One of the things I love most about living on the doorsteps of the Cotswolds, an area of designated natural beauty in England, is the ample hiking and country walk opportunities that the region provides. And, after recovering from a cold last week, the first thing I wanted to do was get up and out, so I headed to Leckhampton Hill, a popular hiking area in the Cotswolds near Cheltenham. Leckhampton Hill has the Cotswolds Way, a walking path that stretches across the area.
Even though you are quite close to the city of Cheltenham at Leckhampton Hill, you’ll feel like you are much further away. At the hill, I found the footpath for the Cotswolds Way and began my hike along it, taking in the stunning views of the Cotswolds countryside and Cheltenham in the distance.
Benches are abound on the hill for breaks or to take in the beauty of the area, like this gorgeous one I regretted not relaxing on after my six miles of hiking! Fortunately, the Cotswolds Way is an easy enough path for hikers of all ages and abilities, although I would recommend sturdy shoes as on a drizzly days parts of the hill can get muddy.
Leckhampton Hill has a disused former limestone quarrying site, and one of the remnants that remains is the Devil’s Chimney, a chimney like structure of limestone rock. The origin of the Devil’s Chimney is a bit of a mystery – legend goes that the devil would throw rocks at nearby churchgoers from the vantage point, so in order to stop it, the stones were turned back against him into the hill, where he now remains with just a chimney to let free the smokes of hell.
The more likely story however, is that 18th century quarry employees quarried around it as a joke (source).
The area of Leckhampton Hill is quite large so you can easily get in a few miles of exercise by meandering around. There’s guide posts that let you know where the paths run and where sites of significance are – besides Devil’s Chimney, there’s also a historic iron age fort. History and exercise in one – I’ll take it!
Do you fancy a hike on Leckhampton Hill?
Getting to Leckhampton Hill: To get there, I took a £12 taxi from Cheltenham (price is approximate), as getting there is uphill. I had my taxi bring me to the Hartley Lane Car Park (refer to the Google Map below) where the Cotswolds Way path begins. To return home, I walked the few miles back into Cheltenham. The car park has ample parking so if you drive it is easy to access.