Belas Knap Long Barrow
Between Winchcombe and Cheltenham
Belas Knap is the name of a Neolithic long barrow near Winchcombe. Locals know it as one of the best short walks in the Cotswolds, with views down over the town and Sudeley Castle. Experience it on a sunny day with clouds scudding past and Belas Knap might just be the highlight of your visit to the Cotswolds.
Start with a decision - whether to talk the longer walk from the centre of Winchcombe or the shorter version from Corndean Lane, where there are some roadside parking spots. Its the difference between a 2-3 hour walk or a one hour walk. There’s also a circular walk from Winchcombe detailed here: https://www.nationaltrail.co.uk/sites/default/files/walk_4_winchcombe_belas_knap_circular_walk_final.pdf
Assuming that you take the shorter option (see map on the link above), you head uphill over a stile, though a small wood though a steep hilly field (Strictly speaking the right of way is left and then right uphill, but people seem to head diagonally across the field). You could help the farmer by sticking to the route.
At the top of the field there’s a kissing gate and then you head left, on flatter land (either over the field or by sticking to the Cotswold stone wall, to Belas Knap.
The reward for all this uphill effort is the long barrow itself. The long barrow, or, burial chamber is of a classic shape; an evocative feminine form with clean lines, almost 200 foot high and 15 foot long. There’s a large megalithic false entrance and four burial chambers at the side. 31 sets of human remains have been excavated, with an age of up to over 6000 years.
Belas Knap is a hands-on sort of place. You can stand on the monument to absorb the atmosphere and then go into the burial chambers. The site is generally pretty quiet, just the odd walker passing by. No loos, no shop (yay!).
Nearby Winchcombe is good for cafes and pubs. And loos.
Cotswolds Finest Hotels Nearby
Lords of the Manor, The Fish and Russell's are all near to Winchcombe.