Cotswolds: The WAS Way (Stroud)
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The WAS Way was first trialled by Stroud Town Council in the 2007 Stroud Walking Festival. It is now an official waymarked trail, following the parish borders and offering something for everyone.
The Five Valleys have long provided good walking for many people. Wooded valleys and hills, high grasslands, small Cotswold stone villages clinging to the hillsides, the heritage of a once-great textile industry, fed by coal delivered along the Cotswold Canals.The WAS Way encompassess all of these, without ever losing sight of Stroud, the gateway to the Five Valleys.
This eleven-mile route follows public footpaths and roads and takes around five hours.The terrain is variable – there are steep sections to the north of the town and some parts can get muddy after rainfall. Stout footwear is advised.The canal towpath is flat and generally good underfoot. The route has been designed so that it can be walked in either direction, and starting at any of the 16 marked points.
The route map can be found here.
What to bring
Water: bring at least a litre
Medicines: if you have hay fever, diabetes, minor ailments etc.
Rucksack: or any other bag
Footwear: hiking boots, sturdy trainers or wellies
Layered clothing: lets you quickly adapt to changes in the weather and body temperature. Go for a base layer (vest or t-shirt) and a mid layer (a micro fleece or shirt) and in cooler weather add an outer layer (a windproof jacket or thick fleece)
Trousers: ideally not jeans which become heavy and cold in the rain, breathable fabrics are more comfortable and dry and on warm days shorts are OK
Waterproof jacket: breathable fabrics are more comfortable and dry
Hat or cap: stay warm in winter and shaded in summer
Sunglasses: for any sunny day, even in winter
Sun cream: can be useful even on cloudy and winter days
Snacks: bring biscuits, energy bars, gels, bananas, chocolate or dried fruit for example and put them somewhere easy to get hold of
Lunch: bring a packed lunch
Food & drink
Bring a packed lunch and plenty of water (you'll be gulping it down on the hill climbs). Despite being a town trail, there aren't any shops on the way.