The Walk from Edge to Haresfield is a special walk across the beacon and through some very nice woodland. I utilised the local bus service to get to and from this walk, this time travelling from Stroud on the 66 bus. It is also doable on the 63 bus as well. The bus travels between Gloucester and Stroud, so this walk is easy to start from Gloucester as well.
The Walk to Haresfield
Key sites and features of the trek through this area of the county.
The National Trust manages Standish Woods, a beautiful hillside woodland area. The woods are popular with hikers, dog walkers, and mountain bikers. There are various trails through the woods and plenty of views or wildlife to see.
Haresfield Beacon is a 0.73-hectare geological Site of Special Scientific Interest in Gloucestershire. It is great for walking or visiting to enjoy the views of the Cotswolds. The Beacon is owned and managed by the national trust, and they have well-maintained car parks at the site. This also overlooks another local woodland called Randwick Woods, which is also great for walkers.
Haresfield is a small Gloucestershire village with a population of less than 400. It has a village pub called the Beacon Hotel, and a church called St Peter’s. There is a food crossing for the railway line and is a popular spot for train spotters.
The Cotswold Way
The Cotswold Way is a 102-mile footpath, running along the Cotswold Edge escarpment of the Cotswold Hills. It is a popular route for multi-day or week-long hikes through the area, or sections of it for day-long walks.
The route of the Cotswold Way runs from Bath to Chipping Campden or in reverse, depending where you wish to end. Villages and towns on the route include Wotton-under-Edge, Dursley, Stroud, Painswick, Cranham, Leckhampton, Cheltenham, Winchcombe, Stanway and Broadway. Highlights of the walk include Sudeley Castle, Cleeve Hill, Hailes Abbey, and the iconic Broadway Tower.
After Disembarking from the bus on the main road, I took a few minutes to admire the views of the valley and opposite hills. After consulting the map, I headed down the narrow country lane that heads towards Randwick. This led to some splendid views of farmland, hills and over towards the Whiteshill area of Stroud.
After a while, you reach the marked footpath that either enables you to walk in the woods or downhill towards Stroud. This section is part of the famous Cotswolds Way long-distance walk that heads from Haresfield Beacon to Stroud.
The path into Standish Woods was easy to find and an area much walked by the @aboutglos boots. The walking path takes you into the woodland with occasional views of the valleys and beacon. Lucky for me it was a quiet day, but more often than not you will see fellow hikers and off-road cyclists enjoying the trails.
This part of the walk if uphill through the woods and is pretty. In the summer it is lush green, but after autumn the views open up to see more of the countryside. There is plenty of wildlife about to sit and observe, including songbirds, squirrels and lots of faunas.
Haresfield Beacon Views Galore.
After a good uphill walk, you arrive at Standish Wood Carpark. This attracts many dog walkers, and people come to enjoy the view. From the car park, there is a well-trodden path towards the Haresfield Topograph.
The Topograph is a to-scale structure of the surrounding area with places marked on it. This is a great place to see for miles, including towards The Severn Bridge on a cloudless day. The fields here have a few tufts of trees and cows roam freely, grazing and minding their own business.
From here the walk takes you towards the boundary made from Cotswold stone wall and towards Shortwood National Trust car park. This takes you through meadows and is a great place to sit and watch birds of prey hovering above, waiting for dinner.
From Shortwood car park, there is a narrow footpath hugging the edge of the valley leading to the highest point of the beacon. This area has superb views of the Severn Estuary and local hills. I enjoyed a well-deserved beer to celebrate reaching the highest point of my day walking. The trig point is about 217 metres above sea level.
There were some cows loitering not far away and spotted some unknown mushrooms growing in the grass near the trig point. After enjoying a beer and packing up my rubbish, I readied my legs for the walk down to the village of Haresfield.
Downhill From The Beacon
The path to follow is the Cotswold way until you reach the farm buildings on the main road. There are options to walk down the hill either through fields of following the steep road into the village. I opted for the roadway, picking some chestnuts from the ground on the way downhill. The plan was to roast these with salt and this comes out well, an enjoyable snack in the evening.
On reaching the village, a left turn took me to the Beacon Hotel, a pub near to the railway line. The pub was pleasant, with comfy seats and some outdoor tables. A nice place to end the walk.
I had two options either walk the lanes back to Hardwicke or walk through the fields towards Gloucester Road and catch the bus. This bus can either take you towards Gloucester or back to Stroud.