Walks around the Town
There are a number of interesting walks in and around the town and local area.
Cirencester Civic Society have produced a booklet detailing a town walk. The booklet is available from the Local Information Centre.
The Civic Society also offers guided walks every Sunday (from May to the end of September) at 3.00 p.m. from the church porch in the Market Place.
Other guided walks may be available - details of which can be found at the Local Information Centre.
The following are some recommendations for self-conducted walks:
The Whereat Trail
Why not explore Cirencester’s hidden treasure – the Roman Amphitheatre? Pick up the Whereat Trail leaflet from our Local Information Centre. The trail directs visitors to the Amphitheatre from the Corinium Museum, providing interesting facts along the way. You can also keep the kids occupied with a quiz sheet that will keep them busy with eye spy and questions. Kids can return completed sheets to the Local Information Centre to collect a free ‘I walked the Whereat Trail’ badge.
The Trail commemorates former Mayor and community stalwart Norman Whereat by encouraging people to visit the Amphitheatre on foot from the Museum; a place Norman held close to his heart. "I always take visitors to the Corinium Museum", says Vera Whereat, Norman’s widow, "I think it is an excellent place for the Whereat Trail to start as it helps them appreciate Cirencester’s story and history before exploring the town."
Norman enjoyed walking in the Amphitheatre and he often used the route to get to the hospital where he was Chairman of the Hospital League of Friends for 20 years. Cllr. Joe Harris said ‘Norman was affectionately known as Mr Cirencester for his unwavering commitment to making Cirencester a better place for everyone. I am pleased that his legacy will live on through the Whereat Trail’.
Norman’s legacy is more than just a trail however as Cirencester Town Council begins to work with English Heritage and Corinium Museum to design and improve interpretation at the Amphitheatre itself.
The Abbey Grounds to the Norman Arch and Roman Wall (1 mile)
Enter the Abbey Grounds through the gateway near the north door of the church.
Turn left where the sign points to the Norman Arch. The site of the very large Abbey church is now outlined with paving stones on both sides of the tarmac path. Follow the footpath round to the right - in spring through a show of snowdrops and daffodils - nearly to the arch of the gateway that formerly led out of the Abbey precinct.
The Norman Arch you are looking at is the only monastic building left above the ground.
Turn right taking a grassy walk along the far side of the lake past the children's play area; the mound on the left after 200 metres covers a former ice house serving the mansion which replaced the Abbey.
Continue past the end of the lake and bear left to a stretch of the Roman Wall now covered by grass and soil - to prevent further decay, although some stonework can be seen a little further on.
Turn back into the Abbey Grounds, crossing the bridge at the end of the lake, and follow the path back to the church.
Alternatively, you can cross the bridge you pass on the left just short of the toilets and summer cafe and wend your way past the flats to the Bingham Library, and to a narrow passage on the right into the Market Place.
To the West of the Town (2 miles)
Start from the somewhat truncated blue cedar tree in the West Market Place and walk along Gosditch Street and Dollar Street to the end of Gloucester Street, past 17th- and 18th-century houses, to where a bridge crosses an arm of the River Churn.
On the left a footpath runs by the mill stream, across a footbridge over the mill pond and round by a wall to the right past the stables and Barton Mill Drive to a lane entering Lord Bathurst's Estate Park.
When facing the large stone barn, a slight diversion to the right reveals an informative verse on a cottage gate. Return to the barn and take the left path, noticing the round stone dovecote (the oldest secular structure in the town) on the right, and walk up the slope to the T-junction with the main drive.
Turn right in line with Cecily Hill and walk a quarter of a mile along the chestnut avenue to the stone hexagon summer-house at the meeting of ways.
Take the left walk, opposite a lime avenue leading to the old Tetbury Road. Part way along there is a good view to the left of the west front of Cirencester House and, to the right, of the column with a statue of Queen Anne holding the orb and sceptre, which commemorates her patronage of the first Earl Bathurst.
On leaving Cirencester Park through an iron gateway, turn left and follow the quiet walk along the wall under trees to the pedestrian crossing to Castle Street, passing over Park Street and so to the Market Place.
Baunton, along the River Churn, back to Cirencester (2.5 miles)
Take the Cheltenham bus No 51 from the Market Place to the Baunton turn. (It would take about 25 minutes to walk this route.) Go down the hill past the Mill House, over the River Churn and through the village to the right angle turn, past the 16th-century Manor Farmhouse with its sundial.
The road to the left leads to Baunton church with its wall painting of St Christopher and a medieval altar front. However, keep straight ahead, uphill and through an iron gate.
Follow this track uphill as it swings right and, after about 100 yards, turn right through a wooden gate. Follow a clear track with a wall and then a hedge on the right. Gaps in the hedge afford good views of Baunton and the Churn Valley with its water meadows.
After three-quarters of a mile, the track goes through a gate next to a row of cottages. Just past the cottages, a short detour through the stile on the left to the crest of the hill will give you a fine panoramic view of the Churn Valley and Cirencester Park. This field is known as Humpty Dumps.
Back to the stile. A continuation of the former track from Baunton takes you into Bowling Green Lane and to the ring road. Here, turn left and cross the road at the traffic lights after 300 yards, follow the main road to the left for 100 metres to go through the Norman Arch into the Abbey Grounds and the pathway to the parish church.
A longer way from the stile takes a narrow path to the right between hedges in front of a row of cottages. The man in charge of the water channels in the field ahead, lived in the last house to be on hand to lift or lower the sluice gates of the water meadows.
Go over the stile and footbridge and turn sharp right to cross another stream by a bridge. Bear left and make for the stile in the wooden fence by Stratton Mill now turned into private dwellings. Go up the lane for 130 yards to the end house on the left, beside which is a narrow path with a stile at the end.
Across the rather rough pasture another stile in a stone wall leads to a second field. From here, make straight for the nearest telegraph pole, line this up on the Abbey Road Garage and go through the iron kissing gate on the main road.
Those not wishing to cross the fields (there are often young cattle here in te summer months) can continue up the lane from the mill to the Cheltenham Road, turning left to follow the road round to the Abbey Road Garage.
Follow the road for some yards and cross to the weir at the rear of the other garage on Gloucester Street. From here a pathway runs through the Jack Gardner Memorial Gardens and an open area of grass with trees planted in memoriam along the main channel of the Churn to Spitalgate Lane. From here there are ways into Abbey Grounds, either through the small group of modem houses or by the road opposite St John's Hospital.
Field and Woodland Walk Cecily Hill - Peddington Polo Ground (4 miles)
Starting point: Top of Cecily Hill, by the Victorian Barracks. This walk is subject to the park opening hours 8.00am to 5.00pm. Go through Cirencester Park Gate to Cedar Tree, turn right.
Walk past dovecote and follow the path to the right through the wooden gateway. Take path on left just before new houses at the back of the old stables, cross an arm of the River Churn serving the former mill, turn right along the river to Gloucester Road bridge. Mallard and moorhen frequent this stretch and kingfishers are sometimes seen.
Turn left and follow the footpath along the road under lime trees past the children's playspace to the gate opposite the fork of the road. Go through this gate on the left and through the swing gate on the right into a pasture field.
The path crosses the field to a bungalow beside which a gap in the stone wall gives access to the short stretch of grass and a lane to a T-junction (Barnway).
Turn left, following track round to right, after the last house, to a field gate with Bridge Path notice. The path is well defined along the hedge on the left to the top of the arable field. Here it joins a good track way leading on the left, and through another field gate, to the woods seen ahead.
A walk of three-quarters of a mile, with hedge on the right and, when in season, grain growing on the left, brings the walker to the junction of six paths on the edge of the polo ground. A left turn means that one can follow a tarred road all the way back to Cecily Hill through woodland.
In dry weather the walk can be along the centre of the Chestnut Avenue or on a variety of small paths snaking among the trees. The Pope's Seat is the stone summer-house to the north. Once it had a view of Coates church, but magnificent trees now block the view.
On Sunday mornings try starting the walk at the bottom of Cecily Hill, taking the path past the swimming pool.
Riverside Walk (2.5 miles)
From the West Market Place walk along Black Jack Street and Park Street to Thomas Street, where on the left the Riverside Walk (and swimming pool) is signposted. Follow the footpath beside the River Churn and on the left is the open-air swimming pool. The pool itself is probably one of the oldest in the country and was built over a century ago and presented to the town by the Bathurst family in 1876. Continue on this path until you reach the Barton Mill House and stables.
Turn right and then immediately left and continue over the footbridge via the Mill Pound to Gloucester Street, and cross over the road through the gap in the wall opposite the sluice gate footbridge (disabled persons vehicles may deviate left through the garage forecourt and rejoin the path near the sluice gate).
Turn right taking a grassy walk through the Jack Gardner Memorial Gardens to Spitalgate Lane by the traffic lights.
Cross over and follow the footpath through the gate into the Abbey Grounds. On your left is the Norman Arch, the only remaining monastic building of the abbey period. Keep straight on, keeping to the river bank on the left in the trees and on your right is a mound covering an old ice house which formerly served the mansion, which stood in the grounds after the Abbey was dismantled.
Continue on for 150 yards and in front will be seen an exposed section of the Roman Wall. Turn right to the tarmac footpath and then left, over the footbridge via Corinium Gate (see the plaque on the wall at the end) to the London Road junction.
Cross over into Beeches Road and continue to where the path deviates to the left to the steps in the embankment (disabled persons vehicles may turn right just before the steps and follow the footpath on the left). On the right the earth mound is part of the Roman Wall.
At the top of the steps cross over and down the road past the disused railway embankment. On the left is an early 16th-century mill house. Continue on the footpath up the slope.
You are now walking on top of the Roman Wall. Follow the footpath to the road junction, turn right and walk along Watermoor Road and Cricklade Street to the Market Place.
These walks were surveyed and prepared by the Cirencester Group of the Ramblers Association.