way signage, and are maintained by the local councils and the CWPT Ranger team.

The following six circular walks will give you plenty of choice and opportunity to explore the area, and to experience the huge variety of landscapes, from winding river trails, canal tow paths, vast lakes, woodland walks, and flower rich meadows.

All six routes are available to download as individual walks, or a full colour A2 leaflet CWP Walks Guide can be purchased at the Gateway Centre for only £1.

Walk 1 : Tow paths, train tracks and water meadows
A gentle and varied walk, starting at the Gateway Centre, with options for a (1.6km / 5km / 7.3km)

Walk 2 : From Bulrushes to Bow Wow
From the Gateway Centre to the pretty village of South Cerney along the canal tow path and country lanes (5.5km)

Walk 3 : Rivers, brooks and lakes
All the Water Park landscapes in one walk, starting at Neigh Bridge Country Park. Parking charge applies - free to CWP Trust members (5.8km / 7km)

Walk 4: Three villages walk
Experience three delightful villages, following part of the Thames Path National Trail (14km)

Walk or Cycle 5: Cleveland Circuit
Starting from Waterhay Car Park, this peaceful circuit takes in some of the oldest lakes in the CWP, along with some of the best birdwatching opportunities.(6km/7km)

Walk or Cycle 6: Bike it or Walk it!
Take your bikes and a picnic, and seek out some of the most tranquil spots in the area on this great (mainly) off road circular route. (16km/18km)

Please note, if you have a printed version of the Walks Guide, Walks 5 (Brown)  and 6 (Purple) are marked the wrong way round on the Location Map.

walking in the cotswold water park

Cotswold Water Park Leisure Map

Available free in many outlets around the Cotswold Water Park, the Leisure Map identifies the main attractions and facilities, along with footpaths, cyclepaths and bridleways. Call in to the Gateway Centre to collect your copy anytime between 9am - 5pm seven days a week.

Download a Leisure Map (pdf 5mb)
(Please note it is an A2 format so it will have to be pieced together!)

canal side walking in the cotswold water park

© David Hall

Cotswold Canals Towpath

The Thames and Severn canal, along with the Stroudwater Navigation, was built to join the Rivers Thames and Severn in 1789. The disused canal runs alongside the Gateway Centre, the main information point for the Cotswold Water Park.

Abandoned by 1933, the canal is now undergoing a phased restoration, beginning with a 7 mile length between Stonehouse and Brimscombe, near Stroud.

You can explore the towpath heading North for 3 miles from the Gateway Centre to Siddington, or for 2 miles South from the Gateway Centre to Latton. With care, you can reach Eysey Manor, just over a mile beyond Latton. These tow paths give excellent opportunities for seeing some stunning wildlife such as bats, water voles, dragonflies, butterflies, glow worms, and various songbirds such as reed bunting, reed warblers and blackcap.

For more information about the restoration progress, visit the Cotswold Canals Project website www.cotswoldcanalsproject.org

Thames Path National Trail sign © David Hall

Thames Path National Trail sign © David Hall

Thames Path

Approximately twenty three miles of the iconic River Thames flows through the Cotswold Water Park, with opportunities for walking alongside the river for much of the distance, along the Thames Path National Trail which is one of only thirteen National Trails in England. It follows the River Thames as it meanders from its source in the Cotswolds along 184 miles (294 km) of well managed paths through some of Britain's finest countryside, finishing at the Thames Barrier in London.

Easy to reach by public transport, the Thames Path can be enjoyed in many ways, whether for an afternoon's stroll, a weekend break or a full scale, but relatively gentle, trek of its whole length.

Thames Path website is at www.nationaltrail.co.uk/thamespath