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Seven Springs and Leckhampton Hill

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Seven Springs and Leckhampton Hill
Author: Claire, Published: 28 Jan 2018 Walk Rating:star1 Seven Springs and Leckhampton Hill Walking Guide star1 Seven Springs and Leckhampton Hill Walking Guide star1 Seven Springs and Leckhampton Hill Walking Guide star1 Seven Springs and Leckhampton Hill Walking Guide star1 Seven Springs and Leckhampton Hill Walking Guide
Gloucestershire, Cheltenham
Walk Type: Hills, valleys and dales
Seven Springs and Leckhampton Hill
Length: 6 miles,  Difficulty: boot Seven Springs and Leckhampton Hill Walking Guide boot Seven Springs and Leckhampton Hill Walking Guide boot Seven Springs and Leckhampton Hill Walking Guide
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A 5.5 mile circular Cotswolds walk from the hamlet of Seven Springs, near Cheltenham in Gloucestershire. The route is a true Cotswolds classic, following a particularly beautiful and varied stretch of the Cotswold Way. You will encounter windswept hill-top grasslands, sheltered peaceful woodlands, panoramic views and the remains of both an Iron Age hillfort and a Victorian quarry.

The walk has several climbs and descents throughout, including a couple of steep slopes. The paths are unmade for almost the entire length, some stretches are rutted or rocky and can be muddy after rain and in winter. The short first and last stretches are along an access lane, so watch out for traffic on this part of the route. There are no stiles on route, but you will need to negotiate several simple bridle gates and one flight of steps. The hill-top grasslands that you pass through are used to graze cattle at times, although being part of the Cotswold Way, the paths are well-walked and the cattle are accustomed to walkers and dogs. Leckhampton Hill is a popular dog walking spot so there are likely to be plenty of dogs for your furry-friend to socialise with. Allow 2.5 to 3 hours.

Seven Springs is a small hamlet located about 4 miles south of Cheltenham in Gloucestershire, at the intersection of the A435 and the A436. The walk starts and finishes at the large parking lay-by directly opposite the Seven Springs pub. Approximate post code GL53 9NG. (If the parking lay-by is full, there is also a car park on Daisy Bank Road, alongside Waypoint 5, so you can adjust the walk to start there). There is a bus stop for Seven Springs (at the roundabout) if you are coming by public transport.

Walk Sections

Start to Minotaur Barn
Start to Minotaur Barn

Start point: 51.8513 lat, -2.0503 long
End point: 51.8582 lat, -2.0498 long

The walk starts in the parking lay-by opposite the Seven Springs pub. You may notice the sunken stream which divides the parking area from the road. The hamlet, as the name suggests, is home to seven natural springs that form the source of the River Chum, which in turn flows into the River Thames at Cricklade.

Standing in the lay-by, facing the road and pub opposite, turn left and join the pavement alongside the road, leading you uphill towards the roundabout. As you approach the roundabout, fork left to join the tarmac driveway which leads you to a second roundabout. As you draw level with this second roundabout, take the left-hand of the two roads visible ahead, a single-track country lane (signed as the Cotswold Way).

Follow this lane (taking care of traffic), later passing Windmill Farm on your left and a few smaller properties (including Little Acre) on your right. Further along (just after passing the Lambing Shed on your right), do NOT follow the lane as it bends left, instead go ahead to join the hedge-lined stone track. This is a continuation of the Cotswold Way and runs to the left of Minotaur Barn.

Minotaur Barn to Iron Age Hillfort
Minotaur Barn to Iron Age Hillfort

Start point: 51.8582 lat, -2.0498 long
End point: 51.8651 lat, -2.0709 long

At the end of the first fenced pasture on your left, you will come to a fingerpost on your right. Turn left here, staying on the Cotswold Way and passing through a bridle gate to enter a pasture. NOTE: You may come across cattle from this point onwards. Walk ahead up the hill for a few paces to reach a fork. Take the left-hand branch, which leads you through the trees. Continue following the Cotswold Way path (marked with the acorn symbol) as it emerges from the trees and leads you along the top edge of the grass hillside (with a hedgerow on your left). Keep your eyes peeled for green woodpeckers that are often seen in this area.

At the end of this first field, pass through the bridle gate and walk straight ahead on the stone path which climbs steeply with a beautiful stone wall running on your left. As the path begins to level off, your climb is rewarded with amazing far reaching views across Cheltenham and beyond. Keep ahead on the ridge-top path for just over a mile, as it meanders between gorse bushes. There are several handy benches along this stretch, ideal for enjoying the views. At the end of this stretch, the path climbs up a short wall embankment (actually old ramparts) to reach the next bridle gate. This marks the start of the old Iron Age Hillfort.

Iron Age Hillfort to Viewpoint
Iron Age Hillfort to Viewpoint

Start point: 51.8651 lat, -2.0709 long
End point: 51.8644 lat, -2.0776 long

Pass through the gate and keep straight ahead on the Cotswold Way. The path winds through the woodland banks and, whilst there are many side branches, there are also many waymarker posts to keep you on track. Eventually you will pass an information board. Do NOT join the left-hand tarmac fork at this point, instead stay on the unmade Cotswold Way which passes the Leckhampton Hill summit trig point on your left.

Beyond the trig point, simply keep ahead along the right-hand edge of the grass hill-top plateau and you will come to the stone topograph viewpoint. Take time to enjoy the amazing views from this point. Many of the visible landmarks are marked on the topograph including Gloucester Cathedral and the Clee Hills. Leckhampton Hill is an important nature reserve with habitats which include unimproved calcareous grassland, woodland and scrub, cliff faces and scree slopes. The hill was home to an Iron Age hillfort, built between 500 and 100BC.

Viewpoint to Woodland Houses
Viewpoint to Woodland Houses

Start point: 51.8644 lat, -2.0776 long
End point: 51.8639 lat, -2.0801 long

Standing at the topograph facing the views, turn left to continue around the hill-top ridge path which swings steadily left. At the end of this clearing, the path passes between trees to reach an information board and fingerpost on your left.

At this point, we take a short detour to visit the Devil’s Chimney, an iconic Cotswold landmark. Turn right at the fingerpost and follow the path curving gradually right along this lower ridge. Just before the path begins to climb, look for a section of blue railings on your left. This is the upper viewpoint for the Devil’s Chimney, a limestone rock formation. Legend holds that the Devil's Chimney is the chimney of the Devil's dwelling deep beneath the ground. The truth is probably that the Devil's Chimney was left behind by 18th-century quarry workers, who quarried around it as a joke.

When you have finished at the Chimney, retrace your steps back the short distance to the fingerpost and turn right to continue on the Cotswold Way. Follow the path gently downhill through the first grass clearing (with three benches across to your right), through a narrower gap, through a second smaller clearing (with a single bench), and on to the beginning of a third larger clearing. Look to your right here and you will see a waymarker post sitting alongside the first bench in this third clearing.

Fork right here to reach the waymarker post and then, with care, turn sharp right onto the stone path leading you downhill and back on yourself. The path leads you into woodland, eventually descending a handful of steps and continuing ahead on a woodland ridge path. Beneath the leaf-litter on your left you should be able to make out the remnants of a tumbled-down stone wall. This dense woodland has an enchanted feel and, for most of the year, your journey is likely to be accompanied by birdsong. After about 0.25 miles, the woodland path leads you past the back gardens of a few houses on your left.

Woodland Houses to Daisy Bank Road
Woodland Houses to Daisy Bank Road

Start point: 51.8639 lat, -2.0801 long
End point: 51.8685 lat, -2.0726 long

Continue on the path past these houses and at this point remember to look up to your right for a fine view of the Devil’s Chimney from below. Stay on the woodland path and eventually you will emerge to a junction of seven paths, alongside an information board and the remains of old quarry buildings (visible to your right). Quarrying of the limestone here dates back for at least 400 years, with the most extensive work taking place between 1800 and 1920. There was a network of tram roads and inclines that were used to carry away the stone, which was mainly used for roads rather than building purposes. Today, only the foundations of the lime kilns remain.

Take the main path to the left at this junction (marked with a low concrete sign as the public footpath to Leckhampton). Follow this old tramway as it leads you quite steeply downhill. At the bottom of the hill you will emerge out through a gate to a junction with Daisy Bank Road.

Daisy Bank Road to Crossroads
Daisy Bank Road to Crossroads

Start point: 51.8685 lat, -2.0726 long
End point: 51.8668 lat, -2.058 long

Turn right and follow the quiet access lane, passing Daisy Bank House on your left and then passing between a handful of modern properties. Stay with the lane, which now becomes a rough stone track, with the steep grass and rock slopes of Leckhampton Hill up to the right (the top of which was our outward path). After 0.5 miles you will reach a pair of gates ahead.

Pass through the bridle gate and, a few paces along, you will reach a fork in the path. Take the right-hand branch, a narrow path which climbs gently, winds along the bottom of the grass hillside and then leads you through a beautiful coppiced woodland. Towards the end of this woodland, pass a waymarker post on your right and, just a few metres later, you will come to an obvious crossroads with another waymarker post.

Crossroads to End
Crossroads to End

Start point: 51.8668 lat, -2.058 long
End point: 51.8515 lat, -2.0503 long

Turn right here and continue on this wide stone track, with the escarpment hillside up to your right and a wire fence running to your left. Follow this track for some distance, passing through a bridle gate and then climbing through woodland to reach a fingerpost on your left. This marks a footpath junction that you should recognise from the outward leg.

From this point, you will be retracing your steps back to the start. Keep ahead on the stone track (now part of the Cotswold Way). At the end of the track, keep ahead to join the single-track country lane and follow this all the way down to the roundabouts junction. Keep straight ahead to join the tarmac driveway, passing the first roundabout on your left. As you reach the second roundabout, join the narrower roadside pavement and follow this down the hill to reach the lay-by on your right where the walk began.

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Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2018 by iFootpath and the author clairesharpuk and may not be reproduced without permission.

2 Comments for: "Seven Springs and Leckhampton Hill"

Really lovely walk with some spectacular views. Took about 3 hours including lunch stop.

By Cornes on 23 Jun 2018

Lovely varied walk that took us 4 hours. Great variation in landscape with woodland and hills with some great views over the area.

By louisehgardn on 02 May 2018

The information in this guide has been provided in good faith and is intended only as a guide, not a statement of fact. You are advised to check the accuracy of the information provided and should not use this guide for navigational directions nor should you rely on the accuracy of the weather forecast. You are advised to take appropriate clothing, footwear, equipment and navigational materials with you according to the current and possible weather and nature of the terrain. Always follow the country code and follow any additional warnings or instructions that may be available. Some walks may be very strenuous and you are advised to seek medical advice if you have any doubts as to your capability to complete the walk.

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