We been exploring to find you the best Woodland Walks in Cheltenham and the surrounding area. Now more than ever we have been really valuing our walks outdoors and there is something so magical about the woods. They are also better for rainy days (which we have a lot of!) as there is more cover and they can be marginally less muddy than the parks as the dog doesn’t take a day off walking! Here is a run down of our favourites, including details on where to park.
1. Lineover Woods
Lineover Woods is the perfect place for everyone to explore and enjoy. This is an enormous wood that goes up the hill to meet the Cotswold Way at the top.
They are limestone grasslands which create diverse and interesting habitats for a range of wildlife and a location where rare plants and fungi can flourish. It is a Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) area and offers stunning views over Cheltenham and Malvern Hills.
It’s quite steep in places but there are good paths in place, there are 2 recommended loops of approximately an hour but you can also just wander around as there are several miles of paths available to you.
Parking: There is a small car park at the bottom, as you head out of town, look for a small road just past Koloshi on the right. Free parking, free entry
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2. Dowdeswell Woods
The woods are enormous and can be very dark! There is a small stream at the bottom. They are perfect again for families looking to explore nature, spot creatures and maybe jump in some muddy puddles.
Parking: Free parking which is located on the side of the road in unoffical layby on Ham Road at the top of the woods. Alternatively you can park at the same car park for Lineover Wood and cross the road.
SO 9932 2032
OS Explorer map: 179
3. Arle Grove
This lovely little wood is part of the Woodland Trust and is small so perfect for little legs with a nice circular loop. There are plenty of den building opportunities and you can make a longer walk by picking up the Cotswold Way as it runs past.
Dogs are welcome but must be kept on a lead. The woods are a Key Wildlife Site and is home to a number of ancient woodland species. Access to Arle Grove is free though donations to the upkeep of the site and area can be made via the Woodland Trust.
Parking: There is parking in a series of laybys at the side of the road which are free.
SO 99448 21611
OS Explorer Map: 179
4. Leckhampton Hill
You can park at Daisy Bank car park and walk up or park at the top on the hill and walk down. There are lots of path criss-crossing through the woods and the views from the top across the town are stunning.
This is one of our favourite woodland walks in Cheltenham as you can take so many different routes, it even links up to Lineover Woods. There are a few formal public footpaths on the hill and common which you can use or you can go off and create your own route.
Parking: Parking is free at located on Daisy Bank Road called Daisy Bank Car Park and the second is Bridge Car Park.
SO 94982 18866
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5. Crickley Hill Country Park
This is the most put-together of the woodland walks with toilets and a cafe. There are several different paths through the woods and across the fields and the views are incredible. National Trust. Dogs are welcome to the country park but must be kept on a lead throughout their visit.
As this is a country park there are many many facilites available for visiters including toilets, baby changing areas, blue badge spaces and a picnic area. This is a great place to have a day out, take a picnic and enjoy the stunning country park with many different walks and bridleways to explore.
Parking: The car park is not owned or run by National Trust, instead is part of Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust. Parking is open from 9 am until 9 pm and is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Parking is to be paid by every guest and can be paid by cash, phone or app or online. Charges start at £1 for one hour and is a maximum of £3 for the full day.
SO 93282 16482
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6. Queens Wood/ Prestbury Wood
Queens Wood/Prestbury Wood is perfect for letting your children go off and explore on their own without being too far from you. The walk starts off with two paths in which you can take, one of which takes you over a stile and into the fields with the cows and the other is to follow a narrow path.
Both paths lead you into the woodland where you can find a number of fallen trees, wildlife and plants and things to climb. It makes a perfect area for children to climb and explore and learn more about nature. The path isn’t pushchair friendly so keep this in mind before you plan your visit.
Parking: Parking is available at a layby at Ellenborough Park entrance. There is space for roughly 7-8 cars along the layby.
7. The Honeybourne Line
The Honeybourne line is an old railyway track that has been coverted into a path for walkers and cyclists. It is the perfect place to head if you have children wanting to ride their bikes or scooters and you are looking for a clear path and route to follow.
The route starts at Cheltenham Spa Railway Station and ends at the Prince of Wales stadium, there are more entrances and snickets that lead off from the path so you can join or leave the path at any point without having to go to either end. The best part of the walk is that is in within a city set area but feels like you have left the city completely.
This is also a great route to take for a short walk (roughly 20 minutes) and perfect if you are looking at going for a walk that is pushchair friendly.
Parking: There is no parking specified and doens’t have a dedicated car park.
8. Belas Knap, Winchcombe
The walk at Belas Knap is perfect for anyone looking to get out and stretch their legs and go for a good explore in the fields. The walk is said to have steep but short so perfect for tiring out little ones and possibly yourself. There is plenty to see from animals such as sheep and cows in the fields along with plenty of wooded areas to explore.
The views are beautiful and well worth checking out if you are looking to explore a new walk. The site is an English Heritage site so dogs are welcome but are asked to be kept on leads, especially during the walk through the fields with the animals.
Parking: Parking is limited at this site but is available at the layby on Cotswold Way.
9. Siccaridge Wood
This reserve is part of the Golden Valley Wildlife Way and is free to enter. The woodland is managed as coppice for hundreds of years and is next to the Thames and Severn Canal. You can get access to the reserve from canap towpath or from the road to Daneway and Tunley.
There are a wide range of types of tree located within this wood which is fascintating to see, includining silver birch, beech and ash. The wood is also a great place to head if you want to see a sea of bluebells bloom along the woodland floor around springtime.
This makes a great day out with so much to see and do within the woods and yourself and your little ones can enjoy spotting different trees and leaves. There are two other reserves within the area which are Sapperton Valley and Daneway Banks. There are three foothpaths into the reserve, one running along the north edge, another following the ridgetop and the third crossing the south facing slopes.
Parking: Parking is located on Daneway, just east of the River Frome bridge; GL7 6LN.
So there you have it, 9 woodland walks in Cheltenham and the surrounding area. If you have discovered any more, let me know!
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Where are you walking this week? Anyone that knows me well knows I have a bit of a thing about dinosaurs! 🦖 🦕 No idea why but I’ve always been fascinated with them. Tried to get the kids into them but but they’ve never been as keen as me, until we go somewhere cool like this! I saw it popping up all over my feed (thanks @stephloveshoney for keeping us in places to visit!) and realised it’s not far from us in Cheltenham at all. This is on Selsley Common, near Stroud, no idea who started it but it got the desired reaction from the kids, they were so excited as I’d not told them what to expect. Any other ideas for places we need to explore around the Cotswolds? And also, any tips for dinosaur related places to visit for when we can get out on longer trips again? Parking: lots, by the roadside, bit muddy. Toilets: none that we saw. Cafe: nope Terrain: grassy, pretty flat, lots of wide open space, lots of dogs.