2007: A Long-Distance Footpath in England is Promoted to National Trail

May 24, 2007

The Cotswold Way, a footpath in southwestern England, was officially designated a National Trail. National Trails encompass long-distance footpaths and bridleways in both England and Wales and are administered by Natural England, a non-departmental public agency of the United Kingdom; and Natural Resources Wales, a Welsh Government-sponsored body that was formed in 2013 following a merger of Countryside Council for Wales, Environment Agency Wales, and the Forestry Commission Wales. The Cotswold Way covers 102 miles (164 kilometers) between the market town of Chipping Campden in the north and the city of Bath in the south.

The Ramblers Association, a British organization established in 1935 to promote the benefits of walking as well as routes used for that purpose, had long championed the cause of making the Cotswold Way a National Trail. One of the association’s biggest advocates in this regard was Cyril Trenfield. A bench in his memory can now be found at the section of the Cotswold Way located near Dyrham Park, a Baroque Era country house.  

The Cotswold Way runs mostly along the Cotswold Edge enscarpment of that region of England. This trail passes through a large number of scenic villages. The Cotswold Way also courses near major historic sites, including not only Dyrham Park but also Sudeley Castle (dating back to the 15th century) in the vicinity of the market town of Winchcombe; and the ancient facilities known as the Roman Baths in the eponymous city that marks the trail’s southern endpoint.

In an article published in the Wall Street Journal in 2011, North Carolina lawyer and writer Jonathan Maxwell described his own experiences walking on the Cotswold Way. “The trail takes amblers along hillsides and through fields, woodlands and idyllic towns, with names like Birdlip, Chipping Campden and Little Sodbury,” noted Maxwell. “History is everywhere; prehistoric bands, Celts and Romans all traveled the Cotswold Way, each group leaving its mark and building upon those left by others.”

Photo Credit: Caroline Tandy (licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/deed.en)

For more information on the Cotswold Way, please check out https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cotswold_Way

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