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Cotswold Way Circular Walk Featuring Bath & Prospect Stile Viewpoint

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If the thought of walking the full 102-mile-long Cotswold Way is too daunting, then why not try walking smaller sections of it as circular routes instead?

That’s what my husband and I are starting to do – and we can’t wait to show you the different walks.

Up first is a route called “Journey’s End” (or “Journey’s Beginning”), which takes you past iconic Bath landmarks, such as Bath Abbey, Royal Victoria Park and the Royal Crescent.

You’ll also be able to admire several stunning views from various points along the walk, including Penn Hill in Weston and Prospect Stile near the Bath Racecourse.

Stunning views from Prospect Stile Viewpoint
This is the stunning view you can look forward to seeing from the Prospect Stile Viewpoint… on a rare sunny day, of course!

Read on to find out more about this circular walk in Bath and what you can expect on the day. We’ll also provide you with some alternative routes – just in case the one we did is a bit too long or challenging for you.

Cotswold Way Circular Walks in Bath (At A Glance)

facts & stats
Stunning views from Prospect Stile Viewpoint
Cotswold Way signs on a lamp post
Views from Prospect Stile in January
A Cotswold Way sign on the side of a house

Journey’s End/Beginning Cotswold Way Circular Walk

There are several walking routes you can follow in this area. But here’s what you can expect at a glance:

Difficulty: Challenging

Distance: 8.5 miles (13.7 km) – you’ll wander along the Cotswold Way for roughly 4 miles.

Duration: 5 hours

Ascent: 300 metres

Terrain: Varied; includes pavements, fields, rocky tracks, muddy paths and lots of hills up and down. Very steep in places.

Conditions: Mixed; some shade, some open skies; windy at highest points.

Parking: Lansdown Park & Ride (postcode: BA1 9BJ). Costs £1 for up to 3 hours and £2 for the whole day. You can pay using the MiPermit app.

Best Time To Walk: Year-round (ideally not after rainstorms as some parts of this walk get very muddy). Weekdays are quieter than weekends and school holidays.

Facilities: Free public toilet at Lansdown P&R; open daily at set times. There are also various facilities available to use in the city of Bath, thanks to public restrooms, restaurants, bars and cafes.

Circular Cotswold Way Walking Routes in Bath

While our guide mainly focuses on the walk we did to and from Lansdown Park & Ride via Bath Abbey, Prospect Stile and the Cotswold Way, there are opportunities for you to shorten this walk if you prefer. Let’s take a look at each of your options…

Note: You’ll need to add 30 minutes to each of these trail times if you stop for lunch, which we definitely recommend. An al fresco lunch with a great view is one of the best things about walks in nature!

1. Journey’s End/Beginning Bath Circular Walk – 8.5 Miles – 5 Hours

If you want to follow the entire circular route we did, then you’ll want to start at Lansdown Park & Ride (P&R) and walk to Bath Abbey via Lansdown Road.

Once you’ve arrived at the abbey, locate the Cotswold Way marker stone in front of it. This is the official beginning or end of the Cotswold Way.

Our dog sitting next to the Cotswold Way marker outside Bath Abbey
Our dog definitely knows when it’s time to pose for the camera!

Notice the acorn in the middle of it. This is the official waymark symbol for all National Trails in the UK, so expect it to pop up a lot throughout your Cotswold Way walk.

From the abbey, you’ll walk towards the Pump Rooms and then follow the Cotswold Way signs for several miles.

These signposts will take you past iconic sights in Bath, such as the Royal Crescent and Royal Victoria Park and across fields and up and down hills.

While the hills are challenging at times, the spectacular views across Bath and the surrounding areas are well worth the climb!

The piece de resistance as they say is the Prospect Stile viewpoint where you can enjoy unparalleled panoramic views across Bath, Bristol and the Mendips (Mendip Hills).

Stunning views from Prospect Stile Viewpoint
A view so stunning, you must see it more than once!

From the viewpoint, you’ll then follow the public footpaths past the Bath Racecourse and back to Lansdown Park & Ride.

Because of the steep hills throughout this walk and how far it is, we’d rate this one as challenging. There’s also a mix of terrain you’ll wander across – from pavements and fields to rocky and dirt tracks.

We tried to submit our route to AllTrails, but they haven’t accepted it yet. You can use this route as a guide and just join up the walk between Bath Abbey and the Park & Ride.

2. Journey’s End/Beginning Bath Walk – 6 Miles – 4 Hours

If you’d rather not walk into Bath via Lansdown Road, then you might prefer to catch the bus to or from the Lansdown Park and Ride. This will shorten the walk by roughly 2.5 miles (approximately one hour), allowing you to focus most of your energy on the Cotswold Way. The only downside with this one is you’d miss out on seeing some pretty parts of Bath at the beginning of the walk.

Here’s the route map for this option >>

3. Prospect Stile Viewpoint Non-Circular – 4 Miles – 2 Hours

If you’re not as fussed about walking the Cotswold Way itself and you’ve already visited Bath before, then you might want to simply take in the incredible views from Prospect Stile.

Views from Prospect Stile in January
Check out the signpost’s festive spirit!

For this walk, you’ll park at the Lansdown P&R and walk towards the Bath Racecourse. The Prospect Stile viewpoint sits behind the racecourse. Once you’ve enjoyed the view, you can simply turn around again and walk back to your car.

Note that you’ll need to walk across fields for pretty much all of this walk. But it’s also flat the entire way.

4. Bath Racecourse & Prospect Stile Circular – 4 Miles – 2 Hours

Or, if the thought of just walking to and from the viewpoint doesn’t interest you, then you can add to this walk and make it into a full circular route around the racecourse and past the Prospect Stile viewpoint.

There’s some elevation gain on this route, although it’s minimal. Here’s the route map and info for this trail >>

What To Wear & Pack When Walking The Cotswold Way

Given the Cotswold Way often involves steep hills and mixed terrain, you’ll need to wear suitable walking boots to protect your feet and ankles.

Here’s what else we think you should wear and pack when walking the Cotswold Way:

  • Walking boots and thick boot socks
  • Walking trousers
  • Breathable layers
  • A windproof raincoat (there are several high points during this walk, which can get very windy!)
  • Water (remember to pack more than you think you’ll need)
  • Lunch (you’ll discover several places during this walk where you can enjoy a picnic with a view)
  • Tissues
  • Sunscreen and sunglasses (on clear and sunny days)
  • Map (please see above for various maps you can download and take with you)
  • Stuff for your dog if they’re joining you (lead, poop bags, water, snacks, collapsible water bowl, etc)

FAQs About Walking The Cotswold Way

If you still have questions about walking this section of the Cotswold Way, then hopefully you’ll find the answers you need in the list of FAQs below. But if not, please drop us a line in the comments section of this blog post and we’ll reply ASAP!

Where does the Cotswold Way walk start and finish?

When walking north to south (which is what most people do), the full Cotswold Way walk starts in the pretty village of Chipping Campden near Cheltenham and finishes at Bath Abbey in the city of Bath. There’s no reason why you can’t walk the Cotswold Way from south to north, though.

What is the best way to walk the Cotswold Way?

Most people think the best way to walk the Cotswold Way is from north to south (Chipping Campden to Bath Abbey). This is because most guidebooks and blogs about the Cotswold Way focus on heading in this direction versus the other way around.

However, we think heading out on circular walks that include sections of the Cotswold Way (like the one we’ve described above) means you can fully appreciate the walk and amazing views. We’d recommend doing this if you can.

How long is the Cotswold Way walk?

The full Cotswold Way walk from start to finish is 102 miles long (approx. 164 km). Most serious hikers usually take around 7 to 10 days to complete the entire route.

Is the Cotswold Way well signposted?

The Cotswold Way is well signposted in some areas, while others not so much.

You’ll also need to be prepared to find the signs almost anywhere and in various forms, such as small plaques on the sides of buildings, large signposts on poles and lamp posts and even small stickers and labels on anything from bollards to lamp posts.

Is the Cotswold Way suitable for dogs?

Your dog can join you along most of the Cotswold Way. But bear in mind that you’ll need to keep them on leads if you find yourself in fields with livestock, such as sheep.

You may also need to lift your dog over certain stiles or gates that don’t have a big enough gap underneath them for larger dogs.

During the walk we mentioned above, we had to lift our dog over a stile we came across in between Penn Hill and Prospect Stile. We also had to help another lady who couldn’t lift her dog on her own!

Other Walks & Hikes Nearby You Might Like

If you’ve decided this circular Cotswold Way walk isn’t the one for you, or you just want to try some other epic walks and hikes fairly close by, then here are a couple of our favourites:

We hope you enjoy this circular Cotswold Way walk in Bath. What are you most excited to see during your walk? And have you got any other questions? Let us know in the comments section below and we’ll reply asap…

Did you like this mini Cotswold Way walking guide? Why not bookmark it now or share it with a friend, so you can refer back to it later?

Cotswold Way Circular Walk Featuring Bath & Prospect Stile Viewpoint
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Justine Jenkins

Justine is one half of the married couple behind the Wanderers of the World travel blog. She lives in Bristol, UK and has travelled extensively within Europe and beyond since 2013. After her trips, she shares detailed travel itineraries, helpful travel guides and inspiring blog posts about the places she's been to. When she's not travelling overseas, you'll find her joining her husband, Scott on various day trips, weekend getaways and walks within the UK, which she also writes about on Wanderers of the World. Aside from travelling and writing, she also loves reading, crafting and learning about nature.

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