Things To Do
Walkers are welcome to explore over 1000 acres of splendid scenery, although please take care on the Golf Course, over ancient monuments and on loose soils and stones to avoid erosion. The Common is best avoided in fog or cloud: even regular visitors can easily become disorientated.
The Cotswold Way runs across Cleeve Common. This National Trail follows over 100 miles of the Cotswold escarpment between Chipping Campden and Bath. For more information see the Cotswold Way website. There are also a number of circular walks based on the Cotswold Way that you can download from this site, including The Cleeve Common Hill Ring, a 6 or 4 mile walk starting and ending at the Quarry car park by the Golf Club.
You may also be interested in walks based on the nearby town of Winchcombe. See Winchcombe Welcomes Walkers for details.
Dogs must be kept under close control at all times and not allowed to chase sheep, cattle or horses. Please follow the Canine Code. There are sheep and lambs on the Common from late April to late November: see the ‘grazing status’ message on this website for the current situation. If you see a dog worrying sheep, please contact the Duty Ranger immediately. Cattle graze year round; during the winter months, they are in temporary enclosures with electric fencing; in summer they roam over the whole hill. Please note that use of the Common for commercial dog walking requires a licence from the Board. Further information can be found here.
You are welcome to picnic on the Common, but please take all litter home with you. Barbecues and fires are not permitted as they can pose a serious fire risk and damage plant and invertebrate life.
Many bird watchers visit the Common to see the species regularly associated with limestone grassland, such as the skylark pictured here, and the rarer visitors. A local ornithologist carries out monthly surveys and produces a comprehensive annual report. For more information on this area, see the website of the North Cotswold Ornithological Society.
The Board of Conservators and other local natural environment groups carry out regular monitoring of plant, invertebrate and reptile life. If you’re interested in learning more about this and would like to help, please contact us and we’ll put you in touch with our Conservation Officer.
Golf has been played on Cleeve Hill since 1891 when the Cheltenham Golf Club was formed and the first course was set out on the lower slopes of the Common. The first clubhouse was the house now named Stonefield, the grey chalet (and former Youth Hostel) not far from Rising Sun Lane. Since then there have been successive courses, the latest one being the current Cleeve Hill Golf Course that is home to the Cleeve Cloud Golf Club.
This challenging heathland 18-hole course is operated on behalf of Tewkesbury Borough Council and is open to the public on a pay-and-play basis. Whether playing golf or not, you are welcome to call in at the Clubhouse, which offers a range of meals, snacks and hot and cold drinks.
Golfers are asked to take care to avoid injury to walkers, horses and riders, or grazing animals when playing.
For more information, see the Cleeve Hill Golf Club website or phone 01242 672025.
All cyclists may use the byways along the edges of the Common (refer to local Ordnance Survey map). Elsewhere on the Common, permissive access is granted to cyclists who sign up and adhere to the Cyclists' Code. To sign up to the code, just email us so that we have your details on file. Cyclists must keep to established tracks, avoiding environmentally sensitive areas such as scree slopes and quarries, and the Scheduled Ancient Monuments. Note that no motor bikes or scooters are allowed on the Common. Local groups such as the Cheltenham & County Cycling Club and Winchcombe Cycling Club support our our work and organise group rides in this area.
Cleeve Common is a wonderful place to ride. It offers wide open grassland, good going all year round, numerous and varied tracks and, of course, magnificent views. You should however be aware that the fragile habitats of the Common are protected by law as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).
All riders may use the byways along the edges of the Common (refer to local Ordnance Survey map). A hacking licence is required to ride a horse or pony elsewhere on the Common. Licences are available from the Board of Conservators and cost £30 per year. There are occasional spot checks to ensure all riders are properly licensed.
Riders must sign up to the Riders' Code as a condition of being granted a licence. This Code is designed to give horseriders wide access to the Common while at the same time protecting the SSSI and taking account of other users of the Common. Regular riders provide a valuable service in keeping the Rangers informed of incidents or problems around the Common.
For full information, see Riding on Cleeve Common which includes the Riders' Code.
To apply for a hacking licence, please complete the Application Form.
Kites, boards and buggies
Kite flying has been a popular pastime on Cleeve Common for well over 100 years – and there is usually no shortage of wind!
Large power kites, kite boards and buggies are permitted only in the Activity Area near the radio masts. Please note that this is a permissive activity on Cleeve Common and we ask that all participants sign and adhere to the Kite Boarders’/ Kite Flyers’ Code.
Small family kites may be flown anywhere on the Common, except the Golf Course, but please keep clear of entrances and main routes used by walkers and horse riders. All kite flyers and boarders must keep off the Golf Course and not disturb sheep or cattle.
Drones and model aircraft
Drones and motor-powered model aircraft cause disturbance to wildlife, can frighten livestock and horses, as well as causing disturbance to other visitors. They are therefore not permitted on Cleeve Common. Model gliders may be flown in the Activity Area near the radio masts.
Mountain boarding is allowed on the steep front slopes of the Common, above the Cleeve Hill settlement and main road. There is a particularly popular section between the Racing Stables and Rising Sun Lane, with easy access from the parking area at the top of Stockwell Lane. Boarding is not permitted elsewhere on the Common. All riders should follow the Boarders Code of Conduct.
Rock climbers can practise their skills on the limestone cliffs of Castle Rock, situated along the escarpment half way between Rising Sun Lane and Nutterswood. Near vertical faces approximately 10m high offer challenging top-roped climbs. See this illustration of routes. Beware of loose rocks on faces elsewhere along the escarpment.
Please note that no parking is allowed along the track to Nutterswood: you must leave your car at the Rising Sun entrance or one of the other car parks.
The slopes of Cleeve Common are popular with children and adults alike when there is snowfall. A favourite area for tobogganing is the wide slope to the right of the Golf Clubhouse (parking available at Quarry Car Park).
Sadly, after every snowfall our Rangers and Wardens collect tons of litter when the snow melts – we find broken sledges, tea trays, dinghies, bin liners - all left by tobogganers. As a small charity, this costs us money in staff time and disposal.
Please leave the Common for others to enjoy after you. Take all your litter – including broken sledges – home with you!