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CLEEVE COMMON to BELAS KNAP
At 330 mtrs Cleeve Common is the highest point in the Cotswolds, on a good day you can see the Malvern Hills & the Black Mountains in Wales. 10,000 years ago the forest was cleared for public grazing hence the word "Common". However, you'd be wrong in thinking it's public land, it belongs to the "Lords of the Manor of Southam and Bishops Cleeve". Stone from Cleeve was the finest in the area and you will see the ground pockmarked with the remains of quarrying.
Belas Knap is a long barrow burial chamber thought by many to be the representation of the female form, for me this relationship is far from obvious! I can't understand why they went to so much trouble for four small burial chambers. Every time I look at it I imagine there are secret chambers inside that hold the secrets of a lost religion. Sadly my dream it is unlikely to come true, Belas Knap has been well excavated, they found the remains of forty people and a few artefacts, but you never know!
Cleeve Common is littered with so many paths it can be confusing and there are not always landmarks handy for direction, so, to make things easy, take your compass. Set it at 101 degrees for the section between Wp7 & 8 and 298 degrees between Wp17 & 18. If you are not sure how to use the compass go to our NAVIGATION page. If you don't fancy the steep hill between 17 & 18 we have provided an alternative route. (GPS length 7.48 miles). No pub.
How to get there: Park in the Stockwell Common Viewpoint car park about 1/4 mile up the hill from the Cleeve Hill Hotel. From the north turn off the A46 onto the A435 to Oxenton at SO 9629 3395. After 1.5 miles turn right at a "T" junction at SO 9498 3194. Carry on to layby car park on right. If you pass Cleeve Hill Hotel you've gone too far. From Cheltenham turn north off the A4019 onto the A435 at SO 9495 2272. Follow signs to Cleeve Hill. Parking layby is on left 1/4 mile after the Cleeve Hill Hotel.