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 in the Cotswold Water Park
There is plenty of choice of routes for walkers in the area, along with great wildlife, peaceful villages, and 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 as letting your dog swim in the lakes is going to have an impact on wildlife at all times of the year – thank you.
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 well 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 below as individual walks, or a full colour A2 leaflet Walks Guide with all six walks can be purchased at the Gateway Centre for only £1.
A gentle and varied walk, starting at the Gateway Centre, with options for a 1.6km / 5km / 7.3km walk
From the Gateway Centre to the pretty village of South Cerney (5.5km)
All the Water Park landscapes in one walk, starting at Neigh Bridge Country Park (5.8km / 7km)
Experience three delightful villages, following part of the Thames Path National Trail (14km)
One of the most peaceful circular routes in the area, along the Thames Path winding round some of the oldest lakes (7km)
From the Gateway Centre, explore by bike on this great off road circular ride (16km / 18km)
Walks in the Eastern Water Park
Two beautiful walks along the Thames Path National Trail, starting from Riverside Park in Lechlade (3km/3km)
Running Routes map
The CWP Trust has produced a new Running Routes map, showing some suggested circular running routes around the Western Water Park, near South Cerney and Ashton Keynes.
Most of the routes are off-road, mainly stile free and show areas which are liable to flood during the winter. Dangerous road crossing points are identified, as are fields where cows can often be present.
The running routes, which all start at the Gateway Information Centre, vary in length from 2 to 12 miles, and of course can be adpated to be made even longer if people really want a work-out! With free parking, toilets, and a wonderful lakeside cafe on site, and Cotswold Outdoor right next door too, it’s a great place to come for a morning’s run.
(The production of the map has been made possible through the generous support of the De Vere Cotswold Water Park Hotel, to whom we are very grateful.)
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
(Please note it is an A2 format so it will have to be pieced togther!)
© 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.cotswoldcanals.org.uk/about-us/the-canal-renovation-project
© David Hall
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