Cotswold - Horsley & Kingscote

Gloucestershire, England

SummaryGetting there

Woodland, wildflower, meadows - a sample of Cotswold prettiness with some history along the way.

Distance:4.5 Miles
Est. Time:2 hrs 20 mins
Difficulty: Easy 
OS map: Explorer sheet 168
Total Ascent:774 ft 
Total Descent: 774 ft 

DescriptionMap View

The RouteSafetyNotes


  • Horsley StreamPretty Cotswold villages
  • Rolling green hills and vales
  • Woodland scenery
  • Traditional wildflowers

Visitors come from around the world to enjoy that classic beauty of the Cotswolds, but this section is off the main tourist trails. It may lack publicised attractions but it lacks nothing for attractiveness. On this walk you will see wildflower meadows, traditional beech woodland. cottages and whole villages build of Cotswold stone - and the sheer prettiness of classic Cotswolds scenery.

The Route go to top

path through Horsley WoodWalk towards the pub and turn left beside the former Post Office (letter box in wall) down a steep road called Priory Field. Almost immediately turn off the road, following the Bridle Path sign, onto a roughly metalled road, which soon downgrades to a stony track leading down into woodland. The track gradually curves right then left, past some garages, then some cottages and up to a wooden gate at Grid Ref 836977. The track continues through Horsley Wood - a beech wood.

Where the path forks, take the left hand route (close to some overhead power lines) and follow the route downhill. You are now walking parallel to Horsley Stream (down in the valley to your left) - but the stream may be dry in years of low rainfall. At the junction of paths at the foot of the hill continue ahead and slightly right, following the light blue arrows (Grid Ref 832972).

Kingscote valleyContinue along the flat for a while (this section is sometimes churned up and muddy). The stream crosses to the right of the path, which then climbs moderately (the stream may not have been noticeable before, but at this point it has cut a steep valley through the woodland to the right). You are now passing into Kingscote Wood (beech wood with bluebells and wild garlic). The path leads up to a metal gate crossing into a field (Grid Ref 821973).

Go through the gate, following the path uphill and slightly to the left, following the light blue arrow. Follow the well indented but grassy path past a single holly tree and up the slope till it joins a track, with clearly defined vehicle tracks. Follow the track to a metal gate (white arrow) at grid Ref 818971. After the gate notice Binley Farm on the right. When you reach the gravelled farm track turn left and follow the track uphill, with your back to the farmhouse.

Kingscote in blossom timeThe views from this hill remind you why people come from around the world to see the Cotswolds.

Pass through a gateway at Grid Ref 819969 and turn left onto a diversionary footpath. The path is waymarked with arrows of several colours, and goes through a gate then right along the edge of a field behind Hill Barns. Follow the field edge round back to the track, where you turn left and walk towards the village of Kingscote.

Pass a cottage, following what has now become a metalled road, through a gateway and into Kingscote. At the junction (Grid Ref 819963) our route turns left.

(turn right if you want to see Kingscote village and church, where Edward Jenner was married; then return to this spot).

Kingscote churchThe road from Kingscote towards Horsley is quiet, in fact you may see no traffic at all. Follow the road through wonderful Cotswold scenery, go past a large house called Lower Hazlecote then, as you walk up the next hill, you will see a metal gate ahead (at the junction with a small private road on the left). Cross a stile beside the gate at grid Ref 830963, then walk across a field parallel to the ridge aiming for a small round yellow marker on the opposite fence. Cross the stile beside the yellow disc and continue ahead following vehicle tracks. Go through a metal gate and immediately turn left and cross a stile against the fence. Follow the fence at the left side of the field and shortly notice a pond on the other side of the fence. Continue alongside the fence until you reach a stile leading left into woodland. Cross the stile (Grid Ref 834970) and follow the path down through the trees. The path heads down until it reaches a cross track at Grid Ref 833971, where you turn right, following the yellow arrow.
cowslip meadow near Horsley

The path gradually drops down to the valley floor and comes to a wooden stile. Cross (following the yellow arrow). Walk across the bottom (left) of this steep field.

Where the field narrows, head roughly to the middle of this section and find a gap under the trees, leading to a stile. Cross the stile and follow the yellow arrow left onto a track leading alongside Masons Wood. Where the path comes to an open field veer left down following the well-marked path leading down into the valley and behind the gardens of some cottages. 

Cross a stile opposite Hartley Bridge Cottage (Grid Ref 838977) to turn left onto the lane. Walk up the steep hill back into the centre of Horley. Opposite the pub turn right and walk back to the Car Park.

Safety go to top

 At just under 5 miles long, this walk offers few challenges to moderately fit walkers. There are some steep sections, but the worst is the hill back up to the start point - so a rest will follow! Some sections may be muddy.

Notes go to top

plaque to Edward Jenner at Kingscote ChurchJenner plaque -  Edward Jenner is a celbrated former resident of Gloucestershire, whose life is more fully celebrated at a Museum in Berkeley (see Berkeley, Stone and Ham walk). His famous contribution to human health is his discovery of vaccination as a treatment for smallpox. In 1788 he was married to Catherine Kingscote in the parish chirch at Kinsgscote, where a plaque in the porch celebrates the event. Kingscote church is about 250 yards off the route of this walk. The pretty village of Kingscote makes the short diversion an attractive option.

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