British Walking Federation


CONTACT: Nick & Jacqui Wakelam, 4 Lamley gardens, Graham Street, Penrith, CA11 9LR
Tel: 01768 840978   Email:

ENTRY FEE: £1.00 per walker (cheques payable to Thames Valley Walking Club)
AWARD: Currently no award.
ENTRY SYSTEM: Postal only
START VENUE: Public car park (free) at Gateway Visitors Centre Cotswold Water Park, Spine Road (East), South Cerney, Gloucs. GL7 5TL (Map: OS Explorer 169 or OS 1:50k Landranger 163 GR SU 073972)
DIRECTIONS TO START: The Visitors Centre (VC) is just off the A419 at the Spine Road junction between Cirencester and Swindon. The junction is signposted Ashton Keynes and Cotswold Water Park (B4696). Once on the Spine Road the VC is the first left turn after the bridge. It shares a car park with the large Cotswold outdoor shop.
CAR PARKING: Free car park at the Gateway Visitor Centre
PUBLIC TRANSPORT: The Stagecoach 51 bus between Swindon and Cheltenham stops on Spine Road near the Gateway VC at hourly intervals (see website for more details). Nearest rail station is Swindon (c12 miles)
TERRAIN: Footpaths, tracks and towpath, plus a few minor roads. Can be very muddy after wet weather along some sections. Flat walk with no hills and only a couple of gentle inclines. The walk is not suitable for pushchairs or wheelchairs as there are a number of stiles and kissing gates (NB a number of old gates and stiles are being replaced with new metal KG by the Council, so please bear this in mind when following these directions). The Water Park is still under development and so it is possible that there may be short diversions on this route, however these are usually well signposted. Please adhere to the Countryside Code at all times.
REFRESHMENTS: Cafe and toilets available at start at the Gateway VC during normal opening hours. There are also pubs at Cerney Wick (The Crown Inn) and South Cerney (Eliot Arms & Old George Inn), all on the route. There are also a general stores, post office, pharmacy and fish & chip shop in South Cerney.
ROUTE SUMMARY: This mainly rural flat walk takes you around part of the Cotswold Water Park along sections of the now disused Thames & Severn Canal and old Cricklade to Cirencester Railway. The picturesque Cotswold village of South Cerney, with shops and pubs is c1/2 of the way around the trail.

ROUTE DESCRIPTION (Route last updated 30th January 2017)

TR = Turn right     TL = Turn Left     SO = Straight on     CO = Cross over     BR = Bear right     BL = Bear Left
SP = Signpost     RHS = Right Hand Side     LHS = Left hand Side     FP = Footpath     BW = Bridleway
TJ = T-Junction.

Start from the car park at the Gateway Visitors Centre. With Cotswold shop on your RHS cross the gravel car park and head along the wooden fence towards the road bridge At canal TR and follow towpath with canal on LHS for c1,300m ignoring all turnings.

Just after passing an old roundhouse on LHS, by a derelict canal lock, go through wide gap in fence to minor road. TR, passing The Crown @ Cerney Wick on LHS. At road TJ cross road with care and SO over stile with stone steps into field. SO with fence on LHS towards stone cottage. Cross stone and metal stile onto minor lane.

Q1: What is the name of the cottage across the lane?

Cross lane with care and go through metal KG and continue SO along path with cottage on RHS. Go through another KG and SO over a stone stile, then follow FP between fences with lake on RHS, taking care to avoid rabbit/badger holes on path. Continue on the path as it bends right and then left, then left again down steps and through hedge. Cross wooden plank bridge and through wooden squeeze stile. Follow wide, enclosed path. Go through KG to reach track (disused rail line).; TR on track SP South Cerney 1.5m. Follow this track for c1,300m, ignoring all turnings to reach metal gate and main road. Cross this busy road with great care.

Q2: What is the maximum Headroom for the car park through the bridge arch?

Continue in the same direction under bridge, SP BW and National Cycle Route 45, passing car park on LHS. Follow BW SO until it eventually meets a road. BL and continue on path across tarmac driveway (The Landings) and then SO parallel to the road. Cross another tarmac drive and continue SO on tarmac pavement with houses on LHS to CO Kingfisher Place. When pavement ends, cross road with care and TL and continue along pavement. CO The Lennards and continue in same direction passing red post box.

Q3: What is the last collection time from this post box on a Saturday?

At road junction, with old stone cross ahead, TR along Clarks Hays, then cross road when safe to do so and TL into Meadow Way TR into Churn Close and follow to end. SO along footpath with wooden fence on LHS. BL and continue with cottages on LHS and brook on RHS. At end of cottages TR onto lane and go over small bridge to TJ with village hall (thatched roof) ahead. TL and follow lane past Brook House on RHS, houses on LHS and then BR up slight incline between trees. Just before the gateway to house, TL through metal KG into field. BR and follow path alongside hedge on RHS of field. Go through KG in corner of field and continue on SO in same direction in next field. At end of field go through slightly hidden KG (or gate if open) and continue in same direction with hedge now on LHS. At end of hedge follow faint path SO across field going slightly downhill. Go through metal KG, cross a wide grass track and through another KG, follow grass path between high wire fences.

Q4: According to the yellow signs what is crossing and asks your patience?

Follow enclosed path to reach another metal KG. Go down wooden steps and over wooden stile to reach canal towpath. TR and follow through metal KG, then another, to reach lane. Cross lane with care and through wooden gate and down concrete steps into field. BR and follow faint grass path across field with wire fence on LHS. Pass to RHS of now defunct wooden stile and continue to wooden KG in hedge, go up bank and through gap to reach lane.

If the previous field was boggy, it is better to miss the next section and do the following detour (same distance) - TR along lane and follow with care (no pavement) to junction. TTL at TJ onto Silver Street, SP South Cerney Follow pavement on LHS to end then CO with care to RHS of road and later back again to the LHS. Rejoin main route below at *

If previous field was fairly dry, Cross lane with care and through wooden KG onto path SP Cerney Wick 2 ½ m Follow path, with disused canal on LHS and golf club house beyond, for c220m then TR onto faint path (not signposted) through gap in hedge and over stone stile and immediately through metal KG. SO on faint grass path across centre of field and through green metal KG next to metal gate. Go under old brick railway bridge and through iron gate beyond. BL on path across field to far corner. Through gap in hedge (sometimes boggy here), over stone bridge and then stone stile into field.

BL and follow path across field heading to left of large dead tree (note impressive old almshouses to the right). Go through gap in stone wall, crossing a gravel driveway as you do and continue in same direction on grass path towards LH end of stone wall around graveyard. Ignore gate in wall but continue on path and over stile just to left, continue SO on path and BR at fork. Go through wooden gate and along path with allotments on LHS and church on RHS.

At end go through wooden gate and along lane with houses on both sides. At TJ TL on Silver Street and just before Old George Inn on left and Eliot Arms on right, [ * Wet weather diversion rejoins main route here] TL along Bow Wow lane. Follow lane, ignoring turnings, past Lower Mill on RHS and BL over a small stone bridge over stream. Continue on lane between trees and over a larger brick bridge. c250m after brick bridge TR onto gravel driveway SP Cerney Wick 2m

Q5: What is the name of the farm this driveway leads to?

Just after passing Boxwell Spring Lock on LHS, continue SO over stile (or through gap) beside red/brown metal gate. Continue on this path ignoring all turnings, with canal on LHS. Pass a bricked up derelict lock and then another old lock with a renovated stone lock keeper’s cottage on the far bank. Go SO down brick steps and under canal bridge (NB: for alternative path to avoid steep steps, TR just before steps and go through two metal kissing gates to rejoin the towpath beyond the bridge).

Continue under Road Bridge with modern ornamental railings and immediately TR back into the Gateway VC car park.

When you have completed this trail please use the Permanent Trail Entry Form

The organisers are not liable for accidents, thefts and/or damage to property. Every effort will be made by the organisers to make this a safe, enjoyable and memorable event.

This trail is registered until 31 December 2019