Editor’s Note: The following is a guest article from one of our advertisers, Cotswolds Walks, a company that helps you plan the perfect walking holiday in the Cotswolds.
By Andrew Guppy of Cotswold Walks (www.cotswoldwalks.com)
Have you considered a slower pace of travel, where you get fresh air and good exercise while you experience an area in depth? A vacation to remember? How about a walking holiday in the Cotswolds?
The Cotswolds is an area of quintessential English countryside and “chocolate box” historic villages, set in the Cotswolds Hills that run between Bath and Stratford-Upon-Avon. It is less than two hours by train from London, but feels like a world away from the hustle and bustle. Here the pastures are dotted with sheep, cows and horses. The smaller villages transfer you back through the centuries as if in a time capsule with their ancient stone facades and traditional English country gardens.
Cotswold Walks offers carefully selected walking routes through the most stunning scenery in the Cotswolds (see Jonathan’s videos for proof of that). Each route has been specially designed to show you the best of the Cotswolds, from secluded villages with their parish churches to majestic woodlands and historic sites tucked away in the hills. You walk on an ancient network of footpaths that were created over the centuries as workers and villagers found the quickest way to their place of work, local market or church. Now they are used by walkers who live in the area or who come here to experience some of the best walking in Europe.
Try a Do It Yourself Walking Tour
If you want to “do it yourself” try a self-guided tour. We offer a good selection of walking tours or we can create a custom walk to exactly meet your needs. You need to be able to follow instructions and do a bit of detective work from time to time, which is all part of the adventure. We provide easy to follow detailed route notes and maps in a handy sized booklet. They guide you along the walking trail and explain the history of the area as you pass through.
If you should become lost the error is normally soon corrected as clients realise they have became so absorbed in their surroundings and conversation that their concentration has momentarily lapsed. We are always only a phone call away and ready to help in any emergency and that is why we hire out mobile phones and walking poles if you choose to leave yours at home.
That just leaves your luggage and we will move that for you each day from one accommodation to the next. Our aim is make your tour as seamless as possible from booking all the accommodation, moving your luggage and providing easy to follow route notes and back-up support if needed.
If this is your first time to try a walking holiday you are not alone as many clients come to us from the United States and Canada as novice hikers, either as a couple or by themselves, and leave feeling a tremendous sense of achievement. Many get the walking bug and want to try it again.
For Peace of Mind, Hire our Electronic Guide
For anyone who is nervous about getting lost and needs the added confidence and peace of mind we also have global positioning system (GPS) units for hire. This is like having us with you every step of the way but in a virtual sense. It’s like a Google map of the countryside with a blue line to follow on a digital screen and lets you know if you have taken a wrong turn. It is similar to a GPS or Sat Nav in a car but without the voice. It is a great support for those who need it but it is by no means necessary to complete the walks.
Or Let Us Show You the Way
For those that wish not to have to follow route notes and prefer to be guided by a human instead, why not consider one of our guided walking tours. We have different themed tours from Scenic Cotswolds, Cotswold Gardens and an Arts and Crafts tour as examples.
Each tour is led by a local expert whose passion for their topic is evident from the first time you meet. Their role is to engage you in all things Cotswold and explain the hidden secrets, routes and gardens that only a guided tour can provide.
You will holiday with other like-minded people and make friends along the way. You are safe in the knowledge you will always have a friend close by and be treated to some of the finest food and accommodation the area has to offer.
English food has come along way since the 1970’s and 80’s and is often quoted as being one of the major surprises for overseas visitors. The chance to experience a pub lunch and a pint of real ale is as much an incentive to get to the next stop as the walking itself.
Walking is The Best Way to Experience a Place
Whilst out on the trail, which can vary from a clearly defined path to nothing more than trampled down grass stretching out in front, you begin to really sense the freedom it affords you and the chance to stop and appreciate the majesty of the open meadows, flowing streams and ancient woodlands as you wonder past like the villagers hundreds of years ago. Their journey was one of necessity but yours will be one of discovery and photo opportunities to live long in the memory.
Personal highlights for clients are often made up of random moments of kindness and chance from the amazing scent of wild flowers as they pass by a country garden to the tradition of an English cream tea or fish and chips. The encounters with the locals (as we are better known) often throws up interesting conversations and intrigue as countryside traditions and the weather are discussed at length.
We Hope to See You Soon in the Cotswolds
We would encourage you to visit the Cotswolds for whatever reason but the slower pace of a walking tour is the best way to see it and experience it as nature intended.