PLAP Route 11 - Cotswold Hills, Gloucestershire
Distance: approximately 10 miles (can be extended further).
Map: Ordnance Survey Explorer Map Number OL45 (Map 1:25000)
Important notes: a number of Restricted Byways on this route were found to be either very narrow and not having ideal ground conditions on which to drive a horse and carriage, or not always being accessible to a carriage.
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The Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) covers approximately 790 square miles and is one of the largest in England and Wales. The area is also a recognised World Conservation site (IUCN) for landscape protection and recreational activities, enabling drivers/riders to enjoy its characteristic scenery, wide views, historic monuments and picturesque villages, while also offering good facilities for visitors. This is why a second suggested drive/ride offering a number of relatively simple alternative routes has been identified in the Cotswolds.
The Route has been intentionally designed with four criteria in mind. Firstly, it can be driven safely for most of the year, hence hard surfaces have been intentionally sought. Secondly, it is possible for a rider/driver to be led from the ground, regardless of which section is being completed. Thirdly, it can be divided into a number of smaller drives/ride; and finally, it is located in an area where friends and family not interested in riding or driving can look at other nearby attractions. It also uses several unclassified roads that lead to dead ends for motorised vehicles.
It is advisable to drive/ride this route in an anticlockwise direction
From the car park, turn down the hill towards the ford on Critchford Lane and continue for approximately
1.5 miles before turning left at the Kineton T-junction signed to Guiting Power.
Before reaching Kineton, turn left down a slightly stony track marked ‘Unsuitable for motors’, which is narrow in places. The track joins the identified route at point 2 (note there is a track before this which is not a public right of way).
1. Immediately on entering Temple Guiting turn left up a steep hill on a old drover’s road marked ‘Unsuitable for motors’ (parking is also possible at the top of this hill). Continue down the other side of the hill and along the lane.
2. Where three tracks meet, bear right and continue downhill until the lane becomes a track as you enter the woods.
Opposite the small Pinnock pumping station on your right, turn left - this leads back to the car park.
3. Continue through the wood following the Winchcombe Way signs and carved Farmcote estate gates until reaching a tarmac surfaced lane. Then continue along this for approximately one mile to the T-junction. Here you turn left (signed Winchcombe) and follow a straight lane with good visibility rising gradually up a hill.
4. Turn left at the next T-junction signed Guiting Power, and then left again at the next junction onto a B road. Continue for approximately a quarter mile. Traffic here can be comparatively fast.
5. Turn right off the B road onto the old ‘salt road’ signed to Brockhamton and drive/ride approximately 1.5 miles to the next crossroads, where it is possible to follow Option C.
6. Turn left (signed Guiting Power) and ride/drive to the next cross roads at point 9 (approximatley 1.75 miles). Here, cross straight over onto a single track lane leading you back to where you started (note this option shortens the distance of the route by approximately 1.5 miles but misses some beautiful countryside and quiet lanes).
7. Alternatively, cross over (signed Naunton) and follow for approximately one mile until reaching a left turn signed to Hawling village.
8. Continue into the village and past the Methodist Chapel, after which you turn left (signed Guiting Power (gated road)). This takes you along the bottom of a steep-sided valley through true Cotswold grassland countryside to Hawling Lodge. Continue along this lane until reaching Guiting Power (approximately 1.25 miles).
9. By the school, turn left following the Wardens Way sign, and turn left again at the next junction. Continue on through the village for approximately one mile, passing a Baptist Chapel and the Hollow Bottom pub. On leaving the village, the road continues for approximately three-quarters of a mile down a hill and round a bend. At the bottom of this hill turn right back to the starting point down the single-track lane signed Kineton.
Parking is possible at most times of the year on wide grass verges just north of Guiting Power, or at the car park shown on the OS map east of Guiting Wood. Although the latter is in a lovely location - especially for waiting vehicle drivers - it is very small. However, the route has been started here because it is closer to the other options suggested for anyone seeking a shorter drive/ride.
Insurance: The BHS recommends that before undertaking any part of this route, both horse and rider should be adequately insured against public liability. The British Horse Society can provide public liability and personal accident insurance cover as well as many benefits if you join as a member (terms and conditions and territorial limits apply). For more information or to join, visit our Membership section.
Feedback: These routes are kept to the standard that the local authority can afford. They were all accessible at the lime of launch and are on definitive public rights of way. If you experience any problems with the routes or wish to raise any concerns, please contact the local authority, your local BHS Access Officer or the Access Team at BHS HQ via email@example.com.