Gloucestershire Countryside, Waterways and Nature Reserves

The county of Gloucestershire has some stunning and varied countryside for people to enjoy. There’s lots of farmland that forms some great habitats for wildlife. The county has many lakes, rivers and other waterways, most of which are photogenic.

Gloucestershire Countryside

Farm Fields

The countryside of rural Gloucestershire is very nice for those that enjoy the great outdoors. There are hills, forests and rivers to explore at your leisure and many farms and the scenery that comes with that.

Forest of Dean

The ancient woodlands of the Forest of Dean are a joy to explore in all seasons and possibly see some local wildlife. Particularly special places include Cannop ponds and Mallards Pike, both are lakes surrounded by woods and a hive of natural beauty. The Wye Valley AONB forms part of the forest and consists of limestone gorges, river rapids, and some stunning views.

Cycle from mallards pike in the Forest of Dean

Cotswold Hills

The Cotswold Hills is a long stretch of rolling yellow limestone hills with lots of stunning countryside scenery to soak up. Particularly beautiful are Rodborough common, Painswick Beacon, Haresfield beacon and the 5 valleys of Stroud. There is some very nice woodland at Randwick Woods which is just near to the Haresfield Beacon viewpoint.

Rodborough Common

Severn Valley & Estuary

The River Severn cuts through the county, most of which near Gloucester and Tewkesbury are on its flood plain. The river is a beautiful place to walk along, especially south of Gloucester, heading towards the estuary.

River Severn at Elmore Back

Nature Reserves & Hidden Gems

There are many hidden gem nature reserves in Gloucestershire. Not well publicised but small areas of outstanding natural beauty, sometimes in the most unlikely of places. These are usually places of peace and tranquillity that you can visit and feel out of the rat race of the modern world.

Our Current Hidden Gem Places of Tranquility.

Westonbirt Arboretum in The Cotswolds

The historic, Victorian, picturesque landscape and internationally important tree and shrub collection. The Forestry Commission manages this, however, is supported by the Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum. Based in Tetbury, this is a stunning place to visit in all seasons but shines with colour in Autumn.

Batsford Arboretum in The Cotswolds

Batsford Arboretum

Batsford Arboretum and Garden Centre are home to a rich botanical collection available to visitors all year round. The Arboretum, perched on a South-facing slope, presents its trees and plants from an unusual angle against the backdrop of the Evenlode Valley.

Barnwood Arbouretum in Gloucester

Barnwood Arbouretum

Barnwood Arboretum is a local nature reserve within Barnwood Park and belongs to Gloucester City Council. The arboretum has many mature trees and unimproved grassland, providing habitat for birds, insects and small mammals. They manage the grass by grazing rare breed sheep in the winter.

The Friends of Barnwood Arboretum are helping to develop and maintain the site and also planting new trees while developing a wildflower meadow. They are on Church Lane, Barnwood, Gloucester, Gloucestershire, GL4 3JB.

Also on the site, in a repurposed church, is a gym that is popular with fitness fanatics. This gym great place to work out or however for the less inclined the park is a great place for jogging. Near to the park are a few pubs, including the Turmot Hoer in Abbeydale and also The Royal Oak on Hucclecote Road.


River Wye

This includes the River Severn, River Wye, River Chelt, River Frome, Gloucester Docks, Gloucester-Sharpness Canal, Stroudwater Navigation and Cotswold Water Park. The source of the River Thames at Thames Head is also near to Cirencester. The rivers and canals of Gloucestershire are great places for hiking, fishing or to have a picnic.

Gloucestershire Farmland

Farmland Hardwicke

Farming is everywhere in rural Gloucestershire, and most of the countryside you visit for walking is part of a farm. The county’s farms produce an array of crops from staple grans to everyday fruit and vegetables. The farming community of Gloucestershire rear cattle and sheep, as a result you can purchase locally reared meat at one of the many local farm shops.

Corn Field Hardwicke

One of the joyous times of the year to explore the county’s farmland is after harvest, and also when the crops are in full bloom. The post harvest fields are a joy to explore and photograph because of the new colours and visibility. One of the most vibrant crops grown in the county is oilseed rape with is distinctive yellow flowers. If you like to see young animals, the spring is the best time of the year to visit cattle or shop farms, however it is best not to get too close if dog walking.