Walk Distance: 1.4 km
Walk Duration: 30 mins at toddler dawdling speed, much less for older children.
OS Map: OS Landranger 162 Gloucester & Forest of Dean; OS Explorer 179 Gloucester, Cheltenham & Stroud.
Suitable for: Little legs, babies in backpacks, older children. All-terrain pushchairs would be ok for most of it. The path over the long-barrow far end is too narrow and bumpy but you could go round a longer way. If you do take a pushchair, take care not to stray from the paths as Selsley Common is a designated SSSI.
Walk Features: Fantastic views for very little effort; SSSI with Skylarks and wild orchids in early summer; The Toots prehistoric long barrow. options to extend walk to Selsley or Woodchester.
It always amazes me just how far-reaching the views are from the top of some Cotswold hills – particularly as so many can be accessed without any kind of hill-walking whatsoever! The views from Selsley Common are just one example, reaching over to Wales and have the added bonus of being accessible without any uphill effort whatsoever – perfect for young children or for a quick after-school run-around and with lots of options to extend for longer walks.
Visit in early summer to be surrounded by Skylarks on every inch of this walk and keep an eye out for the cows whose owners still take advantage of the public right to graze animals on the common.
The walk across Selsley Common requires very little description and if you have a vague sense of direction and prefer to just follow your feet you will find it hard to go too far wrong. If you end up parking in another of the three parking places along the main road you can pick up the walk too by just heading off across Selsley Common on one of the footpaths towards the brow of the hill and the long barrow.
From the car park, set off across Selsley Common on the well-walked grassy path. The path rises slightly as it approaches the brow of the hill. Look out for Skylarks rising out the long grass and or wild orchids – both inhabitants of this designated Site of Specific Scientific Interest.
At the brow of the hill, head for the mound ahead. Known as Toots Long Barrow, little is known about this ancient burial site on Selsley Common other than the fact it would have looked imposing and impressive on the skyline of the valley below. There are several others in the area but at 210 feet long this is one of the largest in Gloucestershire.
From the long barrow there are some great views across the surrounding countryside and over the bridge to Wales. From here, drop down just the other side of the barrow and pick up the path on the opposite side. Turn right and follow the path along the edge of the ridge, enjoying the far reaching views to your left. A short way on the path splits, with the main track you have been following until now starting to head down into the valley below. Keep to the right and head slightly uphill again, following as the path climbs up and over more earth mounds. Here, local lovebirds and natural graffiti artists have covered the slopes down from the long-barrow with their names and initials laid out in stones – an unexpected sight as you wander by. I also spotted some wild orchids here too – a rare sight these days!
Just beyond here the path again meets a larger path from the left. Turn right along this track back in the direction of the long barrow again. After a few minutes of walk you will come across the path that you originally followed out from the car park. Head back along this to complete your walk. If you miss it, don’t panic! Any of the other paths to the left will lead you back to the road from where you can easily retrace your steps to the walk start.
Map of Route:
There are several free car parks on the B4066 just south of Selsley. The walk starts from the second one as approached from Selsley direction although it does not matter hugely which you use as paths lead from them all up onto Selsley Common in the direction of the long barrow. If you are travelling by bus,Cotswold Green Bus 35 does stop on Selsley Common. Check Traveline for full journey details. rom
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