Walk in the Cotswolds: Painswick Beacon & Coopers Hill

This Cotswold walk starts at Painswick Beacon, near the picturesque village of Painswick. From the wild common of Painswick Beacon, this country walk follows part of the Cotswold Way through woodland to Coopers Hill. You then go down into the lush valley of Painswick, crossing rolling fields and walking along the Painswick Stream. This circular walk loops back up the hill to Painswick Beacon, following part of the Wysis Way.

On this country walk, you can enjoy far-reaching views from the two viewpoints of Painswick Beacon and Coopers Hill. You can also admire the beautiful scenery of the Cotswold valley. This circular walk includes steep ascents and descents. If you’re after a longer walk, you can combine this walk with the Painswick, Painswick Beacon & Painswick Valley walk and wander to the village of Painswick.

Location: Painswick, Gloucestershire

Walk difficulty: Intermediate

Time: 3 to 3 ½ hours

Distance: 7 miles (11 km)

The wild common of Painswick Beacon

This Cotswold walk takes you across the wild common of Painswick Beacon and up a short climb to the top of the craggy hill. Set on the Cotswold escarpment, Painswick Beacon offers gorgeous views of the Cotswold Hills, the Severn Vale, the Forest of Dean and the Brecon Beacons mountains (if the weather permits). Every time I’ve visited the hill, the clouds were so low in the sky that I couldn’t see much of the far-reaching views.

Low clouds, autumn colours and Cotswold views from Painswick Beacon
Cloudy views from Painswick Beacon

Painswick Beacon is the site of an Iron Age fort and you can spot the mounds from the top of the hill. The wild common also houses grazing cattle and a golf course. From there, this country walk follows part of the Cotswold Way. A long-distance path, the Cotswold Way spans 102 miles along the Cotswold escarpment from Bath to Chipping Campden.

The lush woodland of Coopers Hill

Walking along country lanes and through lush forest, you discover the beech wood of Buckholt Wood. In autumn, the forest coat is resplendent with colour. After following many winding woodland paths, you reach the viewpoint of Coopers Hill. Also set on the Cotswold escarpment, Coopers Hill enjoys lovely views of Brockworth, Gloucester, the Severn Vale and the Brecon Beacons (again if the weather permits).

Buckholt Wood near Coopers Hill in autumn
Buckholt Wood

Coopers Hill is the site of the Cheese Rolling Contest, which takes place every May. Since the 19th century, brave contestants tumble down chasing a cheese rolling down the very steep hill. After appreciating the sheerness of the hill, you then continue through more forest and start the descent to the bottom of the Painswick valley.

The enchanting Painswick Valley

This Cotswold walk leads you across the bottom of the Painswick valley, along country lanes and across rolling fields. Walking along the peaceful Painswick Stream, you can enjoy stunning views of the enchanting Cotswold valley. This circular walk then follows part of the Wysis Way up the steep hill, across fields, through woodland and back to Painswick Beacon.

Cotswold rolling hills in the Painswick Valley
Painswick Valley

If you’re after a longer walk, you can combine this walk with the Painswick, Painswick Beacon & Painswick Valley walk and continue across the bottom of the valley to the village of Painswick. In any case, I highly recommend visiting Painswick. Featuring the striking Painswick church and churchyard, and myriads of quaint Cotswold cottages, this picturesque village is filled with Cotswold charm. Find out more with the Painswick travel guide.

Painswick Beacon, Coopers Hill & Painswick Valley walk itinerary

1. From the Painswick Beacon car park, walk up the road and turn left, following the signposts for the Cotswold Way. Shortly after, leave the path and veer left towards the top of the hill. After reaching the trig point, continue straight ahead down the hill and turn right onto the path between the trees and the golf course.

2. Follow the path as it veers left away from the golf course and through woodland. Following the signs for the Cotswold Way, continue along the country road and across two car parks, and then veer left onto a forest path. Cross a country road and veer left, still following the signposts.

3. Following the signs for the Cotswold Way, cross the main road, veer right onto a country road and then veer left onto a forest path. Veer left three times, and at the last left turn, veer immediately right, still following the signposts. Veer right, go up a flight of steps, go through a kissing gate and then turn left.

4. Following the signs for the Cotswold Way, turn right uphill, then immediately veer left and veer left once more towards Coopers Hill. Leaving the Cotswold Way behind, turn sharply right uphill and veer right, going down a dip. Veer left onto the main path and continue straight ahead, following the low wall on your left. At the crossroads, continue straight ahead.

5. Go through a kissing gate and cross the field diagonally downhill to a stile. Turn right, cross the orchard and go through a first gate to a farm yard and then a second gate onto a dirt road. Continue along the dirt road, cross the country road and continue straight ahead through woodland.

6. At the fork, veer right and continue downhill along a forest path. Turn right onto the road and then left through a farm. Follow the road to a gate and go through the gate. When faced with two more gates, cross over the stile to the right and follow the path.

7. Cross over a stile and follow the woodland path. Cross over the next stile and cross the field, keeping the fence to your left. Then cross over the stile on your left and keep the fence to your right until you reach a kissing gate. Turn right onto a road and at the junctions, turn left twice and turn right once.

8. At the footpath sign, turn right, go through a gate and follow the path around the edge of the field. Go through a pair of kissing gates, then a kissing gate and another gate, and continue downhill. Cross a bridge, turn left and cross the field following the signposts. Go through a kissing gate, follow the path and cross two bridges. Walk along the edge of the field, next to a stream.

9. Go through a kissing gate and veer left along a road. Cross over the stile on your right and onto a path along the edge of a field. Cross a bridge and over a stile, and cross a field, keeping the fence to your left. Then cross over two stiles and continue straight ahead towards a house. Follow the dirt road and turn left onto a gravel road. Go through a kissing gate and follow the road.

If you wish to combine this walk with the Painswick, Painswick Beacon & Painswick Valley walk: Cross over a stile and turn left onto the pebble road. From the Painswick, Painswick Beacon & Painswick Valley walk itinerary, follow steps 8 to 10 to the village of Painswick, then steps 1 to 2 to Painswick Beacon.

10. Cross over a stile, cross the dirt road, continue straight ahead and cross over another stile into a field. Continue straight ahead to a gate and veer right towards another gate. Cross a bridge and continue straight uphill, go through a kissing gate to woodland and follow the path.

11. Cross over a stile and turn left onto a path, then go through a gate into a field. Veer right along a man-made path, cross a stream and veer right onto another man-made path. Cross over a stile and continue straight uphill, then turn right before the trees, keeping the fence to your left. Go round the corner and cross over the stile on your left.

12. Veer right, cross a road and go up the flight of steps. Turn left along the main road and walk past the bus stop. Following the signposts for the Wysis Way, cross the road and turn sharply right up a steep woodland path. Continue straight ahead onto a road and follow the road and the Cotswold Way signposts back to the car park.

Find the walk itinerary pdf file: Painswick Beacon, Coopers Hill & Painswick Valley walk by adragonsescape.com

Download the walk GPX file: Painswick Beacon, Coopers Hill & Painswick Valley walk on my.viewranger.com

Wooden gate and golden leaves on the Painswick Beacon to Coopers Hill walk in the Cotswolds
Country scenery near Painswick Beacon

Painswick Beacon, Coopers Hill & Painswick Valley walk details

Location: Painswick, Gloucestershire

Walk difficulty: Intermediate

Time: Approximately 3 to 3 ½ hours

Distance: 7 miles (11 km)

Ascent: Steep

Trail condition: Good, but the trail can get muddy in wet weather

Accessibility: Not suitable for pushchairs, wheelchairs or bikes

Parking: Painswick Beacon car park (GL6 6SU – free)

Facilities: Toilets, shops and pubs in Painswick

Notes: Please be mindful of livestock and keep your dogs on a lead

Explore more: Walks in the Cotswolds

For a Sunday stroll, a pub walk or an escape to the beautiful countryside, the Cotswolds are a delight to explore on foot. From the Bisley-with-Lypiatt walk to the Coaley Peak & Selsley Common walk, the Cotswolds boast enchanting country scenery and offer the most peaceful escapes. Find walks in the Cotswolds.

Stunning views of the Cotwolds, Severn Vale and Wales from Selsley Common
Views from Selsley Common

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Walk in the Cotswolds: Painswick Beacon & Coopers Hill

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