Ten nature hotspots to visit in Gloucestershire

Start of the Laurie Lee Wildlife Way in Slad, Gloucestershire
Start of the Laurie Lee Wildlife Way in Slad Valley. Credit: Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust

Research shows that even a limited amount of contact with green space can reduce feelings of isolation, and can be effective in protecting mental health and promote well-being.

Here are ten places in Gloucestershire where you can connect with nature:

  • 1. Canals

There are miles of canal towpath to explore in Gloucestershire, most of which is flat and wheelchair friendly, with abundant nature along both the Stroudwater canal and Thames and Severn canal.

Cotswold Canals Connected has published two maps featuring eight cycling and walking routes along and near the Stroudwater canal as part of its Slow Canal Trail.

  • 2. Stratford Park

The 56-acre park near the centre of Stroud contains an arboretum, lake, large grassy lawns, woodland, stream, sensory garden and children’s play area.

  • 3. Museum in the Park Walled Garden

The tranquil, award winning contemporary garden is based on a traditional four-square design with a dipping pond at the centre.

You’ll find abundant flower beds, an orchard of Gloucestershire apple and pear trees, a meadow area, culinary learning garden and a lawned open space. Entry is free and must be booked in advance.  

  • 4. Selsley, Minchinhampton and Rodborough Commons

There’s wide open space, miles of footpaths and spectacular views from each of the commons. Watch out for the cows that will be resident from mid-May. Park in the free parking areas close to the road but not the verges. 

  • 5. Woodchester Park

There are acres of dog-friendly woodland to explore in the National Trust-owned park including five lakes and a children’s woodland play trail. Woodchester Mansion, an unfinished Neo-gothic mansion should be open from 21 May on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holiday Mondays.

  • 6. Haresfield Beacon and Standish Woods

Enjoy spectacular sunsets over the Severn estuary towards the Forest of Dean and Brecon Beacons. Standish Wood is full of bluebells. There’s a National Trust car park.

  • 7. Laurie Lee Wildlife Way

This six-mile circular walk, created by Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust, follows 10 poetry posts around the wildlife-rich Slad Valley. Each cedar post features a different poem by Gloucestershire's most famous twentieth century writer, inspired by the landscape around him. The walk is very steep in places, but well worth the effort.  

  • 8. Wotton Hill

Follow part of the Cotswold Way up Wotton Hill for spectacular views of the Cotswold hills, South Gloucestershire, the Bristol Channel & Brecon Beacons. Continue through Westridge Woods to North Nibley and the Tyndale Monument for more far reaching hilltop views.         

  • 9. Twinberrow Woods

You’ll find more than nature in the 27 acre Twinberrow Wood, as it’s home to a community-led sculpture trail. Accessible by foot from Dursley, or limited roadside parking spaces.      

  • 10. Coaley Peak

Accessible on foot from Selsley Common, there are magnificent views from the edge of the 12-acre open grassland site at Coaley Peak.

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