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Leckhampton Hill Nature Reserve

LOCALITY: Cheltenham, Gloucestershire
DISTANCE: 2 miles (3.22 km)
FACILITIES: Circular route, Parking, Suitable for wheelchairs

GRADIENT: A few ups & downs
OS MAP: Cirencester & Swindon

Walk description:

Park in the public car park near Hill Farm. The car park surface is rough, chunky gravel. It s probably the worst surface in the entire walk.

Leave the car park in the corner where the farm gate is. This gate is often locked, but there is a 'kissing gate' beside it which will let a wheelchair through.

From the car park, head away from the public road, along the track towards Hill Farm.

Follow the track for a mile or so, as it bends past the farm and through more gates. You will eventually reach a T-junction where the tarmac track turns left and a rougher track turns right. You may wish to explore the left turn - it ends in a gate which is often locked - but for this walk, turn right along the rougher track. This follows the outside of the fence along Leckhampton Hill Nature Reserve.

After a hundred metres, the track turns right and there is a gate on your left, into the reserve. Go through it. Turn right immediately and follow the path along the edge of the new dry-stone wall. There is a short steep bit here, which you will need to come back up eventually, so do not go down it unless you are sure that you can come back up again.

You will quickly find yourself on an attractive open meadow with plenty of firm paths to explore. Go wherever you like: there are rare flowers here, and fabulous views over the edge of the Cotswold Escarpment and the Severn Valley. You can go at least half a mile along the edge of the hill before it becomes dangerously steep.

Return to the gate where you came in and continue along the track where you left it. You are now heading back towards the road. This path is very bumpy, with many protruding stones, and you may prefer to go back the way that you came.

The path will eventually bring you back to the car park.

Additional notes:

The path is rather rough in places, particularly along the return path, which is covered in stones and chunky gravel. It is quite passable in dry weather in a relatively strong powered wheelchair, but will cause difficulties where the chair has small wheels. The route has been chosen to get progressively rougher, so you can always turn around if it gets too difficult.

There are several gates on this route, which are difficult to open from a wheechair. You may wish to bring a companion to help out.

15/05/2011 | Walk posted by Al Marsh

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