From Chipping Campden to Broad Campden
An easy walk between neighbouring villages, with a museum celebrating the skill and talent of artists and designers.
One of this walk’s great points of interest is reserved for the end of the route as you approach Chipping Campden’s glorious wool church, its splendid tower looking out over the Cotswold landscape. Just a few yards from it lies Court Barn Museum, which tells the story of the Arts and Crafts Movement from the beginning of the 20th century to the present day. For it was here in Chipping Campden that some of the movement’s greatest craftspeople gathered. These were figures of national and international renown and reputation in their day – people such as C R Ashbee, Gordon Russell and Robert Welch. The displays illustrate examples of the different design styles and explain how they came to be created.
Ashbee, a radical figure and a noted designer and writer, was an architect who specialised in church restoration. In 1902 he moved the Guild of Handicraft from his East End of London workshops, where he employed more than 100 workers, to the village of Chipping Campden, the intention being to draw the various creative threads together in one place. Many of the outstanding designers and architects he had teamed up with lived locally, so it made obvious sense to settle in Gloucestershire. Ashbee also believed that the rural setting and the harmonious atmosphere of the Cotswolds would be conducive to producing craftwork of the finest quality.
Katharine Adams bound books for the printer Emery Walker, who regarded her work highly and wanted her acknowledged as the finest artist binder in the country. The Court Barn Museum collection also includes engravings of Chipping Campden by the architect F L Griggs – who completed his most important work here – as well as silverwork by Robert Welch and examples of Gordon Russell’s radio cabinets.
The Demise of the Guild
The time these designers spent working together at Chipping Campden was short but productive and very rewarding. The failure of the Guild of Handicraft in 1908 resulted in many of the craftspeople returning to London, but by then some of their best work had been created. The name and the reputation of the movement had been forged.
From the High Street, walk through the arch next to the Noel Arms Hotel near the Market Hall, and continue ahead through the car park and beside a sign for Coldicotts Close. Pass Badgers Field to join a path as the road bends right into Pear Tree Close. Pass playing fields to reach a junction with a road. Go left here, into a field, then immediately right, to follow the field-edge parallel with the road. This is part of the Heart of England Way.
After 500yds (457m), fork right to a gate. Pass Maidenwell Cottage, then leave the drive to walk ahead to a gate. Pass through into an alley and follow it to pass the Quaker Meeting House in Broad Campden. Emerge at the green with the church to your left.
At a junction continue ahead for 400yds (366m) through the village. The road bears left and straightens. Pass a turning for Blockley and continue through Broad Campden to the edge of the village. Turn left at a gate and sign for Buchanans Barn, and after 100yds (91m) swing right at a waymark.Follow the track up the slope, and from the brow of the hill enjoy glorious views across Gloucestershire and the Cotswolds. Continue on the track, descending to a stile and cattle-grid, and follow it as it bends left to a converted barn and outbuildings.
Some 60yds (55m) beyond the buildings go through a gate and keep ahead by a hedge on the right. Follow the field boundary as it sweeps left to reach a kissing gate in the corner. Go diagonally left across the next pasture and drop down to a gate in the far corner. Once through it, look for two gates either side of a footbridge in the right-hand boundary. Cross the field, looking for a gate in the line of trees on the far side.Cross the footbridge beyond it and turn left for 40yds (37m) to a path junction.
Turn right, crossing the field on the obvious path through the crops. At the top go through a kissing gate, cross a broad grassy track and follow a path between paddocks. St James' Church edges into view on this stretch. Draw level with the church and pass through two gates with a paddock in between. Head for the bottom corner of the next paddock and make for the houses of Chipping Campden. Pass a stone arch on the right in the field and look for a gate about 100yds (91m) beyond it, also on the right. Go through this and follow the path, turning left onto a drive. Turn right and head up to Calf Lane. Turn right and, at the top, turn left into Church Street to reach the main street or right to visit Court Barn Museum and the church.
Field paths, tracks and some road walking, 1 stile
Gently undulating farmland
Lead required in villages
AA Walker's Map 8 The Cotswolds
Chipping Campden High Street or main square
A short way down Sheep Street
Walking in safety
Read our tips to look after yourself and the environment when following this walk.
Also in the area
About the area
Gloucestershire is home to a variety of landscapes. The Cotswolds, a region of gentle hills, valleys and gem-like villages, roll through the county. To their west is the Severn Plain, watered by Britain’s longest river, and characterised by orchards and farms marked out by hedgerows that blaze with mayflower in the spring, and beyond the Severn are the Forest of Dean and the Wye Valley.
Throughout the county you are never far away from the past. Neolithic burial chambers are widespread, and so too are the remains of Roman villas, many of which retain the fine mosaic work produced by Cirencester workshops. There are several examples of Saxon building, while in the Stroud valleys abandoned mills and canals are the mark left by the Industrial Revolution. Gloucestershire has always been known for its abbeys, but most of them have disappeared or lie in ruins. However, few counties can equal the churches that remain here. These are many and diverse, from the ‘wool’ churches in Chipping Campden and Northleach, to the cathedral at Gloucester, the abbey church at Tewkesbury or remote St Mary’s, standing alone near Dymock.