Ebworth Centre Cotswolds walk
Cranham Common, Cranham, GloucestershireRoute details and mapDownload as a print friendly PDF
This walk gives you the chance to explore all the features that make the Cotswolds so special – steep valleys, exhilarating views, beautiful limestone grassland, magnificent beech woodlands and two honey coloured villages where time seems to stand still.
- Bus stop
Start: Cranham Common, by the primary school, grid ref: SO893125
From Cranham School, take the path upwards to the left of the school, then bear right, following the stone track. Reaching a bend, follow the path straight on into a wooded area until you reach a cottage.
St George's Field, Cranham and Sheepscombe Commons are all first class examples of unimproved limestone grassland, featuring an array of grasses and wild flowers, including pyramidal orchids and common rock-rose. They are teeming with wildlife in spring and summer and are an excellent place to spot butterflies. Cranham Common has recently been purchased by the Cranham Common Trust on behalf of the residents.
Turn right, out of the gate, then take the path to the left into a woodland. Cross the brook at Gladys Leap, head diagonally to the right over a field to a kissing gate, then through one more field, straight across to another kissing gate.
Gladys Leap is the spot where former postwoman, Gladys Hillier, used to jump over the little brook in order to avoid a 2 mile (3.2km) detour on her post round. The place was officially named in her honour by Ordnance Survey in 1977, following a request from the villagers. The story also attracted attention after the folk band Fairport Convention named an album after the spot. A few years ago, the Cotswold Voluntary Wardens built a small footbridge to allow everyone to cross the brook dry-shod.
On the track, go right and continue following the tarmac track. Take path on the left, heading towards the woods. Once in the woods, turn right and follow the footpath signs along the edge of Saltridge Wood.
The commons are grazed by Welsh black cattle all year round, which keeps the grassland open and prevents the development of scrub, and eventually woodland. The grazing of the commons is managed in a partnership between the National Trust and Natural England.
At a crossing, take the right fork, then keep right following the path and right again at the next fork. Turn left where the path forks, go up a short slope and follow the bridleway to the right.
The cricket ground on the left was bought by the author Laurie Lee for the local cricket club and is one of the most idyllic in the county. Enter Sheepscombe Common and continue on the bridleway. Ignoring the gate to the left, follow the track, then take a path on the left leading up into St. Georges Field. There, follow the direction of the footpath arrow straight over the field.
On entering the wood, follow the path for a good while. Eventually, follow it left and up out of the woods. Head left to the National Trust Ebworth Centre. Beech is the characteristic tree in the Cotswolds as it's best adapted to utilise the thin, calcareous soil found throughout the area.
What you see today are the remains of the old estate centre which now house offices and a workshop for local craftsmen. The trees around the Ebworth Estate were originally grown for timber and make up remarkable woodland, which in spring features an abundance of bluebells and wild garlic.
Head straight on through the yard of the Ebworth Centre, and continue following the footpath up through two fields and a little woodland. Go straight over the field, heading towards a field gate in the hedgerow - do not take this gate, but the one to the right. Go straight across the next field, through the gate then follow the waymarker posts for the bridleway all the way down the field, then over the little brook to the right.
Turn left into the woods. You are now back on Cranham Common. Continue straight on, back to the school.
End: Cranham Common, by the primary school, grid ref: SO893125
- Trail: Walking
- Grade: Moderate
- Distance: 4 miles (6.4km)
- Time: 2 hours to 3 hours
- OS Map: Explorer 179; Landranger 163
Some steeper climbs and uneven terrain. Two possible shortcuts are marked on the map. The ground in the woods can be very muddy, even in summer, so wellies or sturdy boots are advisable. Please put dogs on a lead where livestock is present.
- How to get here:
By foot: Wide network of public footpaths; the Cotswold Way and Wysis Way close by
By bus: Buses stop at Cranham; please see Traveline for more information
By car: From Gloucester, Cheltenham or Stroud take A46 (or, B4070) and turn off for Cranham. Park to the east of the village on edge of Buckholt Wood, or on roadsides on the common. Postcode for Satnav is GL4 8HS
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