Our Diamond Way self-guided walking holiday follows a roughly diamond shaped route around rural Gloucestershire. The route was created by the Ramblers Association North Cotswold Group to celebrate the 60th Jubilee in 1995. The route stretches from Northleach in the south to near Chipping Campden in the north, Guiting Power in the west to near Bourton-on-the-Water in the east. As the route is a circuit, it is possible to start anywhere along the route, but we recommend starting at Moretin-in-the-Marsh, as it is well served by public transport.
Moreton has been a traveller's town for at least 1700 years and was used as a coaching station before the coming of the Oxford to Worcester railway in 1853. There are several pubs, inns, hotels, tea shops and restaurants to tempt the traveller. Moreton-in-Marsh was granted its market charter in 1227 and the well known Market is still held every Tuesday throughout the year. Many of the old buildings along the High Street date from the 17th and 18th centuries. The Diamond Way leaves Moreton-in-the-Marsh and heads north following the route of the railway, which is eventually crosses before entering Aston Magna and re-crossing the railway twice more in quick succession. The route soon crosses Knee Brook and passes close to the site of remains of the medieval village of Upper Ditchford before arriving at Paxford. The route soon reaches Ebrington, which is a picturesque village overlooking the valley of Knee Brook, before linking up with the route of both the Heart of England Way and Monarch's Way to reach the head of Chipping Campden.
Although Chipping Campden is just off the route, it is worth taking the time to explore this beautiful market town, famous for the houses built with that famous Cotswold honey-coloured limestone. The Diamond Way skirts around the eastern and southern edges of the town, before heading south to the village of Broad Campden and joining up again with the Heart of England Way to Campden Hill Farm. The route now head south east and crosses Five Mile Drive and passes Upper Water to reach the attractive village of Blockley.
Blockley was in the county of Worcesterhsire until as recently as 1931, but is now under jurisdiction of Gloucestershire County. Once famous for both its silk and corn mills, the decline of industry within theis part of Cotswolds means that today this once thriving area of the wollen trade is now an attractive tourist spot. It is surprising to think that at during the industrial revolution there were eight mills employing more than 800 workers, providing silk for the Coventry ribbon trade. The route leaves Blockley and climbs through Woodland to pass Warren Farm and a second medieval village, this one being Upton, before crossing the main A44 road and enters a series of forest plantations and crosses Bourton Downs. From Hinchwick Manor there is a steady climb through woodland, emerging at Cutsdean Lodge before joining the Gloucestershire Way and soon passing Jackdaw Castle Stables, the home of Jonjo O'Neill Racing. Look closely and you my sport a future classics winner! The Diamond Way follows the horse racing gallops to Ford and then the course of the River Windrush to Temple Guiting.
The route crosse the river in the centre of the village and then joins the Winchcombe Way to climb along a country lane to the edge of Guiting Wood, before descending across field to Guiting Power. Guiting Power is consdiered to be a perfect example of how the English village can seem to have been carved from the earth it is built on. The church of St. Michael to the south of the village has an exceptionally fine Norman south doorway. The Diamond Way passes the church and leaves the village to cross below a small reservoir on a route shared with the Warden's Way. Checkout the historic Doevcote before you arrive in the unspoilt village of Naunton. The route climbs from the village to cross the edge of the golf course before reaching the hamlet of Aylworth and the third medieval village site encountered so far on the route. The route now heads south to Notgrove, before heading west and climbing the delighfully named Raspberry Brake, before descending to Hazleton.
From Hazleton, the Diamond Way down turns back to the east passing Nut Tree Brake to reach the pretty village of Turkdean. The route now joins the Macmillan Way to Hampnett before following the River Leach and crossing the Fosse Way Roman Road to reach the small town of Northleach. Northleach offers the Museum of Mechanical Music and has a range of facilities for the walker. The route leave Northleach and climbs Helen's Ditch before truning east to Upper End, which also has an historic dovecote. Turning north, the Diamond Way crosses the A40 main road to reach Farmington where the route joins with the Monarch's Way and turning north east to climb up to the village of Clapton-on-the-Hill. The route descends to the River Dickler and turns north along the edge of the fishing lakes to pass just to the east of Bourton-on-the-Water.
Although Bourton-on-the-Water is just off the route, it is well worth the detour. Commonly known as the "Venice of the Cotswolds", Bourton is regularly voted one of the prettiest villages in England. Leaving Bourton, the Diamond Way joins with the Oxfordshire Way, passing Wyck Rissington to climb to cross the main A424 road, before descending to Icomb. The village stands on the lower slopes of Icomb Hill below the remains of an ancient camp. From here, the route turns south passing a small reservoir and crossong Westcote Brook to reach Church Westcote, before turning back north east to descend to Bledington.
Bledington is at the junction of the Oxfordshire Way and Diamond Way and boasts both a pub and community shop to welcome visitors. Leaving the village, the Diamond Way initially follows the course of the River Evenlode before passing through the hamlet of Daylesford and skirting around the grounds of Daylesford House to Adlestrop, which was imortalised by Edward Thomas's poem "Adlestrop" first published in 1917. The route agin joins with the Macmillan Way towards Chasleton, before turning west for a short distance along Conygree Lane and then pasing to the south of Harcomb Wood on the way to Evenlode. Leaving the village the Diamond Way heads north, crossing the railway line and the River Evenlode at Stratford Bridge on its return to Moreton-in-Marsh
There is a railway station at Moreton-in-the-Marsh, which is served by Great Western Railway services from London, Oxford and Worcester.
The National Rail Map provides a map of the rail network for you to plan your journey.
The nearest National Express long distance coach stop is Evesham, approximately 15.0 miles (24.0 km) from Moreton-in-the-Marsh.
National Express has a route network with over 1,000 UK destinations. The best value tickets will be secured with advance booking.
Although there is a local bus service, it is not easy to travel along the route without the need to changes buses. The service is limited on Sundays and Bank Holidays. If you plan to use the local bus service, please contact us and we will be pleased to help you plan your journies.
Moreton-in-the-Marsh is easily accessible by car, being at the junction of the A44 and A429 roads.
We may be able to arrange car parking at your accommodation in Moreton-in-the-Marsh for the duration of your walking holiday. This will be subject to availability and may incur a small extra charge.
The route is waymarked with a blue diamond and uses a mix of paths, tracks and minor roads. Competent navigation skills with a map and compass are recommended.
It is possible to walk the Diamond Way all year round, but accommodation options may be limited between November and February.
We specialise in providing walking holidays in Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Pembrokeshire and Somerset. We are enthusiastic about outdoor pursuits and have experienced climbing, canoeing, skiing, caving and potholing and windsurfing as well as walking throughout the UK, France, Spain, Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand.
We use our experience to provide self-guided, pack-free walking holidays, tailored to the requirements and abilities of our clients.