The Cotswolds is designated as England’s largest ‘Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’ with spectacular with breath-taking scenery – as an area it’s 100 miles north to south, with gently rolling countryside of hills and steep valleys, picturesque stone villages that are often referred to as the ‘Undiscovered Cotswolds’.
Villages such as Slad and Painswick cling to steep-sided valleys, old woollen mills can be found alongside the streams, and commons stretch across the hilltops at Painswick, Minchinhampton and Selsley. Slad was the setting for the author and poet Laurie Lee’s book ‘Cider with Rosie’.
The Laurie Lee Wildlife Way is a 9km circular route takes in all four Nature Reserves and the trail is marked by wooden posts carved with the famous authors poems. For hiking routes in around the local area click this link for records of walking and trail running route maps and descriptions.
People come from all over Europe to see the beauty of these valleys. The Wysis Way passes through Slad. The Wysis Way is a long-distance footpath which links Offa’s Dyke path National trail at Monmouth to the beginning of the Thames Path National trail at Kemble in Gloucestershire and the more popular Cotswold Way passes through Painswick.
There are endless great walks, picnic sites and views. Here are just a few:
Snows Farm Nature reserve – Just across the Slad Valley you’ll find a mixture of meadow, woodland and utter tranquillity. Stunning.
Swift’s Nature Reserve – a steep climb brings you breath-taking views and 13 species of wild orchid, overlooking Slad Valley and across the Severn to Wales. Adjacent to Laurie Lee Wood, another beautiful ancient woodland, named after the valley’s, most famous former resident.
Frith Wood Nature Reserve – this lovely ancient beech wood is brimming with wildlife including deer, just uphill from the cottage and through here you can walk to Painswick.
Painswick Beacon has the best views in the area, with Wales clearly visible on a good day. Across it passes the famous Cotswolds Way, a 100-mile trail of walking paths, and bizarrely, a golf course.