Sapperton Walk

Distance: 3.5 miles

AS A KEEN long-distance walker I never pass up the opportunity to head off into the countryside, and even a shorter distance stroll can be just as satisfying, especially if there is a pub en route. The following three-and-a-half mile route is not too demanding on fitness levels has the added benefit of two pubs!

Walks tend to be one of two types. First the linear walk that goes from Point A to Point B – such as my long distance trek that currently stands at Land’s End to Prestatyn in North Wales, covered in week long segments. One way walks mean of course that you need to get back to your starting point often by retracing your steps. Circular walks on the other hand bring you, by their very nature, back to your point of origin via new territory.


This circular walk begins at the Bell Inn in the village of Sapperton, off the A419 between Cirencester and Stroud. Motorists are welcome to leave their cars in the pub car park, even if not visiting the pub before or after the walk (although this is highly recommended!). The landlords prefer to make the offer of free parking rather than have the narrow village lanes cluttered with visitor’s cars. The Bell is also walker-friendly so you are unlikely to see signs banning muddy boots.

From the Bell head down into the village and turn right when you reach St Kenelm’s Church (picture 1) with its monument to Sir Robert Atkyns (picture 2). Follow this lane downhill and when it finally ends at the gateway to a private property join the footpath off to the left. This path and all of the next section, can be very muddy so be prepared in wet weather.

The footpath dips down into Dorvel Wood and meets the bubbling upper reaches of the River Frome (picture 3). Once over the river the path heads gently uphill and after 100 yards meets a track crossing the main path. Turn left and follow the track for three quarters of a mile until you reach a wooden gate with a lane beyond. Turn left downhill for a matter of yards and then cross a stile to access a footpath on the right. Go through the gateway ahead and you will find yourself on the limestone grassland of Daneway Bank. Head across the bank to find another stile that allows access to the lane coming up from the Daneway Inn.

Take time to turn around and look back at the ground already covered – often the views back can be as impressive as those ahead (picture 4). At this point you can head downhill to the pub if running short of time, allowing you to shave a mile off the total walking distance. However with time on your side cross the lane and using the footpath head into the ancient deciduous Siccaridge Wood. After a half a mile you reach a staggered crossroads at which you need to take the path ahead, slightly to the left. At the nest junction turn left and follow the path steeply downhill to reach a bridge over the Thames and Severn Canal.

It is then an easy stroll along the tow path back to the Daneway Inn, although you do need to cross from one bank to the other via the footbridge At the pub the footpath continues immediately after crossing the road bridge on the left. Follow the towpath once more until the Daneway portal of the Sapperton tunnel. The canal was anandoned in the 1920’s leaving nature to reclaim and brickwork to decay. The portal was rebuilt in 1996 and ten years on is still an impressive sight.

The path leads up and over the portal, crosses a stile and into a steep hillside field. Follow this upwards to the top edge and follow the field boundary to the left until you find the gate. Once through the gate follow the footpath uphill, cross the lane and head back through the village to the Bell (picture 5).