Haresfield Beacon walk

Walking trail

Haresfield Beacon Estate incorporates a variety of woodlands and grassland areas high on the Cotswold scarp. Today the estate provides open public access where people can appreciate the beautiful landscape, superb views and abundance of wildlife. There is also a long history of occupation, where the evidence of which can be found on this walk. Take in the major archaeological features and monuments and appreciate the estate from a different perspective.

Views from the Haresfield Beacon in Gloucestershire


Map route for Haresfield Beacon walk


National Trust car park Shortwood, grid ref. SO832085


Leave the car park via the gap in the wall and take the top track through the woods following the Cotswold Way markers for 1 mile (1.6km).


After 1.2 miles cross the track ('Robbers' Road') and follow the path to the right. Look out for an elongated mound on either side as the path cuts through it - an iron age cross dyke –and a few metres further on your right the small round barrows. Follow the wide path for 400m until you see the grass covered long barrow on your right. Head up the steep little paths to the top of the long barrow to fully appreciate the scale of the monument. Subsequent quarrying and tree planting have perhaps reduced its' significance in the landscape.

Read more


Follow the path off the barrow, opposite to the direction you walked up through the open woodland and the track ahead (Robbers Road) where you will re-join the Cotswold Way. Turn left and follow it for 400m. You will pass a small bench on your left overlooking a wildflower meadow with views across the Stroud Valleys. Continue along the Cotswold Way until you come to a small parking area (Ash Lane).


From Ash Lane car park - with stunning views over the Severn Vale - take the stone track down to the right. Just after 'Jackdaw Quarry' turn right past the green metal gate and head along the track for approximately 400m until the track divides. You'll see several barriers, one on your right then one straight ahead, ignore these and bear left down the steep stony track.


Emerging from the woods (leaving NT property), follow the footpath sign to the left and enter the field through the gate. The view shows the Forest of Dean and May Hill (the one with the clump of trees on the top, also NT). Go straight across this field and turn right across the second field, and through two wooden field gates at the end. These gates can sometimes be padlocked so you may need to climb over them.


On the road, turn left. At the bend, turn down the track to Tudor Farm. About 20 metres down the track go left over the stile (footpath sign) and steeply up across four fields.


You are back on NT land. Turn left and immediately sharp right up the steep grass path to get to Haresfield Beacon and Ring Hill. If you prefer a more gradual climb, just turn right and follow the grass track with an old wall on your right (you will miss the Beacon). Up at the Beacon, keep right. From the small footpath, you will enjoy views towards Gloucester and the Malvern Hills. Go through a small wooden gate and you will see the recently cleared Ring Hill ramparts part of the Iron Age hill fort.

Read more


Before the small Beacon car park, take the steps down to the right, following the Cotswold Way markers (eventually meeting up with the alternative path again).


On reaching the grassland, keep following the Cotswold Way markers towards the toposcope. Once there follow the track straight down for 250 metres to the twin round barrows. These would have once been layered stone features seen from miles around. You can stand on top and appreciate the views with Ring Hill and Beacon to your right and Severn Vale ahead.


Walk back up the track, towards the toposcope, but bear right past the wooden bench until you come to the ditch and mound 50 metres further on. This is the medieval woodland boundary and can be followed back to the car park.

Read more


National Trust car park Shortwood, grid ref. SO832085

You made it

Following this trail on mobile or tablet? Share your experience.

Haresfield Beacon walk


The route follows stoned woodland tracks, natural grassy paths and undulating ground. Dogs are welcome but they should be kept under close control in the woods and on leads when walking through areas grazed by livestock.

Haresfield Beacon walk

Contact us

Haresfield Beacon walk

How to get here

Haresfield Beacon, Post code GL6 6PP
By train

The nearest train stations are Stroud and Gloucester.

By road

From Stroud, head uphill past Whiteshill, then take a left in the sharp bend (past the Bird in Hand) to get to the car park. From Gloucester take the A4173; take a right turn at Edge, then turn right off the main road to get to the car park.

By bus

From Merrywalks bus station in Stroud take bus No. 93 to the 'Bird in Hand' bus stop. From Gloucester bus station, take the bus No. 93 to the 'Scotsquar' bus stop.

By bicycle

The National Cycle Route 45 goes through Stroud. It's a very steep ascent from both Gloucester and Stroud. There are bike racks available at Cripplegate car park. 

Haresfield Beacon walk

Facilities and access

  • Open countryside and public rights of way
  • Pay and display car park (NT members park for free) but no immediate toilet facilities
  • Ice cream vendor in car park (seasonal/weather dependent)