Chipping Campden – Drover’s Hill – Broadway Tower – Broadway round
Gloucestershire is a county in South West England split into three areas, the major part of the Cotswold Hills, part of the flat fertile valley of the River Severn and the entire Forest of Dean. It borders with the counties of Gwent in Wales to the west, Herefordshire to the northwest, Worcestershire to the north Warwickshire to the northeast, Oxfordshire to the east, Wiltshire to the south and Bristol and Somerset to the southwest. Gloucestershire’s county town and only city is Gloucester and has 32 towns. The charming Cotswolds villages and towns and quaint cottages and buildings gained much of their character from the yellow limestone that was quarried locally. The area was once entirely dependent on sheep farming and many of the fine churches and manor houses owe their existence to the generosity of the wealthy medieval yeoman farmers and wool merchants. The valley of Britain’s longest river, the River Severn, is flat with lush meadows along its banks and is famous for its tidal bore. The views across the River Severn are outstanding and its estuary is a haven for wildfowl and wading birds. The Royal Forest of Dean sits between the Wye Valley, the Vale of Leadon and the Severn Valley and is one of England’s few remaining ancient forests. Covering 27,000 acres it was designated as a National Park in 1938. Full of magic and mystery the forest has been the inspiration for many great artists and writers including JRR Tolkien and JK Rowling.
Worcestershire is a county steeped in history and boasts miles of The Great Outdoors across rolling countryside and winding waterways. It borders Herefordshire to the west, Shropshire to the north-west, a small part of Staffordshire to the north, the West Midlands to the north east, Warwickshire to the east and Gloucestershire and the northern edge of the Cotswolds to the south. The Malvern Hills and the spa town of Malvern lie on the southern part of the border with Herefordshire. It is a county of arts and culture as well as having many historic houses, museums, country house gardens, two arboreta and Britain’s premier steam railway. Worcestershire’s towns and villages play an important role in everyday life but it also offers a varied experience for visitors exploring the area, including the historical city of Worcester, the quaint honey-coloured Cotswold village of Broadway and Great Malvern set high on the slopes of the Malvern Hills. The cathedral city of Worcester is the largest city and Redditch is the largest town. During the Middle Ages much of Worcestershire’s economy was the wool trade and many areas of its dense forest, such as Malvern Chase, were royal hunting grounds. In the 19th century Worcester was a centre for the manufacture of gloves, Kidderminster became a centre for carpet manufacture, Redditch specialised in the manufacture of needles, springs and hooks and Malvern became a centre in the rise in English spa towns due to Malvern water being believed to be very pure, containing nothing at all. From Roman times Droitwich Spa being situated on large deposits of salt was a centre of salt production. The county is also home to the world’s oldest continually published newspaper the Berrow’s Journal.
The Cotswolds are a range of hills covering an area of 25 miles across and 90 miles long and lie mainly within the counties of Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire but extend into parts of Wiltshire, Somerset, Worcestershire and Warwickshire. The spine of the Cotswolds runs southwest to northeast through the six counties particularly Gloucestershire, west Oxfordshire and south western Warwickshire. The Cotswolds have been designated as the Cotswold Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and is the largest AONB in England and Wales. The northern and western edges of the Cotswolds are marked by steep escarpments down to the Severn Valley and the Warwickshire Avon and this escarpment is often called the Cotswolds Edge. On the eastern boundary lies the city of Oxford and on the west is Stroud. To the southeast the upper reaches of the Thames Valley and towns such as Lechlade, Tetbury and Fairford mark the limit of this region and to the south the boundary reaches beyond Bath and towns such as Chipping Sodbury and Marshfield. The Cotswolds are characterised by attractive small towns and villages built of the underlying Cotswold stone, a yellow limestone, and drystone walls many built in the 18th and 19th centuries can be seen everywhere in the fields. The most well known towns or villages are Bourton-on-the-Water, Broadway, Burford, Chipping Norton, Cirencester, Moreton-in-Marsh, Northleach, Stow-on-the-Wold, Stroud and Winchcombe. During the 13th – 15th centuries the native Cotswold sheep were famous throughout Europe for their heavy fleeces and high quality of wool. Cotswold wool came at a high price and the wealth generated by the wool trade enabled wealthy traders to leave their mark by building fine houses and beautiful churches, known as “wool churches”. Today the sight of the sheep on the hillside is still one of the most common features of the Cotswolds. Worcestershire is a county steeped in history and boasts miles of The Great Outdoors across rolling countryside and winding waterways. It is a county of arts and culture as well as having many historic houses, museums, country house gardens, two arboreta and Britain’s premier steam railway.
Chipping Campden is a lovely market town in the Cotswold district of Gloucestershire with an elegant long and broad High Street flanked on either side by an almost unbroken single terrace made up of many different architectural styles. The honey-coloured Cotswold stone buildings date from the 14th century to the 17th century. In 1970 the High Street and much of the rest of the town was officially designated a conservation area to preserve the ancient town for centuries to come. The ancient Market Hall was built in 1627 by Sir Baptist Hicks costing £90.00. It was built to provide shelter for the local market selling cheese, butter and poultry. Each corner of the building has a pediment and each gable had a window which is now blocked up. The side arches have stone balustrades and the floor is paved with stone. In the Middle Ages Chipping Campden was a rich wool trading centre visited by wealthy wool merchants but today it is a popular tourist destination with old inns, hotels, restaurants and specialist shops.
Dover’s Hill is a natural amphitheatre of grass and woodland on a spur of the Cotswold scarp about a mile northwest of Chipping Campden and the wonderful views are extensive over the surrounding countryside. Dover’s Hill is home to the Cotswold Olympic Games founded by the lawyer Robert Dover in 1612 long before the modern Olympic Games were established and were held on Thursday and Friday of the week of Whitsuntide. He originally organized the games as a protest against the growing Puritanism. After being banned twice over religious and land disputes the Cotswold version of the games were revived in 1966 and are held on the first Friday after the Spring Bank Holiday. A huge bonfire and firework display mark the end of the games followed by a torch-lit procession back into the town and dancing to a local band in the square. The Scuttlebrook Wake takes place the following day. The Olympic torch passed through Chipping Campden on 1st July 2012.
Broadway Tower at 20 metres (65 feet) tall stands on ground at 312 metres (1024 feet). It is the highest little castle in the Cotswolds and the second highest point on the Cotswold Ridge. Overlooking Broadway this lovely Saxon tower was designed by James Wyatt in 1794 to resemble a mock castle and built in 1799 for Lady Coventry. Broadway Tower built on a beacon hill where beacons were lit on special occasions is a perfect example of an 18th century Gothic folly from which it is possible to view an expanse of a 62 mile radius and as many as 16 counties across the Vales of Evesham and Gloucester and on a clear day across the Severn Valley and as far as the Welsh mountains. Over the years the tower was home to the printing press of Sir Thomas Phillipps and served as a country retreat for artists William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones in the 1880’s. William Morris was so inspired by the tower and other ancient buildings that he founded the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings in 1877. Broadway Tower has been featured on many TV programmes and in cinema films such as Sherlock Holmes, The Gemini Factor, Interceptor, Crush and many others. Near the tower is a memorial to the crew of an A.W.38 Whitley bomber that crashed there during a training mission in June 1943. Broadway Tower is now a tourist attraction at the centre of a country park with exhibitions connected with its past and the surrounding area. There is a gift shop and restaurant and there is a fee to climb to the top of the Tower.
Broadway often referred to as the ‘Jewel of the Cotswolds’ is a village in the Worcestershire part of the Cotswolds. It lies beneath the Worcestershire hills attracting visitors from all over the world drawn to the beauty and attractions of this charming Cotswold stone village. The ‘broad way’ is the wide grass-fringed main street centred on The Green which is lined with red chestnut trees and honey-coloured Cotswold limestone buildings, many dating from the 16th century. Broadway is a centre for arts and antiques and a great destination in which to explore the Cotswolds or to see the horse racing during Cheltenham Gold Cup week it is also a great place to stay whether for the day, a short break or a holiday. The long distance footpath the Cotswold Way passes through the village which is popular with hill walkers. Part of the route from the village to Broadway Tower situated on top of Broadway Hill is very popular it maybe a steep climb but it is well worth it.
The Cotswold Way is a 102 mile long national trail that runs from the market town of Chipping Campden in the north to the World Heritage City of Bath in the south. The route runs for most of its length on the Cotswold escarpment which is a ridge through the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Along with its stunning views it passes through many picturesque villages and close to a number of historic sites. In 1998 the trail, after much lobbying, was approved by the government for its development as a National Trail. It is a very special designation and was formally launched as a National Trail in May 2007. The trail is said to be the best marked trail in England. In some locations the Cotswold Way is being diverted from its old route along new and improved paths. Where this occurs the old path will remain open but will no longer be signed as the Cotswold Way. The Cotswold Way has been twinned with a scenic coastal walk in South Korea to become one of the World’s first ‘friendship trails’.
We walk up the High Street past the old Market Hall to the church where we turn right following the Cotswold Way sign on the lamp post then left up the no-through lane. The lane becomes a track and after passing a farm on our left we keep heading uphill on the path until we reach the road. We turn left along the road for a short way then turn right at the sign post and head uphill between the hedges to go through a gate. We turn left and follow the bank to the top of Dover’s Hill. We then make our way across the car park to the road and then turn left through the gate on the left through the fields. When we come to the crossroads we cross straight over and turn right onto the path following the road on our right. At the end of the field we cross over the stile and bear left into the trees. We soon come out into the open and follow the path through a long narrow grass field called The Mile Drive. At the end of the Mile Drive we go over the stile and head forwards over the field to the road. We cross straight over the road and go over the stile and follow the path through the field to a gate. We go through the gate and turn left downhill to a picnic area. We make our way to the car park and cross over the A44 road and take the lane to the right. We keep following the Cotswold Way past a quarry on the left and then we walk between two buildings and through the wood to a gate. We go through the gate and head forwards across the fields to go through a large metal gate and Broadway Tower. After visiting the tower we go back to the large metal gate and turn left and continue following the Cotswold Way downhill through the fields. We come to a gate at a field corner we go through and keep heading forwards to walk between the buildings to the road. We now turn left to have a look at Broadway then return to here and continue forward for a short way to turn left at the footpath sign next to the house with the big black beams. We follow the alley way crossing a little lane until we come out to an open field we turn right following the hedge on the right. At the end of the field we go through the gate and turn right then left under the A44. We take the gate opposite and bear right uphill to another gate and turn left uphill through the field heading forwards through two more gates. We bear right uphill to the trees at the far side. We head forwards uphill crossing over the tarmac lane to a seat. At the seat we turn left through the gate and follow the bridle way through the trees. We come out at the golf course and follow the path at the side which leads into the trees. We are soon out of the trees and keep following the path with a field on our left. When we get to the road we cross straight over and bear left then right at the yellow arrow. We head downhill towards the church steeple. We go through the gate on the right and make our way downhill to go through the churchyard then turn right down the path. At the road we turn right again for a short way then take the footpath on the left the sign is hidden by the trees. We head forwards with a farm building on our right to go through a gate. We head forwards to a gate with a yellow arrow and turn right. We follow the hedge line to the end of the field and turn right again. We head forwards and at the second stile we turn left. We keep following the path downhill to go over a stile and a track. Head forwards over a stream and bear right uphill to the field corner. We go through the gate and head towards to the road. We cross over the road and turn right to Dover’s Hill. We now retrace our steps back to Chipping Campden.
This is an easy to moderate walk, using some of the Cotswold Way, on paths and tracks along lanes and through fields. There are a number of gates and stiles and some inclines and declines.
Elevation: approx lowest point 87.40m (286.75ft) approx highest point 312m (1023.62ft)
Distance and Start Point
Approx 11.7 miles allow 4¾ hours using OS Explorer Map OL45, The Cotswolds. Allow extra time to visit the tower.
Start point: The High Street, Chipping Campden.
Chipping Campden, in the Cotswolds, Gloucestershire.
Directions and Parking
From the M40 take junction 15 then take the A429 towards Moreton-on-Marsh. At the roundabout joining with the A3400 Stratford-upon-Avon and Shipston-on-Stour head straight over still on the A429 and after about 3 miles take the B4035 on the right to Chipping Campden. There is a one way system.
Parking: There is a car park in the Market Place (50p per hour) and at the back of the church. Free road side parking along High Street and Lower High Street. There is also a free car park at Dover’s Hill.
Toilets and Refreshments
There are public toilets in Sheep Street at Chipping Campden, in the car park at Broadway and at the car park and picnic area near Broadway Tower. For refreshments there are ample cafes, pubs and shops in both places and also in Broadway Tower.